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  • May 15, 2008

    Minnesota Sharpshooters Kill 962 Deer

    By Scott Bestul

    From The Star Tribune:

    Sharpshooters have finished for now trying to dramatically thin the deer herd in part of northwestern Minnesota plagued by bovine tuberculosis. . . .

    Eight of the 962 deer killed by sharpshooters are suspected of having bovine TB. Two have tested positive; results are pending on the others.

  • May 15, 2008

    Whitetail News Roundup

  • May 13, 2008

    BuckTracker: On Young Hunters

    By Scott Bestul

    You hear all the time about the decline in young hunter numbers these days, that there aren't enough juniors replacing us oldsters as there used to be. It's tempting to let such statistics depress us, but sometimes I wonder; maybe it isn't always about sheer numbers, but quality. Perhaps if the folks who replace us are more passionate, articulate and committed than we are, then hunting's future might not be so bleak...

    As evidence, I offer the following short essay, submitted by young hunter McCall Casey from Dallas, Texas. You'll also find a photo of McCall posing with his grandfather when he was eight. Clearly his love of hunting has continued to grow. Please give it a read and let me know your thoughts.

    Mccall_6_years_old_and_grand_dad_ra

    A Day On The Ranch
    by McCall Casey, age 13.

    I wake up at five in the morning and the darkness covers the ranch like
    a cold blanket. The stars gleam with a feeling of company in this
    darkness.


    I hurry my pace to get out of bed. I get my gun, bullets, and binoculars, that is all I need. I don’t need scent lock, no bugle, and no rattling horns. I step out the door with a feeling of satisfaction. The mist tickles my face. I have to hurry up before the sun comes up.

    I arrive at my blind as the sun arrives over the horizon. I settle in as the mist disappears. It has been an hour and the doe and fawn roam but there is still time for that one buck to come.

    Wait!! Something in the shadows catches my eye. I lift my binoculars and my heart skips a beat and I stare with my mouth dropped as a monster buck comes rocking in. He comes in with his old torn, tattered, and tough skin. He knows he is the boss and all the deer get out of his way because they and I know he’ll make you get out of his way.

    I suddenly snap out of my awe. My heart feels like it went into overdrive. My hands start to shake, voice quivering, and adrenalin passing through my veins. I take my gun and take aim. I lay the crosshairs on his shoulder.

    I go through a check list in my head; bullet in chamber...check, safety off...check, don’t jerk the trigger but pull slowly...ok. The buck gives a perfect shot. Aim, aim, aim...BANG!

    A perfect shot the deer leaps for its life and jolts running. I watch with my binoculars. The deer gets to the edge of the field. It tugs, it trips, and it tugs on. With its last moment of being king; he goes down. Peace.

    He lays at the end of the field in peace, peace, peace.

    I score him at the cabin that night. In my own awe he scored 350 B&C.

    For my whole life I’ll remember this very second, this very hour, this very day on the ranch.

  • May 9, 2008

    BuckTracker: First Velvet Sighting!

    By Scott Bestul

    While moving in on a gobbling turkey early this week, I had the good fortune of slipping up on another prize; my first antlered buck of the season! Though he only wore velvet-covered knobs 3-4” tall, I honestly think I might know this deer. And here’s why:

    For starters, two friends had filmed a nice buck (one they couldn’t shoot) on this point last fall, and I got to watch their footage multiple times. Something about the buck I saw Monday just seemed familiar, and I wondered if it was the same deer. Second, the buck was bedded on a ridge-end I know well. This spot is a perennial bedding area for at least one mature buck every fall. The buck I encountered—despite looking springtime-skinny—was long and large bodied, obviously an older deer. Finally, it’s been my impression that mature deer seem to return to favorite bedding spots year after year, as if the place is familiar, comfortable and safe for them. So I just combined all these factors and came to the conclusion that the buck I saw Monday was the same one my friends saw last October. I hope it is….and I hope someone gets a closer look at him from a tree stand this fall!

    I did not, unfortunately, get my gobbler. But I did see my first velvet deer of the year. Which got me to wondering about antler growth in the rest of the country. Are you seeing bucks yet? If so, how is antler growth progressing? Or perhaps it’s too early yet. Some guys I know are still looking for sheds! 

  • May 8, 2008

    Bass Pro Shops Offers $5000 Rack Reward

    By Scott Bestul

    From Missouri’s News-Leader:

    Bass Pro Shops is offering a $5,000 gift card for information leading to the return of a record-setting whitetail taken by a 16-year-old in Iowa in 2003, and the arrest and conviction of the persons who stole the mount in 2004. . . .

    The enormous buck B&C net scored 253 1/8, making it the non-typical state record and the world’s No. 2 bow-taken whitetail that year.

  • May 8, 2008

    Whitetail News Roundup

    By Scott Bestul

    The Latest On Michigan’s TB-Zone Cull
    www.freep.com

    North Dakota Deer Hunters Get Special Early Season
    www.kxmc.com

    Nevada May Cut 2008 Deer Tags
    www.nevadaappeal.com

  • May 7, 2008

    BuckTracker: Good Eats, and the Proof of Spring!

    By Scott Bestul

    I have hinted—if not outright whined—about the severity of the past winter here in the upper Midwest (an event so windy, frigid and interminable it reminded me of a certain English professor I had back in my college days).

    But it is without doubt spring now, and the most certain proof has not been the influx of songbirds or the gobbling of turkeys, but the appearance of morel mushrooms. Robins can be fooled into early migration, and toms will breed hens in a snowstorm, but when mushrooms start popping, it is by-God-spring. It takes moisture, daylight and heat to make these babies grow, and once they start coming, summer is only a few weeks away.

    Though I have yet to find my first fungi of 08, friends are starting to send pictures and brag of gorging themselves (see photo, below). I look forward to the first meal of the year and, more importantly, teaching my kids the joy of hunting morels. Do these tasty, easy-to-identify mushrooms grow in your hunting area? If not, are there other varieties you gather, now or in the fall? Let me know!

    Img_0333

  • May 2, 2008

    BuckTracker: Your Take on Baiting, Please

    By Scott Bestul

    I would like to thank reader Jon (see the last post) for supplying today’s discussion topic. Jon notes that he will never be convinced that there is a difference between a 20-by-20 foot food plot and a bait pile. This is an argument I hear quite often. Baiting proponents contend that a pile of corn, apples, sugar beets (insert food of choice) in the woods is no different than a field of clover, corn or winter wheat. Baiting opponents contend that a food is there 24/7-365; feeding deer regardless of weather or the close of hunting season.

    What are your thoughts? Is baiting a legitimate tool for today’s hunters? Do we need to hunt over food to shoot the number of deer biologists are asking us to? What’s the  difference between a food plot and a corn pile?  Does baiting give hunters a black eye to the non-hunting public? Are there areas where baiting is legitimate and others where it is not? I’d like to hear your thoughts….and see your shed pics!

  • May 1, 2008

    Hunters Fired Up Over Michigan’s Deer Cull

    By Scott Bestul

    From The Grand Rapids Press:

    Hundreds of whitetail deer have been shot in recent weeks in Michigan's northeastern Lower Peninsula under a program aimed at preventing them from transmitting bovine tuberculosis to cattle.

    The Department of Natural Resources mailed thousands of free, unsolicited deer kill tags this year to farmers in the state's TB zone.

    The initiative has displeased some northern Michigan hunters and business owners who have seen deer numbers fall in recent years.

    "If you're doing this, you'd be called an exterminator, not a hunter," Doug Mummert, of Gaylord, said. "If we've got to have a reduction in the deer herd, it should be through regular hunting methods."

  • May 1, 2008

    Whitetail News Roundup

    By Scott Bestul

    Lyme Disease On The Uptick In Maine
    blog.biddefordsacooobcourier.com

    Hard Winter Hammers New Brunswick Deer Herds
    timestranscript.canadaeast.com

    Wisconsin Editorial: “Baiting Must Stop”
    www.couleenews.com

    Annual Antler Regrowth May Rely On Stem Cells
    www.upi.com

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