Trail Cam Monday: The Pictures Begin

zach cam2

Our friends Zach and Ellie sent this great buck, first time they have ever seen him on their farm. Double beam, can’t wait to see how this rack turns out in full.

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Good looking 8-pointer growing on one of the farms I hunt.

fox rabbit cam

Got a lot of red foxes in our VA county, they have long been protected here because “the hunt” chases them on horses and with hounds, a long-standing tradition. This fox grabbed a late-night snack of juicy rabbit at 2:28 a.m. one day last week.

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Another look at a split-brow buck our friend and blogger Danny has eyes on.

Send me your pictures to share (mikehanback@yahoo.com) I’ll always keep the location of your target bucks top secret.

 

Will a Doe with Fawns Attack You or Your Dog?

doe attackI saw a teaser for an article “Deer Relentlessly Attacks Woman” and naturally had to check it out.

As the story goes, Cindy Frost spotted a weird-acting doe and fawn on her Ohio property two weeks ago. Since then, she has tried to avoid the doe, but it stares her down, becomes agitated and won’t leave her alone.

Telling the story to a local TV reporter on the story, Cindy said dramatically, “I feel like I’m a prisoner. I can’t take my dogs out for a walk; I can’t even walk down to the end of my property and when I go to my car I’m looking all around.”

Cindy says that last Thursday, she was out with her dogs when the doe became extremely aggressive, reared up and charged her!

Cindy ran and “(the doe) came right after me,” she said in another highly melodramatic and breathtaking moment. “What saved me was my black top. (The doe) couldn’t get her grip, that’s the only thing that saved me.” Cindy said she fell during the altercation and suffered minor injuries.

Adding yet more sensation and intrigue to the story, the TV reporter and cameraman said that as they were shooting the segment with Cindy at her house, they caught the ferocious deer staring Cindy down! (Ferocious was my word, not theirs.)

Pardon the tongue-in-cheek, but whitetails are not dangerous game folks. Yes, every year in early June you hear about isolated cases of does getting aggressive, but it’s very rare. And it’s rarer still that a doe would actually charge and make contact with a person.

In most of the cases we do hear about, like Cindy’s, dogs are involved. Dogs are in a yard where a doe and fawn wander near…or somebody is out walking her dog and happens to come across the deer. Either way, once in a blue moon a doe perceives the dog to be a predator, a coyote, and approaches and/or rears up to protect her fawns.

Local police and experts with the Ohio DNR related this message to Cindy, and told her the deer should move on in a couple of weeks. But if the doe continues to be a problem, both doe and fawn might have to be euthanized.

I can hardly believe they told her that, but to her credit, Cindy said, “I don’t want that.”

Hopefully Cindy will play it cool, watch her step and maybe stay inside her house like a “prisoner” for a week or so until the doe takes her little one and goes away, and this event will have a happy ending.

 

Field Report: Calling Illinois Coyotes

IL coyote 1Longtime Big Deer blogger Scott from MI went on his annual coyote hunt down in Illinois and filed this report, which includes great info on calling coyotes and coyote guns and loads:

Hi Mike: We had a great coyote hunt the other weekend in Illinois. We hunt along the Mississippi River in the northwest corner of the state.

Weather was great, low in the teens and highs in the upper 20s and 30s. Most of the snow was melted with some hard icy spots left, so it made it a little difficult to sneak around and into our setups. Still, it was much better than previous years when we have had 12 to 24 inches of snow to deal with!

All of our normal group made it, my buddies John, Jason, Ryan and Mike, and Dad and me. Dad mentioned this may be his last year going with us, so I was hoping we could put a big coyote in his lap and make it a successful hunt for him.

We hunted in two groups of three the whole time, which seems to work pretty well. The caller and one or two guys covering downwind and watching the back door.

On the second call of the morning I set my FoxPro on top of a steep ridge and called down into some bottoms, with Dad and Mike sitting downwind of me. I started with some bird distress calls for a few minutes, then after a slight pause I added some raccoon fight sounds.

About eight minutes into the call I saw a coyote pop up from the bottom about 80 yards from me. He was limping in slowly on a hurt front leg. He got to about 60 yards and stood still for a moment, but right behind a large branch. I started lip-squeaking at him, and as he cleared the branch I put him down with my T/C Venture .243 using a Barnes Vortx 80-grain tipped triple shock. Nice male coyote that weighed around 30 pounds.

About an hour or so later my buddy John also scored on a nice coyote. John, Jason and Ryan had set up in one of our best spots overlooking a large ravine where we have killed a coyote almost every year.

John called with his FoxPro as well, using distressed rabbit sounds and switching between DSG & TT Frenzy. About 14 minutes, the critter came trotting along the bottom of the ravine. John put it down at about 80 yards with his Tikka .223 using 55-grain Hornady Vmax ammo.

Good start to the day!

Later that evening, an hour or so before dark, we set up on another large ravine that has produced in the past. Mike was calling with his FoxPro and hit a coyote howl–a pack of them lit up in the bottom a few hundred yards away! He continued to call for 15 minutes but couldn’t get them in. We decided to sneak up closer to where we had heard them and see if we could coax one in.

We stayed up a little higher on the ridge. I took center and Dad and Mike watched two fingers on each side of me in case one of the coyotes tried to back door us. I started doing some wounded coyote sounds with my mouth call; it’s actually the squealing hen turkey call, but it works well to mimic a wounded coyote as well.

After about eight minutes of blowing on the call, I heard something hit the barbwire fence to my right. Then about 10 seconds later I saw three coyote heads pop up from the bottom about 35 yards away! I stayed motionless, not making a noise, as I was positioned away from them and they were making their way up the hill towards Dad.

Il coyote 2

They finally crested the hill enough for Dad to see one and he put the hammer down. After the shot the other two took off running, and Dad and I squeezed off a couple more shots, but a running coyote at 30 yards with a scoped rifle isn’t an easy target!

We got up and walked over the ravine and Dad’s coyote was lying right there. Heck yeah! we both yelled. It was a big male close to 40 pounds with a beautiful fur coat. Dad shot him with his Howa .223 using 55-grain Remington Premier Accutip varmint ammo.

That was #3 for the day! We celebrated with a couple cold beers later that night at the lodge.

Early afternoon on the second day Jason and Ryan set up on the same ridge top where I had shot a coyote on day one. Jason was doing some hybrid calling with the FoxPro and mouth calls combined. He mimicked some female whimper/mating mouth calls, and followed up with some challenge howls from the FoxPro.

Il coyote 1A

About 12 minutes in, he saw one trotting in along the bottom a good 200 yards away. He was waiting for Ryan to shoot because it was more in his direction, but Ryan could not see the critter from his position. Figuring this, Jason decided it was now or never before it got away. Jason took the shot at about 200 yards with his .22 Hornet and dropped the coyote in his tracks. It was a great shot through a small opening in the brush.

Jason went down to the bottom and recovered his yote, another beautiful and good-sized male around 40 lbs. The 35-grain Hornady Varmint Express has been a great load with that rifle; this was the third coyote in two years that he has dropped with it.

The next morning we headed back home with four nice yotes. It was as much fun as I can remember having on our trip and I look forward to seeing what next year brings. Maybe I can talk Dad into one more year. If not it’s good to know we went out with a bang!—Scott from Michigan

il coyote 3

Study: Wild Cats Cause Disease in Deer

cat

This is an underreported story, but potentially a bombshell.

According to The Wildlife Society, free-roaming domestic cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion small mammals each year

The indirect impacts of cats gone wild on larger wildlife are less obvious, but one of the greatest emerging threats from feral cats is infection with Toxoplasma gondii.

A study published in EcoHealth found that feral cats, through their feces, are likely driving infections in whitetails in northeastern Ohio. The study’s authors collected deer samples from a Cleveland park, as well as cat samples from the area. Nearly 60% of the deer and 52% of the feral cats tested positive for T. gondii. Older deer and deer in urban environments were more likely to be infected, which suggests transmission from extended environmental exposure.

If these findings from Ohio prove to be more widespread, there are serious implications for people as well as deer. Experts say widespread environmental contamination increases the likelihood of human infection, which has been linked to schizophrenia and can lead to miscarriages, blindness, memory loss, and death.

Also very concerning: People that consume undercooked venison from infected deer can also acquire T. gondii and the subsequent disease, toxoplasmosis.

The Wildlife Society actively supports the humane removal of feral cats from native ecosystems.

Should hunters kill free-roaming cats too? We shoot feral hogs that negatively impact native wildlife habitat, and other predators. What about feral cats? Tricky. I’m not saying go out and start shooting every cat you see, but like any predator in the wild they do need to be controlled.

Only in Alaska: Girl Shoots Grizzly, Goes To Prom

alaska bear prom

This spring on prom Saturday, most kids were having pre-event dinners and get-togethers with family and friends. But 15-year-old Cassidy Kramer of Kotzebue had different plans. Led by her father, Lance, Cassidy and her 10-year-old brother hopped on snow machines and went bear hunting in the mountains along the Noatak River.

Lance told KTUU Anchorage Channel 2 that predator control is important to local families, with moose populations declining in the area’s Game Management Unit 23. “It’s important to go out and get bears in the springtime,” Lance said. “We always try to get a spring bear every year.”

Two hours or so into the hunt, Cassidy got her chance. She took aim, fired and hit a bear. When it stopped rolling down a mountainside, she finished it with a kill shot.

After dressing and skinning the bear, Cassidy roared home on her machine, took a quick shower, slipped into her pink dress and made the party with time to spare.

“It was her first bear and her first prom,” Cassidy’s mother said.

Final note: Cassidy’s father says that in accordance with Eskimo custom, Cassidy plans to donate her first bear to someone who needs its meat and hide. “She’s going to give it to her grandmother,” Lance said.

Only in the great state of Alaska.

(Source: KTUU Anchorage Channel 2)