South Carolina: Blind Hunter Kills Deer

nc blind hunterFrom North Carolina Sportsman:

Michael Edmonds of Inman, S.C. lost his sight during an industrial accident about four years ago, and with the loss of his sight, he thought his hunting days were over. But on Dec. 22, he killed a trophy while hunting with a friend with some specialized equipment.

“It was a very emotional day for me… Next thing I knew, I was sitting there crying… It was a big accomplishment for me,” he said.

Read the full story here. Way to go Mike, you’re an inspiration…God bless and good luck.

BIG DEER TV Season 7 Coming Summer 2018 on Sportsman Channel

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We’re 80% wrapped filming another season of BIG DEER TV, and what a ride it has been once again. I don’t have the luxury of hunting sprawling private farms, or high-dollar lodges. And that’s fine. I don’t want hunt like that.

We travel around North America and hunt wild deer in woods and on farms that are very similar to those that you hunt. Like you, most days we don’t shoot a buck. A few days we do get lucky. My show is all about real-world deer hunting with real-world hunters.

At least once a year, I take a flyer and go hunt an area and a type of whitetail I’ve never hunted before. This year, in December, we went deep into extreme southwestern Texas, into 5,000-foot mountains 20 miles from the Mexico  border. That is where Carmen Mountain whitetails, the smallest strain of huntable whitetail deer in America, live.

These little deer, which weigh 90 to 110 pounds on the hoof, are tough to find and hunt. A good buck scores 100-110″ and a 120″ buck is exceptional. I was lucky to shoot a nice 9-pointer (top left picture) and look forward to telling you the story of this little known deer in an episode next summer.

The biggest buck of 2017 goes to my friend and Sportsman Channel colleague Graig Hale, who on the last evening of our hunt in southeast Kansas shot a 160-class brute (top right). As you will see in that episode there is a good theme of “be patient.” All us deer hunters need to learn more patience, and this shows why.

A friend of mine leased a 300-acre piece of prairie with few trees in sight and wondered if there were any bucks on it. It certainly was unique, bald habitat. I said I’d hunt it and find out. Sure enough I saw some deer and shot the buck bottom left in the photo.

No season would be complete for me unless I hunted the provincial forest (government crown land, public) of north-central Saskatchewan. It is supposed to be cold in Canada in November, but the below zero temps were abnormal and brutal during our week there, hard on man, and cameras and batteries. The rut activity was spotty, but I managed to kill a great buck the last day (bottom right) after 50 hours of sitting and shivering in a ground blind in the wilderness.

The crew and I are heading for Alabama Saturday for one last hunt, hoping to hit the January rut just right. A few more shoots this spring to wrap things up and we can put a  bow on what I know will be another great season of BIG DEER. Let the editing and post-production begin.

Thanks for your Support and Watching our show!–MH

Maine Deer Hunt Report

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Thanks to our friend Kevin McKenna for submitting this field report from Maine, which I consider to be one of the hardest places in North America to shoot a big whitetail:

Hey Mike: So a little update from our deer hunt in Maine back on Nov 10-19th 2017.

We had some decent weather this year, a little warm in the afternoons in the 30s but mornings were in the teens to 20 degrees. Not as cold as we like and deer seemed to be moving mostly at night but an improvement from last year.

We found some good buck sign in one spot and so-so sign in the other. One big buck we were after last year had another rub and scrape line this year, so he made it through last winter and was our target buck.

On Monday my friend Dave rattled what we think was that buck in to 35 yards but no shot, just a glimpse of a huge body. Dave saw 2 does besides that buck for the week.

My encounters consisted of 1 doe, glimpse of 2 deer unidentified and 1 grunting buck with no sighting of him. In the big woods of Maine, I’ll take that for the week.

Friend Dan, who got the nice buck last year, didn’t see a deer all week. He was around deer, but just never saw one. That’s how Northern Maine humbles a man. All in all it was a great trip with friends.

Attached is a pic Dave took of a Lynx. The cat was sunning himself on the side of the logging road that we parked on. Dave was on his way back to the truck at noon for lunch and had to walk by him. What a great encounter. I saw this cat the next day; he walked by me at 25 yards. A big cat… probably not good for the deer but cool to see.

Hope you’re having a great season and maybe I’ll see you sometime in the “Big Woods of Maine.” Best, Kevin

Note: I have hunted the great state of Maine exactly once and was humbled. We covered hundreds of miles and explored the magical big woods for a week and saw two moose but not a single deer, not even a doe. We traveled around and filmed everything we saw and everybody we met, and put together a TV show of which I was and am proud. It was a hit, and the episode remains one of the most popular we have ever produced for Big Deer TV.

And last November, hunter Gene Doughty shot a Maine mountain buck that scored 188 inches–I consider Gene’s giant to be one of the top bucks shot in North America in 2017. Click here to see it.

 

North Carolina: 8-Year-Old Warrior Buck

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From our good friend Zane Keen:

Mike: Thought I’d drop a line and say hello. I retired from the Army last year after 28 years of service. Still living here near Ft. Bragg, NC. 

Last few years I haven’t been able to get into the woods much, but I’ve been able to hunt a few times this season and have a cool story for you. 

I was lucky enough to harvest one of the oldest deer the Ft. Bragg biologists can remember recording. They aged him at 8 1/2 years old. His rack was in significant decline: 19-inch inside spread with only 3 score-able points. His back molars were completely ground to the gums, and he had no lower teeth. His ears were that of a warrior, cut, mangled and scarred from years of fighting. His scalp at the base of his antlers was torn away from the skull…looked like the wounds were several weeks old. Just a monarch of a deer, I had tremendous reverence for the old bull! 

I love watching your show. And incredibly honored to see the combat flag on your wall! That was a week of hunting memories that I talk about often and will cherish.  Thank you again for that amazing opportunity to hunt with you. Sincerely, Zane

No Zane, thank you for your service and for your friendship. That combat flag you gave me—it flew over the hospital in Iraq where Zane served—is one of my most prized possessions, it hangs in my office proudly between two of my largest buck mounts. And that episode we filmed with you way back in Season 1 of Big Deer TV remains one of the highest rated in the history of our series. Thanks brother!

va zane me flag 2011

 

Hunt On The Ground For Winter Deer

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I’ve frozen my fanny off way too many days in a tree stand over the years.  Nowadays when I’m desperately trying to fill my last tag in December or January I generally hunt on the ground. It’s warmer down there, and if you set up right, you have better hiding cover.

No. 1 thing to remember: Do not set up where deer will walk straight at you through the bare winter woods. If an old doe catches you move or simply sees your blind as some strange blob that wasn’t there yesterday or last month, she’ll either spook r back off and skirt you. Any buck behind her will probably do the same.

Instead, set up where a buck will walk past your blind at an angle, either quartering-on or, better, quartering away. This way, a doe or buck hopefully won’t see your blind’s outline and get suspicious. If and when an 8-pointer walks into range, you’ll be out of his direct line of sight when you draw your bow or shift your gun. And he’ll be in good position for a quartering or broadside shot.

No. 2 thing to remember: When the woods are bare in winter, do not try to pop up a tent blind and hunt in it. Every deer that comes within 100 yards will see that out-of-the-ordinary-looking blob, turn and run off with white tail flagging. Just set up on the ground with a low profile. Use a tree or log to break your outline.

Good luck, hope you punch your last tag at the buzzer!