DeerBlaster blasts

Hunting tanker, Deer anthrax?? Wolves for CWD??

Today’s Top 5

The hunt for Tanker.   

This is gonna be cool! KY deer dude Josh Honeycutt from Midwest Whitetail posted the first installment of his ’19 whitetail season, and named his top target “Tanker” — because he’s a big-bodied, big-rack deer that can be “uncooperative:”

> [2017] was the year I learned of Tanker. I tagged out well before he showed up, but [other hunters in his family] went after this deer. But it was to no avail. Tanker survived 2017.

> The next year proved a little more fruitful. Long story short, it was still legal shooting light, but my grandfather couldn’t find him in the scope. Tanker survived another season.

> As of today, I’ve relocated Tanker. It wasn’t hard. His core area hasn’t changed. But my trail cameras and glassing from afar have proven he’s still an unpredictable deer. What has changed — he’s a lot bigger.

> I’m guessing his entire home range covers around 400 acres. (The average is about 650.) His core area is tiny. This behavior should (in theory) make him easier to hunt. [But] he rarely beds in the same place. And when he does, it’s generally days or weeks apart.

> …use [trailcams and glassing] to produce daylight data points. I’ll plot…on an aerial map. Then I’ll tag each encounter with the associated timestamp, weather, wind direction, direction of travel (to and from), etc. I’ll also do the same thing for all encounters from the past 2 seasons.

> If I don’t dial in on a pattern in the coming weeks, I’ll likely pull off of Tanker for the early season, try targeting a different target buck for the opener, and get back on him (whether it’s my grandfather, father, uncle or myself) later in the year when he generally becomes more predictable.

Love the aerial map plotting. We’ll keep following Josh and Tanker….

Oh great, now it’s deer anthrax?? 

WTHeck?? Maybe for some TX hunters this isn’t big news, but that “anthrax” word sounds pretty dang scary for the rest of us! has the details:

> “Anthrax is caused by a spore-forming bacterium…. The spores are capable of surviving for extremely long periods of time in the soil. These spores like alkaline, calciferous soils which we have in the endemic area of southwestern TX.

> “Climatic conditions, specifically a wet winter and spring followed by hot, dry weather, appear to allow the spores to surface where they are consumed or inhaled by animals while grazing. This year is the perfect storm for anthrax.

> “So far, cases have been confirmed by laboratory diagnosis in Crockett, Kinney, Sutton and Uvalde counties. But it’s in multiple species, including whitetails.Grazing animals like cattle, horses, deer, antelope, sheep and goats are very susceptible.

> “I recommend moving feeders or putting material under feeders, so water won’t stand or create a situation where you have a dusty depression when it’s dry. Hopefully someday we will have an oral vaccine suitable for deer.”

Okay so what about us?

> “While humans are pretty resistant to anthrax, the biggest danger is from handling infected carcasses. Folks should not handle carcasses or pick up antler or other carcass remains during the course of an outbreak. But overall, carnivores and humans are pretty resistant.”

> “Generally, outbreaks subside with the onset of cooler weather. So by hunting season, it will be gone and the danger of infection to hunters is minimal. However, hunters should use gloves, wash hands and thoroughly clean equipment used for processing. Never consume meat from obviously sick animals and thoroughly cook meat to kill bacteria, including the anthrax organism, to be safe for consumption.”

Guess the good news is it doesn’t seem to be moving out of TX anytime soon….

Hope you’re planning to hunt a different landscape….

LOTS of rain — particularly in the Midwest and East Coast — maybe mixed with lots of snow depending on where you live, means the hunting landscape has changed in many states. And with fall rains expected, it will continue to change. talked to some state deer biologists about it:

> Jason Isabelle, MO: “Depending on where you hunt, your favorite soybean field that draws in deer during the early part of deer season may not have been planted. The same goes for any warm-season food plots that hunters may have planted in a low area.

> “If your favorite soybean field didn’t get planted, or if the flooding resulted in your warm-season food plot failing (or if you weren’t able to get it planted), plant a cool-season plot before the archery season starts.”

> Levi Jaster, KS: “In many areas, cover, in general, may be much thicker than most years, so even seeing deer could be tougher.

> “If you hunt anywhere with flooding, get out early…and start scouting. Things might be very different, and you’ll have more time to change your plans or tactics. If you hunt near the upper end of a large reservoir, you may need to find a new area because it still may be flooded this fall.”

> Johnathan Bordelon, LA: “Displaced deer will be congregated on refuge habitat outside of the floodwaters.”

> Avid deer hunter Pat Strawser, of Millersburg, PA says abundant spring and summer rainfall creates a buffet of natural deer food in his area, so he plans to shift his focus early in the season. He feels that deer may not get to the plots until later than normal — if at all — because of the acorns.

Btw, parts of MS may be closed for deer season because of high water:

> MS’s south Delta has been flooded for most of the year and that has taken its toll on wildlife. In response, the MS [DNR] is polling hunters…range from no change in the season to no season at all.

Surprise booner for OH hunter! 

Ever been in a tree thinking that you’re targeting one particular deer, then see another buck that’s somehow evaded your trailcams all year long? That’s pretty much what happened to OH’s Bryan LeVan:

> When Bryan LeVan left work at 3:30 on Nov 5, 2018, his destination was the 180-acre tract he’s deer hunted for 2 decades. …was hoping to see the piebald buck that had been on his radar for 2 seasons.

> Around 5 pm the rustling of leaves signaled the slow approach of two does. Seconds later, Bryan noticed a third deer, wearing antlers, on their backtrail.

> While the buck stopped to ravage a small tree on the opposite side of the ravine, right in front of the stand on that side, the does curved back toward Bryan. Fearing they would see him if he reached for his call, he tried to get their boyfriend’s attention by grunting with his mouth.

> The buck bristled and started walking toward [him]. It came in from Bryan’s left…. Bryan released his arrow when the deer…stopped broadside at 35 yards. Bryan’s 7.5-yr-old whitetail tallies 227 5/8″ on the BTR scale. Field-dressed, it tipped the scales at 225 lbs.

That’s from the Big Buck 411 Blog on — we’re big fans….

Do trailcams have Photoshop built in? 

Before you answer, check out this post by Midwest Whitetails:


CWD News

1. CO: Introduce wolves to eliminate CWD??

> Because wolves typically prey on weak or vulnerable animals, those in favor of wolf reintroduction say that “the logic follows they might pick off CWD-infected animals”….

2. Midwest states get together for CWD.

> “We’ve all been working trying to stop it on our own. That has to change. It is our region that is at stake.”

3. PA: Dr. Deer’s different take on CWD.

> Kroll noted that CWD is not density dependent. Instead, it depends on the frequency of an individual deer’s contact with CWD prions.

> Although CWD can be spread through urine, Kroll said that the concentration of prions in urine is so slight that hunting with urine-based lures would be highly unlikely to cause a deer to get the disease.

> CWD can be spread through saliva…. However, Kroll referred to some of the studies utilizing saliva, blood and other modes of possible transmission as…not representative of what might happen in the real world. “When would a deer be injected with contaminated blood or be forced to drink 50 ml of contaminated saliva in the wild?”

4. Prion researchers sound the alarm…to get funding?

CWD is caused by prions:

> So far there is no evidence that CWD…can cross species and infect humans, the way…”mad cow disease,” another prion disease, did in the 1980s and 1990s. But for many prion researchers, even a small risk of interspecies spread is too much.

Here’s a link to the American Society for Microbiology paper that article mentions.

5. MT biologists say CWD transfer to people “highly unlikely.”

6. CO: CWD rising in western deer herd.

> Mandatory testing…in 2017 for male deer taken in [northwest CO] showed a 15.3% prevalence of the disease among tested animals compared to just 1.5% in 2003. Prevalence in 2 other herds was 12% and 10%, respectively.


1. AL: OH man pleads guilty to shooting at swimming deer.

Back in Jan we told you about a scary video of someone shooting at deer swimming across an AL lake — close to some fishermen! Now here’s the latest, from this article:

> Police are charging a Calera man with reckless endangerment after shooting at deer, but only because of where the deer were when he shot at them.

> Video from the incident shows a fisherman recording 3 deer while they were swimming across Lake Mitchell in Coosa County. Then all of a sudden, someone started shooting at the deer.

> Coosa County authorities say evidence led them to Robert Collum. They say he admitted to firing shots at the deer. Collum pleaded guilty and he faces a suspended sentence of a year in jail and he will give up his hunting privileges for 3 years.

2. MN having public meetings about deer regs.

In Aug and Sept.

3. MI: Keep an eye out for bovine tuberculosis.

Spreads from cattle to deer, but sounds like just a couple cases a year.

4. New Federal Buckmasters bonded center-fire loads.

Only at Academy stores:

> …will be available in 12 of the most popular hunting loads including 243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm Rem Mag, .30-30 Win, 308 Win, 30-06 Sprg, 308 Win, 300 Win Mag, and 7mm-08 Rem, with bullet weights from 95 to 180 grains, depending on caliber.

5. IA: Ames will have another year of urban deer hunting.

6. WV: Chance to hunt the National Observatory.

> The National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank…has announced a special WV resident-only controlled deer hunt at the observatory reserve Oct 11-12…Oct 11, which is bow/crossbow only, and/or Oct 12, which is muzzleloader only.

7. RI: Deer permits go on sale TOMORROW.

Aug 1.

8. SC: Incoming U of SC prez strangled a deer??

> One day, while deer hunting, Caslen, a 3-star general and former Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, wrestled a deer into a lake and drowned it with his bare hands.

Of course there’s more to the story…he shot the deer, didn’t want to shoot again because “on the other side of the lake there was a guy on a tractor mowing the grass,” then the deer charged him….

9. Study: Pre-Columbian natives in Panama ate whitetails.

> …the whitetail deer was among the most abundant and frequently consumed mammals in Panama. It was also an icon, represented on thousands of clay vessels.

Wonder what their favorite load was….

Gear of the Week

Ever hear of the Emergency Descender?

You’ve probably heard that treestand falls are the #1 cause of injuries and death for hunters. Yet for whatever reason, lots of hunters still aren’t wearing harnesses. 84% of gun hunters use an elevated stand and 94% of bowhunters, but get this: Only 23% of gun hunters and 33% of bowhunters use a safety harness!?I get it — they’re not comfortable, and they can be noisy and restrict movement. But that’s a pretty small deal when it comes to fighting with gravity and losing. And…that’s where the Descender comes in.

Been around for about a year, and has a review of this pretty cool (and possibly life-saving) device. Bottom line: If you ever slip out of your stand, it apparently gives you a nice and easy ride to the ground (full video here):

> It can be used with the hunter’s current full-body safety harness, as long as the harness meets ASTM standards for a fall-arrest system. The weight range for users is 120 to 300 lbs.

> The Emergency Descender is small enough to fit into a coat or safety harness pocket, weighs less than 2 lbs and allows the hunter to be attached to a tree at 25′ from the ground.

> At a suggested retail price of only $50, the Emergency Descender is an affordable, simple, life-saving system every hunter should own and use.

Not sure if it’ll help you while getting up or down from your stand, which is when a lot of falls happen. But if you’re prone to naps, this could be worth checking out.

Tip of the Week

Fidgets ruin hunts.

Short, great tip from Gordon Whittington of North American Whitetail:

> Patience is overlooked as a deer-hunting skill, but it’s critical. No matter how well you scout or choose your stand on a given day, the odds don’t favor getting a crack at a trophy buck right off the bat.
> How well you handle the wait for him to show up often is the difference between success and failure.

Quote of the Week

“It’s trendy, and trendy sucks. The Creedmoor has been called the ballistic equivalent of the man bun….”

American Hunter’s Philip Massaro talkin’ in a scathing (but hilarious) article on why we should all hate the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge:

Don’t know who made that meme but it’s a good one hahaha!

Shot of the Week

Here’s a hero shot you don’t see every day — posted by @elitearchery:

What’s the DB and who does it??
The Deer Blaster is a year-round weekly roundup

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!

Let us know what we can do better and thanks for readin’!
Sign up another deer nut!

If you’re forwarding the Deer Blaster to other deer crackheads, tx much — or you can email us the addys and we’ll take care of it! We’ll never send spam, sell the list or anything else crazy….

Most Popular

To Top