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Friday, October 28, 2011

Could be the biggest typical buck ever killed during the archery season in Oklahoma!

photo - Wade Ward of Foyil killed this 14-point buck in Rogers County in January that could be the new state archery record. Photo provided
Wade Ward harvested the monster buck on his land in Rogers County with a crossbow on Jan. 11. 
The typical 14-point buck grossed 196 6/8 and netted 188 4/8 after deductions. Ward has submitted the buck to Boone & Crockett and to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Cy Curtis program, the state's record keeper for trophy bucks.
If approved, it would be the biggest typical buck ever killed during the archery season in Oklahoma and the third-largest typical ever.
Only John Ehmer's buck that scored 194 0/8 and Jason Boyett's buck that scored 191 4/8 are better. Both bucks were killed in Pushmataha County during the 2007 gun season.
Ward, 57, said he had seen the buck on his trail camera for two years but never laid eyes on it until a very cold Jan. 11.
“It was spitting snow and getting down to 5 degrees,” Ward said. “He came out right before dark.”
Ward noted that if the buck season hadn't been extended to Jan. 15, and if crossbows hadn't been legalized, he never would have killed the buck.
He borrowed his wife's crossbow to use in the ground blind that day because it was so cold.
“It was just easier to sit in that ground blind with a crossbow,” he said. “They are a little easier to shoot. You got a scope on it. They are really accurate.”
Ward said the deer came to his corn feeder that he supplemented with Buck Blitz, an Oklahoma deer attractant made in Cheyenne.
“The deer really like that stuff, I will say that for it,” Ward said.
Ward has been a deer hunter for 35 years, and killed many bucks in Kansas, but never thought the biggest buck in his life would be taken in his back yard.
“I've killed some good bucks in Kansas but nothing like this,” he said.
Ward said no hunter in the county had ever reported seeing the buck, even though his land is very close to Blue Creek Park on Oologah Lake. Someone had found a huge shed on Blue Creek, however.
“As far as I know, nobody had ever saw that deer in the daytime,” Ward said. “That buck spent a lot of time on public hunting land, there is no doubt about it.
“It's just amazing that deer could live there and nobody could ever see him and get a shot at him. If I hadn't had the trail camera, I would have never known he existed. He was completely nocturnal.
“He was just a freak. Kind of like Secretariat. They don't come along very often. They sure don't come along in Rogers County like that.”
By Ed Godfrey

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Whitetail Hunting Recap

  1. 374 inches in 30 minutes! Tweet 
  2. 41 deer worth 2 million dollars! Tweet
  3. 14 year old girl kills 22 point buck in full velvet! Tweet
  4. Deer Crack is sold at a gas station near you! Tweet
  5. ND stops sales of deer hunting license because of disease outbreak! Tweet
  6. Earn-A-Buck deer hunting law repealed in WI! Tweet

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dry, crunchy elk-hunting conditions changing over to fresh snow for final days of Colorado rifle season

Happen upon an elk hunter in Colorado's high country during the ongoing rifle season, and they'll likely have one eye on the sky, hoping for some sign of moisture.

They're likely to get their wish starting tonight, with a winter storm moving in that's expected to leave several inches of snow on the ground through the end of the popular second rifle season on Sunday, Oct. 30.

So far, though, it's been dry and sunny throughout Colorado. And that creates crunchy conditions on the forest floor, not exactly ideal for stealthy movement. Pine needles crack underfoot. Aspen leaves are anathema. In the whispering silence of a big-game hunt, each boot step on dry leaves might as well be a shout of warning to nearby game.
"Every year is different. This one is very different," said Dick Ray, president of the Colorado Outfitters Association.
Ray, who runs Lobo Outfitters near Pagosa Springs, said some elk in southern Colorado herded up and headed for lower ground during a massive, but isolated, snowstorm in the Wolf Creek area. On the other

hand, many of the elk are still alone or in small groups, enjoying what's turned out to be a prolonged warm spell.
"Down here (in southern Colorado), the aspen leaves and the oak leaves have just begun to turn. Consequently, you have full foliage, which you seldom ever, ever have this late in the year," Ray said.
Warm conditions coupled with a remarkably wet, late spring, have complicated matters even further in all but the southeast region of the state, where drier conditions prevailed. Colorado's elk can find water and foliage almost anywhere they choose to meander — and without cool weather and snow, most aren't herding up and heading for the low country quite yet.
That leaves hunters in a bind. They can't hole up near water and wait for the elk, and it's too late in the season to bugle them in. On the other hand, when hunters get out and move, they've got to navigate through dry, crunchy conditions.
Big bulls didn't get big by playing it casual with warning sounds. From that first pre-dawn feeding, to the afternoon regression, on to the evening browse, bulls and cows always travel warily this time of year. Cup-

shaped ears up to 6-inches long capture the subtlest of sounds, and each ear can pivot individually — like radar — toward suspicious sounds.
"Their biology over thousands of years is survival," said Randy Hampton of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. "This isn't about being geared to hear a hunter coming. This is about hearing a mountain lion coming, a bear coming, a wolf coming — and bears, mountain lions and wolves are a lot quieter than we can be."
Consider that an elk also has millions of olfactory nodes within its protracted snout, all evolved to capture the scent of danger, and suddenly that sweaty, hard-hiking hunter crashing through the bone- dry understory doesn't seem like much of a threat.
Yet even in warm, sunny years, about one out of every five elk hunters harvest an animal.
Ray and Hampton agree there's no one secret to success, but those who can handle the intimidating, log-strewn terrain of dark timber tend to get to tell all the good stories in the pubs, Hampton said.
"If you talk to 100 hunters, you're going to get 55 different ways to get an elk," Hampton said. "But of the 20 guys that got an elk last year, I would bet you almost to a man they worked the dark timber in these kinds of conditions."
With more than 40 years experience hunting all over North America, Ray said every year presents its own set of challenges, but with the right attitude and skill set, any hunter can find success. After all, the elk "don't disappear," he said.
"Nothing will beat woodsmanship skills, like getting up early, being there early, having the wind in your face and the sun at your back, seeing the game before it sees you and hugging the shadows," Ray said.

"You don't need the latest brand of camo, you don't need much of anything except good woodsmanship skills and a good attitude, and you can still go out there and have a good time."
Those with one eye on the sky may just find their reward, too. With expected snow tonight and Wednesday comes a dampening silence and a fresh tablet of whiteness for the elk to scribble their tales of comings and goings.
So a hunter can always take heart that, even if those faint remnants are all that's to be seen of this year's elk, many a good story is still out there waiting to be told.

By Tom Boyd

Friday, October 21, 2011

ND stops sales of deer hunting license because of disease

North Dakota officials announced Tuesday they are suspending the sale of some remaining deer hunting licenses and offered refunds to the holders of 13,000 licenses that already have been sold after detecting a disease that kills white-tailed deer in much of the western portion of the state.

The state Game and Fish Department began receiving isolated reports in August of deer deaths from epizootic hemorrhagic disease, better known as EHD, Wildlife Chief Randy Kreil said. With pheasant hunting season under way, reports have intensified to a "steady stream," he said.

"We've had about 120 reports, totaling about 300 dead deer," he said. "The first week of pheasant season is the real telltale sign of the intensity and extent of the outbreak. It's not a scientific survey by any means, but at the same time it's pretty clear and convincing evidence."
Kreil said it is difficult to estimate how many deer might have died but the outbreak appears to be the biggest since 2000. Environmental conditions were similar that year, with warm and wet conditions in late summer and early fall that are conducive to the development of the insects that transmit the disease, he said.

The disease is almost always fatal to white-tailed deer though not to mule deer, which have a different

immune system. It is not known to affect people.

There also have been reports of EHD this year in other states, from Kansas to Montana.
"I think it's just one of those years," said Steve Griffin, a wildlife biologist in Rapid City with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department.

The outbreak has been severe in pockets of central and eastern Montana, said Ron Selden, a spokesman in Glasgow for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. While the disease is not rare, it's usually not so widespread, he said.

Selden said Montana's white-tailed deer population suffered a "triple hit" this year — record cold and snow last winter, spring and summer flooding, and now EHD. It could take two years for the population to rebound even if this winter is good, he said.

In North Dakota, the EHD outbreak could significantly reduce the number of hunting licenses available next year, Kreil said. About 110,000 licenses were made available this year — the fewest in 10 years — following three successive harsh winters. That number will drop even more when the department suspends the sale of the remaining licenses in three southwestern hunting units Friday. About 1,500 deer licenses remained Tuesday.

License sales were not suspended immediately because some people might still want to hunt in those areas, Kreil said.

"There are areas that have been affected and areas that have not been affected," he said. "We want to leave it up to the people."

Kreil did not expect many license holders to ask for refunds. When a similar offer was made to the holders of 3,000 licenses in 2000, less than 100 were returned, he said.

"People like to go deer hunting. They like to be out with their friends," he said. "They'll take their chances."

The 2011 deer gun season opens at noon Nov. 4 and runs through Nov. 20.

By Blake Nicholson

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Earn-A-Buck deer hunting law repealed

Hunters in the state would no longer have to shoot an antler-less deer before killing a buck, a policy enforced by the Department of Natural Resources, under a bill recently passed in the Assembly.
On Tuesday, the Assembly voted in favor of a bill which would repeal the Earn-A-Buck Bill, which is now headed to Gov. Scott Walker for final approval. The program is a Wisconsin law that requires deer hunters in specified areas first kill an antler-less deer before they can aim for bucks.
Rep. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, said the law was “inconvenient” for trophy hunters who only desired the big antlered bucks.
She also said the law also has had many positive effects, including helping DNR scientists monitor the deer population in Wisconsin to make sure it remains stable.
“Deer hunting is a strong tradition in the state and an important economic driver. Deer hunting in Wisconsin creates more than $1 billion of economic activity annually and supports 16,000 jobs,” Kurt Thiede, an administrator for the Division of Lands in the Department of Natural Resources, said in testimony before the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources.
The DNR estimates the size of the state’s deer population by analyzing the data from the previous year’s deer hunting reports, Thiede said.
Hunters had previously opposed the Earn-a-Buck program, saying it caused disruption to the archery season and required hunters to pass on a trophy buck if the hunter had not had the option to shoot a doe first, he said.
Roys strongly disagreed with the Legislature’s decision to end the Earn-A-Buck program. According to Roys, it is not up to the Legislature to make decisions regarding natural resources, and these decisions should be left up to DNR professionals.
While the bill was approved with a 64-33 vote, she maintained the bill’s supporters represented a radical group of state hunters.
“The Republicans were the ones pushing for this legislation, in a response to a very small, vocal group of extreme hunters who hated the program and wanted to see it rescind,” Roys said.
Jake Lambert, a UW student and deer hunter for seven years, said he is very excited about the termination of the program.
“Now that the program is over, the likeliness we will get a buck will increase, and it will make hunting easier and more fun,” Lambert said.
By Matt Huppert

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breaking the Ice with a Tall Rack!

Sitting in my office the other day I was thinking about how long it had been since I drew back my bow on a whitetail buck.  Here it is, mid-October and I haven't had a chance at a shooter buck yet.  In 2010 by now, I had about 300 inches of antlers tagged out.  Granted last year was a great season and really above par for the most part but my longing to arrow something had consumed me.  Every trip to the stand the fire burned stronger and I had to keep thinking and planning to be able to get a shot at my first buck of the season.
Taking a break from whitetails for a few days to hunt gators in south Florida really helped clear my mind some.  I arrowed a nice eight plus foot gator on film and then regained my focus on the real fire inside.
Finally I was able to get away for a few days here in mid-October and spend some consecutive days in the woods without interruptions.  Driving into the property here in South Georgia to hang a cameraman stand and camera arm the night before the hunt, cameraman Zach Phillips and I saw to nice shooter bucks in the area.  That got my blood pumping!  One buck even trailed a doe semi-aggressively as we watched in the headlights of the truck.
We eased around the edge of a grown up pasture / field to where a string of red oak acorns were falling.  We had an Ol'Man ladder stand and lock on there in a few minutes ready for the morning hunt.  Daylight came on October 14th and a cool 50 degrees had a few deer stirring around.  It wasn't long before the first doe came in smelling of the Muzzy Bowhunter Setup that we sprayed around the stand then she began eating acorns.  She literally touched the bottom of the ladder stand!  Talk about being human scent free with our Lethal spray and attracting with the Bowhunter Setup, that is a deadly combination.
The morning passed on and I grunted in a small three point, saw a few more does and that was it.  We were setup on a fence line with more acorn trees just down the ridge and with the predicted wind direction from the northeast we decided to put Ol'Man climbers up in another spot to play the wind a little better for the afternoon hunt.
Slipping back into the area around 5pm that evening, we sprayed down with Lethal and I strategically sprayed some Bowhunter Setup on some small brush to hopefully get a shooter to stop for a shot if need be.  Minutes after climbing the tree we had does coming in.  Within an hour we had so many does around I was almost scared to move in the tree due to all the eyes around.  A few minutes later I looked up the hill and here come a nice tall racked buck.  He was feeding under the first acorn tree on the fence line and we were sitting in the last!  He needed to come in about 100 yards for me to get a shot.  Luck was on our side as he followed the does down the fence line and cleared the overhanging oak limbs for a shot.  A drew back my Elite, anchored, then released my arrow right through the front of his shoulder for a heart shot.
Turning around to Zach, I felt confident the Muzzy MX-3 found its mark.  Zach told me that he wasn't sure about the penetration, everything happened so fast.  Now I started questioning my shot.  We watched the video back and after finding my broken arrow, we knew the buck had six to eight inches of Carbon Express arrow and a Muzzy in his heart.
Climbing down from the stand my mind was racing, we walked to the last spot we saw the buck run into the trees and sure enough he was piled up right there!  A nice tall racked southern buck to break the ice of the 2011 season!

Gear List:
Bow: Elite GT500
Rest: QAD Ultrarest HD
Sight: Spot-Hogg Hogg-It
Arrows: Carbon Express Maxima 350
Broadhead: Muzzy MX-3 100 grain
Fletchings: Bohning Blazer vanes
Optics: Hawke Frontier ED 43mm
Release: Scott Quick Shot
Scent Eliminator: Lethal Field Spray
Attractant: Muzzy Bowhunter Setup
Camo: Realtree APG by Gamehide
Safety Vest: Hunter Safety System Pro Series
Pack: Gameplan Gear Spot N Stalk
Stand: Ol'Man
Stablizer: X-Factor Outdoors System
Boots: Lacrosse Alpha Lite in Realtree APG

-Michael Lee

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lucrative market is luring deer smugglers

The smuggling operation across the Texas border proved lucrative, netting more than $2 million for hauling the undocumented 41 who went by such aliases as “Hit Man” and “Spike.”
But the illegal cargo wasn’t immigrants from Mexico. It was white-tail deer, secretly brought into Texas from Northern states to breed with native deer in an effort to produce trophy bucks with chandelier-sized antlers.
The imports are illegal, as the state tries to protect Texas deer against diseases that could decimate native herds.
When the smuggler — a prominent East Texas deer breeder named Billy Powell — was sentenced three weeks ago to six months of home confinement and a $1.5 million fine, it sent shock waves through a growing Texas industry.
Some people might find deer breeding a strange niche because the state’s deer are so plentiful they can be nuisances, munching on gardens and straying onto roads.
But Texas game warden Capt. Greg Williford said breeders cater to high-dollar hunters who want that “trophy showpiece for their mantel.”
Deer breeding can also be profitable in a state where hunting is practically a birthright, with an annual economic impact of $2 billion.
It’s legal, as long as it involves registered, captive deer from within the state. Capturing wild deer, or importing new stock from out of state, is not. Importing out-of-state semen is allowed.
“There’s a strong market for deer with those monster antlers. Hunters will pay thousands of dollars to bag one,” said Michael Merida, a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Fort Worth. “That’s why a frozen semen straw from a big-name buck can be worth $2,000, and a breeder can extract 70 or 80 straws at a time.”
The actual animals can sell for “insane amounts,” much like purebred racehorses, he said, noting that one buck recently sold for $450,000.
A Texas A&M University study found deer breeding pumped $650 million into the U.S. economy four years ago and was the fastest-growing industry in rural America. In Texas, permits have been issued to 1,233 breeders, who have 103,000 deer registered.
Amber Andel, a Texas Parks and Wildlife breeder specialist, said the field has grown by about 20 percent a year but could be slowed by the drought.
The laws are aimed at stopping the spread of “chronic wasting disease,” which has infected deer in at least 12 states and is similar to mad cow disease. It can’t be transmitted to humans. No state that has seen the disease has eradicated it.
Violations can also be prosecuted under the federal Lacey Act, which carries harsher penalties.
“Antler fever is what we call it,” said Roy Douglas Malonson, owner of the RS Deer Ranch, covering 221 acres of rolling green country in Waller County. “Some get caught up in it. They want the best of the best and get obsessed.”
Mounted deer with massive racks of antlers — including one he bred, “Cajun Bakerman” — hang from walls encircling the pool table at Malonson’s new hunting lodge, which opened this month.
He said he bought “some genetics,” or semen, from Powell.
“Powell is one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet,” said Malonson, who said he was stunned by Powell’s recent conviction. “I can’t imagine him doing something like that.”
But investigators say Powell smuggled deer into his breeding operation near Jacksonville in Cherokee County.
Powell pleaded guilty to obtaining 41 deer from Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio over a three-year period.
A year earlier, Robert Eichenour, a Houstonian who owns several oil-related fabrication facilities, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being accused of bringing 14 deer from Minnesota to his 3,200-acre Circle E exotic gaming ranch in Grimes County. He was also fined $50,000.
Eichenour paid about $1,500 each for the smuggled deer, then charged hunters $12,000 or more for bagging a large white-tail buck, authorities said.
His attorney, Trent Gaither of Houston, said authorities are “going overboard” with the penalties, noting the offense would be a misdemeanor under state law.
State authorities, meanwhile, say they have 20 active investigations into breeding operations, including three spawned by the Powell case.
“We’re not letting up,” said the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Merida. “We hope the convictions will start being a deterrent to others.”
By Cindy Horswell

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hunter awaits word on deer's champion status

A Johnsburg man who shot a massive whitetail buck Oct. 5 said he will know in two months whether he has a state champion.
Jeff Weber’s arrow that downed the 15-point deer was the first shot he took since taking up archery about a month ago. The rack is “drying” over a required 60 days until official scoring can take place.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” he said, reflecting on the past week. “The phone was non-stop.”
Friends and relatives were calling, but so were writers with outdoor publications.
Weber said people with Outdoor News, Field and Stream and several other magazines have contacted him.
“It was enough limelight for me,” he said of the immediate notoriety.
Weber recalled “the blur” of the day after he shot what is being called the “Weber buck” east of Fond du Lac. He stayed up all night and finally got to sleep around 2 p.m. the next day.
He and friends were at the family business, Pipe Meat Market, where they stored the deer in a cooler overnight.
“We were hanging out at the meat market and they (his mom, Kathy Weber, and others) were coming down there to start work,” he said, laughing about the way they lost track of time. The deer was then loaded onto the back of Weber’s pickup and taken to Dutch’s in Fond du Lac to be registered.
Weber said a taxidermist in St. Peter has begun working on a mount of the deer head.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Idaho Fish & Game releases area hunting forecast

The regular deer season opens today in most regions of Idaho. In some areas, a regular deer tag allows hunters to take either mule deer or white-tailed deer. A white-tailed deer tag allows hunters to take only a white-tail. Many areas across the state also offer antlerless youth hunt opportunities, but check the 2011 big game rules brochure carefully for the areas where youth hunts are open. To hunt deer in Idaho during the regular season, a hunter must have a valid 2011 Idaho hunting license and a deer tag. A Southeast Idaho regional hunting forecast has been created by Toby Broudreau, regional Idaho Fish and Game wildlife manager.
Mule deer
    Mule deer are usually equipped to handle a typical Southeast Idaho winter, but surviving a bad winter can be tough, especially a winter like the one that hit Bear Lake and Caribou counties last year. In those areas, the snow came early and stayed late — a deadly combination. And, the snow was deep, measuring 33 inches on the flat ground in Bear Lake County at one point. Snow depths greater than 10 inches cause deer to use more energy, and thus, burn more critical fat reserves.
    Fish and Game did not collar any fawns late last winter in the southeast region, like we had been doing during the previous decade. This was because we had already collected sufficient data to develop a model

for predicting fawn mortality in this part of the state. However, it does not take a model or even a college degree to figure out we lost fawns last winter. I estimate we lost 85 percent of the fawns in the greater Bear Lake area and probably 65 percent in Caribou County. Needless to say, this hunting season will not be a
good one for finding a 2-point in that part of the region.

Despite the fact we did not have any new fawns collared, we did have existing collared does from previous years’ monitoring efforts. From those we were able to estimate adult doe mortality for the Bannock Population Management Unit (PMU) which includes Unit 78 west to Unit 56 at 27 percent estimated doe mortality. We estimated a 36 percent loss in adult does in the Caribou PMU (Units 66, 66A, 69, 72, and 76). This is purely based on our radio collar sample of does and the percentage of the radiocollared does that died. (A PMU is the smallest area in which contiguous groups of deer will interact. There is little movement of these groups of deer outside the PMU’s boundaries, or in other words, deer populations in a PMU both “summer” and “winter” within those boundaries for the most part.) So what does this mean for buck hunting? We know from other studies that for some reason buck mortality during harsh winters is not as bad as that for does. That being said, there will likely be less than an average number of bucks on the hills this fall. However, I don’t think hunting will be anywhere as bad as it was in the winter of 1992-93 based on the survival of does. The bright side is that 2009 fawns were one of the highest surviving groups of fawns in recent years, so there should be a reasonable crop of 4-points on the hill this fall, despite the recent harsh winter.
    Elk hunting in the southeast region should be good this fall. Elk are not as sensitive to winter as are mule deer. Based on observations, the region’s winter elk survival was good, although there was some calf mortality in those areas of the region with higher snow levels.
The Diamond Creek Zone elk numbers should be stable or increasing slightly since the reduction of tags over the past couple of years. We will be surveying the zone this January for elk to see where the population is now in relationship to Fish and Game’s elk management plan objectives. The Diamond Creek zone is now a capped zone for the A tag.
    The Bear River Zone elk population is likely stable. Productivity is high in this zone with calf: cow ratios over 30:100. The last aerial survey indicated that total numbers were up slightly, but bull:cow ratios were slightly below objectives at 16 bulls:100 cows. Still, the Bear River Zone is providing good opportunity to hunt elk. The elk population is spread out in the zone in small pockets. We do not survey elk in this zone due to the inefficiency of trying to survey these small groups over a fairly large geographic area.
Upland game
    Upland bird hunting this year will be variable depending on species. Forest Grouse did not fare well during the long harsh winter experienced in parts of southeast Idaho coupled with the late, wet spring. Early reports indicate that bird numbers are lower than last year with very few new broods being found. It’s a good berry year in many spots so the remaining birds should have good reserves for this coming winter.
    Prairie grouse (Sage and Sharptailed) fared better than the Forest Grouse.  Prairie grouse nest in different habitats, with Sharptailed Grouse nesting later than their forest relatives. Hunting throughout the open areas
for both Sage and Sharptailed Grouse should be good. Remember that just because Sharptailed Grouse and Sage Grouse seasons are opening on the same day, hunting for these species is not open everywhere in the region. Sharptailed grouse sightings are increasing on the Big Desert, but hunting for these birds is still closed north of I-86.

Sage Grouse hunting is still closed in the eastern Idaho uplands from the east side of Bear Lake north. Please review upland game regulations before going afield to confirm seasons, hunt areas, limits, and other restrictions.
    The number of Gray/Hungarian Partridges, or Huns as they are commonly called, will likely be lower than

the population peaks of last year. However, there should still be good numbers of birds seen in the typical places, such as at the end of agriculture and sage brush country.
    Last year, hunters were reporting higher numbers of pheasants in the field in some places than had been seen in previous years. Pheasant numbers this fall will likely resemble last year’s levels, with maybe a few less birds observed in some areas.
    Fish and Game conducted a second year of surrogator evaluation this past year at Sterling Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Aberdeen. We reared 800 day-old chicks to 4 weeks of age. To help estimate the survival of our 4-week-old chicks to hunting season, Fish and Game will be collecting both lower legs from each pheasant harvested by hunters this fall. We will have envelopes at all wing barrels on the WMA, so please take the time to drop off legs from your harvested pheasants at those locations.
    All indications are that rabbit hunting will be as good as it ever is. I have observed good numbers of cottontails in several parts of the region. So, once the pheasant season is over, cottontails deserve a look for both sport and table fare.
    Waterfowl hunting should be good this year, once we start getting in the migrants from farther north. Locally, our high water levels resulting from such a long winter caused some nesting habitat issues in the
region. I suspect that resident waterfowl numbers (especially ducks) will be lower than average, though nationally, duck numbers are doing well. The bag limit this year is again seven ducks with no more than 2 female Mallards, 2 Redheads, 2 Pintails, 3 Scaup, and 1 Canvasback in any day’s harvest.
    The limit for dark geese (Canada, White-fronted) will again be 4 daily, and the limit for light geese (Snow, Blue, or Ross’s) will be 10. One noteworthy change is the boundary between Area 1 and Area 2, which is now defined by the Blaine/Minidoka County lines, the Cassia/Power County Lines, and the Cassia/Oneida County lines. So, now the Snake River and the surrounding land from the mouth of Raft River upstream to the American Falls Dam (about 24 miles of river) is included in Area 1.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tourists tangle with stags at London park

Bushy Park, England (AP) — They call it the Beast of Bushy.
For the past week, this massive, short-tempered stag has been charging into British headlines, goring a man in the middle of a picnic and chasing one woman through the brush.
The stag's rampage has cast a shadow of fear over Bushy Park, a quiet suburban expanse of tree-lined avenues and ponds popular with retirees and stroller-pushing parents some 13 miles (21 kilometers) southwest of central London.
"I've been in and out of the park for 20 years, and this is the first time I've heard of people being attacked in such quick succession," said Robert Piper, a sports and wildlife photographer whose dramatic shots of the angry deer have kept it in the headlines.
The beast didn't seem so fearsome Wednesday, when it was seen lazing in the mud and long grass across from the park's model boat pond.
"He's had a rough couple of weeks," joked Piper. But as he inched forward to take a few last photos, the stag lifted a pair of sharpened antlers into the sky.
"Let's not push our luck," he said.
Bushy Park holds 320 deer, which roam freely across a 445-hectare (1,100-acre) area of meadows and forested areas that look much as they did when King Henry VIII used to hunt there.
They are generally gentle creatures — until fall's rutting season.
"Every year there's the odd incident," says park veteran Dick Hill, a 64-year-old retiree with binoculars dangling from his neck. "There have been quite a few of them this year."
Hill said a shortage of female deer could be to blame for the aggressive behavior, although a park official said

the unseasonably warm weather — which drew large numbers of visitors at the height of the rutting season — was the deciding factor. The official asked not to be named.
Whatever the cause, this year's stag attacks have produced some dramatic photos. One showed a middle-aged man being bowled over by a charging deer in a picnic area. Hill, who was there, said the man emerged covered in blood.
Another incident, this one witnessed by Piper, showed a woman racing for her life, with the stag so close that its antlers lifted up her black leather jacket. She managed to escape after Piper distracted the animal.
"It was a happy ending," he said. "But it could easily have been a goring."
London's feisty press have traced the path of the stag's rampage under articles bearing names such as "Stag Fright."
Hill said the fuss was a bit overdone, and in any case, the Beast of Bushy's days may be numbered. The park's deer are regularly culled.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monster Ground Blind Bucks

Without a doubt, taking a giant buck from the ground is one of the toughest feats in bowhunting. That said, it certainly can be done. Read on to learn more about some amazing bucks taken from the ground and get some ideas on how you can go eye-to-eye with your own monster buck.

With four days of season left, Jay and Tammi Gregory took these incredible Kansas bucks from their ground blind. Tammi arrowed hers first – an 11-point, 181-inch typical. Twenty minutes later, Jay took a 16-point non-typical with a huge drop-tine that scored 193 inches.

Jay and Tammi Gregory are hunting industry veterans whose television program, The Wild Outdoors, has entertained countless big-buck enthusiasts for nearly 20 years. Though the Gregorys hunt multiple states each season, most of their hunts take place in the Midwest, where giant whitetails lurk.
Several years ago, Jay and Tammi starting hunting from ground blinds. They found some of the areas they hunted had no suitable trees for stands, so they opted to try something different. They enjoyed success with their “ground level” approach, and many of their television shows and DVDs have chronicled their amazing hunts.
A few seasons back, Jay was hunting a big buck he nicknamed “Cookie Monster.” The giant buck had double drop-tines and all the ingredients of an old monarch — huge body, massive, gnarly antlers and long tines. Jay decided he would hold out for the Kansas Cookie Monster and pass up all other bucks.
Jay, Tammi and their son Wyatt had previously hunted the Diamond Springs Ranch in northeast Kansas and enjoyed success. The ranch is home to some big-racked bucks with heavy bodies thanks to the ample agricultural crops in the area. After setting up several game cameras and a Trophy Rock during the summer, the Gregorys got several photos of a big, double drop-tine buck, along with some other nice bucks.
Before archery season opened, Jay and Tammi set up a Primos Double Bull blind in a cornfield the big buck frequented. As time permitted, they hunted their Kansas “honey hole” for nearly 90 days and were afforded only distant glances at the brute.

Tammi Gregory shows off her 11-point Kansas monster — a deer that was harvested just 20 minutes before her husband Jay took a 16-point non-typical. The duo combined to take down 374 combined inches of antler in half an hour!

On Dec. 27, after 10 inches of snow blanketed the area, the Gregorys decided to give the Kansas spot another try, knowing the season would be closing soon. After arriving at their blind that afternoon, the big, drop-tined buck appeared in a woodlot 200 yards away. Cautiously, the rut-worn monarch approached the cornfield, but unfortunately for Jay, circled out of range. Jay’s heart sank as the big buck fed and vanished without offering a bow shot.
The next day, Jay decided to move the blind closer to the area where the buck entered the field. After repositioning the blind, Jay and Tammi settled in for the afternoon hunt as temperatures plummeted to near zero.
At 4:15 p.m., several does and small bucks began to filter across the snow-packed cornfield to the last remaining standing corn. In moments, a wide 11-point buck appeared and headed towards the blind. Jay quickly took over the filming chores, allowing Tammi to grab her bow as the biggest buck of her life approached. At 20 yards, the buck stopped broadside and Tammi made a great shot, sending her Rage-tipped arrow perfectly behind the buck’s shoulder.
The mortally hit buck wheeled and ran, but collapsed only 60 yards away in plain view. Emotion washed over Tammi as she soaked in the previous minutes. She was ecstatic having just killed her highest scoring buck ever!
Twenty minutes later, Jay spotted movement on the distant ridge and saw another buck approaching — it was Cookie Monster! Amazingly, the drop-tined buck walked directly into the cornfield, stopping to lip curl to check if any of the does present were in estrus, before feeding.
With Tammi behind the camera, Jay ranged the brute at 38 yards. When the buck turned broadside, Jay sent a well-placed arrow that struck the majestic buck high in the lungs. The buck ran out of the field and headed up the ridge, staggering and falling just out of sight.
After a brief wait, the Gregorys retrieved their trophies and took photos just before darkness fell. In 30 minutes, the couple had taken two monster bucks. Tammi’s giant, wide-racked 11-pointer scored 181 inches. Jay’s long-awaited buck — Cookie Monster — had broken off some points from earlier photos, including a drop tine, but still carried 16 points and scored an amazing 193 inches!

Outdoor television host Jay Gregory took this gnarly 193-inch, 16-point non-typical buck during a late-season ground blind hunt in Kansas. Gregory’s brute previously had double drop-tines but broke one off during the rut.

Few archers are more qualified to offer advice on big bucks than Jay Gregory. The seasoned bowhunter has taken 14 bucks over 170 inches, including five that score 180 or higher. Jay uses several tactics that lend to his success, and he believes they can work for you as well.
Although the vast majority of bowhunters hunt from treestands, Gregory says the effectiveness of ground blinds should not be overlooked. “Ground blinds offer some unique advantages,” Gregory said. “When no trees are available in a well-used area, a ground blind can be set up and will usually work well.”
Some hunters are not inclined to hunt from treestands due to their ages or physical limitations. When I introduced my wife Donna to hunting, I knew she had a fear of heights. Coaxing her up a 20-foot ladder into a treestand was out of the question. My dilemma was remedied by employing a pop-up blind. In our blind, we can stay reasonably warm, be sheltered from rain and wind and, best of all, our movements are largely hidden within the camouflage confines of our ground blind. Donna considers hunting from a ground blind fun and has taken a variety of game at extremely close range.
When deciding on a spot for a ground blind, consider a few things: Which direction do I expect the deer to approach from? Can the blind be set up with the wind in my face? Scouting will show some spots are better locations for a blind than others. Gregory scouts his areas with a game camera and by long range observation so he won’t contaminate the area with human scent.
“Certain areas such as fencerows and cornfields are prime locations for pop-up blinds,” Gregory said. “Ground blinds like the Double Bull work well in almost any hunting situation, provided you keep a few things in mind.
“Deer have definite travel routes or well-worn trials they generally use when undisturbed. These areas will be well defined with tracks. These are great spots for ground blinds. Whitetails prefer to cross fences in particular places, and the exact location of these spots can be found by observation, or by using one of the new scouting cameras with plot watcher capabilities.”
These high-tech cameras can monitor a food plot for 12 hours, and then stitch together a time-lapsed video of the entire day’s action that can be viewed in 10 minutes.

Jay Gregory says trail cameras are excellent tools for selecting ground blind locations. They will reveal trophy animals and help pinpoint their travel patterns.

Gregory said hunters should take time to blend their ground blinds into the natural surroundings so it doesn’t scare deer.
“If deer can make out the outline of the blind’s roof, it will spook them sometimes,” he said. “When available, I like to back my blind up into cedar trees; it breaks up the outline well. When brushing in a blind, use native vegetation so it will look more natural.”
Although Gregory has set up a ground blind and hunted from it immediately, the deer pro generally sets up his hide a few days in advance to let the deer get accustomed to it.
Gregory recommends wearing black or dark camouflage clothing when hunting from a ground blind.
“You also must make sure your hands and face are covered,” he stressed. “Also make sure there is nothing shiny on your bow.”
Occasionally, Gregory employs a deer decoy to help entice a rut-crazed buck, but cautions that dekes can spook does. He never calls from a blind unless he’s using a decoy. He believes calling without a decoy causes bucks to be more cautious, since blinds are usually set up in more open areas. Jay says that bucks will usually approach a decoy head on after circling it. He places his decoy 20-25 yards away in front of his blind, slightly quartering toward the blind. He says when bucks approach the “imposter” they will offer a broadside or quartering away shot, usually inside of 20 yards. Gregory suggested using gloves when handling a decoy and says he sprays his decoy down with a product he has found to be heads above all others— Head to Hoof. Made by Stonybrook Outfitters, Gregory says “the spray contains a doe’s entire body smell — complete with all the glandular secretions. I spray Head to Hoof on my decoy and it works well. It smells like a live deer.”
Lastly, scent control is paramount when hunting from the ground. Though treestand hunters can get away with scent at times — thanks to thermal wind currents that lift their scent upwards — ground blind hunters should take extra precautions. Jay uses an Ozonics machine in his blind that neutralizes human scent with ozone. Admitting the machines are costly, Gregory says hunters spend tons of money each season on scent-free clothing and sprays each that have little or no effect.
“For roughly the same money you can buy an Ozonics machine,” he said. “I used the machines before they were one of my sponsors and can attest to their effectiveness.”

by Mike Lambeth

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More bucks than does are harvested in South Carolina

It’s often said there is much more than a river that separates South Carolina and Georgia, especially where whitetail deer management is concerned.
Georgia’s antler restrictions and two-buck limit have helped put the Peach State on an upward track in terms of quality bucks and hunter satisfaction, while South Carolina – with no limits on bucks – continues to lose ground.
In September, South Carolina’s Board of Natural Resources took a long overdue step in recommending – after eight years of study and debate – a five-buck statewide limit and a three-buck limit on game zones 1 and 2.
“Most hunters perceive that the current system leads to overexploitation of bucks, particularly young bucks, resulting in a poor overall management approach,” the board said in its position statement. “Annual deer harvest figures support hunters’ allegations that some hunters take unfair advantage of the lack of bag limits.”
South Carolina’s deer population has been falling for some time. Palmetto State hunters killed an estimated 222,649 whitetails in 2010 – reflecting a 4 percent decrease from 2009. Since 2002, the state’s whitetail herd has declined by 30 percent.
The 2010 harvest data also indicates South Carolina hunters continue to harvest more bucks than does. Those hunters also kill most of the small bucks before they are allowed to grow into large ones,
according to data compiled by the Quality Deer Management Association.
As a percentage, those vulnerable 18-month-old bucks accounted for a whopping 65 percent of South Carolina’s total antlered buck harvest, representing an increase from the 59 percent the previous year, the QDMA annual report said. Conversely, Georgia’s most recent figure was 37 percent, down from 45 percent the previous year.
Georgia’s two-buck limit has helped improve its deer program in recent years. The percentage of mature (3 or more years old) bucks in the total harvest has continued to increase – from 23 percent in 2008 to 34 percent last year.
South Carolina’s already low percentage, however, continues to fall – from 18 percent to 15 percent, according to the QDMA summary.
According to a S.C. DNR news release last week, surveys show at least 70 percent of the state’s hunters support the concept of a reasonable limit on antlered bucks and a tagging program that would provide for enforcement of such a limit. Additionally, 70 percent of hunters would pay a fee to implement such a tagging program, as long as fees are used to administer the program and conduct deer research and management.
Efforts to reign in overhunting can improve management programs but won’t solve all whitetail problems.
One of the South’s biggest factors in deer management is the rapid spread of the coyote and the growing body of evidence that they kill more deer than previously thought.
Current research being conducted at the Savannah River Site by the U.S. Forest Service and DNR indicates that coyotes are significantly impacting the survival of deer fawns. The study, now in its fourth year, indicates that annual fawn mortality through all causes is about 70 percent, which is much higher than expected, and
that coyotes are responsible for approximately 80 percent of these mortalities.
If these findings even moderately represent a statewide situation, this “new mortality factor” combined with extremely liberal deer harvests and lower deer populations are a cause for concern. It should be noted that based on the experience in other states, it is highly unlikely that coyotes can be significantly reduced, and certainly not eliminated.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Alumalite FPS from OL'MAN Outdoors

Introduced in 2010!
Introducing the new AlumaLite Series from OL’MAN... Taking Treestand innovation to the next level!.
You asked for a lightweight aluminum fixed position stand — and OL’MAN delivered! This is the first aluminum fixed position stand for OL’MAN and our lightest stand ever. The AlumaLite FPS tips the scales at a mere 12 pounds! Features excellent packability, extremely light weight and an oversized cushion seat so you can sit as long as you need to harvest your trophy whitetail!
  • Super-strong oval tubing!
  • Feather lite weight aluminum
  • All new standing platform
  • Improved cable systems
  • Check out the video below.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Paying Attention to Tree-Stand Safety

There are few things as enjoyable and exhilarating as spying a buck from a tree stand on a frosty West Virginia morning.   The forest is quiet, you are miles from anyone, the cell phone doesn't work out here, and you're about to drop the hammer on a trophy whitetail you've been chasing for the past two seasons.  
The scenario takes on a radically different tone however when you tumble 25-feet out of that tree.  You neglected to wear a safety harness, believing, "...that would never happen to me."  Yet is has happened.   Now you're lying in the in pain on the frosty forest floor with a broken back, multiple fractures, and internal bleeding.  You're unable to move.  It's quiet, you're miles from anyone, and the cell phone doesn't work. 
Lt. Time Coleman of the West Virginia Natural Resources Police has seen the tragic circumstances time after time.   One slight movement in the wrong direction can turn a wonderful morning into the worst tragedy of your life.
"Get a good full-body harness," said Coleman. "So in case you do slip and fall it will not only catch you but it also won't cut you in two."
But Coleman said the fall arresting device is only part of the solution.   Hunters routinely put themselves in to perilous situations.
"You want to pick the right tree," Coleman said. "A slick bark tree isn't going to hold the tree stand very well. Pick a thick barked tree like an elm or something so the stand can bite into it."
Ladder stands are most commonly recommended as the safest way to go, but even those can have their pitfalls.
"A lot of people are slipping off those steps," Coleman said. "Tons of people are slipping out of the stand by either falling asleep or just moving a little bit and believe it or not the stands, in some cases the last year or two are just collapsing on them."
The collapsing is especially evident in homemade tree stands.   He recommends staying away from those altogether.
"Everybody has their favorite area to hunt and they'll go in the summertime and build a nice stand," said Coleman. "That may be good for the first year, but those things weather like anything else.  Nails pull out, wood rots, and the least little thing could bring it down."
Coleman suggests if you are hunting from an elevated position, be reasonable in your height.  He dissuades hunters from getting 20 to 30 feet up a tree since the distance of your fall is often directly tied to the severity of your injuries.
"All you need to do is get above the deer so he has to raise his head to see you," Coleman said. "That's all the height you need to be."
By: Chris Lawrence

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2 states hot spots for deer wrecks

 Iowa and Nebraska remain two of the top dozen states at risk of drivers hitting a deer, according to an annual insurance study released Tuesday.
State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. estimated that there were more than 40,000 car-deer accidents in Iowa and Nebraska combined in the 12-month period ending June 30.
While several states had more accidents — Pennsylvania drivers were in more than 100,000 deer-car collisions — State Farm calculated that Iowa drivers had the second-highest likelihood of hitting a deer this year, based on the past year's estimated accidents and the number of licensed drivers.
State Farm projected that one in 77 Iowa drivers will hit a deer this year.
In Nebraska, one driver in 1

10 is likely to hit a deer this year based on the data. The national projection is that one in 193 drivers is likely to strike a deer.
The average cost to repair a vehicle after a deer collision was $3,171, up about 2 percent from last year.
"Our goal is to make our customers and others more attentive to this problem," said Dick Luedke, State Farm spokesman.
Car-deer accidents are more frequent during the end of October and all of November, because this time is their mating season, said Kit Hams, the big game program
manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Department.
Nationally, deer-car accidents have declined, but Nebraska accidents increased by 1 percent.
Nebraska and Iowa games officials said the deer population has been declining due to increased herd reduction efforts.

By Sam Womack

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Home-grown business has hunters hooked

 Deer Crack kills.
Once dispersed, deer herd to it like moths to a flame, and Deer Crack creator Tom Parshall said a standard 4.4-pound package — which retails at about $6 — will attract deer for a good part of the whole Michigan hunting season.
The precise formulation and balance of 13 minerals is to the deer what crack is for humans, Parshall said, thus the aggressive product name.
If he's boasting, it's only because he can back it up.
The product Parshall began formulating in 1995 in his grandfather's barn — "with two shovels, a wheelbarrow and $79," Parshall said — is now sold in countless Michigan gas stations and general stores, and even sporting goods retail giant Dunham's Sports.
In fact, Parshall and business partner Rich Owens — who make up Deer Crack LLC — sell Deer Crack to retailers in 46 states.
The duo still make Deer Crack in the same old Hartland Township barn, but now they make a whole lot more of it: several batches, each one weighing in at nine tons.
"Initially, hunting-supply stores laughed us out of their places with our product," Parshall said.

But they aren't laughing anymore.
"So we went on a marketing attack, targeting gas stations, because we know hunters a lot of times go to gas stations before they hunt," Parshall said. "We couldn't make it fast enough."
Now, everyone wants it, he said, and the reason is primarily its resounding results.
"Deer Crack works fantastic, and after a good rain, it penetrates the ground, letting those minerals in, and the deer can't stay away," said Miles Gee, a Hartland Township hunter who has been a Deer Crack buyer for many years.
"It's great, especially for people who go up north hunting and aren't there all the time," Gee said. "You put a little Deer Crack down, and you're good to go."
With Michigan's archery deer season in full swing, Parshall has noticed a 10 percent growth in business, a growth he mostly attributes to the state lifting the baiting ban it had imposed since 2008.
Parshall said the ban, imposed to reduce the spread of chronic wasting disease, was "shameful." It cost his company in the realm of $500,000 over three years, with some hunters fearing tickets from the DNR over that period despite controversy over whether the product was actually bait or not.
"The baiting ban killed us," Parshall said. "Shame on them for passing that law without thinking about all of Michigan."
Brent Rudolph, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources deer-program leader, said the bait ban was difficult to enforce. In 2008 and 2009, the DNR issued approximately 1,300 baiting tickets, compared to 4,000 baiting complaints and nearly 1 million total hunters in the woods each year.
With the bait ban lifted, hunters will be able to use two gallons of bait spread over a 100-square-foot area. Rudolph said products like Deer Crack are categorized as mineral blocks, and count toward a hunter's two-gallon limit of bait.
Potent as it is, though, most hunters won't need close to that much Deer Crack to have deer hanging out near them.
"Because of its formulation, deer generally get access to Deer Crack within a couple days, so if you refresh your site with a standard amount maybe four times per year, you'll have plenty of deer coming around the whole time," Parshall said.
Written by
Frank Konkel

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Young hunter nabs 22-pointer

To a hunter, a typical killed buck is the equivalent of a notch on the belt or a number on a list, and if nothing else, it serves as a solid demonstration of hunting skill.
A step up are larger bucks that merit mounting and almost always elicit proudly told stories from the hunters who took them. These are bucks you brag to your friends about.
Then there are all-time legendary bucks, the kind of seemingly mythical creatures that sound more like fiction than fact; the kind of massive buck that somebody's grandpa somewhere saw and swore was the biggest he'd ever seen but never had a clear shot at.
Tori Poloski, a 14-year-old Howell High School sophomore, bagged such a trophy buck Sept. 24 during Michigan's youth hunt, taking a 22-point buck in full velvet.
She was hunting with her dad, Stan Poloski, on his 25-acre Marion Township property.
"I'm overwhelmed by it. It's crazy to me, because I never thought that I would get a chance to do anything like that," she said. "Hunters wait all their life to see a buck like that for two seconds, let alone shoot it. I remember seeing it and thinking 'Oh, my gosh, this is it, I have to do it.' "
She did, needing only one shot from about 60 yards with her trusty Rossi 12-gauge shotgun. Tori Poloski and her dad witnessed the buck from a distance on prior occasions, but didn't realize how big it actually was.
Its measurements will be the stuff of Livingston County hunting lore: a 14-inch inner spread, 17-inch outer spread and a weight of "well over 200 pounds."
"She was excited. I was excited. I've seen big bucks, but none that unique," Stan Poloski said. "I've been hunting all my life, and there's some big bucks around here."
Within a couple of hours, the Poloskis transported the deer to Mike Kors Taxidermy in the Howell area. The buck required special treatment from the taxidermist — who in this case is a family friend of the Poloskis — because its antlers were in velvet.
While Tori Poloski is a veteran hunter, having "taken it seriously" for the past three years, she has to find time in her busy schedule to head out to the woods to hunt deer or turkeys.
She sings in three choirs and is a member of the all-girl pop group Fetching Rubies, who auditioned recently to sing at a Detroit Pistons basketball game.
Right now, she's also in the middle of driver education classes.
No matter, though. She plans to bow hunt this year, too. Even bagging such a big buck hasn't made her content to sit at home when she could be holed up in a treestand "I've never gotten anything with my bow, so that's my goal this year," she said. "It's hard to make time, because I'm so busy, but in a way, it's not hard, because I have a variety of things I like to do. I love what I do."
No matter what Tori Poloski does in hunting, it's going to be difficult to top taking down a 22-point buck. At 14, she already has a story worthy of hunting lore she'll be sharing with hunters, her family and friends for the rest of her life. Unlike many stories of trophy bucks, she will have the mounted animal to back it up for all to see.
Written by
Frank Konkel