Indiana Big Buck

IN Jason buckToday’s guest blog from BIG DEER blog fan and our friend Jason Lough:

Hi Mike: It was opening weekend in Indiana and I was excited to share another weekend of deer hunting with my Father, as it’s something we look forward to every season.

We put cameras out every year to determine the quality of bucks on the property so that we have an idea of what to expect. Based on the camera pictures and our scouting this year, we knew we had a few good bucks in the area.

 Opening day came and I set up in our best stand in a funnel. I began to see deer early in my sit. The does and small were chasing and rutting hard so I knew it was a good opportunity to catch a good buck cruising.
About 8:30 I had a nice 8 point come within 25 yards of my stand, but based on our scouting I knew there were better bucks in the area.
It was quiet for about an hour and all of a sudden about 10:30, over my right shoulder, I heard a loud crack and figured it had to be a deer larger than a doe coming through the woods. I looked and noticed a doe heading my direction, and behind her what appeared to be a buck. As they got closer I could tell this was more of the type of buck I was looking for, and with my binoculars I confirmed this was a great deer!
The buck was chasing the doe hard and grunting all the way as he came toward my stand. The doe could have gone multiple different directions, but luckily she brought him down a trail 45 yards from my stand. Watching the doe closely in order to not make any sudden movements to spook her, I waited for the buck to enter a small window we had cleared earlier in the season. Once he entered my window, I rested my crosshairs just behind his shoulder and pulled the trigger. He bucked, took off and I immediately pumped in another shell so that I could get another one in him to ensure a quick and ethical kill.
The buck went about 60 yards and while I couldn’t see him, I heard a familiar crash that has so many times resulted in a successful hunt. I immediately called my Dad and told him I just shot what appeared to be a nice 10 point and was climbing down to confirm my buck had indeed expired. A few minutes later, I found an easy to follow blood trail that led me right to my deer. What I found was my second best buck ever and another one for the Indiana record book.
I was pumped, my Dad was pumped and we shared another awesome day together dragging out a great buck on opening weekend.–Jason
P.S. This is the same stand from which my Dad killed his giant buck last year, it grossed 169 (below).
in ed lough

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer Hunt Tip: How To Make A Doe-In-Heat Scent Trail

scent trail 1Twenty ago one of the top scent strategies was to lay a hot-doe trail to your stand on the walk in every morning or afternoon. You heard many testimonials of bucks smelling those scent trails and following them straight to a hunter’s stand.

You don’t hear much about scent trails anymore, but I still make them and you should to.

Park your truck and sneak off down through the woods. When you’re 150 yards or so from where you plan to hunt, tie a drag rag to your boot, soak a wick with hot-doe lure and walk the rest of the way in.

Make a couple of big sweeps around your stand. A buck that comes from any direction might cut the scent and circle in to see what’s up.

Slipping on boot pads or pulling a drag rag can be a hassle, and I think that’s one reason many hunters don’t lay scent trails anymore. Okay, but now it’s a lot easier.

scent trail 2

Get a can of the new Golden Doe Spray from Wildlife Research Center. On the sneak into a stand or blind, carry the can low in your hand and spray here and there as you walk to create a doe scent trail into your spot. No fuss, no muss, no need to hassle with a rope or scent drag.

While a hot-doe trail can work anytime during the rut, it can oftentimes work better during the first 10 days of the post-rut in late November or early December. There are fewer hot does left to breed, but the bucks are still on the prowl for some action. One of those randy boys might cut your trail and sniff his way right to your stand.

Note: Some states now require you to use only synthetic deer scents, so check your hunting regulations.

Deer Tactics For Thanksgiving Weekend

gun ground blindMost of you have several days to hunt this weekend, so after stuffing your face on Thursday, get out and try these tatics:

On Friday, November 23, on the day the moon waxes full, you need to spend most of the day in a tree stand or blind. In a North Carolina State study several years ago, researchers said that a common misconception with hunters is that  during a full moon, deer can see better at night. But according to their data, bucks actually moved less on average at night during a full moon and more during the middle of the day, and also earlier in the evenings.

With the full moon so late this November, it’s tricky to predict where the best hunting will be this weekend. Iffy in the Midwest and other regions where peak rut is early to mid-November, because some big bucks will be in lockdown. But in places where the rut typically peaks November 17-23 or so—Maine, Vermont and other Northeastern states; Virginia; and Montana to name a few—I predict good midday buck movement from November 23-25.

Great stand: Look for a timbered ridge flanked by a crop field on one or two sides and interspersed with heavy cover. Old bucks will run the ridge in or near the thick stuff.

Try this: It’s easier to hack it on stand all day if you wait until 9:00 am to climb up. Remember, this day you’re most apt to see a big boy from 11:00 am until dark.

If you can hunt November 26 and 27, do it. Most people will be back to work, or hunted out for the year, so you’ll have the woods pretty much to yourself.

In late November across the country, most does have been bred, and bucks are run down. But the survivors know the chance to breed won’t come around for another year, and so they keep moving and looking for the last 5 percent of does that are still receptive.

Great stand: You’ll likely have a west or north wind, so set up somewhere on the east side of a ridge where you can watch a wide swath of woods and thickets below. Watch for a buck cutting from one thicket to the next, hoping to find a last doe or sneaking away from man pressure.

Try this: By now bucks are spooky and unpredictable. Go to a good spot, stay positive and hunt hard. Your chances of tagging out at the tail end of the 2018 rut are better than you think. Good luck.

New York: Adirondack Camp Bags 11-Point “Big Mac” Buck

NY adirondacks 2018 3

Great guest blog from my buddy Connor Burns from up in the Adirondack Mountains:

Three summers ago, we set out trail cameras at our camp in the great Adirondacks. We knew we had some good bucks on our property; we’d seen them during deer season the previous year.

The cameras had only been out a few weeks before the excitement got to us and we had to make the trip to camp to check them. As we scrolled through the pictures we were surprised at just how many bucks were on the property and consistently on camera.

NY adriondack 2

One picture completely stunned everyone. There stood a beautiful, tall 11-point with a kicker off his left brow tine. Needless to say the picture made the rounds to every camp member very quickly. We knew then and there that this was the deer that we were determined to lay our hands on. This is the buck we would forever call “Big Mac.”

The deer season following came and went with pure disappointment–no sightings of Big Mac although we did end up taking a couple nice deer. Our hopes were still high that Big Mac was alive and well.

The next summer we put out our trail cameras like we always do. A few weeks passed before we checked them… to our surprise, there he was! Big Mac was back on camera and as big and beautiful as ever!

Unfortunately another season passed and we never saw Big Mac. We had a fantastic year and took quite a few nice bucks, but we were starting to wonder if we would ever see this magnificent buck in the wild. But his pictures kept our hopes high and kept us going.

This past summer 2018, we were more anxious than ever to get the cameras out and see if Big Mac had made it through the previous season and winter. Just like he had done the past two years, he stunned us again and showed himself on one of our cameras.

He had almost grown an identical rack for the past three years in a row. But now, he was bigger than ever. He was much thicker, taller and his belly sagged a little more.

On Saturday, November 10th, with a fresh 6 inches of snow on the ground and cold temperatures, we set out with high hopes. We pushed one of our most productive mountains on the property with four drivers and seven watchers on the back side of the mountain. It wasn’t long before the drivers were seeing fresh tracks all over the place and mostly headed to the watch line.

ny adriondack 1

About halfway through the drive, the best sound in the world rang out across the mountain. A watcher had shot. Word spread quickly he had shot at a good buck with two does, but unfortunately he had missed. But we knew the deer was still in our drive and headed toward the next watcher.

With everyone’s hearts beating out of their chests, anxiously waiting to see what would happen next, another shot rang out from the watch line, this one higher up the mountain where the big deer and the two does were headed. Zach Palmer got on the radio and said we had a buck down! He said he had shot the deer at about 100 yards, and didn’t know exactly what he was, that all he had seen was horns.

The drivers finally came out to the watch line and the drive ended. We knew we had to head up the mountain to help with the buck that was on the ground. About halfway up the mountain, all we could hear was screaming and yelling. We heard, “You aren’t going to believe this! It’s him! It’s Big Mac!” Everyone starting sprinting up the hill.

We finally made it up to where Zach had shot and there the deer lay. The buck that had been haunting us for three years was in the snow in front of us, more magnificent than the pictures had ever shown us. We couldn’t believe our eyes as we knelt down and wrapped our hands around this beautiful buck, Big Mac.

This was truly a very special moment for all the guys of Trails End Camp and Northern Brothers Outdoors. It was a moment we will all remember for the rest of our lives. This was the buck that had kept us going year after year. We hiked miles and miles and worked our tails off each season in hopes of this moment.

This is the end of a chapter for us, but also the beginning of a new chapter. The chase is never over for us. This is what we love doing and is truly a brotherhood. We can’t wait to see which buck will show up next, and we’ll begin another amazing chase for the following seasons.

Big Mac was an 11-point that weighed 172 pounds dressed and was rough-scored at 143 7/8. He was mid-rut with a swollen neck and bark still stuck in his horns.—Connor Burns, Northern Brothers Outdoors and Trails End Camp.

POSTSCRIPT: I have hunted with this great group of guys up at Trails End Camp in the awesome Adirondack Mountains. They are dedicated and love what they do, hiking and pushing miles of rugged mountains day after day in search of a deer. This is one of the toughest places I’ve ever hunted, terrain-wise and deer density-wise, and I’ve hunted most every state where whitetails live. To kill any buck is a great accomplishment…to kill a mature 143” deer like Big Mac is off the charts great. Best part about it is that to these guys, who pulls the trigger means little. A buck like Mac, or a spike for that matter, is a trophy to cherish for all the camp members. Way to go guys, can’t wait to get back up there and run those mountains again with you soon.–Hanback