3 September Spots for Trail Cameras

va 2018 va buck

If you’ll be setting out or moving trail cameras this week, try:

ONE: A small clearing in the woods 50 to 75 yards off an alfalfa, soybean or clover field. Mature bucks like to hang out in these areas in late afternoon this time of year.

TWO: A little bottleneck of thick cover (image) on a deer trail that leads into a feed field or clover plot.

THREE: If you spot a big shooter buck in a field, sneak in the back door and set a camera on the nearest creek crossing, swampy bottom, etc. you can find in the nearby woods. As summer deepens, mature bucks spend a lot of time hanging out near water in low, thick, shady areas where it is cooler.

Hunters: Beware Illegal Pot on Public Land

pot

As deer seasons open across the country, if you hunt public land, you need to be on the lookout for pot gardens, which authorities refer to as “illegal cartel marijuana grows.”

California has the most of these illicit operations. In an ominous announcement, DEA Agents and California Game Wardens say a cartel “owns” every national forest, national park, state park and wildlife refuge in the state.

Marijuana grows have been found in 23 states and on 72 national forests. Other states with significant cartel gardens on national forests, parks and BLM lands include Colorado, Oregon, Michigan and Wisconsin. Farther east and south, the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky is known to have lots of illicit pot growing.

As authorities point out, this is big business. Larger pot grows are in excess of 1,000 plants per site, and some can go up to 200,000 plants. Each plant has a street value of over a million dollars. Illicit growers protect their crops. And early fall, before temperatures drop to freezing, is prime harvest time.

You need to be on your toes and aware of your surroundings as you scout and hunt for deer on public land. Most of the growers are heavily armed and trails leading to grows are frequently booby trapped with trip wires and punji pits. Also, growers are now using deadly illegal chemicals to grow their pot, and these pose a serious threat to an innocent hunter who stumbles across them.

What do you look for? How do you avoid a potentially dangerous encounter?

pot pipes

Authorities point out that most pot gardens are irrigated by black plastic irrigation pipes that carry water from up to a half mile away. You might spot a man-made pool or a small dam on a stream where chemicals are added. These criminals are trashy. If you spot lots of junk, propane tanks, old tarps, etc. in an area, be on red alert.

You can also detect marijuana plants by their odor, which can have a skunky smell.

You may overhear voices, typically speaking Spanish. Law enforcement notes that some 85% of all growers they catch are illegals.

In all these cases, quietly retreat and retrace your trail back to your vehicle. Don’t linger at the site, or touch anything that looks out of the ordinary. When you are safely out of the woods, call 911 with the location of the illegal grow.

Be careful out there and good luck.

Source: The Outdoor Wire

Hunting Canada? CWD Transport Laws For Getting A Buck Into the U.S.

cwd map 24 states

Over the next 4 months, thousands of hunters will travel north to Alberta and Saskatchewan in search of big mule deer and whitetails. If your passport and paperwork are in order, getting into Canada with your bow or firearm is usually not much of a hassle.

But nowadays, if you’re successful, getting your buck back into the U.S. can be a major hassle unless you know and follow the ever-changing rules for transporting deer parts.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been confirmed in wild deer in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, therefore CWD transport rules are in effect for bringing antlers, hides and meat back into every state in U.S. The rules:

–The Big One: Before leaving camp and crossing the border you must remove all brain and/or spinal tissue from the skull plate with antlers attached, as well as the raw cape. Thoroughly scraping all traces of brain and tissue from a skull plate should suffice, but it depends on the wildlife officer that checks you at the border. I recommend you boil the skull plate in water to remove all trace tissue. Flesh out the cape thoroughly, until it is entirely white.

boil skull

–Crossing the border with a full skull and antlers (for a European mount) is tricky. All flesh and soft tissue on and inside the skull, including brain matter, must be removed. Also root structures and other soft tissue should be removed from all teeth. The CWD Alliance recommends cleaning a skull by soaking it in a 50/50 solution of chlorine bleach and water.

–Bowhunters heading to Alberta or Saskatchewan in September take note: Velvet-covered antlers are included in prohibited parts that you can transport.

deer meat

—If you want to bring home some venison, you must completely de-bone the meat.

–Finished taxidermy products are not affected by the CWD ban. To forego the CWD and travel hassles, some hunters, including me, leave their bucks with Canadian outfitters. The outfitters take the deer to a local taxidermist for a shoulder or European mount. Eight months or so later, the taxidermist ships your buck back to you in the U.S. When all is said and done, this will cost you a couple thousand dollars (less for a European). But it’s the easiest way to get your buck home, no doubt. If you go this route, make sure your outfitter has a reputable taxidermist lined up!

CWD regulations are continually evolving. Before heading to Canada, or anywhere out of state to hunt, check the CWD regulations in your home state and any state you will travel through with deer parts on the way home.

How To Hunt Deer On 30 Acres

iowa bow giant 2013

I got an email from a guy who landed permission to hunt a 30-acre block of woods. He had 2 questions. Is that spot big enough to kill a good buck, and if so how should he hunt it?

First, hell yeah, 30 acres or even 20 is big enough. Monsters are shot in small habitats like that every year.

On any new property, you’ve got to find out what kind of terrain and vegetation you’re dealing with. Right now is time to check the property. Spend a day and walk every inch of it; carry an aerial map or consult Google Earth as you go for reference. Walk and look for funnels, edges, little ridges, etc. where deer will move onto and off the land. Don’t worry if you spook some deer, they will be back.

Check the treetops for green acorns. When the nuts start falling, deer will find them, so look for an afternoon stand site close by. While the timber on the 30 provides some cover, the more thickets in there the better. If the whole place turns out to be basically one big thicket that is okay, it will be a great place for morning hunting, especially if there are crop fields nearby.

Set out at least 2 cameras on trail or funnels on either end of the 30, and check it regularly to get an idea not only of the bucks there, but also deer travel patterns.

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A big key to hunting 30 is not to push deer out when you go in. Look for easy, quiet, downwind routes that won’t take you busting through thick cover where deer bed. Plan your in and out routes to skirt spots where deer will likely be.

My favorite stand on a small spot is off-wind of a super trail on a ridge or near a creek that cuts through the entire property. Watch the main highway enough and you will see some bucks.

Hunt in early bow season, but don’t overdo it and burn out the 30. The November rut is the best time to kill a monster. Also, you have a great opportunity when gun season opens later this fall. Climb into your best stand on the 30 and sit all day. When other guys swarm and shoot on lands all around, some bucks will flee to your little spot, especially if it’s thick. I guarantee that without even seeing the land.

Hidey-Hole Food Plots For Whitetails

micro plotMissouri deer scientist Dr. Grant Woods is a champion of tiny fall attractant plots, which he calls “hidey-holes.” He explains:

“A hidey-hole is a small patch of green forage hidden in the woods where deer can stick their head out and grab several mouths full of food before they move on to a larger green field or crop. I use a leaf blower to clear a spot about 20 feet x 20 feet where I see sunlight hitting the forest floor. I’ll take 10-10-10 fertilizer and sow it over the cleared spot. Next, I’ll put down some winter wheat, buck wheat, peas or any seeds that will germinate on top of the soil and produce a crop quickly after the first rain.  You can plant a hidey-hole two weeks before bow season and have a great little hidden spot to hunt. You can also plant more of them during hunting season, as long as the weather and soil conditions are such that the plants will germinate. Other great hidey-hole plants are winter wheat, brassicas and clovers.”

You might want to try it the next few weeks before your bow season. Click here for more on how to do it.