From longtime blogger and friend of BIG DEER Terry “Big Daddy” Murphy: Mike, here is a picture taken from my ground blind on one of my food plots last week. I have been after him for two years, this will be my target buck this season here in PA
These 3 bucks have a great story. Our friend Zach set a camera in a 3-acre block of woods where he had never put a camera before, “but I had always wondered what was in there,” he said. Well, he got these images of the impressive trio in just a few days. LESSON: Set a cam in a spot you have never scouted or hunted before, you might find a new hot spot!
Pair of great bucks from Kansas, on or near a ground where I will be hunting in early December. While I would love to get a crack at one of them, the 4 months between now and when I wil be out there is an eternity. But at least I have a good idea of the buck quality this area can produce, and the 2 shooters tell me it is gonna be a fine rack year in the Midwest and all over.
My buddy Sheldon is growing and attracting some killer bucks on his farm in Canada. The 2 bucks “synchronized eating” is one of the coolest cam shots I’ve seen in a while.
After a slow early summer, these bucks started showing up at our mineral sites in late July. “High and Tight” 10-point approaching the Ani-block is a cool deer. I expect a few bigger deer to appear on the scene as late summer and fall progress.
Now that we have a good idea of what kind of rack year 2016 will be here in VA (good if not great) we’ll start tracking the bucks with cameras moved to food plots, ridge points, edges, funnels and other spots where bucks will travel on natural movement. By law here, you must pull all minerals and attractants out of the woods by September 1 prior to each hunting season. LESSON: Read and know your state regs.
Back in July we had this big boy stake claim to one of our mineral sites. Not surprising, because of the 12 cameras we checked one day, 10 of them had images of 12 different black bears! Three cameras had been played with, bumped and pulled on, as evidenced by the picture below, but not bitten. I believe curious bears are attracted to your scent when you set and check a camera, another reason to spray your hands scent-free and maybe wear rubber gloves.
The bears did not surprise me though. This summer I have hiked and rucked more than 200 miles in Shenandoah National Park, which is only 30 miles or so from this hunting farm; on at least 75 percent of those walks, we have encountered bears, and most days multiple bears.
The black bear population has exploded in Virginia and I see a potential problem looming, especially in very busy Shenandoah Park. In fact the problem is already here. Several trails were closed temporarily in the Park this summer because of aggressive bear behavior, and just 2 weeks ago on Dickey Ridge Trail a female bear w/cubs killed a dog on a leash that a guy was walking. (I hiked 10 miles on this same trail one day last week and saw 3 bears.)
Nobody enjoys observing bears in the woods and along the trails more than I do; I am not scared of them, but I respect them and give them space. Like all predators, black bears must be controlled. While there is obviously no hunting in the National Park, the surrounding lands and counties should offer bear hunters good to great opportunities this fall. I predict maybe a record-breaking bear harvest in 2016.