Wisconsin Science Teacher Shoots Massive Bow Buck

Wi teacher 2017From the Leader Register: What’s it like to walk up on a buck of a lifetime? Webster High School science teacher Greg Widiker knows.

Widiker had been watching the deer on trail cameras and scouting since 2014… 2015 the buck got a lot bigger and was estimated to be 4 years old… By 2016 the buck had grown a drop tine, and this year, now estimated to be 6 years old, drop tines were on both beams.

“I was definitely very aware of him and the last two years the focus was definitely on him. He was the only deer I was going to shoot,” said Widiker.

Greg shot the 16-point beast on 9/17/17, click here for the full story. Way to go man!

North Dakota Velvet Bow Buck

The first buck of 2017 on BIG DEER blog! Guest post from North Dakota native and bowhunter Kelsey Deutz:

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We had a couple of years of history with the buck we call “S-10.”  My husband, Nick, hunted him last year.  He was very visible on camera but never came within bow range during the daylight hours.

In 2017, we first spotted S-10 about a month before season opened.  We were so glad he made it through the year. He blew up!  Once again, he was very visible on camera, and Nick had seen him on the hoof a few times just after sunrise in the weeks before season opened.  We set up a couple different blinds in different parts of the area he was living in so we could play the wind if necessary. You always have to plan for the wind in North Dakota.

The week before the season he had been in a very consistent pattern every night.  He would venture out of his bedding grounds and head to feed around 7pm like clockwork.

I headed out to the blind by myself around 5pm on opening day.  I watched some does and fawns filter in and out.  I watched a fawn nursing at 8 yards from the blind. It was very eventful right off the get go!

Shortly after 7pm, I noticed something walk by the blind and come out on the right side of me.  I assumed it was a doe, but I glanced over and it was him! He walked out and I ranged him at 24 yards. S-10 stood there facing directly away from me for what felt like an eternity. Which was a blessing because it allowed me to gain my composure before the shot.

The buck very slowly started to turn broadside and I patiently waited for the perfect shot.  Finally, the opportunity arose and I took the shot at 24 yards.  He ran off to the left of the blind and crashed into the rushes.

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I waited awhile in the blind before I pulled the chip from our trail camera we had set up and snuck out to give him some time.  I got back to the farm and checked the pictures to see if there was any evidence on there.  Our Moultrie had captured the shot!  It looked pretty promising!  We let him sit for a couple of hours before we started searching.

We looked for a few hours into the night but decided to leave it until morning light.  I didn’t sleep a wink and was eager to get everyone up at the crack of dawn to continue searching.  We got back on the trail shortly after sunrise and found him within 15 minutes!

I’ve been hunting whitetails in North Dakota for 17 years and this was the closest I have had to a textbook hunt. S-10 followed the script perfectly!  As hunters, we all know it usually doesn’t work that way.—Thanks, Kelsey

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For Kelsey Deutz , her husband, Nick, and their two young kids, hunting is way of life. Through their Hunting Traditions website and Instagram they share their love of North Dakota and its wildlife, and encourage hunters across the country to engage their entire family, young and old. A great message and our kind of people, way to go Kelsey!

 

Will Summer Bucks Hang Around This Fall?

MD dan lexiA popular question this time of year: Will the bucks I’ve been watching in fields and getting on my trail cameras this summer stick around when hunting season opens, or once the bachelor groups start separating will the bucks disperse and disappear?

According to Penn State’s Deer-Forest study, more than half of the small-antlered yearlings (18 months old) you’ve been seeing will hit the road from mid-September through early November. The adult bucks, however, won’t be going anywhere, which is good news. Very rarely does a mature buck have a different home range during the breeding season from one he used all summer.

However, it might seem like the big bucks disappeared.

First, the bachelor groups break up. And then during the rut, the home ranges of the bucks will increase by 2 to 5 times. If a buck has a home range right now of a square mile, come late October he’ll be traveling an area of 2-5 square miles.

So you might or might not see him for days or weeks when you’re on stand. It just depends on where he is in that 2-5 mile radius while you’re in the woods.

But just the fact that one, two or more shooter bucks are still hanging in your area gives you a fighting chance of seeing and tagging one the next couple of months. Good luck.

Big Deer’s 2017 Moon-Rut Hunting Guide

full moon buck compress2017 rut moon phases: Full November 4…last quarter November 10…new November 18…first quarter November 26

As I have said time and again here on the blog and on BIG DEER TV, I am neither a scientist nor an astronomer. But I am a whitetail hunter and have been doing it for 40 years, more than 30 of those professionally. I’m also a moon fanatic. Over the years I figure I’ve spent between 880 and 1,000 days in a deer stand in November, during every imaginable moon phase and all waxing and waning days.

My journal notes and personal observations say that there is definitely something to the November moon and how it impacts the movements of rutting whitetails.

My 2017 predictions:

I like the way this November’s moon sets up. For starters it exposes the seeking phase of the pre-rut, when bucks start to prowl and expand their range for the first hot does. 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.

If you hunt that first week of November, keep in mind that deer movement will be best near food sources in the afternoons. If a cold front sweeps into your hunt area that week, better yet.

During the full moon week of Nov. 4-11, the best buck movement will shift to the mornings. 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.

For vacation-planning purposes:

If the land you’ll hunt has crop fields and food plots, I’d suggest you hunt the first 5 days of November. Hunt stands near the feed and focus on the afternoons. A stand on a slightly elevated ridge 100-200 yards off a corn or bean field would be a hotspot either afternoon or morning.

If the land is mostly woods with mast and greenery for deer food, think about hunting a little later, say November 5-12. Historically, if you check the record books, these are the very best days in any year to kill a monster buck. Set your stands back in the woods along trails and travel funnels—especially those with smoking-fresh scrapes–and hunt bucks seeking to hook up with does near bedding areas in the mornings.

Again, if you can hack it, stay on a deep-cover stand all day. I expect some giants to fall from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during the big moon November 5-10.

Buck movement and rutting activity will vary some according to local conditions and weather, but for the very best chance to shoot a giant I say hunt sometime in the Nov. 2-12 window. But go when you can. You still have a decent shot into the new moon of November 17-18, though in most places the best rut will begin to slow down.

If at all possible hunt ground with minimal or no pressure, which I know is difficult. But even moderate human intrusion can turn mature bucks nocturnal and blow up your moon opportunity.

Hunt hard and safe, and good luck.

Maryland Boy’s First Bow Buck

From our friend Danny, who has been watching hundreds of deer and more than 30 bucks all summer:

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I set up a tent blind a few weeks ago at a spot where I saw some deer hanging out. My nephew Colby decided he would try it out. He passed a few bucks the first night he hunted it, but he was able to get it done the other evening.

Colby had shot several deer previously with rifle and crossbow, but he decided it was time for a compound bow. He saved up his money and bought his first bow last spring.  He practiced all summer and it paid off.  Hope he doesn’t think it’s always this easy!

Around 7:40 that evening I saw several bucks from my stand, heading in his direction.  I could see 6 bucks heading his way, but I couldn’t see the last 150 yards they had to travel. While I was watching these bucks he sent me a text and said he had just shot.  I was focused on the deer that were 300 yards away from me, in the middle of the field; I thought it was odd that he shot and those deer didn’t react. I texted him back and told him not to move, I’d be there in 30 minutes.

About a half hour later his dad picked me up and the three of us got on the blood trail. It got dark on us, but Colby had made a perfect lung shot and the trail was easy to follow by flashlight. It only took a short tracking job to recover Colby’s first compound buck.

He doesn’t know how proud I am of him for doing this. I was with him when he got his first deer when he was 8. He will be 16 next week. He decided on his own that he wanted to hunt with a compound bow. He put in the time practicing, and it paid off.

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Colby’s buck was not one of the many that I have watched for months all summer. It was one of more deer that just showed up last week. He was covered in warts on his face, sides and groin. I cut a few of them open thinking they might be swollen ticks, but they looked like solid fat. I would have recognized that deer all summer from the warts.—Danny

Way to go Colby! By the way, those warts are called cutaneous fibromas.  Biologists say these hairless growths are not all that uncommon on whitetail deer in the summer. But I have spent more than 30 years observing and hunting deer and have never seen an animal like this.Colby’s deer does not seem to have that many warts, so the meat should be fine to eat.