Two decades ago noted Missouri biologist Dr. Grant Woods used a mix of GPS technology, fancy software and old-school observation data (a ton of hours logged in a tree stand looking for deer) to produce maps of the hunting pressure on the properties he managed at the time. His spatial analysis inevitably showed that on all the lands, most people hunted close to fields, logging roads and similar access areas. Face it, most deer hunters go the easy route and aren’t willing to work for it. Some are leery of getting lost and walking too far back in an area. For example, on one large property Grant found that all the hunters spent 100 hours or more in “hot zones” [...]
Something that Texas custom gun maker Lex Webernick told me years ago stuck, and has served me well on deer hunts all over North America the last 30 years: Know your rifle and when the barrel gets dirty enough to start affecting accuracy. For example, you shoot a lot at the range and find that your rifle starts to open up a group after, say, 20 rounds. I’d clean that rifle barrel after every 15 rounds, or five 3-shot groups. But I personally never take a completely clean rifle on a hunt. I usually run 3 shots through a clean barrel to dirty it a bit, that seems to be the sweet spot accuracy-wise, and then go hunting.
I snapped this photo of the legendary Jordan Buck in the Cabela’s store in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The picture does not do this story justice, for it is fascinating: One day in 1914 near Danbury, Wisconsin, James Jordan followed huge deer tracks in the snow. A train roared by and its grind and whistle startled a group of deer, including a monster buck. James threw up his rifle and cracked off a few shots. His last bullet felled the giant. Jim took the 400-pound buck to a local taxidermist. Little did he know he would not see his trophy again for 50 years. The taxidermist moved away and took the rack with him. In fact the guy moved several times, [...]
To tie your tag to a big whitetail in 2021, the advance work you do right now is as important, maybe more so, as the hunt tactics you’ll employ in a few of months. Here’s your 5-step plan. Chart a Course With the A/C cranking in your house or truck, check topo and aerial maps, either old-school paper ones or on an app like Onx Hunt, of the lands you’ll hunt this fall. Study the contours of crop fields, pastures and woodland edges. Key on timber strips, draws, creeks and similar funnels that connect potential feeding and bedding areas of deer. Scan the maps and visualize the likely patterns of bucks. If you’ve hunted a property before think back [...]
On the plains of the Texas Panhandle last December, I packed in this unique little blind, plopped down the attached chair, sat down in it, organized my gear around me, pulled the camouflage fabric cover over my head, and was hunting a buck in minutes. The Ameristep Tent Chair has these advantages over standard and generally larger ground blinds: small, lightweight and easy to pack. since it’s one piece, no lugging both blind and chair(s) and having to make multiple trips to get all your gear into a hunt spot; you hike in with your rifle, pack and the Tent Chair on your shoulder (carry case included), find your spot and you’re ready to set up and hunt. you have [...]