I’ve been doing a bunch of scouting over the last few weeks and, like everyone else, I’m keying in on rubs and scrapes. This buck sign is not only the easiest to spot, it can also reveal something about the size of its maker and, when found in good concentrations, can prove that a deer is spending a good deal of his time in a particular spot.
But there’s a hitch. While finding a bonanza of buck sign in a certain spot is exciting, that immediate area may not be the best place to kill the deer that made it. In fact, it can be among the worst.
The backstrap is the quintessential cut of venison. It's easy to remove, easy to slice, and best of all, easy to make delicious. For trimming up a truly perfect backstrap steak for the table, only a few rules apply. Slice it across the grain, about an inch thick for the grill and a half-inch thick for the pan, and fillet the steaks away from the thick layer of sinew that holds the muscle in place.
As I was saying, elk are tough. But before I get any further on that, let me address some of the comments from Part 1. Some of you said that the new Mossberg MVP 7.62 appears to be a brush rifle and not ideally suited to elk hunting in general. To that point, a couple of things: (1) We were hunting mostly timber and small openings therein, where shots were fairly close and where the MVP was certainly up to the job, and (2) Mossberg doesn't tout the MVP as the perfect elk rifle; they just wanted us the try it out on a cool hunt, and elk it was.
Home to the Packers, the Badgers, and more beer and cheese than is healthy for anyone, Wisconsin is also cementing its reputation as Trophy Central in the Boone & Crockett record books. B&C's latest big-game awards book recognizes trophies taken across North America from 2010 to 2012, and Wisconsin leads all destinations with 412 trophy animals listed for the period. Second place goes to Alaska, with 221 entries.
This is fascinating stuff for whitetail hunters, largely because those Wisconsin entries are comprised of only two big-game species; deer and black bear. The next five states/provinces, in order, are Alaska, British Columbia, Wyoming, and Colorado, all home to multiple species of big game. Wisconsin's closest competition in the whitetail arena is Ohio (6th place, 144 entries) and Kentucky (7th place, 139 entries).
After one of my last posts, 365-regular and fellow Bangorian Douglas asked about my recent elk hunt. I've been meaning to blog about this, but you now how things go this time of year.
Anyway, it was great. I hunted at Elkhorn Oufitters's high-country camp near Craig, Colorado. It was a rare September rifle hunt, during which some fellow writers and I tested, among other things, Mossberg's new MVP Predator 7.62 NATO.
The buck in the photo above is dead, shot by a young hunter who was, of course, ecstatic. Shortly after the kill, however, things went sour. A neighboring landowner felt robbed because "his" deer—which spent much of its life on that property—was now going on someone else's wall. People started questioned the kill: Was it legit? Did a parent shoot it instead of the kid? Where exactly was the buck standing when it tipped over?
Last night, I missed one of the better bucks I’ve seen from a New York bow stand — a nice, clean 10-pointer at least 3-1/2 years old. Few bucks around here live to see their second set of antlers, so the fact that he was a little shy of the Pope and Young Club makes him no less a dandy.
I’d made an aggressive move. With deer entering this small field from odd directions, I had been hunting it pretty conservatively. But yesterday afternoon I decided to move my stand to where most of the deer had been coming out and take a chance that any others might catch my wind.
If you're a businessman trying to win a free lunch at your favorite diner, do you tuck your business card in a dusty corner and hope that management spots it? Of course not. You stick it in the fish bowl on the counter with the others—right where it's got the best shot at being noticed.
Scrapes work much the same for whitetails. I don't know anyone who claims to know all the functions of a scrape, but this much seems certain: They serve as a kind of social interaction site where deer come to toss down some ID. They are especially important in the weeks leading up to the rut. I'm heading out for a scouting/stand-hanging mission this afternoon, and finding scrapes is at the top of my to-do list.
And now for the last video in our 8-part series series on how to set up your own bow. If you missed any of the previous videos, click on any of the following: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6. In the previous post, Nick Droback with Bowtech explained target tuning. Now it’s time to paper tune your bow.
If you’ve been watching so far (if not see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6), you now know how to get your bow set up for shooting. So now it’s time to shoot it. In this video, Nick Droback with Bowtech explains how to target tune (or sight in) your bow. And because this is pretty short and simple, we will follow up very quickly with Part 8.