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  • January 29, 2010

    Monster Reservation Muley!

    By Scott Bestul

    The buck pictured below was, I’m told, shot on the Jicarilla Reservation in New Mexico. Long noted for its excellent elk hunting, the Jicarilla obviously hosts some monstrous mule deer as well. I’ve kind of given mule deer—one of my favorite big game species—short shrift in this space this fall, so I was glad to see this photo land in my email this week.

  • January 25, 2010

    On Crossbows During the Regular Bow Season

    By Scott Bestul

    Near the end of last week’s ATA (Archery Trade Assoc) show, another writer and I were comparing notes about new products and trends we’d noticed. “Did you see how much the crossbow market has expanded?” he asked. “There are more companies making them now than ever.”

    I couldn’t feel too smug that I’d spotted the same thing. You didn’t have to wander too far through the Columbus Convention Center without bumping into a crossbow display. There were dozens of makes and models, and companies scrambling to capitalize on this expanding market.

  • January 20, 2010

    The Bow Show Goes Viral

    By Scott Bestul

    OK. So it’s supposed to be an eye-catching headline. But all it means is this; country boy (me) goes to archery show crammed with people (the Archery Trade Association’s annual show) and gets whopped with flu bug. Returned last weekend and have been flat on my back since. For those who’ve been looking for fresh material here, I apologize for my tardy return.

  • January 14, 2010

    Returning Soldiers Could Get Special Deer Season

    By Dave Hurteau

    From the Wisconsin State Journal:

    Even before he got back from Iraq, Sgt. Kevin Johnson had deer hunting on his mind. So Johnson… wrote Wisconsin lawmakers with an idea: Establish a special deer season for the thousands of returning soldiers who missed the chance to hunt this fall… .

  • January 12, 2010

    Last Deer of the Bow Season

    By Scott Bestul

    The last few years I’ve developed a thing for hunting the last day of the deer season. Sure, I get jacked for the opener like everyone else, but as I’ve grown older it’s become just as important to me to watch the sun set on the hunt. Of course it helps that I’ve usually got a tag to fill and some empty freezer space. But I honestly think I’d go even if that wasn’t the case.

  • January 11, 2010

    Hunter's Dilemma: Which Buck Would You Take?

    By Scott Bestul

    My friend Bob is a very good bowhunter. He scouts exhaustively. Shoots continually. Hunts both hard and smart (and there is a difference). His trophy walls are proof of his skill and attention to detail; last time I was in there, I think Bob had close to 20 whitetails hanging that any hunter would be proud of.

    So here’s the deal: For the last couple of seasons, Bob has known about a giant buck on property he has permission to hunt. Two years ago he passed the deer, knowing it had tremendous potential. Last fall the buck had made a big jump in antler growth and Bob was dialed into his early season patterns like a thief breaking a lock combination. Then an accident kept Bob out of the woods for much of the fall, unable to hunt the buck.

  • January 8, 2010

    How's Your Deer Wreck Record?

    By Scott Bestul

    Virtually every mile I’ve driven since age 16 has been logged in whitetail country. Somehow I’ve managed to hit only two deer during that span. Actually both of those whitetails ran into me, but this is a technicality insurance companies don’t recognize.

    Statistically, I’ve been pretty lucky. According to State Farm Insurance, the nation’s leading auto insurer, the number of deer/vehicle collisions is on the rise; an estimated 2.4 million deer were hit by vehicles from July 2007 to July 2009. That averages out to 100,000 incidents per month, or one every 26 seconds.

  • January 7, 2010

    Wisconsin Wardens Bust 29 Felons During Gun Season

    By Dave Hurteau

    From the Chicago Tribune:
    A state report says Wisconsin wardens arrested 29 felons for possessing a firearm during the November gun deer hunt -- the most in seven years. . . .

    [F]elons can't possess firearms under state and federal law, but they can purchase hunting licenses in Wisconsin.

    State Rep. Jeff Smith, an Eau Claire Democrat, is working on a bill that would prohibit felons from purchasing any kind of gun hunting license.

  • January 6, 2010

    Concrete Statue Puts Smack-Down on Rutty Buck

    By Scott Bestul

    If you’ve ever hunted over a decoy, you know that a whitetail buck will attack inanimate objects that resemble other male deer. My cousin has had two different 3-D targets—left out in his yard overnight—thrashed by rutting bucks. But a whitetail in Viroqua, Wisconsin, learned the hard way that sometimes those impostor bucks will fight back.

  • January 4, 2010

    Monster Buck Takes A School Bus Ride

    By Scott Bestul

    Some deer stories can only take place in a small town. Case in point? Last week our local high school boy’s basketball team was returning home from an away game. The giant buck pictured above leaped in front of their bus and, predictably, did not escape the encounter. Though the buck was dead, everyone on the team was fine, and the bus sustained minimal injury.