2018 Pennsylvania Deer Harvest Highest In 14 Years…State “has never managed whitetails better.”

???????????????????????????????From the York Dispatch: “The (Pennsylvania Game Commission) reported that a total of 374,690 deer were harvested during the state’s 2018-19 hunting seasons, which closed in January.

“That total tops the previous year’s harvest of 367,159 by about 10 percent.”

The 2018 antlerless harvest of 226,940 was up about 10 percent over last year. Data show that most does—64%–killed by hunters were 2.5 years old, and the remainder were 1.5 years old.

The 2018-19 buck kill of 147,750 was down 10% from the previous season. The commission says that steady, heavy rain during opening weekend of gun season was the biggest reason for the decline—it kept a lot of hunters out of the woods, and the bucks didn’t move well in the poor conditions.

During any year, about half of Pennsylvania’s overall buck harvest typically occurs on opening day of firearms season. It’s like that in many states.

In a positive trend that you see in states across the country, the percentage of older bucks in the 2018-19 PA harvest was high. About 64 percent of the bucks shot by hunters were at least 2½ years old.

“That almost two-thirds of the bucks…were at least 2½ years old is a tribute to the science our deer managers use and the sacrifices a generation of hunters made in the commonwealth,” said Bryan Burhans, the game commission’s executive director. “The bucks being taken every day in Pennsylvania’s deer seasons are living proof that this commonwealth has never managed whitetails better.”

In the photo: Longtime BIG DEER blogger Terry “Big Daddy” Murphy shot this buck on October 16, 2018 on his land in Potter County. It was Big Daddy’s 40th archery buck in 40 years of hunting Pennsylvania, which is a 1 buck per year state. 

Grow Better Food Plots: Whitetail Institute Soil-Test Kit

WINA_Soil_Test_KIt_Front__16956.1370791652.1280.1280Whether you are a novice or expert at food plots for deer, whether you plan to plant 2 plots or 10 on your land this year, the first and most critical step to success is to do a soil test and determine the pH of the dirt you’ll be working.

Some soils are heavier than others…other dirt is lighter. Some soils hold moisture longer…some dirt dries fast… You get the idea–not all dirt is created equal. By testing the soil where you’ll be planting to determine its exact pH, you’ll know how much lime and/or fertilizer you’ll need for the planting process and optimal forage growth.

This test kit from Whitetail Institute gives you everything you need and makes it a breeze. Dig a dirt sample, put in a Ziplock and mail in to their lab. Easy-to-read results are emailed to you within the week, and often in a day or two. Best part: professional consultation from the pros at the Institute is included, and you can follow up with a call to their 800 number for further recommendations and to answer specific questions.

If you want to grow better food plots, this will be the best $15 you ever spent on Amazon Prime.

Good luck and have fun playing in the dirt!

 

Deer Food Plot Seed: Frosty Berseem Clover

nj jeff frosty plot seed

Our friend Jeff Herrmann, who is managing his New Jersey farm for whitetails, tells about a new seed blend you might want to try in your food plots:

“One thing I started growing this year is Frosty Berseem Clover, which is relatively new and would work great for a lot of guys that don’t yet know about it.  

“Berseems are very fast growing, but most are not cold tolerant. What makes Frosty unique is that it stays alive into freezing temps. As a bonus, it tolerates very wet soils (even standing water for days). That means it can be fall planted, even in very wet years like this one, or in chronically wet fields. It still puts on tons of growth before winter.

“Most of what you see in this picture is Frosty. I planted that section mixed with winter rye. Test plots have shown it to be one of the most preferred whitetail clovers available.”

For more on Frosty Berseem Clover click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Jersey Bowhunter Revitalizes Farm, Shoots 6.5-Year-Old Buck

NJ jeff 2018 buck

In 2016, Jeff Herrmann, long-time friend of BIG DEER, bought a rundown farm in New Jersey and set about making it a dedicated hunting property. The land is 133 acres, 40 of those tillable.

Well into his third year of land management, Jeff has put in 10 acres of beautiful food plots. “What you see in the picture below are primarily brassicas,” he says. “Specifically, groundhog radish, purple top turnip and dwarf essex rape.

NJ jeffs farm plot

The work is paying off. In October, Jeff shot this great big-bodied 7-pointer with his bow. “I believe he was the oldest buck on the property when I bought the farm, at least 4.5 back then.”

Proof that with dedication and hard work, anybody can create and revitalize a personal hunting paradise in a relatively short time, and have the opportunity to hunt mature, heavy-bodied bucks.

Jeff is a largely one-man show who loves to do the land work himself, way to go friend!

Hidey-Hole Food Plots For Whitetails

micro plotMissouri deer scientist Dr. Grant Woods is a champion of tiny fall attractant plots, which he calls “hidey-holes.” He explains:

“A hidey-hole is a small patch of green forage hidden in the woods where deer can stick their head out and grab several mouths full of food before they move on to a larger green field or crop. I use a leaf blower to clear a spot about 20 feet x 20 feet where I see sunlight hitting the forest floor. I’ll take 10-10-10 fertilizer and sow it over the cleared spot. Next, I’ll put down some winter wheat, buck wheat, peas or any seeds that will germinate on top of the soil and produce a crop quickly after the first rain.  You can plant a hidey-hole two weeks before bow season and have a great little hidden spot to hunt. You can also plant more of them during hunting season, as long as the weather and soil conditions are such that the plants will germinate. Other great hidey-hole plants are winter wheat, brassicas and clovers.”

You might want to try it the next few weeks before your bow season. Click here for more on how to do it.