Deer Tactics For Thanksgiving Weekend

gun ground blindMost of you have several days to hunt this weekend, so after stuffing your face on Thursday, get out and try these tatics:

On Friday, November 23, on the day the moon waxes full, you need to spend most of the day in a tree stand or blind. In a North Carolina State study several years ago, researchers said that a common misconception with hunters is that  during a full moon, deer can see better at night. But according to their data, bucks actually moved less on average at night during a full moon and more during the middle of the day, and also earlier in the evenings.

With the full moon so late this November, it’s tricky to predict where the best hunting will be this weekend. Iffy in the Midwest and other regions where peak rut is early to mid-November, because some big bucks will be in lockdown. But in places where the rut typically peaks November 17-23 or so—Maine, Vermont and other Northeastern states; Virginia; and Montana to name a few—I predict good midday buck movement from November 23-25.

Great stand: Look for a timbered ridge flanked by a crop field on one or two sides and interspersed with heavy cover. Old bucks will run the ridge in or near the thick stuff.

Try this: It’s easier to hack it on stand all day if you wait until 9:00 am to climb up. Remember, this day you’re most apt to see a big boy from 11:00 am until dark.

If you can hunt November 26 and 27, do it. Most people will be back to work, or hunted out for the year, so you’ll have the woods pretty much to yourself.

In late November across the country, most does have been bred, and bucks are run down. But the survivors know the chance to breed won’t come around for another year, and so they keep moving and looking for the last 5 percent of does that are still receptive.

Great stand: You’ll likely have a west or north wind, so set up somewhere on the east side of a ridge where you can watch a wide swath of woods and thickets below. Watch for a buck cutting from one thicket to the next, hoping to find a last doe or sneaking away from man pressure.

Try this: By now bucks are spooky and unpredictable. Go to a good spot, stay positive and hunt hard. Your chances of tagging out at the tail end of the 2018 rut are better than you think. Good luck.

New Jersey Bowhunter Revitalizes Farm, Shoots 6.5-Year-Old Buck

NJ jeff 2018 buck

In 2016, Jeff Herrmann, long-time friend of BIG DEER, bought a rundown farm in New Jersey and set about making it a dedicated hunting property. The land is 133 acres, 40 of those tillable.

Well into his third year of land management, Jeff has put in 10 acres of beautiful food plots. “What you see in the picture below are primarily brassicas,” he says. “Specifically, groundhog radish, purple top turnip and dwarf essex rape.

NJ jeffs farm plot

The work is paying off. In October, Jeff shot this great big-bodied 7-pointer with his bow. “I believe he was the oldest buck on the property when I bought the farm, at least 4.5 back then.”

Proof that with dedication and hard work, anybody can create and revitalize a personal hunting paradise in a relatively short time, and have the opportunity to hunt mature, heavy-bodied bucks.

Jeff is a largely one-man show who loves to do the land work himself, way to go friend!

69-Year-Old Hunter Shoots First Bow Buck

69 yar old first bow buckThis is one of the coolest Tweets I’ve read in a while. Jerry @ BG_Two tweeted:

My dad will be 70 next year and he got his first bow buck last night! He was shaking like a little kid when I got to him. I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything. He had a goal to get one before moving on to a crossbow and we did it together. I am still pumped!

This is just tremendous and makes me happy, way to go guys.

 

 

 

 

October Velvet Mystery Bucks

tx travis velvet buck

Got this from Travis:

Hi Mike: Thought you might be able to shed some light on this. We took this deer October 19 on the Texas/Oklahoma border north of Dallas. As you can see it’s still in velvet!  That’s not normal for around here. Any insight on this, and does this change how we plan for the rut?

I emailed back: Did his nut sack look normal or small? If a buck injures his testicles (or if they didn’t drop as he grew) it affects his hormones and a buck might not shed the velvet. Let me know.

From Travis: I finally heard back from my buddy. You called it. The testicles were small and not near what you’d expect. And in a strange coincidence another friend shot this Colorado mule deer buck (below) last week and it was in velvet too! Wouldn’t you know it, his nuts were smaller than grapes and it had nipples. This is a weird world.

CO travis velvet buck

Weird yes, and here’s the explanation.

Commonly called a “stag,” the oddball buck retains the velvet on his antlers due to low testosterone levels. Scientists refer to this condition as cryptorchidism and it’s rare. It can result from a birth defect or disease that causes a buck’s testicles (one or both) not to drop normally. Or, a buck may injure his nuts, say on a wire fence (ouch). Cryptorchidism can occur in whitetails or mule deer.

A stag buck is different, and he doesn’t engage in the seasonal rituals of normal bucks. Cryptorchids don’t rub or scrape in the the rut. They lack the chemical stimulation to express dominance or individualism. Their necks don’t swell. A stag doesn’t shed his antlers; they remain in velvet year-round

A cryptorchid buck is rare, and if you shoot one I’d mount it and have a taxidermist preserve the velvet antlers.

No, a stag buck in velvet in October or November is an anomaly and his presence has no effect on the normal rut.

Hot Tactic Now: Hunt Where Rutting Bucks Travel

sd sioux falls buck 2008In Oklahoma researchers fitted bucks with GPS collars and monitored their movements.

They found that in early fall, most bucks stick to small core areas and have a maze of crisscross patterns.

But from late October through November, those same bucks showed longer and more linear movements. The researchers surmised that by traveling in straighter lines, bucks can cover more country faster, and maximize their chances of contacting estrus does.

To capitalize this season, as bucks begin to roam farther and in straighter patterns, expand your hunt area, too. Scout and hang more stands in long, linear travel corridors, like river bottoms and long ridges. Rotate hunt those stands for a week and you’ll see bucks on the move.