DeerBlaster blasts

Early velvet bucks, Shoot under string jumpers, How to scout with aerial maps

Today’s Top 4

How ’bout kickin’ off early season with some TN velvet! 

TN has one of the best opportunities to slay a buck in full velvet (bucket list alert!). It’s August sou gotta be willing to go through humid, sweaty, buggy, leafy conditions…seems worth it to me…. has the deets on the velvet season and how it came about…in 2018:

> …given the opportunity to hunt deer with a bow in hopes of taking a buck in velvet during the month of Aug. …[it] thrilled bowhunters that normally have to wait until the end of Sept….

> The 3-day hunt is restricted to private lands only.

> “We had total harvest number of 796 for the 2018 velvet hunt. The hunt came and went really smooth. It was a great opportunity for our hunters.”

> …says he doesn’t see any reason the hunt shouldn’t continue in the years ahead since it poses no threat to herd health and management efforts.

> One move that’s being made is to allow muzzleloader hunting in the CWD Zone during the velvet hunt for the 2019 hunting season, creating even greater opportunities for hunters to take their trophy velvet buck.

This year’s TN velvet hunt is THIS WEEKEND, Aug 23-25. As far as including public land in the future:

> “Staffing concerns, conflicts with other land users, concern about overcrowding and the potential for the hunt to take away from other established public land hunts are all issues we’ll have to work through before opening up public land…for the velvet hunt.”

Shot placement: Agree or not? 

@las_raices_ranch posted this. Ignore the deer behind it — do you agree with the shot placement?

How to scout land you’ve never scouted. 

Amazes me how many “old school” guys won’t use aerial photos/mapping to plan how and where to hunt a piece of property. It’s a great way to figure out where hotspots might be, and you can usually eliminate big chunks of land that aren’t worth your time.

You can also mark waypoints worth checking out, and find the least disruptive way to get to them. Take a look at that map ^ and learn how one guy breaks it down:

> I pulled up a public piece of land on my phone that I’ve been looking at hunting this year. It’s not a big piece — a little more than 100 acres and most of that is underwater, but that’s why I was drawn to it. Because of the water and cattails surrounding it, accessing this land for bowhunting without a canoe or kayak is pretty much impossible.

> A piece of land doesn’t have to be 1,000 acres to get away from hunting pressure if it’s miserable to get into. …most will simply ignore this area for deer hunting and look at it as a waterfowl location.

> …areas of multiple habitat changes are what I’m looking for…and the spot I have labeled here as potential bedding has that. Notice the small brushy trees along the elevation line within what I anticipate will be higher grass.

> To the north of that is what looks like thicker cover. There’s a well-worn trail through the cattails just off the point of that thick cover where it looks like deer are accessing the slough for water.

> What also makes this public piece intriguing is how the terrain sets up for a potential stand location. Notice the small slough on the west-central portion of the map. The tip of that slough and the cattails that extend to the east create a nice pinch point along the thicker timber.

> Assuming the field to the south is either corn or soybeans, it’s easy to imagine deer would work their way out to feed in that field in the evenings by moving between the tip of the cattails and the timber.

Do you have an arrow dog??  

Not sure how wise this is, but it’s a funny @gent_afield pic:

How you know when it’s time to practice….


1. Buckmasters is the world’s oldest hunting show.

When I was young I spent a lot of time watching Buckmasters on Sat mornings. Jackie Bushman and his corny puppet sidekick “Shotgun Red” were my go-to sources for everything deer hunting. A lot in deer hunting has changed in 30+ years, but Buckmasters keeps on going — congrats to ’em:

> Jackie Bushman: “Just to watch how it’s changed from the cameras, the female hunters and new hosts, it’s amazing where it’s come in 33 years. I’m very, very proud of being a part of it.”

> Bushman said his inspiration for Buckmasters was Ray Scott, who elevated bass fishing to elite status through Bassmasters, the organization Scott founded.

> “I remember the hardest thing getting started was the cameras and light-gathering capabilities. That’s probably the reason nobody did a whitetail show. With the old cameras, I just wanted to pull my hair out. The most common 2 words from my camera guy were, ‘Don’t shoot’ because there wasn’t enough light.”

> When Buckmasters started, the cameramen were lugging around 25-lb cameras that cost $45,000 each. The evolution in video equipment to today makes it much easier with handheld cameras…that cost $3,000-4,000.

2. IN: EHD deer found.

Dang, bad timing. Just as the season’s gearing up they find a EHD-positive dead deer:

> …confirmed a case in Clark County of epizootic hemorrhagic disease…. The continued spread of EHD could impact deer populations.

> EHD is a viral disease that impacts whitetail deer when they’re bitten by midges, also known as no-see-ums. …during an outbreak…losses of deer locally can range from a few to more than 50%.

> Symptoms…include deer that seem depressed or weak, deer with a blue-tinged tongue, swelling of the head, neck or eyelids or sloughed hooves.

> IN’s last major outbreak was in 2012.

3. MS doing more “hunting camp” hunts.

Could be a cool idea if everyone’s safe/safety conscious:

> …hunts at George P. Cossar State Park and Natchez State Park where groups of hunters that are drawn will have their own unit and the option to camp or rent cabins.

4. MN youths get their own deer season.

> “We heard a lot of support for a statewide youth deer hunting season. We’re excited to make it easier for parents, relatives or trusted adults to share their hunting knowledge and traditions with the next generation of deer hunters.”

5. DE opens public land to antlerless hunt.

First time, to help farmers:

> “The field inspections conducted by the Dept of Agriculture are showing upwards of 85% crop loss.”


6. ID: Migration routes = roadkill?

Eastern ID:

> A new migration study is underway to determine which busy highways impact wildlife crossings the most…specifically looking at “collision hotspots” along U.S. Highway 20 and State Highway 87….

7. FL Buck Registry webpage updated.

Now mobile-friendly and now includes these features: A score calculator for unofficial scoring, and the opportunity to view all past submitted score sheets.

8. FL: Key deer might get delisted.

From the Endangered Species Act. It’s a whitetail subspecies in the FL Keys.

9. UT muley population is WAY up.

> State biologists estimate that there are just over 370,000 mule deer in UT, which is about 100,000 additional deer than were in the state in 2011.

10. New Nostler Ballstic tip ammo for 2019.

In case you haven’t seen ’em yet — 8 new ones including — yep — CREEEEEDMOOOOOR!

11. New Leupold SX-4 Pro Guide HD spotting scope.

Available in 20-60x85mm and 15-45x65mm. Looks sweet:

12. Deer hunting becoming more popular in Australia?

Here’s #s for the state of Victoria only:

> The most commonly harvested species in 2018 was sambar deer with an estimated total harvest of more than 88,000 (88,202), of which 55% were female.

> Fallow deer were the 2nd most commonly harvested…estimated harvest of 30,552 deer, double the estimated harvest in 2017. 65%…were female.

> The number of licensed deer hunters peaked at 39,066 by the end of the year.

Sounds…not crowded?

CWD News

Both in Canada:

1. SK Wildlife Federation wants baiting ban…

…because of potential CWD threat (SK= Saskatchewan):

> CWD has been detected in some wild deer in 3/4 of the province of Saskatchewan.

2. MB wants to build a deer health lab.

> …Dauphin Big Game Health Laboratory…chronic wasting disease is the main concern….

Gear of the Week

Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor.

If you’re looking to jump on the 6.5 craze but don’t want to spend a fortune, maybe the Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle is the deal. At around $400 it definitely won’t break the bank. But how much rifle are you getting for that kind of money? Here’s what The Truth About Guns says:

> …happy to see the 22″ fluted barrel end in a thread protector, hiding the suppressor-ready muzzle. If you were a horrible person who hates America, I guess you could screw a muzzle brake on it instead of a silencer. [LOL!]

> The trigger is Mossberg’s own Lightning Bolt Action trigger (LBA). This user-adjustable trigger dials pull weight from 2 to 7 lbs and ships from the factory right at the minimum.

> …there’s a bit of squish and creep to this trigger, even at the lower pull weights. Compared to the newer triggers offered by Sauer, Savage, and Remington, the Mossberg LBA scores a solid meh.

> The stock is yet another cheap synthetic semi-flexible mold job so common in budget guns…. The problem with these stocks isn’t just that they are ugly…they move and flex too much. They tend to perform well enough off the bench, but that performance degrades sharply as the stocks are pressed against, leaned against, and generally put pressure on…when you’re actually hunting with them.

> The bolt knob is enlarged, and worked flawlessly. It’s set up well, with enough space under the bolt handle that I can quickly run my firing hand forward to catch the bolt handle in the web of my hand in order to quickly work the action. That action also moved better than I would have expected on a rifle at this price point.

> The rifle never failed to load, fire, or eject with any ammunition. The box magazine never failed to lock in place. Magazine loading was easy with any round within SAAMI maximum length… I had no issues with the rifle’s reliability whatsoever.

> I was pleasantly surprised by the precision the Patriot Predator was capable of. Mounting a US Optics 10X scope and shooting at 100 yards from a Caldwell Stinger Shooting rest, my best groups were using the Hornady 120gr ELD Match round. That cartridge printed 1/10 of an inch under 1MOA.

Tip of the Week

How to get the jump on those string jumpers.

Ever happen to you? Squeeze the release, the shot feels great but…the deer runs off — swing and a miss. Sure has to me:

I had that hunt on camera, and back at camp we played the video — over and over and over. Didn’t get any less painful to see, but it was easy to see what happened: The deer ducked! The fine folks at Realtree have some ways you can reduce the chances of screwing up like I did:

> …the deer hears the limbs bottom and then immediately drops to load its legs in an effort to bolt. In the process of dropping, the deer seems to duck under the [arrow] as if on purpose. This is just the way it appears. Actually, it is…reaction to a startling noise.

> …does tend to jump the string more often than bucks. According to Jim Perkins, a southern guide…about 95% of southern does make at least some attempt to jump the string and only about 50% of the bucks. Among northern deer, the numbers are much lower.

> Sound travels at approximately 1,085 fps. It takes 0.056 of a second for the sound of the limbs bottoming to reach a deer that’s 20 yards from the base of your tree. If you shoot an arrow that travels 230 fps, it will take 0.275 of second for the arrow to arrive. That gives the deer roughly 0.22 to start dropping.

> At 20 yards you have to aim about 6″ low on an obvious string jumper with a 230 fps arrow. In most cases, this is below the brisket. With the 280 fps arrow, you need to aim about 3″ low. At 30 yards, the advantage is even more pronounced: You have to aim fully 17″ low to hit the vitals of a string jumper with the slower arrow. With the faster arrow, you still need to aim 10″ low — well below the brisket. [That’s crazy!!!]

> When I’m hunting deer north of the far southern tier of states, I never aim low unless the deer is obviously tense and then I never aim below the brisket. That is how I have learned to play the odds on these deer. However, in the deep South, I always aim as if the deer is going to jump — a little higher (bottom of the heart) for bucks, and lower (at the brisket or below) for does.

Don’t understand why southern deer jump more — different habitat? Temps? Higher population densities??

Quote of the Week

“I may have blood on my hands but I wear it with pride.”

Rachel Carrie post on the ‘gram. She’s an unapologetic hunter — also said:

> “Blood on my hands” yes, proof that I took responsibility, proof that I know where my food comes from how it lived and how its life ended. Proof that I worked hard to feed my family. Proof that I’m not a hypocrite, proof that I’m a hunter.

Shot of the Week

Here’s an early season Cali velvet buck to get ya going. Like @migration_cancellation_ent points out tho — now he’s got to wait a year for another opportunity:

What’s the DB and who does it??

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