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Deer Hunting

  • October 24, 2013

    Bucks Begin Serious Sign-Making

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    By Scott Bestul

    The buck in the photo is a nice 10-point my trail cam snapped on a mock scrape located on public land. Originally, I'd found several natural scrapes along this field edge; then I created the mock nearby where the photo opportunity was better. I set the camera, and got this buck the first night, then two others in the next two evenings. I'll leave the camera out for at least a week at this spot, just as a survey tool to census the number and of bucks in the area.

    But as nice as this buck is, the real excitement came when I did a brief scouting loop through the nearby hardwood timber. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 24, 2013

    Breaking Mild Weather Should Get Bucks Moving Early Next Week

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    By Jeff Holmes

    Overall activity status: "Check this old guy out," reports Wind River Whitetails' Mike Rinehart. "I bet this deer is 7 ½ years old, and look at the junk on his head. His left antler is palmated, and check out the mega neck he has.  This deer will push 250 on the hoof."

    Bucks are already beginning to scrape on Rinehart's mile-high ranch in Western Wyoming's eastern front, and the weird-racked buck above as well as the mature buck below just started showing up on his game cameras for the first time.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 23, 2013

    Shoot Me Down: Big Bucks Don't Create Bad Behavior

    By Scott Bestul

    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?  [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 23, 2013

    Bucks are Transitioning from Pre-Rut to Rut

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    By Eric Bruce

    Hunters are hitting the woods in big numbers now and many are seeing good activity. Firearms seasons have begun in several areas, so more good bucks are being seen and tagged. Most notable are the increased observations of bucks chasing does. In the pre-rut states of South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, and portions of Louisiana and Florida, hunters are seeing a definite uptick in buck movement.

    Those states are in the transition between pre-rut and rut. It's still a little early for does to be coming into estrus, but that's not stopping many young bucks from pursuing the females. Most of the bigger mature bucks are still waiting for the real thing. But most bucks are in the mood and are vulnerable to calling, rattling, and some doe-in-heat scent.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 23, 2013

    Falling Leaves Hide the Truth—Bucks Are Scraping

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    By Mike Bleech

    Overall Activity Status: In general, overall deer activity is increasing. Temperatures around the Northeast Region are getting closer to seasonal. This probably has more to do with increased movement than anything else.

    Fighting: Reports of fighting or sparring bucks increased over the past week.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 23, 2013

    More Bucks Moving After Sunrise

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    By David Draper

    I probably shouldn't say this out loud, but someone has to speak the truth: don't believe everything you read, particularly when it comes to deer hunting. Instead, let the deer dictate your hunting plans. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 22, 2013

    The Rut is Ramping Up, Nationwide

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    By Scott Bestul

    This is my favorite time of the hunting season. As recent dispatches from our rut reporters indicate, the hinges are starting to pop loose, and full-blown breeding bedlam should come busting through in just a week or two. But in the meantime, the days are getting cooler and buck activity is steadily ramping up at a time when the deer are still fairly predictable. It’s a great time to be in the woods, and it will only improve daily, making each new hunt full of promise. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 22, 2013

    What's Worse: Screwing Up Bad or Screwing Up Stupid?

    By Dave Hurteau

    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. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 22, 2013

    Activity Slow Now, But Give It a Week

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    By Will Brantley

    Overall Activity Status: My buddy Jimbo Robinson down in Tennessee put it this way: “It’s been suck city here, Brantley. We’ve got a full moon and a bumper acorn crop, and the deer aren’t moving at all.”

    Fighting: Robinson noted that bachelor groups are only now breaking up in southwest Tennessee, but that makes sense. The rut in that part of the world doesn’t really begin kicking until the end of November or first of December. Bucks have been broken up for a few weeks around in my neck of the woods, and fighting is becoming more frequent.

    Rub Making: Although rubs aren’t hard to find right now, I’m not seeing as many as I typically do at this time of year. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 21, 2013

    A Bull And A Buck In Wolf Country

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    By Jeff Holmes

    Bill Williams of Lewiston, Idaho, hunts a portion of the storied Clearwater River Country that has been less popular with hunters over the last several years because of the presence of wolf packs and resulting shifts in deer and elk populations and behaviors. Late last week, amidst fewer competing hunters than normal – both human and canine – Williams took this bull elk in the morning and dropped this big, mature whitetail in the evening.
     
    “A lot of people won’t even hunt here anymore,” said Williams of his favorite spot in the mountains of north central Idaho, a state that is perhaps home to the best whitetail opportunities anywhere in the West. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 21, 2013

    Study Shows More Hunters Are In It For The Meat

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    By David Draper

    Although it shouldn’t come as a surprise to readers of this blog, a recent study by Responsive Management has put numbers to the motivations behind hunting—and meat came out on top. The study, which was released last Wednesday, asked Americans ages 18 and older about their most important reason for hunting in the prior year. Of those polled, 35 percent selected “for the meat” as the most important reason for their recent hunting participation, a 13 percent uptick from a similar survey conducted in 2006 when just 22 percent of hunters said “for the meat” was their biggest reason for going afield.  [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 21, 2013

    Scouting Tip: Work Outside-In to Find the Hottest Scrapes

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    By Scott Bestul

    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.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 21, 2013

    Smaller Bucks Active; Rubbing and Sparring on the Rise

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    By Brandon Ray

    Overall Activity Status: The full moon this past weekend was to blame for slow action, according to my contacts. Most reported the usual: does and small bucks active during the last 30 minutes of the day; no sightings of big bucks. Ronnie Parsons in the Texas Hill Country reported very little activity. Shawn Hoover and his son Dylan, hunting the youth season in Oklahoma, reported seeing only a few does, and those were not moving until after sunset near agriculture. Whit Peterman, hunting his family's place in Bosque County, reported slow hunting. Rusty Sims, hunting the Texas Panhandle, passed up a young 130-class buck in the evening. The following evening, he got a shot at a 140-inch 10-point buck. He is the only one I talked to that saw good bucks this weekend.

    Fighting: We're getting a few pictures of bucks sparring on trail cameras. Expect that to go up a notch as we transition from October to November. Older bucks get less tolerant of small bucks in their space the closer we get to the rut.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 18, 2013

    Be Your Own Bow Tech, Part 8: Paper Tune Your Bow

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    By Dave Hurteau

    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. [ Read Full Post ]

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