Big Deer’s 2017 Moon-Rut Hunting Guide

full moon buck compress2017 rut moon phases: Full November 4…last quarter November 10…new November 18…first quarter November 26

As I have said time and again here on the blog and on BIG DEER TV, I am neither a scientist nor an astronomer. But I am a whitetail hunter and have been doing it for 40 years, more than 30 of those professionally. I’m also a moon fanatic. Over the years I figure I’ve spent between 880 and 1,000 days in a deer stand in November, during every imaginable moon phase and all waxing and waning days.

My journal notes and personal observations say that there is definitely something to the November moon and how it impacts the movements of rutting whitetails.

My 2017 predictions:

I like the way this November’s moon sets up. For starters it exposes the seeking phase of the pre-rut, when bucks start to prowl and expand their range for the first hot does. 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.

If you hunt that first week of November, keep in mind that deer movement will be best near food sources in the afternoons. If a cold front sweeps into your hunt area that week, better yet.

During the full moon week of Nov. 4-11, the best buck movement will shift to the mornings. 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.

For vacation-planning purposes:

If the land you’ll hunt has crop fields and food plots, I’d suggest you hunt the first 5 days of November. Hunt stands near the feed and focus on the afternoons. A stand on a slightly elevated ridge 100-200 yards off a corn or bean field would be a hotspot either afternoon or morning.

If the land is mostly woods with mast and greenery for deer food, think about hunting a little later, say November 5-12. Historically, if you check the record books, these are the very best days in any year to kill a monster buck. Set your stands back in the woods along trails and travel funnels—especially those with smoking-fresh scrapes–and hunt bucks seeking to hook up with does near bedding areas in the mornings.

Again, if you can hack it, stay on a deep-cover stand all day. I expect some giants to fall from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during the big moon November 5-10.

Buck movement and rutting activity will vary some according to local conditions and weather, but for the very best chance to shoot a giant I say hunt sometime in the Nov. 2-12 window. But go when you can. You still have a decent shot into the new moon of November 17-18, though in most places the best rut will begin to slow down.

If at all possible hunt ground with minimal or no pressure, which I know is difficult. But even moderate human intrusion can turn mature bucks nocturnal and blow up your moon opportunity.

Hunt hard and safe, and good luck.

BIG DEER Girls Go For Bucks

MD danny lexi

MD dan lexi

BIG DEER blogger Dan has been watching 30-plus bucks all summer, including the 2 studs above. He writes in an update: None of them have dispersed yet, and there are more bucks showing up… I got over 4,000 pics this past week alone and saw several new bucks!  Some of the regulars were back that I had thought moved on.

I’m certain that they will separate and move away very soon, but I’ve never had this many bucks stick around this long. Or, maybe I’m wrong and they will stick around for the whole family to chase all season! This could be an awesome year for us. 

Today is the bow opener for Dan. He’s taking his daughter, Lexi, right after school this afternoon. She made me promise I wouldn’t go Friday morning without her, Dan says.

As you read this, they will be on their way to the stand, or on post.

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Longtime blogger Scott sent me this email:

Hi Mike: Checked the cameras last week and still have a big 8-point hanging around, and got this 10-pointer too (above). Second time he’s showed up all year. Not a regular but lives somewhere in the area. I’ll take my daughter Shelbie on the youth hunt in 2 weeks so we’ll see what happens!—Thanks, Scott

These 2 dads are doing it right, and I’m proud of them. Best of luck Lexi and Shelbie, can’t wait to see the pictures!

 

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD): Should You Eat The Deer Meat?

cwd map

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map: Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance

This fall you shoot a whitetail or a mule deer in an area where CWD is known to be present in the deer herds. How do you handle that deer…should you eat the meat?

Research has shown that in an infected deer CWD prions may be present in tissues and body fluids, including blood and muscle, but they are most prevalent in the brain, eyes, spinal cord, lymph nodes, tonsils and spleen. Thus, it is recommended that hunters in a CWD area wear gloves and bone out harvested deer (or elk). Take extra precautions when cutting around or handling organs where CWD prions are most likely to accumulate.

Biologists have told us for years that there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted from deer to humans. But now, meat from deer contaminated with CWD may be more dangerous than originally thought, according to ongoing research conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the University of Calgary.

At this point in that study, 2 test animals that were exposed to CWD by being fed infected meat have become infected with CWD.

The implications here are enormous and game-changing. The CWD Alliance now says on its website: Public health officials recommend that human exposure to the CWD agent be avoided as they continue to research the disease. Accordingly, hunters are advised not to eat meat from animals known to be infected with CWD.

If you shoot a deer in a known CWD area, you don’t know for certain if that individual animal is infected with CWD. It may be or it may not be. Experts now say to have your animal tested for CWD before deciding whether or not to eat it. Contact the state/local wildlife agency for info on procedures and submission locations.

Sounds reasonable, but how practical is it for most hunters, especially those in the backcountry? How many hunters will go the extra step to have the meat tested? How is the test conducted, how long does it take, how much of a hassle?

Lots of questions that lead to big dilemmas. Every good hunter wants to kill and process an animal cleanly, and feed the venison to his family. Every good man or woman protects his family at all costs; if there’s the slightest risk that deer meat can be harmful, he or she will discard it.

If you so throw out a deer, is that considered wanton waste, which is illegal as it should be in virtually all states?

Then there is this. Even if you get your deer tested, the CWD Alliance says: remember, while disease testing is an important tool for detecting CWD, it is not a food safety test.

I say research where you are hunting, and know if CWD is a potential risk in the area. If so and you shoot a deer that looks, acts or smells in any way sick, obviously don’t risk the meat. If you shoot a deer that looks and acts normal, have it tested for CWD and go from there and make your decision—safety first

How Deer React to Extreme Hunting Pressure

???????????????????????????????Researchers at the University of Georgia put GPS collars on 13 does and monitored them during a period of extremely heavy hunting pressure with deer dogs.

Every doe hung out and hid in her core area until the dogs got too close and the heat too intense. The does then ran a mile or so out of their familiar area and found thickets where they could shelter in place.

Deer are crepuscular, wired to move at dawn and dusk every day. Once the sun started setting and the dogs and pressure ceased for the day, every doe got up and made its way back to its core area. Every doe was back home within 12 hours.

What it means to you: Bucks are crepuscular too, so you can surmise they do the same thing when subjected to pressure. They’ll try to hide and wait the pressure out, but when things get too intense they’ll run a mile or so and hide in a hole where there’s no pressure, no human intrusion. But eventually, after sundown, they’ll start making their way back home.

Photo: Winnipeg City Monster Buck!

manotoba city giant

Mike emailed me this image, pulled from a computer screen, of a monster whitetail that is living within the city limits of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. Wow!

Archery season in Manitoba opens in 2 days, August 30. I wonder how many guys who hunt on property that borders the city limit side where this giant has been spotted hope he slips across the boundary and onto private land where they hunt? Will be interesting to see is this buck is shot in the coming weeks, I’ll keep an eye out for it.

iowa city bucks 1.JPG 2009

We’ve posted some giants that live in cities and suburbs over the years, like the above from Urbandale, Iowa.

soccer field VA buck

And this buck was spotted living and feeding in a soccer field in northern Virginia.

sd sioux falls buck 2008

The most famous of all urban creatures was the Sioux City Falls South Dakota buck,  which we tracked for 8 years here on BIG DEER with the help of blogger and local hunter Kelly. In this 2015 post Kelly wrote: The East Sioux Falls Buck is still around! Cannot believe he is still going, although his horns are on the way down. Figure he is at least 12 and maybe as old as 14! Amazing.

I lost track of this magnificent buck the last 2 years; I hope Kelly reads this and gives us an update.

In some suburbs and even inside some city limits in the U.S. and Canada it is legal to archery hunt for deer and maybe get a crack at a giant like one of these. Check your city/state’s website for urban opportunities. Here are some tips for bowhunting city bucks.