Big Deer: James Pope’s 204 0/8” Kansas Buck

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Hey Mike: This is James Pope from Lumberton, Texas. On November 10, 2018 I killed the deer of a lifetime on a small farm in southeast Kansas. I’m reaching out to you because I believe you have hunted with the same outfitter, Keaton Kelso. He spoke highly of you and how much he enjoyed having you in camp.

I’ve had my deer officially scored and it was been accepted into the Lifetime Awards of B&C with a net non-typical score of 204 0/8!–Thanks, James

James, thanks for the sharing the pictures of your Kansas giant, and for the nice words. That is one incredible archery buck my friend.

Seeing James’ 2018 monster pop up in my email last evening was timely.

Earlier in the day I had been working on a “Top 10 Rut Tactics” script for a new episode of BIG DEER TV and I wrote:

In any given year November 6 through 13, any of those days, is the sweet spot for big bucks in most parts of the country…start planning your hunting vacation for 2019.

Take a look at the Pope buck again, what are you waiting for!

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Oregon: Thrill Seekers Shoot Deer W/Arrows

doe with arrow in neckI saw this picture on Facebook the other day and it ticked me off, so I did a little digging.

KVAL in Eugene, Oregon, reports: “The wounds hadn’t killed the deer, which were seen walking around with the arrows sticking out of their bodies. Biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife worked with Oregon State Police wildlife officers to track down the deer.They tranquilized the animals, removed the arrows and treated the wounds.

“The deer – an adult doe and a yearling doe – showed no visible signs of infection.

“’Pictures of these deer stuck with arrows have been circulating widely in the media and social media, and understandably, it’s upsetting to see,” said Steve Niemela, Rogue District Wildlife Biologist. “We are happy to say the arrows were removed and these deer have a very good chance of survival.’”

“This is not ethical hunting, it’s a twisted act of poaching,” said Zach Lycett of the Rogue Valley Chapter of Oregon Hunter’s Association. “True ethical hunters respect the animals they hunt and are grateful for the opportunities to hunt. We do not stand for these kinds of criminal acts.”

I am going way out on a limb here and saying this vile act was caused by one or two young people, likely late teens to mid-20s, out for a sick thrill. I have reported on these type of incidents many times in the last 20 years–the criminals almost always turn out to be thrill-seeking young men who were not raised as hunters or archers. Why he or they would pull such a cruel act is beyond me, but he/they need to be caught and punished.

Authorities say this is the second time in as many years that deer have been illegally shot with arrows in this area. There is a reward for information on the person or people responsible.

Call the Oregon tip line at 800-452-7888.

Canadian Buck: 8 Years Old w/7/8” Antler Bases!

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From our friend Oneil Baillargeon who lives and hunts in central Saskatchewan:

Was fortunate to harvest “Clubroot,” an ancient old buck who’s been living around home for 8 years now. He’s never been much of a buck until this year, going from a 5×4 last year to adding a pile of mass and brow tine length this year.

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Not having any other deer on camera that I was convinced were over 5 years old, I decided this was the deer I would be pursuing. Having a couple sightings the days leading up to the season opener, I was in the right place at the right time for the evening of opening day.

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Clubroot barely had any teeth left and carried bases measuring 7 2/8″… I was more than happy to hang my tag on this narrow old fella.–Oneil

Way to go man, an 8-year-old buck that has survived the wolves and brutal winters of the wild Canadian North is one of whitetail hunting’s top trophies.

BIG DEER Exclusive: Tennessee McCrary Buck, 190 Inches Non-Typical!

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Today’s great guest blog from Michael McCrary:

Mike: I’ve hunted since I was 10 years old in the middle Tennessee area, and this is by far the biggest deer I’ve seen in my 33 years of hunting.

This was on a new lease that we picked up last April. Our hunt group of 5 family members stumbled across this 450-acre lease in Perry County. My father and uncle quickly put out trail cams on old scrape lines and trails that meandered through mostly old cut overs.

I travel for work so was not able to go with the group to check the trail cams. I was getting ready to board a flight to Asia one day when my son sent out a text to the hunting group: You will not believe what we have on cam! As you can imagine my suspense was building and I had to ask him twice to send pictures.

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When he passed along the pictures I couldn’t believe it. We first captured this deer on camera back on 8/25; he acted like he was at a photo shoot and literally posed at every angle! We ended up with 8-10 pictures that gave us a really good look at his crazy and irregular rack.

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The next time he showed up was 9/29, and it appeared he had gone nocturnal. We had several more images on 4 different trail cams over a ½-square mile radius, all at night. Then on Oct. 22nd he showed back up, and we got good videos over a rub line of him feeding on tree leaves.

As all this was coming together the spot on the lease where I had picked to hunt had one picture of the big buck that I captured at night as he passed by the camera. As you can imagine our guys were quickly naming and claiming spots surrounding the area. I studied the terrain, as well as what could be the buck’s escape routes if the other guys jumped him. I then relocated my stand down the hollow about 150 yards from a previous spot that I had hunted in hopes to encounter the deer.

Then came opening day of the muzzleloader season and the anticipation was high. We had 2 days to hunt this property before going to a WMA over in east Tennessee to hunt with a group which is an annual event for us. On opening morning we all got to our entry points and proceeded to our hunt locations. It was an unusually warm morning with a southwest wind. I was set up in white oak tree that gave me the best vantage point overlooking some large rubs and scrapes.

At 8 am a 7-point walked within 10 yards of my tree and eventually made his way to a thicket and then out of sight. After about 30 minutes I heard what sounded to be a small tree falling, but when I scanned where the noise came from I saw a small 8-point and the same 7-point trying to move out of the way of a large 9-point that appeared to be running them off. The 9-point was a nice, solid buck for the area, 135 to 140, but with the pictures of “Big Ugly” I let him walk. Then nothing happened for 45 minutes.

Around 9:15 I looked over to where the other 3 bucks had been, and saw movement coming at me. I could see through the thicket that he had a massive rack that was both wide and tall. Soon I was able to make out the buck’s right side, the one with all the character. I knew I would most likely get a shot at this tremendous buck.

I raised my gun as he walked through the first clearing; he was quartering to me and his horns covered his vitals so I had to tell myself to let him keep coming. He turned head on as he walked into the next clearing, and I thought he would walk straight to me. He was about 40 yards away but then he stopped and looked down the hill—we were eye to eye as I had climbed a tree lower on the hill from him. He raised his head and spotted me in the tree. I was hesitant to shoot the deer straight on like that, but I decided to take the shot.

Smoke from the powder filled the air and I moved around trying to see through it. When it cleared this amazing deer lay dead 15 yards from my tree. Certainly a buck of a lifetime. Lots of character, and a total of 25-26 points. We think he will score around 190”. Thanks for listening, Mike

Mike, way to go man, truly awesome deer! Love the way your family hunts as a group, great tradition you guys have built. And there’s a lesson here: No matter how long you’ve hunted an area (more than 3 decades in Mike’s case) you never know when a giant buck will show up and give you that one in a lifetime opportunity. Keep at it!





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