Today’s guest post from Flatlander, longtime friend of BIG DEER:
Hey Mike, reporting in on the last week of the Illinois archery season. We’ve had 10 inches of snow dumped upon us, and the deer are still a slave to their stomachs.
I’ve been playing cat and mouse with a buck we’ve called “Captain Hook” for his unique brow tines. He was elusive during the pre-rut and disappeared for almost 6 weeks. Most recent trail cams at Christmas revealed he was alive and back, moving among our food plots.
Cold temps and flooded low ground had deer on their feet on the warmest part of the day, when I had a close encounter with Captain Hook on New Year’s Eve. A doe below my stand didn’t like what she saw and blew the buck out of the area. Fast forward to this past Saturday night and the big 10 came in again only to wind me from several hundred yards. I’d apparently gotten sloppy on my ritual of scent control.
I went home and washed everything and stored it an ozone container…scrubbed my boots and even cut my hair short and scoured my body before the hunt. I went in as scent free as humanly possible.
An hour before sunset 33 deer came by including 6 nice bucks, one amazing 12-pointer in the mix but no shot.
The last deer to move through was Captain Hook, following a one horn buck in to the sugar beets. This was his one and only mistake this season, and it was my best day afield this year!
As you always say, “Hunt hard and stay after it. Success will come if diligent!”
Good luck to all in the coming year and God bless, Matt “Flatlander” Cheever
Way to stick with it Flatlander, congrats man!
I am hearing reports of bucks shedding their antlers early this year. What causes this?
QDMA biologist Kip Adams points to a couple of things. “Nutrition is important, as bucks in good physical condition generally retain their antlers longer than those who are nutritionally stressed,” he says. “Widespread early antler casting (in your area) may signify a nutritionally stressed herd resulting from too many deer for what the habitat can support.”
Kip says that in northern states, mature bucks typically shed their antlers earlier than younger, smaller deer. “(Older) bucks skip many meals during the breeding season, and those that rut hard may be in poor post-rut condition… even when abundant forage is available for deer. These bucks are choice candidates for early antler casting.”
From USA Today: A Michigan hunter caught shooting an illegal deer at first denied doing so, but then confessed and put the blame on his wife…
“The honest-to-God truth is that my wife wants deer meat and if I come home without any she’ll get really mad at me,” the hunter told the conservation officer.
The hunter was cited for killing a spike buck in an area with antler-point restrictions.
No word on how he and his venison-loving wife are getting along.