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New CWD area found, Will floods hurt fawns? Crazy MS bucks!

Today’s Top 4

First case of CWD found in western MT.

Even the Rockies can’t stop CWD. The MT FWP says a hunter shot a CWD-infected whitetail in Libby, in the far NW corner of the state.

> Officials collected the doe after residents reported seeing a very emaciated and sick-looking deer.

> …this is the first time CWD has been detected in the wild west of the Continental Divide in MT.

> CWD was first found in wild deer in Montana in Oct 2017. All the states and provinces that border MT, other than ID and BrC, have found CWD in their wild cervids.

Could flooding hurt the fawn population? 

LOTS of rain in several parts of the country. Could that hurt deer populations this year? Here’s speculation from the Big Deer Blog about how the big-time rain in the central US — from NE to MS — might impact whitetail fawn survival rates.

> The primary concern for deer populations is for stressed does that are dropping or dropped fawns in areas of rising water levels and the fawns were too young to move to higher ground.

> “We know it’s going to have a negative impact,” said William McKinley, MS deer program coordinator. “Let’s just say that up front.”

> But fawn survival in flood plains is typically high, even during flood years.

> “A reduced fawn crop (in the MS Delta) is what I expect to see. How much? We have to wait and see.”

But is it better to be too wet than too dry? I think so. Droughts can have multi-generational impacts on deer populations, both a quantity and quality.

Also, some fawns can’t get enough of the water:

Spikes, brow tines, and big deer – is there a correlation?

I was talking with a buddy about how the deer around my place (in TX) are starting to grow antlers. Most of them have 4-5″ nubs that have split and are starting to look like antlers. But a couple haven’t forked yet, and I wondered if they were going to be 1st-year spikes.

It led me to Google, where I found this TX PWD study on what spike bucks mean (if anything) on future antler/brow tine development — interesting stuff:

> Many landowners and sportsmen have often questioned why some mature bucks (4.5+ years old) do not have “brow tines.”

> We compared antler development based on presence of brow tines at 1, 2, 3 and 4 years of age.

> …analyzed based on the absence or presence of one or both brow tines, and compared to antler weight (mass), body weight, antler points, antler basal circumference, antler spread, main beam length, and gross B&C score at 1.5, 3.5 and 4.5 years of age.

> All bucks with 5 or more points as yearlings had both brow tines at maturity. All bucks without brow tines at 4.5 years of age had none when they were yearlings. All yearling bucks that had both brow tines had both brow tines at 3.5 and 4.5 years of age.

In other words:

> Results showed that 90% of the bucks without brow tines at 3.5 and 4.5 years of age were spikes as yearlings.

So seems to me that if your yearling bucks have brow tines, it’s a pretty good indicator that they’ll continue to have them. Looks like the reverse may also be true.

Not sure if you can see the brow tines on this deer but they’re there…lol:

Check out these 3 crazy MS bucks! 

If you’re like me you love pics of weird racks. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger has a rundown of four of the oddest MS bucks taken in recent years:

1. Udder buck

> Jimmy Giacone of Hammond, LA was hunting in MS in 2016 when he spotted a buck with unusual antlers. …touched off his .300 Winchester Magnum rifle. The buck dropped…as he stood over it, he realized just how odd the rack was.

> The real surprise came when he lifted one of the buck’s rear legs. Instead of seeing the male deer parts he expected, Giacone saw an udder.

2. Clorox buck

> Chris Hinton first saw pictures of the odd buck in 2015…a piebald buck. With flecks and patches of white hair covering its body, Hinton quickly named him Clorox.

> The buck eluded Hinton for over a year because it spent most of its time on adjacent property, but hunting pressure caused the buck to change its core area to Hinton’s hunting property. Hinton got his buck.

> The 9-point was aged at 4 1/2 years old and gross-scored 134 3/4″. He had a 16″ spread and 21.5″ main beams. While that’s a trophy buck for much of Mississippi, the fact he was a piebald makes him a true rarity.

3. 36-point Freak!

> Hunting near his home in Philadelphia, Stan Ethredge watched a deer grow for 4 years. Each year it was a 6-point and Ethredge assumed it would never grow additional points, but then things became weird. The buck started growing drop tines and stickers in the summer of 2016. When fall came, Ethredge noticed something else that was odd.

> The antlers continued to grow into a gnarled mass. Not only did the buck never shed his velvet, he never shed his antlers. By 2017, his antlers were monstrous and Ethredge got a shot with his bow….

> The buck had 36 points and a 16″ spread…measured 227 3/8″ according to the Buckmasters scoring system.

> “If a deer doesn’t have testosterone the antlers continue to grow. They never harden and they never lose velvet.”


1. NJ: Antis roll out new tactic.

Check out this billboard:

One of our guys lives in NJ — let’s just say the antis are just one of the many reasons he’d love to exit that state…!

2. KS: 24K non-rez hunters apply for deer tags.

Dang that’s a lot of out-of-state hunters:

> Of the 24,024 hunters who applied, 88% were successful.

3. PA still wrasslin’ with opening day.

> The proposal, Senate Bill 147, would shift the decision on Sunday deer hunting to the PA Game Commission, the source of all other gaming rules.

> The controversy surrounds the willingness of farmers to allow hunters on their private property 7 days a week during hunting seasons.

4. ME: Vegan head of DNR became a hunter/meat-eater.

No meat = bad:

> “Because of some health issues, doctors have recommended that I include a lot more protein in my diet than I’m used to having. Given that, I wanted to be sourcing my protein locally.”

5. ME: Deer tags down but moose permits up for fall.

6. It’s tag season!

If you’re planning an out of state trip, now’s the time to apply for draws. If you’ve never done a deer hunt off your own home turf, you owe it to yourself to do so — just make sure you do your research:


7. TN DNR creates new CWD unit.

8. MN gets serious about CWD at deer farms.

> If CWD is found on a captive deer farm, the whole herd is now required to be wiped out.

> “That is entirely consistent with how other diseases are dealt with in agriculture.”

9. FL: Scientists testing new EHD vaccine.

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease:

> EHD does not affect humans but is the #1 cause of herd loss on deer farms.

> “Deer farming for trophy hunting is one of the fastest-growing rural industries in the U.S., and Florida is ranked 4th in deer farm production.”

Who knew….

10. NY “hunting contests” ban might still be bad.

Whole thing was cooked up nationally to stop things like guys who run down coyotes with snowmobiles, which in our opinion is NOT fair chase, but the state bills can be interpreted various ways. Here’s the latest from NY:

> …any hunter who buys dinner for the most pheasants, ducks, coyotes or the biggest deer harvested would be in violation of the law and face jail time.

Word is NY hunters have retained the services of this ace negotiator:

11. More info on glyophosphate herbicide.

QDMA runs it down, sounds like it does not hurt deer if used correctly?

Gear of the Week

We mentioned this sweet rig in our ATA show recap — it’s a smoker that’ll hurl x-bow arrows up to 470 fps [!!]. managed to get their hands on one and here’s what they found:

> …made with a reverse draw design, meaning that the cams are out front, and the riser sits above the non-shooting hand. One benefit to having a reverse draw design is that the crossbow can be considerably more compact…. Uncocked, the crossbow is 12.5″ from axle to axle, but when it’s cocked it gets down to 7″ axle to axle.

> The all-new T-5 trigger is probably the biggest improvement that TenPoint made to the new Nitro XRT. It has an ultra-clean, crisp break and is ambidextrous so that both left-handed and right-handed shooters can use it….

> Included on arrows with any new TenPoint package is the brand new aluminum Alpha Nock. The design allows for better string-to-nock contact…very important with the Nitro XRT because of the severe string angle that the crossbow has.

> When sighting in the crossbow, all you have to do is set the fps that you’re currently shooting and sight it in from there. If you plan on shooting with different arrows and different speeds, you can simply adjust the fps on the scope and the reticles will move once adjusted. You can also adjust the scope from 1.5-6x magnification.

> The Evo-X arrows that come with the package weigh about 445 grains and are able to travel up to 440 fps…. If you’re interested in shooting speeds up to 470 fps, you’ll want…the TenPoint Pro-Lite arrows….weigh a mere 385 grains….

> …absolutely amazing and without a doubt one of the top crossbows on the market today.

Tip of the Week

Ever try hinge-cutting?

Cool tip from Depending on your area, hinge cutting could be one of the most beneficial things you can do. It provides fresh-growth shoots for forage, plus the felled trees make deer great cover AND they serve as natural barriers that help funnel deer. Now’s a good time of year to give it a try.

First make sure you’re wearing the right safety equipment. Then:

> Hinge-cutting is a great way to create travel routes, bedding areas and staging areas.

> This is cutting partially through a live, actively growing (competitive) tree and pushing or pulling it over to lay the trunk down horizontal to the ground.

> The main purpose…is to create better habitat for wildlife…. By cutting and eliminating competing trees, you are also benefiting the growth of the more desirable trees.

> When the timber greens up…will provide browse and cover for wildlife.

> Once you have completed an area of cutting…review the area from multiple perspectives (field edges, trail crossings, etc.) to be certain all your hard work paid off. Check to see that you have created trails or lanes where you wanted. Imagine walking to your stand to determine if deer could bed and feel safe in the hinge cut areas you just created.

> …cut some straight logs approximately 4-5′ in length. Place those straight logs on the ground among the treetops you just cut and left horizontal. Clear some of the brush and debris on the ground in front of the logs. Whitetails like to put their backs against something when bedding so they feel protected and can watch the open areas as they lay in their beds.

Shot of the Week

Interesting shot by @grandviewcottages in WV — do those antlers look like they’ve been in the high desert for a couple years or…?

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’!
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