First Trail-Camera Pictures of 2017!

The pictures are starting to roll in. Take a look and get fired up for the 2017 deer season, which will be here before you know it. Please send me your camera photos to share; I’ll never reveal the location of where your big buck is—we just want to see him and enjoy him, and dream. Plus, if we post your cam picture on the blog, we’ll send you a BIG DEER hat.

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Our friend Kim sent the pictures above. Of the 5-year-old “Splitz” (image 2) Kim reports: “last year is the first year his right antler split.”

Actually, that is pretty common. Biologists say that most whitetail bucks have non-typical genes in their blood, but splits, stickers, etc. don’t start to show until a buck matures to 4 or 5 years old.

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This VA buck from my friend’s farm seems to say, “Hey man, time to refresh the minerals!

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Jack named this 8-point buck Clubby.

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Surprise! This young bear walked past the same camera as Clubby an hour later.

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This is one of the best of 30 bucks that our friend Danny has captured on camera this summer. “I got 5,000 pictures in June alone, most of them bucks,” Danny said. Read more on this 30-buck phenomenon in a later post, once I research it a bit more.

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My buddy Tanner set his camera near his tree stand, and almost immediately a bachelor group showed up beneath it, including the big-bodied drop-tine. I hope he sticks around and Tanner gets him!

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Finally, our TV producer Justin stepped out his front door and snapped a pic of this WILD buck feeding on his Asiatic day lilies. Can you say brow tines! Come to find out, it is not uncommon for bucks to come down out of the hills and summer in the town limits.

DIY Deer: Cheap, Easy Trail-Camera Fasteners

It’s time to get your trail-cameras out at mineral sites and on food plots if you haven’t already. The 2017 buck season will be here before you know it! This guest blog from our good friend Kim might come in handy:

Are the straps on your trail cameras getting old and worn, or do you just not like the way they attach a cam to a tree? Well, for under $6 you can make 4 tree fasteners that will hold your cams securely in place.

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Parts list:

–Four 5-inch-long Eye Screws

–8 Fender Washers

–4 Lock Nuts

–4 Wing Nuts

–Four 2-inch-long round-head Stove Bolts.

The diameter of the washers, nuts and bolts will be determined by the model of trail camera you use. Most cameras these days have an industry-standard ¼-inch attachment socket.

For cameras with a back mount, start by putting a 90-degree bend in your eye screw.  Place eye screw in a vice with its eye up, then with a hammer, pound it down to 90 degrees.

Attach stove bolt through eye of screw with a washer on each side and a lock nut. Then place a wing nut on the stove bolt so that when you attach the camera to this bolt you can use the wing nut to tighten the connection to your camera.

I hang the fasteners on a wire outside, and spray them with flat-black paint.

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To attach to a tree, turn the screw into the tree at the desired height and angle until it is firmly in the tree.

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Now attach your camera, and snug down the wing nut to keep it pointed exactly how and where you want it. If a camera does not quite have the downward angle that a lot of hunters prefer, simply apply a little pressure to the bolt and bend slightly down.

With your cams set and secure, you’re ready to get images of bucks and monitor how their racks are growing.–Kim

Georgia: 2 Big-Nose Bullwinkle Bucks

Here at Big Deer Blog we’ve become fascinated by whitetails with unusually big noses, and we’ve committed to building the biggest database of these unusual deer that have been shot across North America.

“Bullwinkle” syndrome was first discovered around 2005.  The few scientists who have examined deer with swollen snouts say the condition results from chronic inflammation of tissue in the nose, mouth and upper lip. All the cases studied by researchers have shown similar colonies of bacteria in the inflamed tissues.

How deer acquire Bullwinkle syndrome is unknown. The affliction doesn’t appear to be fatal to the deer, but there are many unknowns.

Bullwinkle syndrome is very rare.

We’ve documented big-nose bucks from Michigan to Minnesota to Alabama and other states. These are the first ones we’ve reported on from Georgia.

georgia big nose ty 2015

Via Twitter Ty Dickey sent me the info on this Bullwinkle he shot in Washington County, Georgia during the 2015 season:

We had pictures of him from ’13 and ’14. Bullwinkle’s snout was very pronounced originally, but once he got healthier (we started an intensive management program on the land) it wasn’t as noticeable. I started updating Lindsay Thomas at QDMA and Charlie Killmaster at Georgia DNR, and they asked if we’d allow the DNR to have the deer if harvested. We did so and it’s my understanding they determined there were no health issues with the deer except the snout.

Bullwinkle weighed 240 lbs. when harvested, and that was way down from pre-rut pics that year. He was aged at 5.5. He was the dominant buck on the property and visited every feeder regularly. We’ve seen no other issues with any other deer and the herd is extremely healthy.

Health-wise this is typical with the other big-nose deer we’ve reported on. Still, while the deer may act and look fine, except for the engorged snout, you should not eat the meat until more is known about this syndrome.

Come to find out, Ty’s buck was the second-known Bullwinkle ever shot in Georgia.  Luther Covington killed the third-known one in Irwin County, also in 2015.

georgia big nose luther

DNR biologist Charlie Killmaster saw this buck too and said, “This is a very classic case of the Bullwinkle disease. It’s exceedingly rare.”

A necropsy was performed on Luther’s deer, and it was diagnosed with the Bullwinkle disease caused by a bacterial infection around the muzzle that leads to the swollen appearance. The actual bacterium that causes this condition is extremely difficult to identify and therefore still has not been detected.

Like Ty’s deer, Luther’s buck was big-bodied and weighed more than 200 pounds.

Biologists know that Ty’s and Luther’s Bullwinkles were bucks, but it’s unclear what the sex of Georgia’s first big-nose deer was. Thus, it’s unclear if the disease will affect does as it does bucks.

The fact that scientists were able to examine both these big-nose Georgia bucks is excellent! On the off-chance you shoot one a doe or buck with a swollen snout, contact your state DNR immediately. Save the head for a biologist to examine so we can learn more about these rare and interesting deer.

If you or any one you know has shot a big-nose deer, or maybe has a trail-cam picture of one, let me know so I can add it to the database.

Southeast Deer Study Group 2017

Southeast-Deer-Study-Group-450x337The Southeast Deer Study Group meets annually for researchers and managers to share the latest information on whitetail deer. The 2017 study just concluded last week in St. Louis, and here are a few of their findings:

As always there was interesting new info on the whitetail rut. Researchers from Mississippi State’s Forest Resources revealed a study that shows when bucks of similar age and body weight are present and available, does in estrus prefer to breed with the buck with the largest antlers.

Another finding confirms why during peak rut you need to keep as many trail cameras rolling across your land as possible: Researchers at the Univ. of Georgia noted that you’ll get the most cam photos of mature bucks during peak breeding days.

There was new info on Southern whitetail herds, many of which were established from northern deer that were trucked in and stocked in parts of Dixie many years ago. This caught my interest, as I recently hunted the rut in late January in south Alabama.

Researchers from Miss. State studied dozens of herds in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, and found that only 1 deer (from Alabama) showed a genetic link to its northern source (Michigan). While Southern deer have all Southern blood nowadays,  they still rut more than 2 months later than northern deer in some parts of the South.

Researchers at the Univ. of Georgia have been studying whitetail vision for a couple of decades. Their latest finding: A deer’s eyes and vision are acutely adapted to detect movement at dawn and dusk, which makes perfect sense since those are the times when does and bucks are on their feet and moving the most.

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Lastly, my favorite new finding that in no way will improve your hunting, but which is another of nature’s fascinating trivia: A wildlife student from Georgia was able to identify 28 unique fawns out of 1,454 trail camera images by their unique spot patterns on their little hides!

Amazing Wild Turkey Trail-Camera: Kansas Birds Gone Wild!

 

kansas 83 turkeys and countingMy friend Brian Helman, who lives in southeastern Kansas and works for 180 Outdoors, sent me this image the other day with the message: If you get a chance come on out this spring, these turkeys are waiting on you…  

The more I study the image the more amazed I am. I can definitively identify at least 18 longbeards, and surely there are many more, though some of the black blogs must be hens. Moreover, looking back to the far wood line, I count at least 83 birds marching out into the field, and who knows how many more are still back in the woods?

How many turkeys do you count? Isn’t this the most interesting turkey image you’ve ever seen?

BTW, I hunted deer with Brian last December and had a great hunt, which you’ll see on BIG DEER TV later this year. In fact I hunted a ladder stand in that same field where these turkeys are one evening and saw and filmed a lot of the same birds, though not as many. I definitely plan to return to hunt deer with Brian next fall, but for now I’m thinking I might take him up on it and go back for a few days in April—can you imagine how much gobbling you could hear in those surrounding woods at daybreak?

Note: To enlarge the photo above and get the full effect of it, just click on it.