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  • August 31, 2012

    Today’s Challenge: Say Something Nice About Outdoor TV

    By Dave Hurteau

    Last week’s “Hunting Terms to Loath” post seemed to hit a nerve, which is great. Glad you liked it. But I think I could be accused of hitting too fat a pitch. What, after all, could be easier than bad-mouthing outdoor television?

    Everybody does it. Even the people in outdoor TV do it. When I interview or hunt with producers, videographers, or hosts (who are overwhelmingly nice, likeable people by the way), they routinely talk about how bad every other show is and/or make fun of the worst outdoor TVisms. And yet, despite the near universal opinion that outdoor TV sucks, hunters by the pick-up-truckloads tune in every week.

    I don’t think it’s that much of a mystery. Watching a giant buck come trotting through the hedge apples or weaving through the bluestem or thumping over the oak flat with the morning light on him is a rare, rare sight for most of us. To see it, many of us are willing to put up with a circus of grade-school antics and a cascade of moronic clichés. Like it or not, outdoor TV is more and more the (or at least a) public face of our sport. And while we absolutely should piss and moan when we don’t like the way we are being represented, we should also stand up and point and shout when it’s done right.

    So here’s your challenge for the weekend: Say something nice about outdoor TV, and then list the shows, if any, that you do like. I’ll start:

  • August 29, 2012

    Poll: Do Whitetail Deer Have a Sixth Sense?

    By Dave Hurteau

    You didn’t move, you didn’t make a sound, you had the wind, and yet that buck seemed to know something was wrong. How? A sixth sense, maybe?

    Well, in the interest of not leading the witnesses—and not doing any more work than I have to—I won’t tell you what Bestul and I think on this topic, At least not yet.

  • August 28, 2012

    Velvet Shed: One Step Closer to Deer Hunting Season

    By Scott Bestul

    While velvet bucks are undeniably cool, the sight of the first hard antler on whitetails means the fall hunting season is almost here, and I’ll be in a stand very soon! The bachelor group pictured above hangs out on one of the farms I hunt, and if you look closely, the pretty 8-point on the left side of the frame has shed his velvet. This is the first hard-antler buck my cameras have captured this year. I have a photo of this same buck only three days prior, and he was still wearing velvet.

  • August 27, 2012

    Buck Behavior: Finally, A Definition for 'Core Area'...Kinda

    By Dave Hurteau

    If you don’t know precisely what a “core area” is, it’s probably because until very recently nobody else did either. Biologists never seemed to use the term, but in the popular literature you’d often read a sentence like this: “First, find the buck’s core area…” with no further explanation.

    This drove Bestul and me nuts. So, for a 2006 Field & Stream article, we tried to give “core area” a working definition and came up with: “A small area within a buck’s home range, where it spends the large majority of its time bedding and feeding from summer through early winter when not seeking mates.” We knew it wasn’t perfect, but it was a start.

    Then in 2008, a real scientist nailed it down a little more firmly.

  • August 23, 2012

    Let the 2012 Deer Season Begin: An Early SC Velvet Buck

    By Scott Bestul

    As far as the new season goes, most of us still have some floor pacing to do—but not anyone who lives in South Carolina, which hosts the country’s earliest opener. Perhaps nowhere in America does a hunter stand a better chance at taking a velvet buck, and certainly no place offers such an early chance for the rifleman.

    My friend Jason Hart, an account manager with Mossy Oak, took a fantastic velvet 10-point last Wednesday afternoon, the state’s opening day. Jason’s work load had prevented him from doing much preseason scouting, but one of the veteran members of his hunt club pointed him to a stand overlooking a peanut field.

  • August 21, 2012

    HS Scent-A-Way Caption Contest Winner Announced!

    By Scott Bestul

    Well done, all. Lot’s of good captions. Hurteau and I were largely in agreement over the finalists, though I had to make an executive decision on the winner. Never, I’ve learned, let Dave make critical decisions after one of his Monday morning rants (see this blog from August 20); he just gets a little testy after taking on whatever aspect of modern deer hunting has turned his crank that day.

    Anyway, without further fuss, and in no particular order, here are the 10 runners-up:

  • August 20, 2012

    Hunting Terms to Loathe: Ground Shrinkage, Hit Lists, and Lung Butter

    By Dave Hurteau

    I hate the term “ground shrinkage.” Never heard it? Just watch 10 minutes of outdoor television. It is said by morons who after climbing out of their treestands and walking up to the buck they just shot, realize in horror that the deer won’t score quite as high as they’d thought, and is thus worth less.

    What a rotten thing to say about the buck that just gave it all up for their entertainment and sustenance.

    While I’m at it, here are a few more apparently in-vogue deer-hunting terms that make me cringe:

  • August 15, 2012

    Bow Test: Surprising Results from Shooting the New Mathews Heli-M

    By Dave Hurteau

    I say surprising not because the new Heli-M is a pleasure to shoot—that, I expect from Mathews' top-end bow—but because I did not expect such a short, light bow to shoot as well as it did.

    But first, after reading the review I posted here last month of the new Bowtech CPX and CPXL, in which I described the bow’s performance and listed my shooting results at 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards, a reader asked: “But do you like it?” It’s true, I never really addressed that. So, the answer is: Yeah, sure. Quiet, smooth, fast, well-built—what’s not to like? The CPX’s draw cycle is a little more aggressive than what I prefer for hunting, and because a longer bow doesn’t typically present a problem for me in the field, I like the smoother-drawing CPXL a little better, which shot exceedingly well all the way out to 60 yards. But that’s just me. You might have no trouble with the CPX’s draw and might love the blazing 355-IBO speed.

  • August 14, 2012

    Minnesota Deer-Farm Poacher Receives $54K Fine, 4 Months in Jail, Banned From Hunting and Fishing

    By Scott Bestul

    Last December, we posted the story of one Ryan Paul Jackson, a then-19-year-old who cut the fence at a deer farm about 20 miles from my home and shot a 21-point buck with his bow. Jackson then dragged the buck from the enclosure, registered it at a local gas station, and proceeded to haul it around town for bragging and posing for photo sessions.

    He even posted photos of the buck on his Facebook page before hiring a taxidermist to do the mount. But not so surprisingly, Jackson’s glory was short-lived. Within days of his night poaching raid, authorities had confiscated the buck’s head and Jackson was in jail.

    The buck Jackson killed was valued somewhere between $15,000-$20,000. During the theft, 10 other deer escaped the enclosure, including two other adult bucks of lesser monetary value than the 21-pointer. Eight of the deer returned to the pen, but the two bucks remain at large.

  • August 10, 2012

    Contest: Write Best Caption, Win HS Scent-A-Way Package

    by Scott Bestul

    Know what? You stink. Man, I can smell you from here. I’m talking reek like a yeti in a Finnish sauna. Now, I don’t care what you do about it. But the whitetails will this fall. So the crack team at Whitetail 365 (me and Hurteau, in case you’re confused) are offering you a chance to do something about it. Write a winning caption for the photo above, and you’ll walk away with this Scent-A-Way package below from the folks at Hunter's Specialties.

    You know the drill. Best caption—judged by me and Dave—brings home the goods.

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