Iowa Lady’s 251 7/8” Muzzleloader Monster Buck

iowa freak 1

Today’s guest blog from Dave Nennig, who provides a follow-up on the giant velvet buck his wife Lyla shot with a muzzleloader in Iowa in December 2016. Dave believes “The Freak” remained in velvet that year because he was wounded by a neighboring bowhunter the previous season.

After 14 months of having “The Freak” at the freeze dryer and taxidermist, and looking for someone to officially score him, the deer was finally measured last weekend at the Iowa Deer Classic. The Freak had 28 scorable points and a gross score of 268 6/8, with a net of 251 7/8 non-typical. Just an amazing animal!

From what we have been told, it is probably the largest buck taken in the State of Iowa with a muzzleloader by a woman. Might even rank high in the world in that category. I have attached a couple pictures from the classic.–Dave Nennig

iowa freak 2

Dave, I’m pretty sure Lyla’s buck IS the top-scoring whitetail ever shot by a huntress with blackpowder, and SURELY the largest velvet buck. Congrats guys, thanks for sharing this story. I appreciate your support of BIG DEER TV!



Gander To Open 69 Stores by May 2018

ganderFinally some good news in the hunting/outdoor industry. Reports are that Camping World, which bought Gander Mountain in a bankruptcy auction last year, is on track to open (or reopen) at least 70 stores in 2018.

Click here to see the list stores that are scheduled to be opened under the new “Gander Outdoors” banner by May. That’s only a couple months to make it happen, but let’s hope it does. I’ve long loved Gander Mountain..ur, I mean Gander Outdoors.

New Product: Whitetail Deer Mailbox!

deer mailboxThe press release I got from River’s Edge Products says:

Certain to make you the envy of all your hunting buddies, this durable Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) design is made to withstand everyday use and the outdoor elements. Crafted with amazing attention to detail and meticulously hand painted, the fade resistant coating will keep it looking great while waiting at the roadside to receive your mail. 

It is approximately 38” long x 32” tall x 20” wide (with antlers), weighs 25 pounds and mounts on standard 2” x 4” or 4” x 4” on post (not included). Tamper resistant mounting screws are included, which is a very good thing. I’d double-down on locking this mailbox to the post.

The deer mailbox is in stock and available to order for $299.

This thing is pretty cool and I know a lot of deer hunters would love to have it…how many will shell out $300 for a mailbox is a question mark. Will you?

deer box 2

What to Plant in Deer Food Plots

food plots for deer 005Time to start thinking about what to plant this spring:

If you live and hunt in the Northeast: Try planting a 60/40 mix of perennial clover (Imperial Whitetail Clover is my favorite) and chicory. Later in July or August, plant a couple of cool-season (fall) plots heavy with brassicas and the like.

If you live and hunt in the Mid-Atlantic: Trebark camo creator turned deer-management guru Jim Crumley plants good old ladino clover on his 300-acre property along the James River in Virginia. “It’s a low-maintenance, high-quality perennial (25% protein) that, once planted, will last for 5 years and can be easily over seeded,” he says.

If you hunt in the South: If you have the land, equipment and money plant corn and soybeans. After Labor Day, plant plots and strips with fall attractants like wheat, oats or clover.

If you live and hunt in the Midwest: Some of the best big-buck hunters I know in this region plant 2- to 4-acre fields of soybeans in May. From late August to mid-September, they come back and plant 20-yard strips and borders of oats around as many of the bean fields as they can. The green oats will attract deer during October, and the beans (20% to 25% protein) are the best food source for Midwestern deer from November to January.

Potential State Record Mule Deer Sheds!


My friend Ricardo, a New Mexico hunting outfitter who specializes in limited-entry archery hunts for giant mule deer, found this antler on public land. Look at the size and deepness of the front and back forks–that is what you look for on a trophy mule buck.

The shed taped out a tad over 96 inches. “If you double the antler score for the other side and give him a 30-inch spread the buck would score 223 4/8, potential state record! I’ll keep looking for the other side.”

Picture below is last year’s shed off the same buck. “He put on a lot (tine length and mass) this year, but lost the extra point,” Ricardo says.

Deadline to apply for the New Mexico mule deer and elk draw is March 21.