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.

 

Texas Boy Shoots First Buck

TX wesley sToday’s guest post from my friend Eddie Stevenson, a charter member of the BIG DEER Hunt Team…and a proud papa:

My 6-year-old son Wesley told me back in early summer that he was ready to hunt. He’s still too small for anything with much recoil, so I decided to let him start practicing with the crossbow.

He’s a natural shooter and quickly began hitting the bull-seye with nearly every shot out to 30 yards.

We’ve been watching deer on trail cameras since June, and he’s become familiar with all the different deer on the property. On Friday afternoon, he told me that he was ready to hunt and really wanted to shoot a deer. With multiple bucks coming by our ground blind near Uvalde, Texas, I know it wouldn’t be too much of a wait.

After only 30 minutes in the blind, this 10-point came out and began feeding just 20 yards from the blind and directly in front of us. I whispered to Wesley about how important it was to wait for the perfect broadside shot and exactly where he should aim.

After about 10 minutes without a shot opportunity, Wesley asked me to please quit shaking because I was going to make him nervous!

Eventually the buck turned perfectly broadside and Wesley squeezed the trigger like a seasoned pro. The double lunged buck only ran about 60 yards and was down for good. Wesley helped track all the way and was absolutely ecstatic!

I’ve hunted for 40 years now, and all over the world, but I can honestly say this was the most satisfying hunt of all.—Thanks, Eddie

Great job Wes and Eddie, proud of ya’ll!

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