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  • December 29, 2011

    Florida Woman Assualts Ex-Boyfriend with Whitetail Mount

    By Scott Bestul

    In what must be the season’s strangest buck fight, a Florida woman recently used her ex-boyfriend’s whitetail mount as a weapon--against him! According to this story in the Tampa Bay Times, Chelsea Harrison and her ex-boyfriend got into an argument that caused Harrison to lock her door in an attempt to keep her ex-beau out of the home they share.

    When Terry Nowakowski busted down the door and entered anyway, Harrison grabbed the shoulder mount of a whitetail deer and attacked, using the tines to jab Nowakowski in the face and body. Harrison has been charged with domestic battery.

  • December 28, 2011

    Did You Get a Gun For Christmas, Too?

    By Dave Hurteau

    Actually I got a winter restoration project—a Savage Model 24 in .22LR/.410 with good bores and solid wood but a very rough exterior. As far as I’m concerned, the Model 24 in this configuration is the perfect squirrel gun.

    By the way, did you know that squirrel hunting makes excellent practice for hunting whitetail deer, the species about which this blog is solely dedicated?

    As I was saying, it’s a fantastic squirrel gun, particularly for small woodlots close to populated areas, because you can use the .22 when your backdrop will stop a bullet and the .410 when it won’t. Plus it’s just a damned cool gun that I’ve always wanted to own.

  • December 27, 2011

    What I Learned From My Trail Cams This Season

    By Scott Bestul

    Every fall I try to learn something from one season to take into the next year. Of course many of the best lessons come from some deer behavior I’ve actually witnessed. But this year trail cams provided the take-away.

    Normally, I’m pretty lax about keeping my trail cams out in the woods during hunting seasons. But for some reason this fall, I managed to keep a couple out there, and they revealed something I found fascinating; the best time to see a great buck in my area was much later in the rut than I thought. In most years, it’s been my belief that early November was the prime time for seeing good day-time buck movement here. Well I hunted that time frame pretty rigorously and I was quite disappointed.

  • December 23, 2011

    Potential Record-Breaking Typical Taken in Illinois

    By Dave Hurteau

  • December 23, 2011

    Scoring and Restoring Your Rack: Reader Tips Welcome

    By Scott Bestul

    This image was submitted by Field & Stream reader Anthony Cox, who found this tremendous skull while assisting on a Wounded Warrior hunt held at Camp Atterbury in Indiana.

    Cox feels the skull is that of a giant non-typical that had been seen on the Camp in previous seasons. He wrote to ask us for help scoring the rack and tips on restoring the skull to a presentable condition for display.

    Scoring a non-typical as funky as this is a challenge to say the least, but I’ll take a wild stab and say there’s 255 inches of total antler there. Okay, now it's your turn: Give Anthony your best guess on a gross B&C score. Anthony, if you need a more accurate score, I suggest you call a certified measurer in your area. They’re all listed in a handy reference page on the B&C site. 

  • December 22, 2011

    The Bucks We Pass Don’t Always Make It

    By Scott Bestul

    On October 28th, almost two months ago now, I passed a shot at a pretty 10-pointer. The 3-1/2 year old buck was lazily following a doe toward my stand and at first glance looked so nice that I picked up my bow, clipped my release on the string, and prepared to shoot him if he gave me the opportunity. But then he stopped at 30 yards to nibble on some standing soybeans, and I got a long look at him through binoculars.

    I’d decided to pass by the time he strolled by at 16 steps. He was a gorgeous whitetail, but it was early in the rut and I knew there were more mature animals in the neighborhood. So I put the bow down and in doing so I confirmed something my wife has long suspected—that while I do hunt hard for a chance at a big deer, I’m hunting just as hard for an excuse to stay in the woods!

  • December 22, 2011

    Hurteau’s Secret Scent-Control Regimen: Sweat, Grime, and Tunafish

    by Dave Hurteau

    For a little over a week in southern Iowa three years ago, I was as good as odorless to deer. Ask Bestul. He was there. Day after day, deer got straight downwind of my stand and not one busted me. So let me reveal to you my scent-control secrets for that hunt.

    This was my exact regimen:

    1.) Each morning, with one or two exceptions, I did not shower.

    2.) Every day, I wore the same clothes without washing them.

    3.) Before each sit, with a few exceptions, I hung a stand, which ensured maximum perspiration.

  • December 19, 2011

    On Why I Like Vegetarians (for the Most Part)

    By Dave Hurteau

    by Dave Hurteau

    I’ve known a lot of vegetarians. I was engaged to one once (technically “pre-engaged,” whatever the hell that means). And you know, I don’t think I’ve ever met one I didn’t like. I’ve met some I thought were full of $#!%, but none I didn’t like. I like some hunters who are also full of $#!%.

    It’s fun to bust on vegetarians, and they usually take it well. Especially fun are the easy marks, the ones who say, “I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish.” We had a vegetarian friend over to dinner recently who said, “I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish and chicken,” which made me think of a line from The Princess Bride: “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  • December 15, 2011

    Announcing The Winner of the Buck-Scoring Contest!

    By Dave Hurteau

    Someone has won a brand new Bushnell Elite 3-9x40 DOA 600 scope. But I’m not going to tell you who just yet.

    First, here are the actual gross B&C scores of the four bucks we took—all on the first day of the hunt—at Trophy Ridge Outfitters in northeastern Wyoming, a real sleeper area for whitetails, where we saw deer pretty much everywhere we looked:

    Buck #1, taken by Kevin Howard of Howard Communications, measures 136 2/8

  • December 14, 2011

    On Why I Love Hunting the Big Woods, Part II

    By Dave Hurteau

    When you are still-hunting well—when the sounds of your footfalls sink into the duff and you are not moving too fast, for a change—you feel like you deserve to see a deer. You sense not just that you could see one at any moment (a rare enough feeling in the northeast) but that you should.

    But the Big Woods quickly cure you of such nonsense. You don’t deserve anything. You get what you get. And I got zip the other day in exchange for two hours of noiselessly picking over a hemlock-and-red-oak bedding ridge. I got more of the same silently paralleling a long, dark bench, after which I was about ready to give it up. But there was one other spot I wanted to check—a knoll of massive white pines where bedded deer like to put their butts to the fat tree trunks and face downhill.

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