Deer Hunting: Signpost Buck Rubs

va 2017 tyler 2Good-sized trees with scars that have healed and thickened over the years, and upon which current bucks rub their antlers each fall, are “sign-posts.”

Some biologists believe these trees are rubbed mostly by older bucks (3½ years and up). One theory is that mature bucks deposit pheromones on the rubs, and this plays an important role in the dominance and subordination process in a herd.

Does and all sizes of bucks have been observed interacting with sign-posts—they often nuzzle and smell them—but generally only mature bucks rub them hard.

Sign-posts are typically blazed in areas with high deer traffic, often near trails and scrapes, and should be markers for your strategy.

While you won’t hunt over a sign-post per se, it makes sense to scout out from the big rubs…look for cover edges, funnels and trails where bucks travel…find pockets of acorns and other spots where they eat…and hang tree stands there.

 

4 Top Trail Camera Tips

va spartan 2

Dave Skinner, pro-staff for Spartan Camera and Go Cam, offers some great tips for setting and positioning your cameras:

I like to position my cameras approximately waist high, or about eye level for deer, for the best photo quality and the best angle for judging their age, and antler score.

For the absolute best photo quality, you want to set the camera 15’ or so from the target, about waist high pointing north or south so the camera is not looking directly into the rising or setting sun.

A nice wall of vegetation behind the target will reflect the infrared flash and result in better quality photos.

If it’s a trail set, angle the camera up or down the trail for a better centered image rather than putting the camera on the edge of the trail looking directly across it. Better yet, attempt to locate the camera at a spot where 2 trails intersect, increasing your odds of photographing bucks.

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Here’s What Happens When A Buck Injures A Velvet Antler

antler injurySpring through September the antler-growing cycle for whitetails is approximately 170 days. This gives a buck many opportunities to catch a velvet antler on a fence, smash it against a tree as he flees danger, etc.  

Antlers grow fast—up to an inch per day in the summer! They have a complex system of blood vessels that carry nutrients through the velvet and down into the core.

When a growing antler is broken, it bleeds profusely, and blood can pool and fill the inside of the velvet. When the hardening of the bone process occurs in September the pooled blood can create a heavy, swollen, club-like antler.

If the injury is to the pedicle (the base of an antler) then the deformity could persist for several sets of antlers or even for the rest of the buck’s life, making him a permanent non-typical. Interesting!

4 Unusual Deer Mounts

Lately some different and unusual mounts have been popping up on social media:

deer mount backpack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the first backpack mount I saw, and to my surprise there were many variations of the pack mount on Google images. I suspect these are most popular out West; few hunters in the East pack out a caped buck, though I’m sure it happens when guys hunt deep on a big public area.

deer mount rub tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is the buck rub mount. I have seen versions of this over the years, but it seems to be making a comeback and is more popular than ever. Again, lots of variations on Google images.

deer mount lick coat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The buck licking his coat—deer groom themselves regularly—is different and unique, if not a little weird. But to each his own.

deer mount tailgate

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tailgate is my top pick of off-the-wall mounts. Different, but for some reason I kind of like it. I don’t like the 12-pack of regular Miller as an accessory; I’d have made it Miller Lite.

What do you think, which is your favorite? Me, I’ll probably just stick to boring old shoulder mounts.

2019 And Beyond: Warm, Wet Weather Means More Snakes

tx sarge snakeI hate snakes and I cannot lie.

Any snakes, from garters to rats to rattlers to moccasins.

Any kind, color or size, I am scared of them all.

My heart rate soared and my blood pressure spiked when I read this:

After a winter (2018-19) that was warmer and wetter than average across much of the U.S., the country needs to be on snake watch…

Snakes like those conditions. Increased populations are expected.

And there is more bad news.

A new study by Stanford University professor Grant Lipman and the University of Colorado’s Caleb Phillips shows that rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes may bite more people after rainy seasons.

The study, which analyzed 20 years of snakebite data, found a significant increase in snakebites the year after a rainy season.

Researchers say that during warm, wet spells, snakes breed more and have more babies. As the babies grow and slither around in their second and third years, that is when people really begin to notice the increase.

snake pile

And that is when we hikers and hunters are apt to encounter more snakes.

Yikes. It has been warm and extremely wet here in Virginia and other parts of the country for the last 2 years, going back to 2017. That’s already at least 3 prime snake breeding seasons.

If this wet and warm weather pattern continues, 2020 could be the Decade of the Snake!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year, resulting in about 5 deaths. While your chances of a deadly bite are slim, you need to be vigilant and ready just in case.

That’s why I recently wrote “7 Ways Not To Die From A Rattlesnake Bite” for Outdoor Life. Click over and read it, it couldn’t be timelier.