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Monday, February 27, 2012

Cockburn’s buck is incredi-bow

‘Ginormica’’ was picture-perfect.

The mythical buck waded out of a surging creek in Williamson County on a four-wheeler trail the afternoon of Nov. 27. Travis Cockburn stopped it with a bleat call. Then he arrowed it perfectly from 15 yards with a double-lung shot behind the left shoulder blade.

“I sat in the stand for 30 minutes,’’ said Cockburn, 39, of Johnston City. “I really couldn’t move. My knees were shaking.’’

That’s understandable.

“It’s an awesome buck and may be one of the biggest bowkills in North America this season,” scorer Tim Walmsley emailed.

He expects “Ginormica’’ to be the fourth-largest bowkill ever in Illinois. It netted 247 2/8 inches when officially scored on Jan. 26. Racks are scored in inches by the addition and subtraction of various measurements.

But “Ginormica’’ is more cinema than arithmetic.

The buck tale begins with a trail camera. Travis’ brother Trent suggested they put some out on the farms where a family group hunts. In August, a picture was of a monster non-typical. His 8-year-old son, Caden, called it “Ginormica’’ after the Reese Witherspoon character in ‘‘Monsters vs. Aliens.’’

“They were pictures that made you lose sleep at night,’’ Cockburn said.

He thought one reason the buck lived so long might be the thickets, providing impenetrable hiding spots, created by a massive windstorm three years ago.

His luck came from wading into such a thicket on Thanksgiving, trying to push out another big buck a nephew missed a chance at because he was texting. There was unintended good fortune in the foible of youth. While in the thicket, Cockburn found a major trail intersection. 

When he returned a few days later, he put his portable stand high in a tree near it. At first, he saw nothing until the first bobcat he ever saw while hunting stared him down.

“Had we not had that trail cam, I would not have hunted that day — I would have watched football,” Cockburn said.

Then “Ginormica’’ made his appearance behind Cockburn. After he shot the buck and waited a half-hour, Cockburn climbed down, then backed out. He waited until that evening, so he didn’t push it to land he didn’t have permission to hunt. About 8 p.m., a family group followed the blood trail to the buck.

The mythical size spawned wild buck stories.

“It was hilarious the first 45 days,’’ said Cockburn, an insurance agent for Aflac. “The rumors were rampant that I had turned down $300,000 for it. I had not been approached.’’

Then came the waiting. Racks must dry for 60 days before being officially scored. The day it could be officially scored, Cockburn drove it to Walmsley, who scored it for Boone and Crockett Club, keeper of big-game records.

He co-scored it with Darin DeNeal for Pope and Young Club, keeper of bowhunting records. Both organizations are conservation clubs with a side of record-keeping.

“Yes, that buck is one of the most massive racks I’ve scored,’’ Walmsley emailed. “Anytime you have bases over 8 inches, it’s rare. The buck is old — perhaps 8 to 10. The shed that exists from the deer in 2008 was already massive.’’

Walmsley scored the 29-pointer as a main-frame 12-point with 17 abnormal points. The inside spread was only 17 inches, making it a tight rack. The 84/8-inch score on the left H1 base indicates the incredible mass.

“He is a freak; he just had the genes,’’ Cockburn said. 

“Ginormica’’ may be viewed when Cockburn brings the full-body mount to the Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic March 23-25 in Peoria.

“Am I going hunting again? Absolutely,’’ Cockburn said. “The day my heart doesn’t race when I see a deer is when I quit.’’

by Chicago Sun-Times

Friday, February 17, 2012

Proposal Aimed at Recruiting New Hunters

State lawmakers are considering a proposal which would create a new type of license aimed at recruiting more hunters and trappers to experience the outdoor pursuits.   Presently anybody born after January 1, 1975 must take a hunter education course to qualify to buy a hunting license in West Virginia.   

The proposed Apprentice Hunter/Trapper license would allow that requirement to be waived for three to five years if somebody wants to give hunting a try.   

"We want to give people an opportunity who may want to try hunting, but don't want all the expense or the time to take a hunter safety class and then find out it's really not for them," said DNR Director Frank Jezioro.  "They could buy this license without the hunter safety card for three years out of a five-year period.  After that they would have to take the class and buy a regular license." 

The bill was brought to lawmakers by the National Rifle Association who has successfully introduced the legislation in other states.   The idea is to pair up an inexperienced hunter with a licensed veteran hunter to learn how to hunt or trap safely and effectively. The hope is the experience will be positive and the new hunter will become a lifelong hunter.  

"Maybe a guy who's 25 has never been hunting and his buddies encourage him to go," said Jezioro. "With this license he could go as long as he hunts with a licensed adult hunter for three years before he would have to take the hunter safety course and buy a regular hunting license." 
The cost of the Apprentice Hunting/Trapping license would be $19. 

The measure is also aimed at accommodating youthful hunters from out-of-state who may visit family in West Virginia during one of the hunting seasons and may want to give it a try.   Under present law, all out-of-state hunters, regardless of age, must buy a regular hunting license.  However, unless the youngster has taken an approved hunter education course, they cannot buy a West Virginia license and therefore cannot hunt.  Youth hunters who live in West Virginia can hunt with a licensed adult until the age of 15 before they must have the hunter education course and buy the regular hunting license. 

Jezioro says while it's a bill put forward by the NRA, his agency supports the idea.  He says it may also serve as a way to clear up a loophole created inadvertently years ago.  Presently a youth hunter can hunt for any game in the state with the supervision of an adult, except antlerless deer.  Regulations require all hunters killing a doe to buy the Class "N" stamp, but one must have a regular hunting license to buy the "N" stamp.  Therefore without the hunter safety course the youth cannot buy the license and consequently cannot purchase the antlerless hunting permit.   Jezioro says it's still up in the air as to whether the bill will address the oversight.  

Members of the House Natural Resources Committee tabled the bill this week.  A similar version has also been introduced in the state Senate. 

by Chris Lawrence

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hunters Are People Too

Watching hunters headed to the woods each autumn, I used to shake my head. As a vegan who abhorred violence and suffering, I wondered what possessed such people. That they ate flesh was bad enough. That they spent time and money in pursuit of the chance to deal death to fellow creatures was incomprehensible.

From where I stood in our organic vegetable garden, I saw hunting as a barbaric relic of humanity's pre-agricultural past, the antithesis of our gentle efforts to coax sustenance from the soil. I couldn't possibly have pictured myself a decade later, mapping deer trails all summer in hopes of dragging home venison come November.

Like many vegans and vegetarians, I abstained from animal-derived foods because I cared about the consequences of my eating, for the planet and for the beings who inhabit it. I sought a kind of responsible dietary citizenship, a respectful, holistic way of living as a member of the larger-than-human world. My turn toward hunting was an unexpected extension of that same search.
Even local, organic greens and strawberries came to us courtesy of missing forests, smoke-bombed woodchucks, and rifle-shot deer.
By the time my fiancĂ©e and I returned to eating eggs and dairy due to health concerns, I had realized that everything I ate took a toll on animals. I knew that clearing crop land wipes out wildlife habitat, that grain harvesters mince birds and mammals (PDF), and that farmers kill to protect virtually every crop grown in North America. Even local, organic greens and strawberries came to us courtesy of missing forests, smoke-bombed woodchucks, and rifle-shot deer. If farmers had had their way in the late 19th century, deer populations here in the Northeast would have remained at the near-extinction levels to which they had been driven by overhunting and the clearing of forests for agriculture.

Our return to eating local chicken and wild fish was even more unsettling. These creatures had not died as a side effect of agriculture. They had been killed specifically so I could eat them.

So I took up hunting. I needed to take responsibility for at least a few of the deaths that sustained me, to confront that emotional and moral difficulty. I needed to look directly at living, breathing creatures. I couldn't have all the killing done by proxy.

As in my vegan years, I sought a respectful, holistic way of living as a member of the larger-than-human world. Ecologically, venison from local woods made more sense than anything shipped cross-country. Ethically, a truly wild animal made more sense than any creature raised in confinement.

Hunting, of course, is hard for many Americans to swallow.

In part, that's a matter of history. From the Puritans, who saw hunting as a sign of degeneracy in both European nobles and American Indians, to lionized hunters like Daniel Boone and Theodore Roosevelt to our modern stereotype of hunters as reckless rednecks, we have inherited a wildly conflicted legacy.

In part, it's a matter of current events. Some hunters take dangerous shots at unidentified flashes of movement, occasionally resulting in tragedy. Some take marginal shots at animals, with little care for the suffering inflicted or the risk of a slow, painful death.

We are -- and should be -- troubled by such behavior. But we should also see it for what it is: the dark side not just of hunting but of our culture as a whole.

As writer and hunter Ted Kerasote pointed out years ago, recklessness and disrespect are hardly unique to thoughtless hunters. As a society, we engage in all kinds of gratuitously harmful behavior, from drunk driving and factory farming to rapacious development and agricultural practices that cause soil erosion and poison birds by the tens of millions (PDF). Poor hunter conduct -- attributable to the willful actions of individual members of a minority -- serves as a lightning rod for disapproval, but it is not particularly unusual.

In great part, our difficulty with hunting stems from the simple fact that we are disturbed by the killing of animals. Most burger-wolfing Americans don't want to know what happens in slaughterhouses. Most yogurt-scooping vegetarians don't want to know that dairy farming depends on the constant butchering of male calves for veal. As a salad-munching vegan, I didn't want to know about the impacts of agriculture.

Unlike going to the grocery store, the idea of hunting brings us face to face with animal death. Though hunters may go days, weeks, and even years without shooting an animal or bird, we all know that they intend to kill eventually.

Fifteen years ago, I found such voluntary participation unfathomable. In my imagination, I painted hunters with a dark brush. At best, I thought, they must be callous and ignorant. Now, after nearly a decade as a hunter, I think hunting deserves a fair hearing.

Other Americans are concluding the same. As the local food movement grows, vegetarians and omnivores alike are seeking paths to responsible dietary citizenship. Disturbed by the industrialized food system's impacts on humans, other animals, and the wider natural world, many of us are supporting local farmers. Many are planting gardens or raising backyard chickens. And some are taking up rifles, shotguns, and bows.

Though hunting will never provide a substantial portion of our national food supply -- deer hunting, for instance, yields roughly 300 million pounds of venison per year, less than one pound per American (PDF) -- it can be significant for individual families. Four of the past five autumns, I have hiked into the woods with a rifle, waited patiently, killed swiftly, and dragged home 70-100 pounds of healthy, local, sustainable, free-range meat.

Over the past two years, articles on hunting for food have appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country. From New York and Virginia to Arizona and Wisconsin, people are enrolling in classes designed for what I call "adult-onset hunters." Others are learning on their own or getting guidance from lifelong hunters they know personally.

Even if this surge of interest in hunting proves to be a passing trend, it has already begun the important work of busting stereotypes. As more Americans find that hunters exist within their circles of family and friends, hunters are getting harder to pigeonhole. Shattered stereotypes offer us a chance to think and see with greater clarity.

As we continue to reassess our relationships with food and nature, hunting -- like agriculture -- should be examined with a discerning eye. Approached with hubris, it can perpetuate the worst of who we are: humans at our greediest and most careless. Approached with humility, it can encourage the best of who we are: humans at our wisest and most mindful.

by: Tovar Cerulli

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pheasants and quail will be focus of celebration during national show in Kansas City.


Pete and Laura Berthelsen’s small farm in central Nebraska may well be the epicenter of a national movement to save quail and pheasants.

When they bought the 160 acres in 2005, the place didn’t look like much of a wildlife paradise. It was largely devoid of cover, it was rough and it was only marginally productive.

But the Berthelsens had a dream — an impossible dream, some said.

“Linda and I had two objectives.” said Berthelsen, a senior field supervisor for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “The place had to produce income, and it was going to serve as a wildlife laboratory.

“The order of those objectives depended on which of us you talked to.”

Almost 10 years later, both husband and wife are satisfied beyond their wildest dreams.

Berthelsen set out to completely change the landscape, making it wildlife friendly. He used prescribed burning; high-intensity, short-duration grazing; the planting of food plots, shrub thickets, and buffer strips; and the use of herbicides to remove undesirable vegetation. And it wasn’t long before he saw huge changes.

Today, his land — 60 percent of which is in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), in which the federal government compensates farmers for idling marginal land — is a shining example of hope for those fighting to reverse the trends that have seen quail and pheasant numbers plummet nationwide.

The Berthelsens have 15 coveys of quail and a noticeable increase in pheasant numbers on their land — all without sacrificing financially.

“We had two coveys of quail when we bought this place,” Berthelsen said. “This proves that landowners can make a difference.

“If you provide the habitat, you will have quail. And we’ve found that great quail habitat is great pheasant habitat.

“We’ve just wrapped up a very successful hunting season at a time when others were complaining about a lack of birds.”

Berthelsen will carry that message of hope to Kansas City this week at the national Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic. The event, which will open Friday and continue through next Sunday, will be centered at Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City. Organized by national conservation groups Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, the extravaganza will be a celebration of upland hunting. It will include a bird-dog parade, seminars by nationally known experts, a large sports show with almost 400 vendors and a kids zone. But it will be much more than fun and games.

A central message will dominate the proceedings: We can bring the birds back.

“The strength of our pheasant and quail populations boils down to two things: habitat and Mother Nature,” said Dave Nomsen, vice president of governmental affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “Well, we can’t do anything about the weather. But we’re finding that we can have a big impact on the habitat.”

Pheasants Forever was born in 1982, when crop prices were high, farmers were rushing to put land into production and wildlife habitat was disappearing at an alarming rate. By 2005, a sister organization, Quail Forever was added.
 
Today, Pheasants Forever has more than 125,000 members in 600 chapters in the United States and Canada. The organization’s chapter projects benefited more than 235,000 acres of land last year. And Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologists made more than 12,000 landowner contacts, resulting in almost 580,000 acres of habitat improvement.

At the heart of that effort is the CRP, which now compensates farmers for specific conservation practices. Leaving buffer strips between crops and timber, planting warm-season grasses, leaving nesting and brood-rearing areas in crop fields, hinging trees to provide brushy habitat — they’re all part of the way landowners can create a more wildlife friendly environment and be compensated at the same time.

But officials with Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever know that there are many challenges. Getting landowners to take even marginal land out of production at a time when crop prices are high isn’t easy.

And that challenge will be drawn into sharp focus this year. Contracts on almost 6.5 million acres of the 30 million enrolled in CRP are due to expire. If farmers don’t re-enlist their land in the program or new land isn’t enrolled, wildlife habitat could be reduced significantly.

That’s why Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever officials are urging farmers to consider putting at least a portion of their most unproductive land into the CRP program when the enrollment period is held from March 12 through April 6.

As a special feature at the Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic, a Landowner Habitat Help Room will assist landowners in devising a habitat plan specific to their farms.

All the landowners have to do is bring the legal description of their property (township, range and section). Through technology, biologists will get a detailed look at the land on large-screen monitors at work stations. The experts will then devise a habitat plan and will even advise landowners on what local, state, and federal conservation programs qualify for enrollment.

John Cockerham of Osborne, Kan., is certainly sold on the benefits of working with Pheasants Forever programs on CRP land. He took 150 of his 700 acres out of production, put them in the CRP, then worked with Pheasants Forever to create wildlife habitat.

“With the help of Pheasants Forever, we planted 950 trees in 1994 to build shelterbelts,” Cockerham said. “Then we planted some grass patches for nesting cover and some food plots.

“We’ve really seen a difference in our bird numbers. The quail really made a jump this year. And we’re seeing more pheasants, too.”

Stories like that convince Nomsen that Pheasants Forever is on the right track.

“There’s no question that Pheasants Forever has made a difference,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with the partnerships we’re involved with.

“But there’s still a long way to go.”

by Brent Frazee

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crane Hunting Legislation Proposed

Sandhill Cranes reportedly cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to crops each year.
 
About 100 years ago, the nation's Sandhill Crane population - plagued by unregulated hunting and habitat loss - wasn't looking good.
 
According to recent counts, the migratory bird population is up - big-time.
Recent estimates from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources puts the Eastern Population of the Sandhill Crane - which stretches from Ontario down to Florida - at around 72,000.
From that count, which took place in late October, around 38,000 birds were counted in Wisconsin.

It is those numbers that has grain farmer Randy Kuehl worried.
 
"[Farmers] are basically feeding your deer, turkey, geese,” said Kuehl, at his farm just outside Kewaunee. “Now we're starting to feed the cranes.  And we have no control over them."
 
Kuehl says the Sandhill Cranes go down the rows of corn and pluck the newly planted seeds from the ground.
He says that can make for some problems when the birds take out 50 feet or more of planted seeds.
 
According to numbers submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture, over the last four years Sandhill Cranes have caused more than $1. 7-million worth of crop damage.
 
"They definitely are a detriment to farmers," said Wisconsin State Representative Joel Kleefisch (R) Oconomowoc, the sponsor of the bill that would create a hunting season on the birds.
In order to fall within national Sandhill Crane management plans, migratory bird specialists with the DNR helped Kleefisch write the bill.
 
Kleefisch, who is a hunter and the host of a hunting show in Wisconsin, says the proposed bill would add to the hunting traditions of Wisconsin and be rigorously enforced to not affect the total population.
    
"In order to hunt them, according to our bill, you will have to go through a course that will teach you how to identify a Sandhill Crane so you're not out there shooting other species of birds," said Kleefisch in a phone interview Thursday.
    
Crane advocates say they aren't against hunting in general and understand the crop damage facing farmers. But say all options to control the Sandhill Cranes should be considered.
 
"Crane hunting will not solve crop damage,” said Jeb Barzen, Director of Ecology for the International Crane Foundation, based in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Barzen says the foundation, which focuses its efforts on crane habitat preservation, doesn't have an official stance on crane hunting.  But he says there are methods to try and mitigate the problems farmers face, when it comes to cranes.
“We have developed methods for solving crop damage for farmers.  It's a [chemical] deterrent that keeps the birds from eating the corn seed,” said Barzen in a phone interview Thursday.  “And once they stop eating the corn that the farmers plant, the cranes remain in the field and feed on other food items.”
 
Noel Cutright, historian and past president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology says the Sandhill Crane population is stable and could probably withstand a hunt.  But, like Barzen, agrees that other options should be pursued first.

“I think chemicals can play a role and I think compensation [to farmers], which is already going on in the state for other species that do crop damage, can also play a role," said Cutright.
Kuehl, who is in favor of the bill, says the seed treatments don't always work and are often too expensive to implement.
If the legislation is passed, crane harvest caps would be put in place by the DNR.
 
Kleefisch says he hopes to have the bill slated for a public hearing in the coming weeks.

by: Bill Miston

Monday, February 6, 2012

Georgia Senate bill seeks to lift ban on hunting with silencer equipped firearms

When Dustin Norton is crouched high above the ground in a deer stand, he wants to hear the crack of twigs and rustle of bushes in order to find his target.

If Norton sees his prize, like many Georgia hunters, he doesn't have time to shove in earplugs for protection before squeezing the trigger.

"They're just going to let their ears ring," said Norton, of Tunnel Hill, Ga.

And if you wear earplugs to protect your hearing, he said, "you won't hear what's coming."

That's why Norton and other Georgia hunters and gun enthusiasts say they support a new state Senate bill that could lift the ban on hunting with a silencer, or suppressor. They say it would help protect their ears and -- with the right weapon -- improve shooting precision.

But critics worry that the proposed law could make it easier for people to commit a crime or poach animals without getting caught.

The gun silencer bill -- Senate Bill 301 -- was introduced by Sen. John Bulloch, R-Ochlocknee, and also is backed by Chickamauga Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis. When introduced last week in the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee, the legislation passed unanimously.

Hunting with a suppressor already is legal in several other states including Tennessee, officials said.
If the bill becomes law, hunters would be allowed to use suppressors on the end of any firearm used for hunting as long as the owners are registered through the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Silencers can be purchased now after a rigorous licensing process, and only the registered owner is allowed to use the equipment.

State Department of Natural Resources officials asked senators to add an amendment that would strip a hunter's license for three years if he is caught using a suppressor illegally.

"Our main concern is that people are hunting safely and hunting lawfully," said DNR spokeswoman Lauren Curry.

The Georgia bill wouldn't change the extensive process potential silencer owners must go through to own a suppressor, said John Martin, owner of Shooter's Depot in Fort Oglethorpe.

Suppressors are class III weapons, the same classification as machine guns and other semiautomatic weapons, said Kevin Boydston, ATF director of industry operations for the Nashville office. Before someone can purchase a suppressor, he must go through an extensive background check, be approved by the local police chief or sheriff and pay a $200 tax, Boydston said.

While several lawmakers backing the bill didn't return calls seeking comment, Bulloch told The Associated Press he penned the bill in an effort to keep hunters from disturbing their neighbors.

But some police worry that the quieter weapon could lead to an increase in poaching or hunting on private property without permission or within city limits, all of which are illegal.

In Calhoun, Ga., police respond to complaints of people trying to hunt deer within patches of woods inside city limits, said police Lt. Tony Pyle. Usually the complaint calls come from residents who hear the shots in the distance and are concerned, he said.

Silencers "could make it harder for them to be caught because no one will hear [the shots]," he said.
A suppressor on the end of a gun barrel can lower the weapon's noise level so it sounds like a car door slamming or a muffled boom. The cost for such devices ranges from about $200 to several thousand dollars for custom equipment.

David Saylors owns Liberty Suppressors, a manufacturing company based in Trenton, Ga., whose slogan is, "The right to remain silent." He said most suppressors cut a gun's noise level by about 30 decibels. While there are suppressors that can make a rifle quieter than a BB gun, those are the exception, he said.

With most rifles, a suppressor lowers their sound from about 160 decibels to about 130 -- 10 decibels below the threshold of pain and a level that typically won't damage the ear in small doses, Saylors said.

He said he gets complaints from hunters who want to buy his product but aren't allowed to do so. His shop sells more than 1,000 suppressors a year to recreational shooters and makes special silencers for other customers.

"[Owners] are not assassins," he said. "They are not evil waiting to kill their predators at night."

by Joy Lukachick

Friday, February 3, 2012

Finishing Strong


By: Michael Lee of Backwoods Life TV

As many hunters are putting their bows and rifles up for the season, in the great state of Alabama the peak of the rut is kicking in to full gear.  One of my favorite things to look forward to after Christmas is hunting in ol’ Bama.  In the “black belt” region of the state the rut usually starts kicking off around Christmas with its peak around mid-January.  This is perfect for those of you that need to put some late season back strap in the freezer and maybe even a trophy on the wall.

My good friend Jeremy Johnson invited me to hunt his family farm for the first time this past January.  The tract record on his property has got to be one of the best in the area if not the state.  Over the years I have seen countless videos from Jeremy on this property with some really nice bucks hitting the dirt.  To say I was excited about the hunt was an understatement!

The first morning, cameraman Fred Branch and I met Jeremy, his better half, Elizabeth, and good friend Justin Moore on the way to the property.  The weather was a frosty 22 degrees with high humidity so we were bundled up big time!  The morning was slow, only seeing a small buck.  Justin did arrow a nice doe for the freezer though while Jeremy and Elizabeth saw a few bucks but didn’t get a shot.  We decided to grab a bite to eat then head back into the woods early in the afternoon and sit until dark.

Settling back in shortly after 1pm that afternoon, we saw deer right away.  A young buck ran two does in front of us and out of sight.  On and off we saw several deer until dark but no shooter bucks in range.  Not a bad day of hunting at all and we were ready for the next morning.

Up and at it we repeated the previous morning routing and were in the stand just as the day began to wake up.  This time we were deep in a creek bottom just off of an old cut over.  The palmettos were thick and seeing 100 yards was a chore in most directions.  About an hour after daylight, I look in front of us and catch movement, its antlers!  A tall, heavy, shooter buck is coming straight to us!  The buck turns and starts working a scrape as I try to find him in my Hawke scope.  The brush is just too thick to get on him.  He then begins walking from our right to left angling away.  Looking ahead the only shot I am going to have is when he steps into a narrow road in front of us.  I ready myself as the buck walks right into my scope and stops!  Boom!  My twelve gauge slug drops him in his tracks!  He’s done right there!

Climbing down I knew that he was a good buck, but after putting my hands on him this deer had some of the heaviest beams and mass of any I had been fortunate enough to tag.  The buck was a main frame eight point with two kickers on one base giving him ten points over an inch long, 13 inch inside spread, and scored just over 130 inches B&C.  I’ll take a buck like this all day long y’all!  Not to mention he was at least 4.5 or 5.5 years old, a true trophy buck to me.

I would like to thank Jeremy for opening up his home farm and inviting us to come over and hunt.  It was truly a great place to see and the amount of game on the place is remarkable.  Just as Genesis 27:3 states “Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me”.  We are blessed to spend time in the outdoors to see what has been created for us to have dominion over and as stewards of the land, we must open our arms and continue to pass on our God given right to hunt.
God bless and good hunting!

MICHAEL’S GEAR LIST:
Optics: Hawke Eclipse 30 SF 6-24x50mm, Hawke Frontier ED 43mm
Gun: Remington 1100 12 gauge
Ammo: Winchester Sabot Slug 375 grain
Stand: Ol’ Man Ladder
Safety Vest: Hunter Safety System Reversible
Scent Eliminator: Lethal Field Spray
Camo: Realtree APG by Gamehide
Pack: Gameplan Gear Spot N Stalk
Boots: Lacrosse Alpha Burly in Realtree APG
Conditioning: Hunt Strong

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taylor's Law

Taylor Gramling, 18, succumbed to leukemia in November, but not before fulfilling one last wish: Go on a hunt and bag a deer.

The successful outing, however, almost did not happen. The request came out of season, tying state wildlife officials' hands. Only a timely intervention by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, a board member of the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, made the hunt possible. Foxworthy has a farm that holds a special out-of-season deer hunting permit.

Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-Locust Grove, had been among those helping Gramling, and it inspired him to never have that happen again. Jeffares this week filed Senate Bill 309, which would allow state officials to grant special hunting privileges to anyone 21 years or younger with a terminal illness, provided they have proper supervision and follow the usual rules.

If it passes, Jeffares has proposed to call it "Taylor's Law."

by: Kristina Torres