Big Deer TV: Update From The Road

sask buck 2014

Been on the road chasing the rut for 2 weeks now, finally got some Wi-Fi to check in. Ten days ago up in Saskatchewan I shot one of the biggest 8-pointers I’ve killed in a while, the rack scored 140. It was cold, near zero, but no snow. The buck ghosted down a ridge at 3 pm, further confirmation that big bucks move at midday especially during a full moon. Shot him with my Remington Model 783 in .270 with a 150-grain Core-Lokt SP bullet.

wy hunt

From there headed down to Sheridan, Wyoming, where I hunted in the shadows of the Bighorn Mountains. It snowed and was severely cold…temps -10, snow, and one day the legendary Wyoming winds gusted to -40 and -50.

wy buck 2014

But the bucks were in full-blown rut and the hunting and rattling were spectacular. Shot this fantastic 5-year-old buck, whose rack had double split G-2s and great mass out through the beams. Used my favorite rifle, a Remington Model 700 in 7mm RUM topped with Trijicon 2.5-10X scope, and shooting a 150-grain Scirroco Bonded bullet.

Driving north into eastern Montana now, looking for a good mule deer and more killer footage for Big Deer TV. Hope they are rutting like the whitetails are. Good luck with your hunting.



BIG DEER TV Hunts California

cali big deer

As you read this I will have traveled up into Oregon and be in the midst of a 10-day quest for mule deer after a fine week of hunting in the Central Coast of Cali, near the town of Paso Robles, or “Pass of the Oaks.”

The highlight of the trip was obviously shooting the 130-class 3×4 buck; B&C minimum for a Columbian blacktail is 135, so this is a great and above average deer, about as big as they for these parts. Twenty inches wide, even had one small eyeguard.

Note the compact camera rig we used—Nikon DSLR, 80-200 mm lens here I believe, w/shotgun microphone. Cameras for filming the outdoors have come a long way. I remember not too long ago when the guys carried huge, heavy Sony Handicams the size of suitcases. With a good lens, the rigs cost more than 100k.

It’s a good thing we had the small camera because the buck hunt was fast and action-packed. Blacktails are not called Pacific Ghosts for nothing. I stalked my buck bedded and hidden beneath an oak tree. He jumped up and trotted through a basketball-size opening in the brush, giving me a split-second opportunity. With his small rig held right over my shoulder, cameraman Nolan was able to run with me to a set-up tree and find the buck in his lens just as I took the quick shot. The buck ran 50 yards and expired.

After we gutted the buck, we lashed him onto our California Pack Mule, a 10-year-old Jeep decked out for serious backcountry hunting, with spare gas and water cans and a couple of indestructible,5-year-old Yeti Tundra coolers. How cool is that rig!

A lot of people don’t realize that there is still much beautiful and remote deer country to hunt in Cali, but you have to find the right place and go with the right people. Like my friend Doug Roth, who has been operating Camp 5 Outfitters for more than 30 years. He’s one of the best blacktail hunters in the state. Doug and I hunted a 22,000-acre private ranch, and we were the only ones on it. Zero pressure, and that’s how you kill big deer of any species.

cali wine country

Most people don’t think of fancy vineyards and wild pigs in the same breath, but I do. There are more than 170 immaculate wineries in this region putting out some of the best Cabernet and Merlot in the world, and I managed to squeeze in visits to a couple of them. My favorite was Hidden Oak, a small vineyard operated by Mike and Martha James, very nice people making fine Central Coast red wine in their retirement.

cali pig

Just miles from the impeccable vineyards, I shot this pig in heart at 110 yards as it gobbled acorns beneath an oak tree. This region of the Central Coast has the highest population of feral hogs in the state, and you should buy a pig tag ($71 for a non-resident) along with your buck tag.

This unique and fantastic BIG DEER TV show will air on the Sportsman Channel next summer.

2014 Hunt Season is Here!

trail cam mini beast

Here’s another look at “Mini-Beast” that a hunter in the Midwest has had on camera for a couple of months. I thought this was a great image, with the other smaller buck hiding in the background.

The sight of this velvet giant has the BIG DEER TV Team fired up as we hit the road for Season 4. We are starting super early this year, with teams hunting and filming from Colorado to Kentucky next week.

Next week… I can hardly believe the season got here so fast!

I’ll be archery hunting the opener in the Bluegrass State, where there’s a 50-50 chance that if I see and get a shot at a big deer his rack will still be in velvet. Or maybe half in velvet and peeling and bloody, a rack like that is cool.

Season 3 of BIG DEER TV is rolling along strong right now on Sportsman Channel, Wednesday nights 10/9c through December. Set your DVR!

Friday shout out to our great sponsors that make all this possible: Remington Arms, Trijicon, Cabela’s, Wildlife Research Center and Yeti Coolers. You have my word that I only promote hunting gear that I use and trust, and these are the best hunt brands on the market. Thanks for supporting our sponsors, and all we do here at BIG DEER.

I’m expecting a big rack year across America this fall–good luck and be safe when you hit the woods. And remember the BIG DEER motto: Hunt hard, have fun and respect the game.

Video: Best Remington Core-Lokt Deer Shot

rem core lokt

The bullet that has killed more deer than other turned 75 years old in 2014. Serious gun writers with more knowledge of ballistic coefficients and terminal performance than me say that the iconic Remington Core-Lokt produces good accuracy in most center-fire rifles and “typically sheds considerable weight during expansion and penetration, which quickens the death of an animal.”

While I might not have as much ballistics knowledge as those gun writers, I have more field and hunting experience than most of them. I have shot dozens and dozens of whitetails and mule deer (and one blacktail) over the years with 140- to 180-grain Core-Lokts, both the soft-point and pointed-soft-points. The shock and knockdown power of these bullets are impressive. They kill deer hard.

Never is that more evident than in this video (below) we shot up in Saskatchewan. I am proud to say this is the quickest, cleanest and most ethical buck kill in all my years of hunting. I was shooting a Model 700 in .30-06 and using a standard 165-grain Core-Lokt. Keep in mind that this was a big-boned, heavy-muscled, 250-pound Canadian brute.

Is this one of the quickest and cleanest kills you’ve seen? And see the steam shoot out the deer? It was below zero that day.

Drones for Hunting?

helicopter filming 2

I just heard an amazing and almost unbelievable stat: in 20 years every person in the world will have a “pet drone” or at least access to a drone, just like everybody now has a cell phone.

What will the billions of drones in the sky mean for our hunting? Is there any place for a drone in the deer woods? As the technology advances and drones become cheaper and easier to use and fly, it is inevitable that people will find a way to use them for all activities, including hunting.

People already have. State troopers and wildlife cops in Alaska are aware of at least one drone-assisted moose kill, back in 2012.

Other than shooting cool footage for personal video or a TV show (more on that later) I can’t think of any good use for a drone in the woods. It would certainly not be ethical to fly a drone over the fields/woods where you hunt, scouting from the air and sizing up buck racks, or looking for funnels where bucks walk, and then moving in on the ground with a stand for an ambush.

Some guy said to me once, “But is it really any different than setting out a trail camera to find bucks on your property, especially one that can send images and HD video back to your cell phone?”

I got his point…and I didn’t really have a good comeback for it.

States are getting out ahead of the potential drones-for-hunting issues. Alaska was the first state to prohibit hunters from spotting game with drones. I expect all states to follow suit with specific restrictions on drones for hunting.

Just yesterday, the National Park Service announced that it is taking steps to ban drones from 84 million acres of public lands to keep the unmanned aircraft from harassing wildlife and annoying visitors.

But one group is embracing the use of drones. PETA sells its “Air Angel” drones and purportedly encourages its members to fly them around and monitor (I say harass) hunters on public lands. In response to that, more than one hunter has said: Fly that damn thing over me and I’ll shoot it down. I get it, but this opens another can of worms.

As mentioned, one good use of a drone is to get killer video of landscapes, terrain and hunters walking around and glassing, etc. But even this brings potential problems. Several years ago, one of my TV producers alerted the game wardens in an area that our crew would be out there, flying a drone with a camera attached to it to get footage. We would not use it to scout or find and hunt the deer, just to film general shots in the middle of the day.

That was back in the day when a drone was big size-wise, and a novelty. One evening, the warden in the area pulled up to the property where I was hunting and confronted my friend as he waited to pick me up. “Where is Hanback, I hear he is using a helicopter to hunt, I want to talk to him.” He roared off, p—-d, and said he’d be back. He never tracked me down, I’m glad. But we flew the drone on private land, and got good footage.


We’ve used drones on and off the last few years on TV hunts, and we’ve got a new one for this fall. The prices have really come down, and the cameras on the drones are greatly improved. You can get a drone on Amazon for around $360 and shoot video of all your outdoor activities. But do not use it to scout or hunt deer.

Lost in all of this is the actual hunt—the calm and solitude of the woods on a crisp fall morning, the connection to nature, the way you think and reflect as you sit in a tree stand and wait on a buck, the way your heart jumps when you see him… Who wants to think about a billion drones buzzing overhead, watching, monitoring our every move…

Weird, but they say those days are coming? What do you think?