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Specimen red moon buck! Biggest KY deer of ’19! Let trailcams soak

Today’s Top 5

Check out this SPECIMEN Red Moon buck!

This buck pretty much has all the character you could ever want in a deer:
– Lotsa mass
– 6″ bases
– Wide beams that end pointing sorta downward
– Foot-long G2s
– Kickers
– Split brow tines — one of ’em’s even an acorn tine!

Bigger deer out there for sure, but not many cooler!

OH’s Matt Weaver arrowed that SPECIMEN deer on a “red moon” — meaning when the moon is directly overhead or directly underfoot on the opposite side of the Earth. Nothing really proves or disproves a theory that deer are more active during red moons, but Matt thinks they are. Realtree got the juice:

> “I’m a firm believer in the red moon and the way it works. I told my co-workers that I had to leave early on Oct 4. Meanwhile, the temperature had plummeted from the mid-70s to the mid-40s.

> “Unfortunately, when I was getting ready to hunt, I reached into my ScentLok dry bag and found that all of my camo was soaked. It had rained the previous evening and somehow gotten into the bag. I decided just to spray down other clothes with a scent eliminator and make the best of it.

> “About an hour before dark, 7 bucks entered the field. They were feeding for a bit when a fork horn circled behind my blind, trying to wind me. Soon after the big buck emerged about 100 yards away on the field edge. It was my first encounter with him. He stood there for 10 minutes, eating beans. …the fork horn continued his attempt to bust me.

> “I opened the window halfway and started ranging him. I drew and gave him a mouth grunt when he was at 33 yards.”

Matt made the shot and got him 180 2/8″ of big-time character antlers. Real nice buck dude!

Biggest KY deer of 2019 found 2 days later.

KY showed out this season — especially the early season — with some stud bucks, but the studliest of ’em all is that one ^. Shot by Spencer Loftus, the deer had a BTR score of 225 [mind blown emoji]! But for a while he didn’t know if he’d recover the deer.

Bet y’all can imagine how he must have felt, knowing he shot a giant but not finding it. Here’s the story from Buckmasters — says Spencer hunted the deer in 2018, but wasn’t able to draw on it. Then came the 2019 season:

> Fully aware the big whitetail’s rack was bigger and better than ever, he passed up a chip-shot at a 160-something-incher opening weekend. That act of self restraint might be the best decision he’s made as a deer hunter.

> “…was between 95 and 100 degrees and clear. As twilight approached, I looked to my right and saw white antlers bobbing through the woods about 80 or 90 yards away. It came to within 15 yards.”

He made the shot, but it took him 2 DAYS to find it!

> The animal had sought sanctuary where it often bedded.

Props Spencer! A deer worth waiting for, fer sher!

Lookit this shed!

@dillion_gibbs found this one we think somewhere in MO — stick a couple trailcams up there!

Is shed-hunting ethical..??

Post by UT wildlife biologist Ashley Kijowski — it’ll get shed-hunters riled up. But does she have a point?

After battling through harsh winter conditions and a long hunting season, is it morally right for humans to once again intrude into the wilds, when deer and other cervids are often in fragile health?

> During the winter, the animals’ fat reserves decrease drastically, and human intrusion – even when the humans don’t know that wildlife are around – means that the animals react and burn extra calories that they might not be able to afford to lose, decreasing their chances of survival.

> The increasing popularity of shed hunting means that more people are on the landscape during the winter and early spring – a time that is often unforgiving for deer and elk. Seven western states have passed laws that close shed hunting in certain wildlife areas to try to decrease the stress deer and elk experience on their winter ranges.

> But according to the CO Parks and Wildlife Commission, trespassing onto these sanctuary areas and private lands is increasing — driven, in part, by the popularity of chic antler products.

> In 2017, UT wildlife managers closed public lands to shed hunting until April, so that deer and elk could conserve their energy given that year’s heavy snows. During the first 2 weeks of that closure, 16 people were cited for violating it.

Where do you come out? You think this could apply to southern states where the weather isn’t as harsh?

Remember when…

…giant grasshoppers were in season?

News

1. Dick’s dumps hunting.

Planning to close the hunting departments in 440 of its stores. Has every right to do so…and we have the right to never set foot in their stores again! Adios Dick’s….

2. COVID-19 shuts down pretty much everything outdoor-related.

The outdoor world isn’t immune from the coronavirus either. If you’ve been planning to go to any place where lots of folks would be — like stores, shows and national/state parks — call ahead. Few things shut down include the NRA Annual Meeting, the P&Y Annual Convention and some expos.

Outdoor Life had a few practical tips for making it through the outbreak — here’s a good one:

> The #1 rule in survival isn’t hoarding toilet paper or knowing which wild plants you can eat. The #1 rule is “don’t panic.” And yet, the panic buying has begun. Before you max out your credit card on overpriced supplies (that you probably don’t even need), take the time to clear your head and move forward with logic rather than emotion.

3. MN bill could get rid of shotgun-only zones.

> …given the resilience of the deer population, and recent advances in firearms technology, the zones might no longer be needed. And if legislation aimed at getting rid of them is approved, it would open southern and western MN to rifle use for the first time in years.

4. MN bill would get the lead out of hunting & fishing.

> Lawmakers…have introduced multiple bills this session to get the lead out of MN fishing tackle and hunting ammunition, either by law — banning the stuff altogether — or by using more gentle persuasion.

5. IA: 2 proposed changes for the next deer season (pdf).

> General deer licenses are reestablished as valid in 7 counties (Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Grundy, Hardin, Hancock, Winnebago and Worth) for all seasons, and all of northwest IA for the early muzzleloader season. Deer populations have been steadily increasing in the northwest allowing for this increase….

> The January antlerless-deer-only season is rescinded for all counties. Due to a widespread outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in the summer of 2019, deer numbers and harvest were down across these areas of the state.

6. OR wants to crack down on poachers.

Bill proposed that would allocate $4.4 mil for more wardens, a new D.A. and equipment:

> “This legislation creates new opportunities for [DNR] to combine efforts with our law enforcement and judicial partners to reduce fish and wildlife crimes.”

7. PA hunters sound off on blinds vs stands.

Couple weeks ago we covered a deal where a guy felt enclosed hunting blinds (vs treestands) separated him from the natural world. Sounds like he got some reactions like:

> It’s not about detaching from nature. It’s just the opposite. It’s being able to sit out there in nature no matter the conditions for a longer time.

> The fast results, no work type attitude that is becoming more prevalent. We are definitely in an easy time in life.

8. DC: Proposal would make digital public land maps.

> …because most of the access easement records are paper and not electronic, the MAPLand Act calls on federal land management agencies like BLM and the US Forest Service to digitize the information for public availability.

> …according to TRCP, only 5,000 of the 37,000 existing easements held by the Forest Service are currently available electronically.

9. LA: New Orleans mayor wants to suspend gun sales…

…due to Covid-19. Gun rights folks noticed:

> “The presence of a nasty disease does not suspend any part of the Bill of Rights, no matter what some municipal, state or even federal politician may think.”

10. MS: 3 stories of hunting accidents from last season.

A little scary but in a way good reminders….

11. WA deer rocking a hunter orange vest??

Yep, that’s what you think it is. Game warden said someone put it on so…

> “…people would think, ‘Oh, I don’t want to shoot that deer or harvest this animal because it’s someone’s pet.'”

[Eyeroll emoji] DNR’s trying to tranq the deer to remove the vest so it doesn’t restrict movement.

12. New potential treatment for long-term Lyme disease effects.

> A new Stanford Medicine study in lab dishes and mice provides evidence that the drug azlocillin completely kills off the disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi at the onset of the illness. The study suggests it could also be effective for treating patients infected with drug-tolerant bacteria that may cause lingering symptoms.

13. CAN: Who knew vets use tranq rifles for deer birth control.

> …modified rifle that is used to apply immuno-contraceptives and boosters to adult does….

14. Moultrie a sale on refurb trailcams.

Deer Disease News

1. MN: 1 CWD wild deer found in Dakota County.

First time in that county….

2. MN/WI: $500K+ given to wipe out CWD-infected deer farm herds.

3. What happened to the “cure” for CWD?

Bowhunting.com reminds us that it’s been a year since Dr. Frank Bastian called a press conference to announce that he had found a “cause” and “cure” for CWD. So where is it?

> “Private funds are not enough to support this work. It’s going to take bigger support at the national level and with the government. And unfortunately, money from groups like the National Institute of Health continues to support the prion theory.”

> According to Bastian, most government agencies, state wildlife programs, and conservation groups have sold out to the idea of prions being the basis for CWD.

Dr. Bastian says prions are a byproduct of spiroplasma, a highly resistant bacterial infection. Either way sounds like there’s not enough funding — private or public — to get to a cure?

New Stuff

1. Leica’s first-ever thermal imagers.

Set you back $4K — nothing Leica makes is cheap, but it’s top-shelf:

> Available in 2 versions, the Calanox comes as either a purely hand-held observation device — the “View” — or as a mounted device for a riflescope — the “Sight.”

2. Federal 7mm-08 Non-Typical ammo.

> Like all Non-Typical loads, the 7mm-08 Rem uses a specially designed soft-point bullet with a concentric jacket to provide,,,accuracy and consistent, lethal wound channels on any whitetail.

We love us some 7mm-08! Was cool long before 6.5 Creedmoor was born.

3. First Lite’s 2020 gear is here.

Now available online:

Gear of the Week

Rock River Arms releases .450 Bushy.

Here’s a good-lookin’ AR platform gun chambered in .450 Bushmaster, a great straight-walled cartridge legal in states where bottlenecked calibers aren’t allowed:

> Delivering the same 1 MOA at 100 yards accuracy expected from RRA’s precision rifles, the .450 Bushmaster features a 16″ stainless-steel cryo-treated barrel with smooth rifling (1:24 twist) and equipped with an RRA Operator Brake.

> The RRA 2-stage trigger provides a crisp break and is housed in the RRA winter trigger guard, allowing full dexterity while wearing gloves.

> The RRA LAR-15M .450 Bushmaster comes standard with a 6-position Operator CAR stock, overmolded A2 pistol grip, and 13″ extended lightweight free-float handguard covering a low-profile gas block and mid-length gas system.

> The full-length top rail configuration fits all quality optic systems while the M-LOK compatibility provides for accessory attachments, such as a bipod and light source.

MSRP’s $1,100 — not bad….

Tip of the Week

Let those trailcams “soak.”

Never heard that “soak” term used talkin’ ’bout trailcams, but once we read the North American Whitetail post, it made a lot of sense. Basically means put a camera in a location where you don’t have a lot of whitetail intel, and let it do its job and take pictures…a whole LOT of ’em:

> This “soaking” strategy can be especially useful for gathering intel on bucks that are highly sensitive to human disturbance. So when I’m fortunate enough to fill both my buck tags in my home state of IL before year-end, I don’t just call it a season. Rather, I gear up for more camera data collection to assist me the following year.

> First, I’ll gather my trail cameras from the timber (usually in mid-Dec) and do a general health check on each one. I’ll fill them all with fresh lithium batteries and clean, formatted SD cards. I’ll also treat all rubber gasket door seals with gasket grease to prevent winter weather wear and dry rot.

> The next free day I have, with a pack full of fresh cameras, a sharp hand saw and a good pair of boots and brush pants, I’ll take a walk. I might go deep into the suspected home range of a mature buck or 2 that eluded me that season. Or I might investigate a new area that’s remote and isolated. Either way, my goal will be to gather as much intel as I can for an extended period of time: a “long soak,” if you will.

> Once I enter the bedding area, I’ll intentionally try to bump into the buck I might have in mind, knowing full well he’ll likely return. Then I simply blanket the area of greatest sign density with several well placed, fresh cameras.

> About 3 months after hanging, I’ll return to shed-hunt the area and collect my cameras. The images I pull will give me a solid amount of…data I can hopefully use to target a certain buck the following deer season.

> I’ll make notes on time, date, moon phase and his direction of travel…. I also cross-reference the date and time with historical weather data for the day a given photo of interest was taken. If the temperature wasn’t stamped on the photo (an increasingly common camera feature), I’ll record it, along with barometric pressure and even wind direction and speed.

Wow that’s some good stuff right there.

Quote of the Week

“The big elephant in the room is that hunting continues to attract Caucasians, but Caucasians are an increasingly smaller percentage of the American population.”

NWTF regional rep Tom Glines talkin’ — turkey guy but it applies to all hunting. Next sentence:

> “So hunter recruitment will have to come elsewhere, and that’s the real challenge.”

Shot of the Week

Anybody know The Man in Black was a hunter? This @oldschoolhunting shot was taken on a moose hunt in Newfoundland in 1961. Bet he had some great stories to share in camp:

That’s Johnny Cash, for anyone who doesn’t recognize him….
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