Virginia 2017 Archery: Drop-Tine Dream Buck

Today’s awesome guest post from our friend and fellow Virginia hunter Tyler Knecht:

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Mike: I got this buck on my trail camera once before the season and thought he would be a cool buck to shoot, but I never saw him again.

One day in early November I decided to take my girlfriend, Jamie, bow hunting with me in a buddy stand I had set up on the property where I had the camera. She enjoys sitting with me during rifle season, but has never experienced a bow hunt before. Well, I made sure everything was in order for the hunt: warm clothes for her, gear, safety harness, etc. Except when I set my alarm I forgot to take account for the fall time change.

We woke up to a 6:00 a.m. alarm about 10 minutes before shooting light! I was so disappointed. I thought the hunt was ruined, but we rushed out the door and to my hunting spot.

We were walking down the trail very quietly on the wet leaves when I looked up and saw a buck walking across the trail. He had no idea we were there, so we crouched, waited till he passed and continued on to the stand.

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After Jamie and I were harnessed into the stand I started screwing in my bow arm. I wasn’t even finished when I looked up and the buck was 20 yards away. He stopped behind a big oak tree and started making a rub. My heart was beating so fast, I screwed my bow holder in the rest of the way, pulled my bow up, nocked an arrow and put on my release–and then he started walking again.

I wasn’t sure how big he was or that he even had a drop tine, but I was so excited for Jamie to experience this, so I asked her if I should shoot it. She said, “Heck yeah!” So I drew back, stopped him and let an arrow fly. He ran about 65 yards and dropped by the creek. Jamie must be part blood hound because she tracked that buck from the first drop of blood to the last. I spotted the downed buck and just about screamed when I saw the drop tine!

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I was so happy and so proud to harvest that deer, but I’m even more happy and proud to share the experience and memories with someone I love. I believe that’s what it’s all about. I hope you enjoyed this story! I love watching your show and proving that Virginia is home to some BIG DEER. Sincerely, Tanner Knecht

Way to go Tanner, proud of ya man…and nice shot!


3 Top Deer Rut Stands

tree stand hunter#1 Spot On: Best time, scraping/seeking, November 1-8

Details: Let’s say you spot a giant 10-pointer in a food plot or crossing a road…Once the buck moves on, sneak over there and check it out. If the nearest wooded ridge or draw is laced with fresh scrapes and rubs, Mr. Big will be back through there–maybe later that afternoon, or tomorrow morning or on the third day. But the big dude will back because he’s not yet gone on the lam for does. Move in tight, try to hang a stand on a trail near all those rubs and scrapes and hope for a shot at the buck as he trolls back through.

#2 Cover Scrape: Best phase, scraping first week of November. Now!

Details: Scout for rank scrapes back in the woods and around thickets where you know some does bed. Those are the ones an old buck is most likely to hit at dawn or dusk. You might even get the drop on a big deer checking a “cover scrape” around 9:00 or 10:00 o’clock in the morning.  Play the wind and set a bow stand 100 yards or so off a line of smoking scrapes. Hunting a ways off them lessens the odds of deer coming in and seeing or smelling you. It also gives you a better view of the cover as you watch for a big rack coming from any direction.

#3 Little Funnel: Best phases, seeking, chasing and through peak rut, November 4-18.

Details: It would be nice if every funnel were big and obvious or shaped like an hourglass, with 2 huge blocks of timber connected with a thin stem of trees or brush. But most of the best bottlenecks to watch are much more understated—and overlooked by hunters. Look close for a thin, dry strip between 2 sloughs; a low spot in a fence; an opening in a windrow…and hang your bow stand there. There are literally hundreds of nondescript terrains that affect and confine the movements of bucks; hunt there and be in position for a shot.

Texas Buck: Rare Third Antler Back Of Skull!

tx unicornHi Mike: I just shot a nice 8-point buck on our property in Montague, Texas. I didn’t even notice until we got him back to the camp that he had a small additional antler! Never hearing of this before, I rushed to research. So far, what I’ve gathered is that the frontal skull lobe is capable of growing additional beams or tines if a buck is injured. But my buck’s additional antler is actually behind the main antlers, not on the frontal lobe. Have you heard of any other places on the skull for these “unis” to grow other than the frontal lobe or facial area? I’m not finding very much in general about this, your blogs on unicorns have been the most helpful.

BTW, I took the buck to a taxidermist, who said he has been mounting deer for over 40 years and has only come across 2 “uni antlers,” one of which extended from above the eye and the other in the middle of the frontal lobe.–Tammy D.

While I have research and posted on multiple unicorn bucks, I had never heard of a third antler growing out the back of the skull, so I ran it by scientist Grant Woods who said:

Mike: I’ve seen a few images similar to the one you shared. Sometimes bucks have an accident which results in an injury and the pedicle and the antler grows in an odd shape or angle there. It’s also my understanding that pedicle cells can grow almost anywhere (on the skull).  A very small percentage of bucks are born with some pedicle cells in abnormal places and grow small antlers there. I suspect that’s the explanation for why this buck has a third antler. This is certainly a unique trophy!–Grant


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.

Maryland Girl’s First Bow Buck

Today’s guest blog from our friend Danny Myers:

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My daughter Lexi had reached the point that all of us have reached at some point in our hunting lives. It was several weeks into the season, and she still had not had a deer within bow range.  On top of that the temperatures had been in the upper 80′s for the last week or so.  She was frustrated and so was I.  We decided to take a week off and according to the cameras, we didn’t miss anything.

Finally the temperatures broke, and it started to feel like fall again.

It took about a 10-minute lecture convincing her to go that night, but afterward, she was happy she did.

We were running late and didn’t settle into the tent blind until around 6:15.  But we had some does coming in by 6:45, so must have sneaked in quietly enough.  They kept looking behind them and I told her that something else was coming.

After a few minutes, a small 4-point followed the does in.  I reminded Lexi of our conversation earlier, when I’d explained we weren’t trophy hunters, and that we know some families who would really appreciate the meat.  She nodded and got ready for a shot. As the 4-point closed the distance, he paused at about 40 yards.

That’s when I saw another buck coming in from our left.

Then the fun began.  For the next 15 minutes this deer stared straight at us, only breaking his glare when taking a step. I must have told Lexi “don’t move” at least 20 times. I have never seen a deer so focused on something and not have him run away.

The smaller 4-point did run off and came back two different times. I was certain that this buck was going to spook also. And then he did. He flinched and leaped to our right. But then he stopped.  He turned around and slowly walked toward us!

It was the break we needed.  I had previously ranged this spot at 23 yards. I whispered “top line” twice…Lexi listened, and made the perfect broadside shot. (Top line refers to the top line in the scope; we had practiced this on target at different ranges.)

We saw the buck go down within 60 yards.

Both of us were shaking and had tears in our eyes.  I tried to tell Lexi that it was my allergies, but she knew better.  She gave me a huge hug and thanked me for convincing her not to give up. I can’t describe the pride I felt tonight.  It exceeded any rush that I have ever had with any deer I killed myself.  Unreal!—Danny from Maryland