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!

 

2017-18 Update: Flying With Guns

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If you’ll be flying anywhere with hunting guns on a commercial airliner, follow the steps in my ultimate travel guide with guns and ammo. Then remember two additional things, based on my recent interactions with United and Delta ticket agents and the TSA.

Double down on your locks: In the old days if your hard case had 4 holes for locks, so long as you used 2 locks on the ends you were good. Not now. Every lock hole on your case must be fitted with a solid lock. I use 4 Master locks on my four-hole Pelican case. Don’t neglect this, it’s a big deal! I know a guy who didn’t have a lock for every hole on his case; TSA would not accept it and he missed his flight.

Give yourself more time: Plan to be at the airport and the ticket counter early, at least 2 hours before flight time. Flying with your gun is still pretty hassle-free, but there is more paperwork involved, and generally a ticket agent has to call a supervisor for approval. Then they call an escort, who will lead you and your gun case down to TSA where it will be inspected.

You are required to wait at TSA with your keys until the agent tells you good to go. Used to be a TSA agent swabbed my case and opened it maybe 30% of the time, but now he almost always takes the keys from me and opens it. No big deal, they are required to do it in plain sight. The process just takes more time than it used to before TSA will clear your gun and send you off to the security line.

Follow all the rules to a tee and then be nice and polite to the ticket agent and TSA people. Do what they say with a smile. I’ve heard hunters with guns question everything the airline and TSA people do, and even grumble and complain. Do that and you will be in for a major hassle. Play nice and you’ll sail through.

2017 Wisconsin Rut Report

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Field report from our friend Kim R.:

Hi Mike: This year the deer numbers are back up close to where they should be in northwest Wisconsin. This is the best year I’ve seen in a decade for this area near Siren WI. I hope you made plans to hunt up here this year. There are some great bucks out there, a year not to be missed in my opinion.

With the rut heating up 2 of my big guys are back. A farmer a mile and half away planted soybeans so the deer were there. The good population of does remained on my place, eating the clover and oats I have planted in my food plots.

I was hoping the 6-year-old buck I call “JR” would make it back this year. He got hit by a car earlier in life and his left shoulder and knee are all arthritic. I haven’t seen him since July 2nd; he had a great start on a nice set of antlers then.

The “Boss” (photo above), 8 years old, has showed up again. His antlers are diminished due to age, but are still very impressive.

“Splitz” (the 5-year-old I sent you a photo of in July) has also come back, looking very good. (photo below).

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Hope you are having a great hunting year, looking forward to the new TV episodes.—Kim

Thanks Kim! Looks like the deer are back and the bucks are big in Wisconsin, as they are across the nation this year.2017 will go down as a banner whitetail year!

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.

 

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!