Bucks are really starting to put on the bone now, send us your pictures to gawk at.
First photo I got from a fellow on Twitter, a real nice 8-point shaping up somewhere in southern Missouri.
Last 2 are living and growing on public land in the East; both photos (pics from computer screen) from early May. “One has stuck around and is looking good, and the other is hard to get pictures of,” says Stewart.
Send me your buck images anytime (firstname.lastname@example.org), the more we look at the better as we get hopped up for the 2015 season.
First cam picture of the year from our friend Danny. Send me your pictures (email@example.com) as you get them so that we can watch the bucks grow along with you! I’ll keep the locations of the deer top secret if you wish:
Had the trail cams up for about a week. Got this guy to watch this year. Didn’t get any good front pics of him. But, for early June he’s showing potential. Imagine if those brows keep growing.
Absolutely love this time of year. Had over 300 pics in 6 days. 13 different bucks. My family’s property has always been the summer range for bucks. Wish they’d stick around all season!
When my daughter saw the first pic of this guy she said, “I want that one. He’s bigger than Spike.” She’s pumped up and we are still 2 1/2 months from the season. Time for her to start practicing.
Time for us all to start practicing and get ready, thanks Danny!
“Although deer only need very small quantities of trace minerals to express their full antler growth potential, without them in their diet, they simply can’t express their full genetic potential,” says whitetail scientist Grant Woods. Also, minerals provide a power boost for lactating does and the fetal development of fawns.
Here’s how to make a lick:
Deer will find your salt and minerals anywhere you put them out, but to maximize your efforts, look for a quiet spot on an oak ridge or in a creek bottom. A corner of a field or food plot is a good spot so long as it is hidden from view and away from foot and vehicle traffic.
I like to put a lick on an edge of cover where bucks hang out. A creek, pond, stock tank or other water source nearby is great because the deer can hit both the lick and the water on one trip.
Makes sense to make a lick near a well-used deer trail, where the animals can smell the salt in the minerals and veer over to hit it.
Old-school hunters used to dump minerals in a big rotten stump; we still do that if we can find a stump in the right spot, and it works.
Rake a spot 8 feet in diameter down to bare soil; rake and dig until you have a shallow depression, loosing up the dirt. Apply granulated minerals lightly and evenly over the area (don’t pile it). Rake some dirt back into the minerals and mix lightly.
If using a mineral block, set it in the middle of your cleared spot (or on a stump). I sometimes spread feed-grain salt around the block (the salt is what attracts deer).
Hang a trail camera on your mineral site so you can enjoy the deer and other wildlife that come to visit.
Check your minerals every month or so and replenish as needed. Swap out your camera cards each time you check the licks. Keep the “lick cam” running all summer and into the fall, because some bucks will keep coming back for months to check and dig.
Hey Mike: I love checking out your site and reading about big bucks. You featured my brother, Daniel, and I couple of years back when we teamed up on a 176-inch 13-point buck during the Illinois shotgun season. I’ve got another story for you from the first Illinois gun season 2014 in Adams County.
We had been watching this buck for 4 years. The first picture we ever got of him, we guessed him to be a 3.5-year-old 10-pointer. The next year he put on some inches and had long G-2s and G-3s but short G-4s. We had never actually seen this buck in the woods, and we hadn’t gotten any hard-horn pictures of him.
In 2013 the buck really blew up in size and added some stickers to his rack. We knew the deer was something special, but we were not very optimistic about seeing him while hunting, since we had never gotten any pictures of him in the fall. Again, all the trail-cam pictures we had of the buck were in velvet, and we figured this was just his summer range.
But one day in late November that year, I rattled and grunted and he came in downwind of me. But he presented no shot, and we never saw him again. We finally did get a hard-horned picture of him that fall, and he was huge. We guessed him to be in the 180s.
We searched long and hard last spring for his horns, and Daniel finally happened across one side of his rack. He was super excited. It measured right at 85 inches, the biggest shed we’d ever found. A friend of Daniel’s nicknamed the buck Batman because he said the points off the rack’s G-2 looked like Batman’s sleeve, lol.
My dad, Daniel and I knew we had to hunt this deer hard and try something different. Daniel found the shed only a couple hundred yards away from where I saw the buck that one time in 2013, and where we always got summer pictures of him. We were starting to figure out his range, but it was a hard place to hunt–a deep, long ditch with a few fingers that ran through some crop fields and cow pastures. We scouted and scouted. There was only one tree suitable for a stand and it wasn’t very good, but we put a stand in it anyway.
The summer of 2014 came and went with no pictures of Batman, and we were a little
discouraged. But we figured that if he was still around, he would still be in this area. My brother bowhunted that stand in the lone tree a few times during the rut and saw a few deer, but nothing special. He planned to hunt it again during the first gun season because the farmer on the land was going to move his cows around on opening day, and that might have the deer moving.
Wouldn’t you know it, at 9:30 a.m. that morning Batman came out of a thick bedding area and chased a doe right by the tree stand! The buck was about 80 yards away when Daniel put a slug through the buck’s shoulders and dropped him instantly.
Man, the phone calls were ringing that morning between me, my brother and dad. This is the biggest buck anyone in our family has ever killed. Daniel shot Batman a mere 100 yards from where he found his shed last spring, and very close to where he and I had doubled-teamed the 176-incher a few years back. It was so awesome and my dad and I couldn’t have been prouder of Daniel.
Batman’s rack has 13-inch G-2s and G-3s and grosses 185 inches. We figured he was 7.5 years old. I hope you enjoyed another story from us.
–Thanks, Alex Ippensen