What’s the number one state for tagging a trophy whitetail? Where’s the best place to take any deer, buck or doe? How about the prime destination for a big public-land buck? The answers are on this map, found on pages 48 and 49 of the February 2011 issue of Field & Stream. Part of our “Deer Crazy” cover story, it reveals the nation’s Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States, Top 10 Any-Whitetail States, Top 5 Public-Land Whitetail States, and more. That said, we figured you might also like to know where your state ranks, even if it’s not in the top ten. Maybe you’d like to see the stats behind our rankings. So, in a series of blog posts here on Whitetail 365, we’re going to lay out the complete state rankings and explain how we arrived at them.
Joe Hamilton, founder of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), has been named Budweiser’s “Conservationist of the Year” beating out three other finalists for the prestigious honor. Hamilton accepted the award during the Golden Moose Awards ceremony, held during the 2011 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
I met Joe two years ago at a QDMA function, and the man is simply a class act. Among the most respected biologists in the country, Hamilton has spent his over 40 years studying wildlife and is an expert on many species, from amphibians to black bears. He’s among a handful of living biologists who has received a Career Achievement Award from The Wildlife Society, an association of professional biologists and researchers. Joe has also worked with other groups, such as Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy, to create conservation easements and expand hunting opportunity. But you’d never guess at his pedigree if you met this modest, friendly man on the street.
I do. Because today the Minnesota DNR announced that lab tests confirmed that a doe killed by a bowhunter last fall has tested positive for the disease. Here’s the story, released this morning by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The CWD-positive deer was shot near the town of Pine Island, about 50 miles from my home. Interestingly, there was a large captive elk herd in the same area that had to be destroyed a couple a couple of years ago, after (you guessed it) CWD was discovered during random testing.
First, in case you missed it during the flurry of Shot Show posts last week, we want your opinion on the State of the Whitetail Union. Click here to tell us what you think are the best and worst aspects of today’s deer hunting. Now to the caption contest.
This time to choose the finalists I wrote all 356 captions on individual slips of paper, stuffed them into the pockets of my dirtiest pants, and did a laundry. Here are the ones that came out intact and still legible:
"New from Summit! The worlds most effective treestand anti theft device! Never loose another treestand to theft! (Summit is not responsible for accidental maulings)" –oki515
“Burp....” –Happy Miles
“Excuse me sir, do you have your hunting license? Umm, on second thought, you look legal.” –Booner Chaser
My friend Josh shot a very nice buck during this year’s late muzzleloader season. It was a buck he knew well, from numerous trail camera photos and several encounters over the last couple of seasons. Josh’s buck was a fine, mature animal and one that any hunter would be proud to tag.
If not, it should soon. In this, the February 2011 issue, F&S delivers its "State of Whitetail Union," featuring what we see as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the modern whitetail boom. Scott Bestul and I will be posting excerpts and related material right here in the days and weeks ahead. But for now, we want your opinion.
Using this format…
The Good: What you see as the best thing about today’s deer hunting
The Bad: What you see as the worst thing about today’s deer hunting
But first let me again shower you with compliments. (I hate to do it, but it’s important to our advertisers that you keep coming back.) For the second time since I started these things, an astounding 20 percent of contestants guessed within roughly 5 inches of the actual total gross score of our four bucks. Think about that for a second. Now think about how easy it is be to 5 inches off any single buck. Also, it has to be said that mwmrtn is a buck-scoring freak. For three constests in a row now, he has been within 5 inches of the actual total score—well within, including one stint as a finalist (tied for best overall guess.)
Earlier this month, I posted a link to a story by the Illinois Outdoor News reporting that Andrae D’Acquisto, former owner of Lone Wolf Treestands and current owner of Lone Wolf Productions, which produces Whitetail Addiction TV, had pled guilty to hunting without a valid Illinois hunting license and habitat stamp, and that in the plea agreement, baiting charges were dropped. You may remember that I promised you more information. I wanted to hear from D’Acquisto, as well as from a warden who was on the scene. On Thursday of last week, I received a statement on D’Acquisto’s behalf from Lone Wolf Productions, and on Saturday morning I spoke with Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Officer Rich Logsdon, who worked the case.
I have another Knight & Hale Pack Rack Rattling System to give away. I have another goofy photo. And the post I originally had planned for today fell through. So let’s just get right to it—which if your deer season is over, like mine, will give you something hunting related to think about over the long, cold weekend.
I’m not sure who has the short end of the stick here: me, who has had to sort through 460-some captions to choose the best, or you, whose odds of winning the Knight & Hale Pack Rack Rattling System rests on my sense of humor.
Yeah...you’ve probably got it worse.
Still it has been a painful process eliminating so many good ones to arrive at the following top twelve (Lunkerbuster, if the deer in the picture were clearly a buck, “I knew they were rutting but this is ridiculous,” would have been right up there.)
1. How to tell when a Midwesterner has a DUI. --wignoz 2. What kids take to show and tell in the rural Midwest. –mad_dog9999 3. “Next week, I fill the Moose Tag!!” –Warmil 4. Da road commission budget cuts in da U.P. have taken their toll on road kill cleanup. –dagoodguy 5. “Now THAT was a bachelor party!” –guyandarifle