The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) has released its 12th annual Whitetail Report, a comprehensive update on the status of white-tailed deer including harvest trends through the 2018-19 season, the most recent hunting season with complete deer harvest data available from most whitetail states and Canadian provinces. In 2018-19, the total national buck harvest was 2,908,155. For comparison, the modern record buck harvest of 3.1 million was set in 1999. The big news is that across the U.S. and Canada in 2018-19, the percentage of yearling bucks (1½ years old) in the total antlered buck harvest fell to 30%, the lowest ever recorded. “The fact that less than 1 in 3 antlered bucks shot today is 1½ years old is amazing,” [...]
Today’s fine guest post is from Big Daddy, who has been with me on the Big Deer Blog since I started it 11 years ago. Thanks for the support, BD! I began hunting in 1967 at age 12 and took my first bow-killed deer,a doe, that year. In those early years I was just trying to kill any deer. The years passed and most found me with a filled tag, some with bow others with gun. In 1976 I killed my first P&Y buck and it changed my hunting career forever. During the past 42 years I have taken 43 bucks with a bow, all but one in Pennsylvania. One was in New Jersey. I purchased property in north-central PA [...]
Every year when bow seasons open in September in some states across the country, one state gets particularly hot for big bucks. This year it’s North Carolina, where the archery season opened September 8. First we blogged about the 160-inch velvet 8-pointer that Brandon Johnson killed on opening day. Since then we’ve heard of 4 more NC giants. We got word of all these bucks from the Carolina Sportsman website. If you hunt or fish in the Carolinas, you need to check out and bookmark this site, it’s a fantastic regional resource. Jonathan Phillips of Pittsboro, NC shot this 9 1/2-year-old buck (above) on opening day. The Chatham County deer scored 137 5/8, proof that rack score means little. Anybody [...]
If you hunt in Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina or any state where the archery season opens in September, click here and for tips and advice on how to punch your tag super early. I teamed with Outdoor Life digital for a 5-point plan that involves understanding late-summer buck behavior, trail-camera strategies, best tree stand spots and more. Good luck and send me pictures if you shoot a good buck this month or anytime this season!
1. A small clearing in the woods 70 to 100 yards off an alfalfa, soybean, clover or corn field. Some mature bucks hang up in these areas in late afternoon before moving out to a field after dark. 2. A bottleneck of thick cover on a deer trail that leads into a field. A big buck will usually walk the thickest route in, and you can get a close-up image of him. 3. Back in the woods where two or more drainages with thick cover come together. Oak trees that drop acorns nearby make this a surefire bet for buck images. Especially good for those nocturnal giants that don’t get to a field until dark. 4. “Our thousands of cam [...]