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!

69-Year-Old Hunter Shoots First Bow Buck

69 yar old first bow buckThis is one of the coolest Tweets I’ve read in a while. Jerry @ BG_Two tweeted:

My dad will be 70 next year and he got his first bow buck last night! He was shaking like a little kid when I got to him. I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything. He had a goal to get one before moving on to a crossbow and we did it together. I am still pumped!

This is just tremendous and makes me happy, way to go guys.

 

 

 

 

October Velvet Mystery Bucks

tx travis velvet buck

Got this from Travis:

Hi Mike: Thought you might be able to shed some light on this. We took this deer October 19 on the Texas/Oklahoma border north of Dallas. As you can see it’s still in velvet!  That’s not normal for around here. Any insight on this, and does this change how we plan for the rut?

I emailed back: Did his nut sack look normal or small? If a buck injures his testicles (or if they didn’t drop as he grew) it affects his hormones and a buck might not shed the velvet. Let me know.

From Travis: I finally heard back from my buddy. You called it. The testicles were small and not near what you’d expect. And in a strange coincidence another friend shot this Colorado mule deer buck (below) last week and it was in velvet too! Wouldn’t you know it, his nuts were smaller than grapes and it had nipples. This is a weird world.

CO travis velvet buck

Weird yes, and here’s the explanation.

Commonly called a “stag,” the oddball buck retains the velvet on his antlers due to low testosterone levels. Scientists refer to this condition as cryptorchidism and it’s rare. It can result from a birth defect or disease that causes a buck’s testicles (one or both) not to drop normally. Or, a buck may injure his nuts, say on a wire fence (ouch). Cryptorchidism can occur in whitetails or mule deer.

A stag buck is different, and he doesn’t engage in the seasonal rituals of normal bucks. Cryptorchids don’t rub or scrape in the the rut. They lack the chemical stimulation to express dominance or individualism. Their necks don’t swell. A stag doesn’t shed his antlers; they remain in velvet year-round

A cryptorchid buck is rare, and if you shoot one I’d mount it and have a taxidermist preserve the velvet antlers.

No, a stag buck in velvet in October or November is an anomaly and his presence has no effect on the normal rut.

Hot Tactic Now: Hunt Where Rutting Bucks Travel

sd sioux falls buck 2008In Oklahoma researchers fitted bucks with GPS collars and monitored their movements.

They found that in early fall, most bucks stick to small core areas and have a maze of crisscross patterns.

But from late October through November, those same bucks showed longer and more linear movements. The researchers surmised that by traveling in straighter lines, bucks can cover more country faster, and maximize their chances of contacting estrus does.

To capitalize this season, as bucks begin to roam farther and in straighter patterns, expand your hunt area, too. Scout and hang more stands in long, linear travel corridors, like river bottoms and long ridges. Rotate hunt those stands for a week and you’ll see bucks on the move.

Gun Hunters: Protect Your Hearing

ear plugsHad my annual physical recently, and glad to report that, knock on wood, I’m doing well. But doc did say, “You have slight high-frequency hearing loss in your left ear.”

I have always been able to hear extremely well, able to pick up the crunch of deer hooves at long range and zero in on the direction and location of those sounds. Hearing has been my greatest attribute as a hunter, and to know I’ve lost even a bit of that is disturbing.

Audiologists point out that exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all guns create noise over that level. A .22 can produce noise around 140 dB, while larger calibers can produce sound over 175 dB.

Every time you fire a rifle, you create noise that can damage your hearing! The left ear (in right-handed shooters like me) often suffers more damage than the right ear because it is closer to, and directly in line with, the muzzle of the firearm. Also, the right ear is partially protected by the head and gun stock.

Shooters tend to have high-frequency hearing loss, which according to audiologists means that they may have trouble hearing speech sounds like “s,” “th,” or “v” and other high-pitched sounds.

At the range, I always wear hearing protection, and I try to double up, with foam ear plugs and muffs over them. But in the woods I have never worn plugs, feeling a need to hear deer coming.

I am going to change that ASAP this season by keeping plugs and even muffs handy, depending on the situation. It’s going to be a hassle, and I don’t want to do it. But I dread the alternative.

When in a tree stand or fabric ground blind, I am going to wear pair of foam plugs linked with a cord around my neck. Plan is to hear a buck coming, see him, get ready, put in plugs and then take the shot. As I said, hassle and one more thing to think about, but gotta do it. You should too, no matter how old you are.

When I hunt from a wood or metal box blind, I’ll use the plugs or maybe even muffs. Firing a rifle in an enclosed place where the shot reverberates and bounces off walls makes the noise louder and increases the risk of hearing loss. Always wear some type of ear protection in a box, starting today!

Doc says that while I have a bit of hearing loss, I can prevent more by ALWAYS wearing ear protection every time I fire a gun and when people nearby shoot a rifle. Follow my lead and wear your “ears” on every shot.