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Black whitetails seen, Big non-typ you haven’t seen, Are deer turkey bodyguards? 🤔

Today’s Top 5

Ever seen a black deer?? 

Whoa! Never seen one, supposed to be the rarest color of all — this one was in MI:

How ’bout another?? Think this one’s in TX, posted by @matt_harr3:

Believe the official word is “melanistic” but that doesn’t sound near cool enough….

Do deer protect turkey?

Ever seen anything like this? We never have, but have seen birds warn game so…. Check out a couple examples from this post:

> After some talk back and forth the gobbler moved parallel to him, entered the field and began strutting directly toward our hunter. Suddenly 3 deer came out of the woods and at around 80 yards placed themselves directly in front of the gobbler and refused to let him move forward. They lowered their heads and pushed him, used their legs to block him and stood in line so that they wouldn’t let him slip by their blockade.

> After 15 minutes the turkey gave up and walked off. The deer watched until he entered the woods and trotted off themselves.

Example #2:

> …the doe began to snort loudly and stomp the ground. What? She’d seen me clearly coming up the hill, but instead of running she’d followed me and now was making a terrible racket. Watching for the gobbler, but keeping my hand low I shooed her away. She refused to leave and continued snorting and stomping. The next time the turkey gobbled he was 200 yards away. The doe turned and waved her big white tail before proudly trotting off. I believe she purposely spooked my gobbler.

Hmmmm. Also:

> Single, yearling deer often mix in with a flock of turkeys for the same reason. The more eyes and ears around the safer you are and the deer’s single, but sensitive, nose upped the safety factor for all concerned.

Look at this 1974 MN very non-typ!

Pre-interwebz you could kill a buck like this and maybe it’d appear in your local newspaper, where you’d be the envy of your buddies, but that’s it. No sponsorship deals, no media tours, no instafamous hunters. So here’s one you might not have seen before:

Rack connoisseur Gordon Whittington gives this gnarly gorgeous MN buck its due:

> Mitch [Vakoch] was just 17 when he tagged this massive buck near the small Norman County town of Ada in Nov 1974. The hunter got his shot after someone else’s gunshot missed the monster and sent him running. As it turned out, the giant fled straight toward Mitch, whose 12-gauge slug dropped him. It was the hunter’s first deer! [Lucky sonofagun lol!]

> With 43 scorable points and mass galore, the tight-racked trophy easily broke the state record with a net score of 268 5/8…despite nearly 30″ of deductions for asymmetry on the typical frame.

> The Vakoch buck was among the world’s top handful of known non-typicals at the time, ranking comfortably in the Top 10 for B&C.

Check out these interesting stats from the QDMA report.

The annual QDMA whitetail report has been out for awhile, but the cats over at Outdoor Life really sunk their teeth into it and made some pretty interesting observations like:

> After TX (up 54%), the 4 states with the greatest increase in buck harvest in 2017, compared to the 5-yr average, were: CT (+27%), DE (+24%), MA (+23%) and PA (+21%).

> As a nationwide average, yearling bucks made up 35% of antlered buck harvests in 2017, which is fairly consistent with the previous 2 yrs and only slightly higher than the modern (and probably all-time) low of 33% in 2014. In ’89, the yearlings made up 62% of the national antlered buck kill.

> Antlerless harvest is also important as females represent the foundation of virtually every deer management program, and the general trend in most areas has been downward. Doe kills for the top 3 states have declined by nearly 20% since 2007: TX (411,200), GA (242,205), PA (203,409). Nationwide, deer hunters actually killed more bucks than does for the first time since ’98. [I guess this suggests a balance in the herd??]

> Firearms hunters account for roughly 66% of the kill, followed by archers at 23%, muzzleloaders (which are also firearms) at 10%, and “other” killing only 1%. Bowhunting seems to show the most growth, with their portion of the overall kill rising from 15 to 23% since 2002.

> The 5 top states for percentage of overall deer kill taken by archers (including crossbows) are: NJ (58%), MA (43%), OH (43%), IL (39%), KS (37%).

Anti-crossbow peeps are like:

Lol! There’s a lot more in the OL post, including some crazy stats on deer/vehicle wrecks. In 2017-18 PA had 0.57 deer-vehicle collisions per road mile?!?! That’s insane!

Whose treestand is this??  

Audio is great — @realracklife post:


CWD News

1. AR expanded CWD management zone…

> …to include Baxter, Scott and Stone counties following the confirmation of CWD-positive deer in or near these counties during the 2018-19 deer hunting season.

2. MT has a new plan for sampling around Libby…

…where one CWD deer was found:

> …tentative plans for the killing and sampling of roughly 200 whitetail deer within the city and the sampling of at least another 200 whitetail deer killed by hunters this fall within a 10-mile radius of Libby.


1. KY expands x-bow season.

> The new season will run from Sept 21, 2019 to Jan 20, 2020.

> Officials said the season extension is a way to tap into the recent growth in popularity of crossbow hunting, as it give hunters more opportunities, keeps them in the field longer and helps manage the state’s deer population.

> The regulations allow youth hunters age 15 and younger to hunt with a crossbow during the entire archery season, similar to the rules in place for hunters age 65 and older.

2. TX: Top 2018-19 bucks displayed THIS WEEKEND.

[Can’t link this but it’s at:]

> …Jun 22 at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center in Lufkin as part of the TX Big Game Awards Program’s annual Sportsman’s Celebration banquet.

Chad Jones’ NICE 233 7/8″ 27-pt B&C buck will be one of ’em:

3. DC: 1.4 mil new fed acres will be open to hunting.

> The plan seeks to increase access across 1.4 million acres of public land in 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries.

> The department also plans to update hunting and fishing regulations at refuges across the U.S. to more closely match state regulations….

> “President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before.”

4. ME: Hunters, guides, DNR oppose deer-baiting.

DNR’s biggest concern is disease transmission.

5. ND: Hunting/fishing $$$ growing even with fewer sportsmen.

Fishermen get the credit:

> Fishing and hunting remain economic powerhouses in North Dakota, a $2.1 billion industry that continues to grow despite sizable drops in hunters pursuing deer, pheasants and ducks.

> The ballooning of dollars being spent on outdoors activities can be attributed to anglers, who are greater in number and spend more money than ever before.

6. MO: Apply for managed deer hunts July 1.

7. NV: Man cited for allegedly poaching deer in NV…3 yrs ago.

8. Tick-borne diseases on the rise in the U.S.

Full list of areas to be opened is here:

> “The weather is changing. Climate is changing and there are more mice, there are more food for the ticks.”

9. Why venison is good for you.

Some deets in case you want to know more than just that fact.

Gear of the Week

I haven’t used this so I don’t understand it yet — I’d rather get out there and use my actual bow to shoot actual arrows at actual targets, but maybe everyone can’t do that? Anyhow, when I saw this review from a legit source like, I figured it was worth mentioning so here we go:

> …I like that this “bow” feels real. At a little over 4 lbs and 32″ axle to axle, it’s the same size as a modern hunting bow, with a pragmatic shape and style. It isn’t going to feel like your new Mathews Vertix, but it’s designed to be as realistic as possible….

> The available phone mount accessory is for virtual archery practice. Augmented reality is a key feature of the AccuBow, and it adds a little spice to the practice regimen. I really enjoyed it. It allows you to practice virtual bowhunting, target archery and more with an incorporated scoring system so you can compete with yourself, and track your performance over time.

> The hunting modes have a variety of real-life challenges that include elements like wind direction, wind speed, big deer and more. They make the practice realistic, and even introduce a touch of adrenaline.

> Repetition is the key to archery practice, and the AccuBow works indoors or outdoors, day or night. I tested it inside and it worked just fine. I didn’t even annoy my wife during the process. In fact, she tried it out for herself and put her own stamp of approval on it.

> This product impressed me most in the strength-building department, though. The muscles we use to draw a bow are specialized, and the AccuBow excels at working those, ultimately building them up so you can either increase draw weight or pull your current poundage with more ease. I noticed a small strength increase during the short test period.

Hmmm. Product video is here.

Tip of the Week

What kind of zero are you?

Maybe you bought a new rifle and/or glass, or maybe you just want to make sure Old Faithful is still dialed in. Either way, gun guru Bryce Towsley has a rundown of 3 of the most popular ways to sight in a rifle — interesting stuff in case you don’t know about all of ’em:

> This assumes that you’re shooting a modern rifle chambered in a bottleneck cartridge and using a scope.

> Plain Old Boring 100-Yard Zero [lol] — Before the advent of ultra-fast bullet velocities and optical sights, this was pretty much the gold standard, and it still is today for a lot of hunters. Eastern hunters (and western coastal hunters) tend to hunt in the thick forest. Their most common problem is not figuring out holdover for a long shot, but more often how to thread a bullet through the thick brush to the deer.

> First off, it’s best to have your scope mounted as close to the barrel as possible so that the line of sight has little offset from the bullet’s path. Let’s use the ever popular .30-06 Springfield with a 150-grain bullet and a 100-yd zero for illustration.

> The bullet leaves the bore 1.5″ below the line of sight. After that, it is always less than 1.5″ from the line of sight all the way out to 175 yds. That means you can shoot through a 3″ diameter hole (the size of a baseball) and hit the deer.

> 200-Yard Zero — This is my preferred zero for most big-game hunting in places with a variety of terrain and cover. With the gun zeroed to impact a 200-yd target dead center, the same .30-06 will be 1.72″ high at 100 yds and 7.66″ low at 300 yds.

> At 300 yds, simply hold a little higher on the animal, but always with the crosshairs on hair, not air. Beyond 300 yards, the acceleration of gravity begins to cause the bullet to drop very fast and it becomes more difficult to make a good hit, so I’ve always held that most hunters should limit their shots at unwounded game to 300 yards.

> Point-Blank Range — This works best for hunting big-game in wide open spaces with flat-shooting magnum cartridges. The concept is to pick a kill zone diameter, say 6″ for deer, then adjust your zero so the bullet is never higher or lower than 3 inches from the line of sight.

Get all the details at

Shot of the Week

These 1987 ME bucks look HUGE! And they do grow ’em big up there…. One of many too-cool shots on @oldschoolhunting:

What’s the DB and who does it??
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of the best, worst and funniest stuff in deer hunting — put together by a couple diehard deer nuts including Ted Gartner << that’s him right there! Ted’s down in TX but we have other guys all over. All Deer Nerds!

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