Ohio: 2018 Deer Harvest Down, But Big Buck Kill Up

ohio gary nov 8 2018Hunters checked 172,040 whitetails deer during Ohio’s 2018-2019 season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). That’s down from last year, when 186,247 deer were checked. Some of the decrease can be attributed to poor weather throughout the fall of 2018.

While the overall harvest was down, the number of big bucks killed with a bow was impressive.

In the photo: Gary Bendele shot this giant (170 net Booner) with his bow on November 8, 2018 in Fayette County.

Ethan  Featheroff’s monster non-typical, shot last October, grossed 220!

Facts about deer hunting in Ohio: Regulations set by ODNR over the past four seasons have been designed to allow for moderate herd growth throughout most of the state; herd growth is achieved by reducing harvest and protecting female deer.  

Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging, etc.

Ohio ranks #3 in America in terms of deer killed and tagged with a bow; of the estimated recent harvests of 172,000 to 186,000, some 45% were archery kills.

Wisconsin Woman Shoots Giant 14-Point Buck

WI woman big buck 2018Sarah Van Pietersom hunted the opener of the 2018 Wisconsin gun deer season.

“We went out about 2:30 and didn’t see much initially,” the Genesee resident told the Journal Sentinel. “Around 4 I saw what I thought was a buck. I pulled out my binoculars to get a closer look and thought to myself it was a decent buck. He dropped with one shot. I didn’t realize at that point it was this big buck.” 

Giant! The buck was estimated to be around 6 years old, and he looks it in the picture.

Sarah said she became interested in hunting by sitting with her fiancé while he hunted when they started dating six years ago. Four years ago, she took a hunter safety course and started hunting on her own.

“I’m newer to hunting,” she said. “I hope this inspires other female hunters…. I think it’s good for women to see another woman catch such a big buck.”

Great, way to go Sarah!

2018 Pennsylvania Deer Harvest Highest In 14 Years…State “has never managed whitetails better.”

???????????????????????????????From the York Dispatch: “The (Pennsylvania Game Commission) reported that a total of 374,690 deer were harvested during the state’s 2018-19 hunting seasons, which closed in January.

“That total tops the previous year’s harvest of 367,159 by about 10 percent.”

The 2018 antlerless harvest of 226,940 was up about 10 percent over last year. Data show that most does—64%–killed by hunters were 2.5 years old, and the remainder were 1.5 years old.

The 2018-19 buck kill of 147,750 was down 10% from the previous season. The commission says that steady, heavy rain during opening weekend of gun season was the biggest reason for the decline—it kept a lot of hunters out of the woods, and the bucks didn’t move well in the poor conditions.

During any year, about half of Pennsylvania’s overall buck harvest typically occurs on opening day of firearms season. It’s like that in many states.

In a positive trend that you see in states across the country, the percentage of older bucks in the 2018-19 PA harvest was high. About 64 percent of the bucks shot by hunters were at least 2½ years old.

“That almost two-thirds of the bucks…were at least 2½ years old is a tribute to the science our deer managers use and the sacrifices a generation of hunters made in the commonwealth,” said Bryan Burhans, the game commission’s executive director. “The bucks being taken every day in Pennsylvania’s deer seasons are living proof that this commonwealth has never managed whitetails better.”

In the photo: Longtime BIG DEER blogger Terry “Big Daddy” Murphy shot this buck on October 16, 2018 on his land in Potter County. It was Big Daddy’s 40th archery buck in 40 years of hunting Pennsylvania, which is a 1 buck per year state. 

Mississippi Hunter Shoots White Turkey, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann Goes On Twitter Rant


ms white turkey

The other day Hunter Waltman of Kiln, Mississippi did what most hunters in Mississippi do this time of year. He and a friend got up early, went to the woods 30 minutes before sunrise, located a turkey gobbling on the roost and moved in and set up.  


Typical early morning turkey hunt. The gobbler flew down, went silent and never responded to the hunters’ calls. Hens.

They sat and waited for 2 hours, and just as they were fixing to leave, they saw a big ball of white fanned out with 3 hens about 80 yards away. A short time later, the hens left the gobbler to nest for the morning, and the white bird made a beeline for the hunters.

The bizarre white bird strutted within 60 yards, and Hunter pulled the trigger. “I was shaking I was so nervous,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. It was one of the hardest turkeys I’ve ever killed.”

Hunter’s white gobbler weighed 17 pounds and had a 9¼-inch beard (black) and 1-inch spurs (whitish).

When the first picture of the unusual turkey popped up on Facebook, Hunter’s friends and peers were happy for him and his once in a lifetime kill.

But then, a “celebrity” saw it and crashed the party, and the worst in social media came out.

ESPN’s Keith Olbermann of all people saw Hunter’s bird and went ballistic, tweeting to his 1 million followers:

It be rare and beautiful so me should kill it. This pea-brained scumbag identifies himself as Hunter Waltman and we should do our best to make sure the rest of his life is a living hell.

I can see a rabid anti-hunter like Olbermann, who ceased being funny or clever decades ago, posting a snide Twitter rant about somebody posing with a dead lion or zebra in Africa.

But bullying a 22-year-old over a white turkey in Mississippi?

Stupid and shameful.

“To tell you the truth, it seemed like a threat to me,” (Hunter) told the Clarion Ledger, who has been all over this story from Day 1.

Hunter said he’d never heard of Olbermann before his tweet. “Make (my) life ‘a living hell?’ That seems like a threat to me. I’d be glad to see him fired. He went overboard.”

There are a few (I emphasize a few) good things about social media. Soon hunters started fighting back, posting that Olbermann’s tweet was not only ridiculous, but it also blatantly violated Twitter’s policy of hatred and threats. 

It took a couple of days, but finally the washed-up TV anchor and failed MSNBC commentator turned bully caved. The snide and stupid Tweet was removed and Olbermann apologized in this Tweet last night:

I am an opponent of trophy hunting and remain so, but nobody should feel threatened. This was anything but my intent, so I unreservedly apologize to Mr. Waltman for this tweet.

ABOUT THE WHITE TURKEY: Let’s get back to what’s really interesting about this story.

Was Hunter’s white turkey wild or a cross with a domestic bird?

A taxidermist examined it and deemed it 100 percent wild. A wildlife biologist studied the photos and agreed, pointing out that “the naked head and neck do not appear to be as ornate as one would expect in a domestic gobbler.” A domestic bird would be fatter and heavier with shorter legs.

The biologist believes the turkey, which had dark eyes like any wild turkey, is partially albino.

The Clarion-Ledger contacted Adam Butler, Mississippi’s Wild Turkey Program coordinator, who said he’d never heard of or seen a white wild turkey in the state.

“I would say it’s exceptionally rare,” Butler said. “I would assume that occurs in one out of several hundred thousand (turkeys).”

In the end, how does Hunter Waltman feel about his hunt for the white turkey, and the subsequent threats from online haters?

“Me, personally, I’m happy,” he said. “I’m real excited and they ain’t gonna take that away from me.

“I just let ‘em talk and just laugh at ‘em.”

Well said Hunter, and congrats man.

Weird Deer: Longest “Unicorn” Tine Ever!

unicorn deerThe typical “unicorn” tine–third beam that sprouts out a buck’s forehead—is 1 to 4 inches long. The middle tine in this picture appears to be 13 inches or longer, likely making it longest unicorn tine ever on a whitetail.

Biologists note that a unicorn tine is caused by trauma to the frontal bone on a buck’s forehead. This entire region of the skull is capable of growing antler, and if an area of the frontal bone is injured (such as a tine puncture from another buck) the trauma may cause a third antler to grow from the injury.   

How rare is a unicorn buck? Short answer, very.

Noted whitetail scientist Mickey Hellickson says that during his days of researching wild whitetails on the King Ranch in Texas, he and his team captured more than 4,000 different bucks, and not one was a unicorn!