Trail-Cam Photo Friday

Hard to believe summer is about gone. You will be hunting in a matter of weeks, to further fire you up…

cam mike twitter freak buck

Mike posted this freak on Twitter; won’t score squat, but the coolest buck I’ve seen so far this year.

cam conn 1 2017

Conn sent this beauty.

mi cam scott 2017

From longtime blogger Scott: “…real nice buck that we have on camera on our property. Hope he sticks around, killer brows…”

md danny bucks

Longtime blogger Danny has been watching 30 bucks this summer, and he has thousands of cam photos. He reports, “A couple of the bachelor groups have combined.  Sunday evening there was a group of 18 bucks together.  As you can see, a couple of them were pushing a bit. Which I thought was strange since they are still in velvet. But I guess when there is that much testosterone in one spot it’s bound to happen.”

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KS 2017 big buck

The 3 photos above this caption are from an area in Kansas where I’ll be hunting and filming in early December. Their patterns will certainly have changed by then; I hope one of the bucks is still alive and around, especially the bottom one from my wireless Spartan, that’s a big deer.

drop tine 2017

We got this one picture of Drop Tine at a mineral lick in late July; we have 6 cameras running within 600 acres and have not gotten another pic of him. I’d be willing to bet we don’t get another one, amazing how some bucks are just not photogenic. They seem to have a 6th sense for avoiding cameras!

va cam 2017 2 shooters

Two more big deer that have turned up on my friend’s Virginia farm; we’ve identified at least 6 shooters, and 3 bucks that will go 150-plus. The buck on the bottom is the latest one to run the gap, one of the best places to hang a trail camera.

Good luck!

“Extreme Hunting Rigs” on BIG DEER TV

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I just got back from Montana where we filmed these customized Dodge trucks.

florida swamp buggy

Earlier this year I traveled down near Lake Okeechobee and filmed a hog hunt out of the swamp buggy pictured here.

oregon desert camp

There’s a jet boat, lifted 20-year-old camouflage Suburban and 1970s-era Land Rover fully customized for, get this, gopher shooting…

You’ll see these extreme rigs and more on an all-new and totally unique episode of BIG DEER TV this fall. Hunters love their trucks, and you’ll love this show.

How to Field Judge a Black Bear

judge bearIt’s Black Bear Week on Big Deer! Out West and up into Canada, hunters are watching baits, floating rivers or spot-and-stalking for bruins. The hunting will continue into June in some areas; here are some tips if you go.

Is that fur ball in your binoculars big enough to take a shot at? For deer hunters, a black bear can be tough to size up.

If you only have a few seconds to make your decision remember 2 things:

A mature shooter bear has big, thick shoulders and a roly-poly belly that sags low to the ground; the belly drags, or appears to. If you can see a lot of clean air between the bottom of the belly and the ground, he’s likely a young animal.

–Look at the head. Big, wide, thick noggin with small ears indicates shooter!

If you have more time—say a bear is gorging on pastries or beaver meat in front of you, or feeding easily on a greening snow-slide 150 yards away, look and study closer and use these tips from the Boone and Crockett Club.

Body Shape: Bigger bears are older bears…they tend to look “heavy” and out of shape. They monopolize the best feed and habitat, and therefore exert less energy to live.

Head Shape: A big boar will have a deeper, wider and longer snout than a smaller bear or a female bear. His ears will appear to be wide apart and small. If he is aware of you and looking your way, his ears won’t stand up on top of his head like a dog’s ears, they’ll seem to be aimed out to the side of his head. A big bear will have well-developed “bulging like Arnold” biting muscles on the top of his head.

Legs: A big bear will have massively developed front shoulders. His shoulders will look big and burly. A sow’s wrist will pinch in directly above the foot. Not so with a boar. The lower forearm, wrist and the foot on a big boar are all the same width. A big bear often appears to have shorter legs because the body is so much thicker, but keep in mind that the best-scoring bears for the records book are often the lankier looking, longer-bodied bears.

Attitude: Big bears are the toughest, meanest sons-of-a-guns in the valley and they act it. Watch a bully walk down the street–he walks with a swagger and an attitude. A big bear walks the same way. He doesn’t fit and start at every sound like a small bear will. A big bear doesn’t have to; he believes he’s got nothing to fear. Use attitude to sex a bear too. A big, old sow will have almost all of the physical characteristics of a big, old boar. She’ll have the nasty-looking face, the potbelly and the sway back. But the one thing she won’t have, except in exceptional cases, is the “I’m the biggest and baddest son of a gun in the valley.” In other words, a thick, mean-looking and acting bear is almost always a boar.

How Spring Floods Affect Deer

floods deerThis week a low-pressure system has brought steady rain and localized flooding to the Carolinas, and today it’s moving up the East Coast. Late April and especially May is also when floods are common along the Mississippi and other rivers and streams in the Midwest.

How does all this spring rain and flooding affect the whitetail deer?

The good news, biologists say that rising floodwaters of river and creeks won’t kill many if any adult deer, though it will displace the animals for days and perhaps weeks. But the deer will filter back into their habitats and core areas once the waters recede.

While pregnant does will move out of rising water now and for the next few weeks, the primary concern for deer herds in and around flood zones occurs later on in May and in early June, when the does start dropping fawns.

“But fawn survival in flood plains is typically very high, even during flood years,” says noted whitetail scientist Grant Woods.

“To cause any significant problems in a herd, the water levels would have to rise very rapidly and be timed when the peak of fawn births occur, and before the fawns are mobile. This is a narrow window of time. Rivers rarely rise that quickly on that timing, and does are excellent mothers!”

Another and perhaps more serious concern is where floodwaters might affect preferred fawning cover. “When does are forced to fawn in adjoining croplands or woods where there isn’t as much cover predation on the fawns can increase. But overall, I’m not worried about the fawns and the deer herds in a normal flood zone.”

Remove Rust from a Gun

rust gunStore all your firearms in a cool, dry place, with a dehumidifier running nearby for good measure if there is any hint of moisture (as in a basement). But if you pull out one of your guns and see a few blotches of rust on barrel or receiver, here’s an interesting way to remove it.

From Range 365: The trick…is finding a penny minted before 1982, which were 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc.

To start you need some light oil (good old 3-in-1 will do just fine), a medium brass-bristle cleaning brush, some paper towels, and your pre-1982 penny.

Pick a spot to start, put some oil on the metal, rub the penny over the area, and wipe clean with a paper towel. Repeat until the rust is gone. Use the brush to scour the rust out of areas with small crevices, like a shotgun rib.

The copper in the penny is softer than the steel, so light pressure will wear away the rust without scouring the steel or the remaining bluing.