Mike: Why do some bucks have chocolate antlers and others white racks? Seems like dark antlers are slightly more common on bigger bucks, am I right?—Tim from MN Whitetail biologist Mickey Hellickson told me in an email one time: Antler coloration is determined by several things, including: (1) buck age (older, more dominant bucks make many more rubs on trees than younger bucks, therefore their antlers tend to be darker; (2) bark coloration of the predominant rubbing trees in a region; (3) genetics (some strains of bucks have light racks in their DNA while other have dark); (4) time of year (early in the fall “new” antlers are darker; later in the season antlers that have been exposed to sun and light [...]
My buddy Lucas Strommen reports on his elk hunt in northeastern Montana last fall: My hunt last week was harsh. Five days, went on a death march every day. Packed in spike camp and cached water in some rugged country. Was the closest I've been to succumbing to exposure, I believe. We started a fire under a canopy of outcropped sandstone, and stripped down to dry out and warm our bodies. Lots of elk. Was on my knees, 50 yards in sleeting snow from a 6x6 bull, but out of my range for my bow. I was using a 1956 Bear double-shelved Kodiak with vintage quiver and arrows bought at Dick's Sporting Goods and Clothing in NY in 1959 (I have the [...]
I have never understood why people do this, it is incredibly destructive, illegal and could be dangerous. Yet many of the road signs you see out in rural areas are drilled with one or more bullet holes. Why? BTW, this hole looks to be a cluster of pellets fired from a shotgun at close range. Wonder if the genius got any blowback?
For many reasons I am glad I don’t live in Cali: Nancy Pelosi, earthquakes, exorbitant taxes… And, it’s the most hunter-unfriendly state. If the greenie-weenies and state politicians get their way, there will be no hunting of any kind left in CA, I mean none. Sadly, there are not enough resident hunters to fend off the anti-hunters and anti-gunners. Only 281,000 hunters purchased licenses in CA last year (182,000 deer licenses), a pittance for a huge state with 38 million people. For comparison, Pennsylvania, a state with a population of 12 million, sold about 1 million licenses. Of the 12 gun laws advanced by state lawmakers last week, I predict 2 in particular will make honest, law-abiding hunters, who are [...]
Here are 4 facts about velvet antler growth I bet you didn’t know. I pulled them from Way of the Whitetail, a great reference book by Leonard Lee Rue III, a top deer researcher and photographer I’ve worked with some over the years: (1) Antlers are bone, consisting mostly of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and other minerals. Although some of the minerals are taken from food, most of them are sucked from the buck’s skeleton, causing him to develop osteoporosis during the summer. (2) Because the velvet is rich with blood vessels, growing antlers are hot to touch. (3) Tiny hairs on the velvet stick straight out and make the antlers look bigger than they are. The hairs also act as [...]