DeerBlaster blasts

Couple top 5 bucks, Pattern deer now?? Game changing ammo case

Today’s Top 5

Here’s maybe the biggest LA deer of the season.

Check out that stud! Probly the largest from LA this season. And get this: it’s a PUBLIC land trophy, taken with a muzzleloader!! Cory Fontenot got that big ol’ 10-point on the Buckhorn WMA — good name for a huntin’ spot!

He had been hunting an area with a lot of deer activity, but wasn’t seeing much. So he applied a bunch of cover scent and went back to his stand — LA Sportsman with the deets:

> In his stand for no more than 15 minutes, Fontenot heard a noise in the palmettos behind his stand, along the trail he had walked in on.

> “I turned and looked toward the noise, and there stood a big buck, 30 yards away, standing right where I had walked. The buck was not looking toward me, so I eased all the way around and propped my gun against the tree. I had to sit all twisted around and keep my eye on him, as he was behind some bushes, and I didn’t have a shot.

> “After a minute, my gun was getting wobbly, and I had to ease it down and take some deep breaths because I was looking at a deer like none I had ever seen. He finally took a step from behind the bushes (and) I got my CVA .444 on him, pulled the trigger, and he dropped right there.”

The deer green scored 177 2/8, with every tine measuring 6-10 long. NICE buck Cory, congrats!

Take a look at this top 5 OK typical!

That huge buck was shot by rancher Troy Bryant, grossed 197 7/8″ and netted 190 6/8. Amazing that, according to NA Whitetail, in 2017 the ranch he lived on was 90% burned by wildfires:

> “We were in the middle of all of the wildfires out here [in western and northwestern OK]. What Bryant and his family members discovered upon riding the smoldering range was heartbreaking as they encountered dead cattle, dead wildlife and dead whitetails.

> “This year, we have seen tremendous growth of our deer herd. As the doe numbers have slowly rebounded, we’re starting to see a comeback. This ranch holds a lot of deer and it holds some really good deer, and we saw some of that again this year.

> “I’ve been so blessed by the Lord to be able to live out here on this ranch and to be able to do the things I’ve been able to do outdoors, including to be able to hunt. Without Him, none of this would be possible.”

Amen Troy! Hope he keeps sending critters your way, and we love the family pic man!

Is this new composite ammo case game-changing?

Ammo companies churn out new designs every year, but this collab from True Velocity and Sierra seems truly different — and possibly game-changing. Though non-brass cases are nothing new, these claim to be more accurate than ever. Wide Open Spaces had a breakdown:

> …precision-formed primer pocket and a burr-free flash hole in a steel alloy head, the True Velocity case [supposedly] boasts more strength and safety than your typical brass head case design.

> Thanks to the composite, engineers can control the internal geometry of the case, meaning they can tweak the powder chamber to get optimal internal ballistics.

> With better burn efficiency, the ammo requires 10% less propellant, which results in less barrel wear over time and less recoil with each shot.

> These cartridges are putting up numbers unsurpassed by brass-cased match-grade cartridges as they’re capable of sub-MOA accuracy at extended ranges, and single-digit standard deviation in muzzle velocity.

> The concept benefits every kind of a shooter, as military personnel get the luxury of carrying less weight and hunters get the enjoy improved long-range accuracy.

Dang what’s not to like? Just don’t drop ’em in snow…lol.

MI bowhunter just needed 4 minutes to get 22 points!

Can you tell the story of shooting your biggest buck this fast? Check out Hank Todd:

> “It was making the scrape, I used the grunt call, he came in right where I wanted him to and I shot him.”

Lol love it! Rest of the story:

> It all happened within 4 minutes from the time Todd first spotted the monster buck. “When he was coming towards me, I could see he was a big one. I didn’t know how big. I was still shaking.”

> He was 17-20 yards away when he took the shot. “It ran approximately 45-50 yards.

Deer hasn’t been scored yet but it’s for sure a nice’n!

Should Christians kill animals for “sport?”

Huh. Interesting question, in a way. Christianity Today has a decent review of the book “God, Nimrod, and the World: Exploring Christian Perspectives on Sport Hunting.” Post is worth a read — it’ll get you thinking like it did us.

Before you bunch up about it, know that the book and review don’t make any conclusions. They just discuss whether “sport” hunting is compatible with leading a Christian life. Fwiw, here’s a few thoughts that I (Ted) can boil down this way: hunting is about 3 things — killing, conserving and connecting. So:

I’ve never liked the term “sport” hunting. Sport implies winners, losers, glory and shame. That’s not what hunting is, despite what some social media might show us. Hunting is about taking a life, and we can’t lose sight of that. If you never intend to kill, then you’re a hiker I guess….

So is killing animals Christian? It’s part of being good stewards of the earth. If you read no further than the first chapter of Genesis, you know the Lord intends for us to be the caretakers of His planet. That means being responsible for all living creatures, and that’s something that hunters do better than almost any other group of people.

Know I’m preaching to the choir but…we care about — and spend countless hours trying to understand — creatures on this earth. Hunting actively teaches us to be conservators of life and ecosystems. We also pay for the conservation of hunting habitat and all the critters in it through our gear and license purchases.

Finally, hunting is about connections. It’s about actively connecting to our natural environment, which, sadly, is ignored by so much of our society today. Hunting reminds us that God created a world that is infinitely larger than us. It’s also about connecting with other people — anyone who’s been in camp or helped a kid take a first deer understands that.

If you disagree, with any of the above, all good — I’d love to hear your perspective. Maybe just give it some thought and…no better place to do some thinking than in the fields or woods….


1. GSM bought Hunters Specialties.

Blockbuster acquisition in the hunting biz, and yet more consolidation. Whether you know it or not, you probably have GSM products — talkin’ brands like Stealth Cam, Muddy tree stands, NAP archery stuff and more.

2. WI might double length of firearms season.

> One of the more eye-opening questions is if hunters would support extending the 9-day gun season to 19 days. The state currently has the shortest firearm deer season in the country.

3. PA: Proposed 2020 Sunday hunting dates.

> The game commission approved expanded Sunday hunting on Sunday, Nov 15 for archery deer season; Sunday, Nov 22 for bear hunting during the bear firearms season; and Sunday, Nov 29 for deer hunting during the firearms deer season.

Also: looks like moving the Monday opener to Saturday in 2019 didn’t hurt license sales….

4. IL: Bow harvest up, firearms deer down in 2019-20.

> …a preliminary total of 153,048 deer during all 2019-20 archery and firearm seasons, which concluded on Jan 19. …hunters took 45% does and 55% males.

> Archery deer hunters…preliminary total of 67,696 deer during the season …compares with the harvest of 61,096 deer during the 2018-19 archery season.

> …preliminary total of 75,349 deer during the IL firearm deer season…compared with 80,957 deer taken during the 2018 firearm season.

5. KY harvest close to all-time record.

> [2018-19’s] deer harvest of 145,753 was the 2nd-highest ever, but that number was surpassed this season. Hunters reported taking 148,356 deer, 53% antlered and 47% antlerless,

> KY’s 16-day modern gun season continues to be the driving force behind the run of impressive deer harvests in recent years. Hunters reported taking a record 107,035 deer…breaking last year’s record of 106,804.

6. ME: Is now the time to get the lead out?

It’s illegal to use lead bullets in CA, and like a whole buncha things from the left coast that trend will prolly spread to other states. The outdoor editor from the Bangor Daily News makes a case for non-lead:

> A study conducted in 2009… determined that pieces of lead ended up in 32% of the ground venison.

> One hunter’s experience with copper bullets: “I mostly bought them out of curiosity, but when I tried them at the range they were much more accurate out of my rifle than the lead bullets I had been using.”

[Post is at, sorry cant link it.]

7. SD proposing 500 new non-resident whitetail tags.

Private land only.

8. ID collaring muley bucks…

…”to learn more about long-term buck survival during hunting seasons.”

9. WV bill could affect youth deer-hunting opportunities.

> Most WV public school systems close for the opening week of deer hunting season for the benefit of students, staff, and their families to enjoy their hunting heritage. House Bill 2433 will impose a one-size-fits-all calendar on all public school systems….

> Such a change may result in school systems eliminating the week off for the opening of deer season in order to still meet this requirement.

10. UT is getting rid of trees to plant native browse.

To help whitetails, muleys and other wildlife.

11. WI: Cool idea = deer hides for charity.

> For the past 30 years, Sharon and LeRoy Dehnel from Wausau have collected unwanted deer hides to raise money for children with disabilities. The hides are sold to the highest bidder and turned into gloves, with all proceeds going to WI’s Lions Camp in Rosholt.

12. NY: NYC mayor says no to deer hunting on Staten Island.

> [Mayor Bill] De Blasio…understands Staten Islanders want to be rid of the deer that cause car accidents and spread Lyme disease, but insists his administration’s sterilization approach is reducing the herd.

NYC…[eyeroll emoji]. Uh mayor, sterilization programs almost never work…and are pointless….

13. VA legislator says roads plans should consider deer corridors.

14. PA hunter okay after being bit by copperhead…ON THE HEAD.

15. Alarming outdoor recreating stats.

> …just under half the U.S. population does not participate in outdoor recreation at all.

Here’s the worst one:

> Kids went on 15% fewer annual [outdoors[ outings in 2018 than they did in 2012.

Dang. Story is at — sorry can’t link it.

16. Hunt story: Lucas Cooney’s first public land buck…the hard way.

Super stoked for outdoor writer Lucas Cooney tagging his first public-land archery buck. We’ve had the pleasure of having Lucas in deer camp a couple of times — nice guy who’s always asking questions and soaking up knowledge.

He’s an arrow-flinging fool too — always practicing and committed to making the perfect shot. But in bowhunting, shots don’t always land where you want ’em too, which is what happened to Lucas. Deets from

> There is no denying the shot was dreadful. Keep in mind that I shoot my bow all the time, shooting somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 arrows a year. The deer was all of 23 yards away and at that distance I am automatic. In fact, at twice that distance I keep my groups pretty tight. Despite all the practice, despite using the best equipment you can buy, despite all the cards stacked in my favor…I still messed up. Bad.

> The issue, as best I can figure, is that while I practice a lot, I’ve never practiced with my knees pointed toward the target and my body twisted hard to the right. It just never occurred to me.

After waiting 2.5 hours, Lucas and a buddy tracked the deer. They found the blood trail, bumped the buck, then split up and finally recovered the deer:

> …I think about my bad shot and the joy of finding that buck many times each day. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson. I need to practice shooting while facing my target and in a variety of other odd and uncomfortable positions — and if I can’t do it consistently well, I can’t allow myself to take a shot like that ever again.

Deer Disease News

…is this why license sales and the harvest was down?

> Deer license sales were down about 12% going into the state’s annual gun-deer season….. 5-year average harvest: 104,366…2018 harvest was 108,401…estimated 2019 harvest was 86,158 — a 21% drop.

Hopefully hunters will come back with the herd….

> …established a special season for the north CWD zone on Feb 8-9, and hunters may harvest up to 7 deer in addition to the normal bag limit…all deer harvested must be tested.

> Deer heads arrive in individual black plastic bags at the state’s main CWD processing station…providing 2 tissue samples from their spine/brain intersection.

> Those samples — a pair of lymph nodes — go into bar-coded plastic pouches that get sent to Madison to determine whether the deer had CWD.

> ….DNR’s goal to sample about 21,000 deer for CWD during the current collection cycle, which ends March 31.

> Each 8-hour shift processes about 400 deer heads during the center’s busy season.

> It was the 15th confirmed case of the disease…reported in UT since July 1, 2019…. Coal’s case is slightly different from other cases because the mule deer became an iconic member of the Moab community after he was first discovered in 2016.

New Stuff

1. All the rifles from SHOT Show.

F&S gun dude Richard Mann says the trend for this year is light rifles…chambered in plenty of six-fives:

> Over the last decade or so, thanks to the influence of long-range competition rifles, the weight of sporting rifles inched steadily upward, then plateaued, and only recently showed signs of going the other way. Now, with at least 4 new guns under 6.5 lbs and one under 5, there’s no doubt which way the wind is now blowing.

2. Cobra Archery redesigns Harvester release.

Has a couple patents pending:

> The Harvester features an industry-leading design that incorporates all trigger adjustments into a single set screw. The length, angle and rotation of the thumb trigger is quickly and securely set into position with one screw. The patent-pending roller sear design produces and incredibly crisp trigger.

3. Primos drops a coupla new blinds.

> The HideSight Ground, wrapped in Primos Ground Swat camouflage, is constructed of 300D polyester with a low sheen to help it blend into surroundings with ease. The top edge is lined with Brush Deception holders, onto which sticks, branches and leaves can be affixed.

> The Smokescreen Ground blind, meanwhile, utilizes one-way see-through technology, which allows hunters to see out even though game cannot see in.

4. Butler Creek Featherlight sling.

> Designed to be 45% lighter…features an industry-first design with the use of a close-cell foam inner material.

5. 2021 Chevy Silverado Realtree Edition.

Pretty sharp:

> …comes with either the 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 and 6-speed automatic or the optional 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 and 10-speed transmission. It has a suspension lift of 2″ plus the Z71 package’s Rancho off-road tuned shocks, skid plates, hill-descent control and automatic locking rear differential.

Gear of the Week

Kimber Open Range Pro Carbon.

Kimber is mostly known for 2 things: classic 1911s and rock-solid mountain rifles. At this year’s SHOT Show, they introduced their new Open Range Pro Carbon Rifle. If you’re a backcountry guy that climbs mountains like a goat and likes a dependable rifle, then this might need to be on your short list…but it is spendy:

> …ultralight tack drivers designed for the demanding hunter. …high-level performance features like all-weather KimPro finish, extremely strong, light and well-balanced AG Composites carbon­­­­ fiber stocks, and are available in either soft touch GORE Optifade Open Country or textured granite.

> The rifles have market-leading, 24″ Proof Research carbon fiber barrels in either 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win and weigh less than 6.5 lbs with muzzle brakes.­­

If you haven’t heard of Proof, they’re doing some real rocket-science stuff with carbon fiber…check out: (sorry can’t link it).

> Our patented manufacturing process begins with full-profile, match-grade 416R stainless steel barrel blanks that are made in our firearms division. These blanks are then turned down to a significantly reduced profile, greatly reducing weight.

> This reduced contour barrel is then wrapped with high-strength, aerospace-grade carbon fiber impregnated with a proprietary matrix resin developed by our advanced composites division, PROOF Research ACD. The carbon fibers we use have a unique ability to diffuse heat along the length of the barrel (much like fiber optics transmit light).

> The end result is an aerospace-grade, high-fiber-content composite barrel that is stronger, lighter, as accurate as the finest precision steel barrel, and durable to perform in the most demanding environments. They’re not just lighter — they’re better.

Back to the rifle:

> All Kimber rifles are patterned after the storied Mauser-style controlled-feed actions with 3-position wing safeties and locking bolts.

> Barrels and chambers are machined to critical match-grade dimensions with exacting quality control. This paired with crisp, factory-set, match-grade triggers produces exceptional, Sub-MOA performance from the lightest production rifles on the market.

MSRP is — wait for it — $3,100. A lot of $$$…but then again, this is a lot of gun.

Tip of the Week

Best time to pattern deer is…now?

Our deer nerd brother Gerald Almy knows a BUNCH about deer. So while it’s tempting to put away your gear now and focus on the couch — or all the honey-dos we’ve been putting off for months — Gerald says wait on those chores cuz now’s the time to get out there and pattern:

> …the ground cover and vegetation is thin now, so you can get a clear picture of the habitat and sign. Another good thing about late-winter scouting: you don’t have to worry about spooking the quarry.

> February through March is a great time to find out crucial details about the travel patterns, core areas, escape routes, breeding territories, rub lines, food sources and bedding spots of your local deer herd. This is also a perfect time to expand your hunting territory by checking out new areas to try next fall.

> To make double use of your time, while you’re scouting you can also be looking for sheds. Finding those dropped antlers can tell you a lot about where your local herd’s winter core bedding areas and feeding sites are.

> Look for areas where spokes of trails from feeding areas join more prominent paths leading to bedding areas. Also look for thinly-outlined trails in thicker cover where big bucks might travel, paralleling the major trails used by does and young bucks. These are often located 30-80 yards to the side of the main trails. Those are prime spots to waylay a mature buck.

> In areas that receive lots of hunting pressure, look for escape cover. Search for dense vegetation, swampy areas, brushy benches or knolls, thickets and rugged elevated areas where most people won’t venture. The best ones will also be a good hike in from the nearest road. Those will be prime spots on opening day and on weekends during gun seasons.

Quote of the Week

“Won’t need to plow anymore if the deer keep it packed down.”

MN ice fishing expert Danny Thompson talkin’ ’bout this:

Looks like he found himself a deer funnel…or made one?

Anyhow, Danny’s a deer slayer — got a coupla righteous bucks this season with bow and bullet:

Shot of the Week

Wade Middleton — deer nerd and host of the “Yamaha’s Whitetail Diaries” TV show — shared this shot from a Mexican corn thief: “A buddy said this buck…has learned to knock the lid off and feed at will.”

Guessin’ he’s been at it awhile — look at that GUT! Wonder what he’d look like after a Super Bowl party…lol!

What’s the DB and who does it??
The DeerBlaster is a weekly roundup of the best, worst and funniest stuff about whitetail deer hunting culled from around the interwebz. We were kinda doing it already, just not the blastin’ it into your inbox part….
It’s put together by some deer nerds — Ted, Jay, Wade, couple more — from around the country. We excerpt content (and credit EVERYONE!), comment on content, do some original content — it’s an internet thing…. We do it because we can’t get enough deer hunting, hopefully you’re wired the same.
The DeerBlaster’s a work in progress, just like we are. Let us know what we can do better and thanks for readin’! Any issues, suggestions, whatever, just hit Reply to this email and we’ll get it. Thank you!
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