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.

 

Merry Christmas From BIG DEER

xmas tree 2013Special thanks to South Dakota hunter Kelly Kirsch for this awesome picture. Several years ago Kelly told me he’d come up with an idea for his shed collection, and his antler tree blew me away. Ever since it’s been the official Christmas tree of BIG DEER!

Thanks to all you bloggers for making 2017 a great traffic year for BIG DEER. I truly appreciate your support, and look forward to 2018 (we’re working on some cool new stuff). And thanks for watching BIG DEER TV on the Sportsman Channel. We’re wrapping up filming of Season 7, with new episodes coming next summer.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. God bless you and your family…if you’re still hunting a buck, good luck.—M.H.

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!

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Virginia 2017 Archery: Drop-Tine Dream Buck

Today’s awesome guest post from our friend and fellow Virginia hunter Tyler Knecht:

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Mike: I got this buck on my trail camera once before the season and thought he would be a cool buck to shoot, but I never saw him again.

One day in early November I decided to take my girlfriend, Jamie, bow hunting with me in a buddy stand I had set up on the property where I had the camera. She enjoys sitting with me during rifle season, but has never experienced a bow hunt before. Well, I made sure everything was in order for the hunt: warm clothes for her, gear, safety harness, etc. Except when I set my alarm I forgot to take account for the fall time change.

We woke up to a 6:00 a.m. alarm about 10 minutes before shooting light! I was so disappointed. I thought the hunt was ruined, but we rushed out the door and to my hunting spot.

We were walking down the trail very quietly on the wet leaves when I looked up and saw a buck walking across the trail. He had no idea we were there, so we crouched, waited till he passed and continued on to the stand.

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After Jamie and I were harnessed into the stand I started screwing in my bow arm. I wasn’t even finished when I looked up and the buck was 20 yards away. He stopped behind a big oak tree and started making a rub. My heart was beating so fast, I screwed my bow holder in the rest of the way, pulled my bow up, nocked an arrow and put on my release–and then he started walking again.

I wasn’t sure how big he was or that he even had a drop tine, but I was so excited for Jamie to experience this, so I asked her if I should shoot it. She said, “Heck yeah!” So I drew back, stopped him and let an arrow fly. He ran about 65 yards and dropped by the creek. Jamie must be part blood hound because she tracked that buck from the first drop of blood to the last. I spotted the downed buck and just about screamed when I saw the drop tine!

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I was so happy and so proud to harvest that deer, but I’m even more happy and proud to share the experience and memories with someone I love. I believe that’s what it’s all about. I hope you enjoyed this story! I love watching your show and proving that Virginia is home to some BIG DEER. Sincerely, Tanner Knecht

Way to go Tanner, proud of ya man…and nice shot!