Hanback’s 2017 Hunt Predictions Coming True

KY alex 3I hate to say I told you so, but…

On Twitter in July and August, I tweeted several times that 2017 was setting up to be the best whitetail season since 2010.

In September I posted here on the blog:

I like the way this year’s moon sets up… It exposes and enhances the seeking phase of the pre-rut in late October… Halloween into the first week of November is a good time to bowhunt in any season. This year, with the moon waxing toward full–91% visible on November 1 to 100% bright on November 4-5–the hunting should be especially good near food sources in the afternoons. If a cold front sweeps into your hunt area, better yet…

In the last 2 weeks I have seen dozens of pictures of recently killed monsters, from 170” to 200”, especially from Iowa, Indiana and Ohio. The moon was right and the cold fronts sealed the deal!

And heck, the best hunting and the rut are just starting. And it’s not even gun season yet in most states.

If you are hunting next week, which you should be (call in sick if you haven’t scheduled vacation) remember what I wrote in my 2017 moon guide:

While it flies in the face of what many scientists and hunters believe, I love hunting a full moon in early November because in my experience, the deer rut hard all day. You’re apt to see a shooter on his feet at 8:00 a.m.…11:00 a.m.…2:00 p.m….any day this week, so hang on stand as long as you can.

I will be sitting (and freezing) in a ground blind in northern Saskatchewan from November 5 till the 10th, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hunt hard as much as you can the next 2 weeks, good luck.

 

Q&A: 6 Tips For Whitetail Rut

big rubs

How do I locate and hunt a dominant buck in my area?—Buford

Look for rubs 3-5 inches in diameter (or larger). Clusters of big rubs are sign a big buck is working the area. Hang trail cams over fresh scrapes near the rubs to get a snap-shot of the dominant buck, probably working it at night. If and when you catch the buck on his feet in daylight, move in and hunt him!

Where would you spend the most time hunting in the rut—around feeding or bedding areas, on main trails or in funnels?—Steve A.

My #1 Rut Spot: Set up on the downwind side of the intersection of two trails with fresh tracks and rimmed with rubs and scrapes. The thicker and more remote the spot, the better. A big deer might prowl by any time of day in the rut.

Is there a primary rut and then a second rut?–Judy

Yes, adult does not bred or impregnated during peak rut in November will cycle back into estrous 28 days later, leading to a second rut in December. Rut activity can be good but spotty then…the second rut is more unpredictable and rarely as intense as the first.

Why do bucks where I hunt always seem to run off when I rattle?  But grunting works great.—Bob

I have found that bucks simply respond better to rattling in some regions than others. Or you might be rattling too early in October, when it can spook deer. Try it from Halloween through November 15, when bucks are wild and apt to respond. Grunting is a far less aggressive tactic that works well anywhere all season.

spartan buck scrape

I’ve tried everything, but I have no luck hunting scrapes. Got any tips? George

Walk right by any scrapes you find on field edges and in open woods. Hang tree stands to watch fresh scrapes in thick cover back in the woods. You’ll at least have a shot of spotting a buck on his feet in daylight hours.

Which is better, hot-doe or buck urine? Bob

From Halloween through November 10 or so, try buck urine/tarsal to attract a buck to the stink of a rival buck (you). In peak rut and into December, lay scent trails and hang wicks doused with doe-in-heat. 

scent over scrape

 

4 Great Treestands for October Deer

tree stand hunter compressed

You can’t go wrong hanging your tree stand in one of these spots:

Break Line: Look for a linear strip where pines, cedars or hardwood trees come together with brush, tall grass or second-growth saplings. Deer walk and browse on these edges; bucks rub and scrape on the lines as the rut approaches.

Oak Ridge: A narrow hogback with acorn trees within 100 yards of a corn or bean field is one of my favorite spots. Deer cut around points, ditches and gullies on a  ridge; hang stands on these terrains to funnel bucks close. Bucks will stage, eat acorns and browse in ridge thickets not only in the evenings, but in the mornings as well.

Creek/River Crossing: Water funnels deer that move through your woodlot. The animals cling to cover on the banks, and ford the water at shallow places. Put stands there.

Fencerow: Deer and bucks in particular cling to brushy or tree-lined fence rows when traveling from fields to woods or between blocks of timber. Play the wind and set your stand near one end of a fencerow, or in a corner where the fence runs into the woods.

 

Skin A Deer With An Air Compressor

air comThis infographic from Quincy Compressor got my attention, what do you think?

Step 1: Hang Your Deer

You start out the same way you would normally skin a deer. There are different thoughts about if it’s better to hang the deer head up or head down, but we’ve found that when you’re using an air compressor it doesn’t make a difference. Pick whichever way you’d like or are used to and hang the deer at a level where you can easily reach the whole thing.

 

Step 2: Cut A Hole

Once your deer is hanging securely, it’s time to make the first cut. Use a knife to cut a small hole in the skin that covers the deer’s thigh. This hole should be just big enough to fit the nozzle of the air compressor. Ideally you want to make it so that no air can get out once you have the nozzle in. If you find that you’ve made the hole too big you can put a piece of cloth or tape around the nozzle so it fits.

Step 3: Insert Nozzle

Next, simply insert the nozzle from the air compressor into the hole you made in the deer’s thigh. If it doesn’t fit, either make the hole larger or use tape or cloth around the nozzle to make it air tight.

Step 4: Turn On The Air

Now it’s time for the fun part. Turn on the air compressor and watch as the deer starts to puff up light a balloon! What happens is that the force of the air pushes under the skin and causes it to push itself off of the meat. The air separates the skin cleanly and neatly without causing any meat to go to waste.

Step 5: Repeat As Needed

Usually this works very well, but every once in a while there will there be parts that are still stuck. If that happens, simply cut another hole near that spot and repeat the previous steps. After doing this a couple times you’ll have the skin completely separated from the rest of the deer.

Step 6: Skin The Deer

Last, all you have to do is cut the skin along the deer’s back legs and then start to peel. The skin should be very loose from the air. Start at the top and peel the skin downward. Use a knife to cut through any spots that still might be stuck.

Then just like that, you’re done! You’ll have a perfectly skinned dear without any wasted meat.

I am looking for a few volunteers who own compressors to try it this season. Then write me a review and email, with pictures. I’ll send you a BIG DEER cap and some other cool swag.

4 Deer Calling/Rattling Tips

bowhunter rattling calling deer

One October morning in South Dakota, I saw a 150-class buck duck into a ditch with a doe. I clicked my rattling horns four times. The big boy charged 10 yards out of the cover, stamped his foot and looked for the interlopers before he ducked back into the cover with his girl. I clicked them again, harder and louder. He bolted out and ran 40 yards closer, but he was still 50 yards out of bow range. While I didn’t get him, at least I had a chance and a fun close encounter. The point: You have nothing to lose by calling to any rutting buck you see; sometimes a few horn clacks or grunts are all it takes.

 

If you were a horny buck which sound would you run to? The clatter of antlers, a deep-throated buck grunt or the meeaaa, meeaaa of a hot doe. You won’t hear the estrus bleat very often if ever in the woods (I’ve heard it only a few times in all my years of hunting) but it’s worth a shot in the rut. The bleat is easiest to make on a can call; just turn it up and back down to fill the woods with sexy bleats that might bring a 10-pointer running. Stranger things have happened.

Let’s say one morning soon you hear loud, deep-pitched grunts resonating from a thicket or draw. Get ready! Chances are a buck has cornered a doe and he’s courting her with “gargling grunts” (biologists call them tending grunts). If the gal is not ready to stand and breed, she’ll bust out of there with the crazed boy hot on her heels. They might come past you if you’re lucky, or circle back into bow range. Stop the buck with a grunt—draw before you call—and shoot if you can.

Whether rattling or “blind grunting” (no buck in sight), set up against thick cover and with the sun at your back. You’ll be hidden in the shadows, and if a buck responds it will be easy to see when sunlight glints off his antlers or hide. Better yet, you’ll trick a buck into thinking deer are fighting, tending or breeding does in brush 50 to 100 yards behind you. That forces him to keep looking, listening and, most importantly, moving your way and into bow range.