Posts Tagged ‘deer hunting’

Via Field & Stream here

By JR Sullivan

coyote conservation

Rumors of coyotes began circulating through the Southeast in the mid-20th century. Over the next several decades, the rumors became newspaper reports, and then roadside sightings. Still, coyotes remained mostly a curiosity. But in the 1990s, everything seemed to change.

“Suddenly, people were seeing coyotes in Georgia and North Carolina, and all over the Atlantic Coast,” recalls Michael Chamberlain, a dedicated deer hunter and professor at the University of Georgia (UGA). “Those were places coyotes weren’t supposed to be.”

Dog Days

Like many biologists in the Southeast, Chamberlain took notice of the coyote issue around the turn of the millennium. The Western predator was expanding beyond its strongholds, quietly scattering across the South. At the time, the greatest threat to deer in that region was their own overabundance, so the coyote sightings didn’t garner much attention. But in the early 2000s, the number of tagged deer began slipping in some Southern states; South Carolina saw a 23 percent decline between 2002 and 2005. Georgia’s deer take is thought to have dipped by 28 percent from 2001 to 2005, and Alabama’s annual yield dropped by more than 48 percent between 2004 and 2011.

Disease and more restrictive regulations no doubt played a significant role in the declines, but coyotes were also killing deer—more than many people realized. In one South Carolina study, coyotes accounted for 37 to 80 percent of all whitetail fawn mortalities. In 2007, a study of a herd near Auburn, Ala., showed a 67 percent fawn mortality rate, with coyotes accounting for 42 to 63 percent of the toll. In response to the problem, states loosened regulations on killing coyotes, and South Carolina even rolled out extensive trapping efforts, only to find them largely ineffective and costly.

In 2009, as wildlife managers and biologists grappled with the problem, Chamberlain began a five-county study in North Carolina, in which he and his team affixed tracking collars to 41 coyotes. Over time, they discovered that there are essentially two types of coyotes: residents, which make up about 70 percent of the population; and transients, which compose the remainder. Resident coyotes, Chamberlain observed, have relatively small home ranges of 2 to 25 miles. Transients, on the other hand, may roam 150 miles, presumably looking for a home range to open up. Once a resident coyote dies, a transient will settle in and claim the territory within a matter of weeks. This helps explain why trapping efforts weren’t working. “For every 10 coyotes you remove, three were just passing through,” Chamberlain says. “And if you’re removing transients, you’re not really having any effect.” Shooting the occasional coyote really makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd.

Spring to the Defense

Now Chamberlain is leading a team that’s tracking coyotes on a larger scale. They’re monitoring nearly 200 animals with transmitter collars across three states (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina); it’s the most ambitious study of its kind. The goal is to learn more about how these predators use habitat, and how land management practices can manipulate coyotes’ effect on other species. And Chamberlain’s findings may just change how sportsmen manage the beasts.

So far, Chamberlain and his team have observed that coyotes concentrate in areas that also seem prime for deer. Though they haven’t determined how to discourage coyotes’ use of these areas, they have picked up ways to curb fawn predation in them. A leading approach, Chamberlain says, is to trap coyotes in late spring, just before the fawning season, so that fawns have time to mature before transient coyotes move in. “If you trap at any other time of year,” he says, “you’re essentially removing animals that will have their space filled before fawns ever hit the ground.”

Kip Adams, director of education and outreach for the Quality Deer Management Association, agrees, adding that the timing of coyote removal is likely more important than the number of coyotes removed. Most hunters trap and shoot coyotes in winter, when pelts are at their prime. But if improving fawn survival is a goal, shifting those efforts to April or May makes sense. Adams notes that the management of good fawning cover can also encourage fawn recruitment. In severe cases, where coyotes are jeopardizing herd numbers, hunters may need to shoot fewer antlerless animals, too. That runs counter to the message of aggressive doe management many have embraced in the past decade, but deer management is an evolving science.

No matter the outcome of Chamberlain’s study, hunters will have to deal with coyotes for the foreseeable future. The reality is that coyotes, with an ample food supply and quality habitat, show no signs of loosening their hold on the eastern United States. “They are here to stay,” Chamberlain says. But he believes that deer will adapt over time and improve their abilities to stave off coyote predation, and herds will resemble those that have dealt with the canines forever. “This predator is still fairly novel to them,” he says. “Talk to a deer manager in Texas, where coyotes have been present for many years. The problem isn’t really that high on the radar screen.”

GEAR TIP: Here’s the Catch

coyote trap

Minnesota Trapline

The MB-550.

Should you decide that you need to trap coyotes in spring, Chip Sharpe, South Carolina director of the National Trappers Association, recommends using a Minnesota Trapline MB-550 two-coil leg trap, paired with a PIT-19 cushion spring. This combo prevents a coyote from breaking a leg once ensnared, and minimizes the animal’s pain and the odds of it working itself free. —J.R.S.


Tomorrow is opening day of OIhio’s gun season for whitetailed deer.

Over a half million hunters hit the woods and fields for the Ohio deer gun season.

Something I neglected to say in my previous hunting posts this year-

If you do not know how to track and find wounded deer-or any other or any other animal you plan on hunting-then you have no business being in the woods and fields hunting-none whatsoever.

Just because you can shoot sub minute of angle groups from a bench at 100yds-that does not mean you can hit a deer-or any other critter in it’s vital organs for a quick,clean,humane kill.

If you do not know how to track wounded game-I’ll go over the basics,but use Google,use You Tube-there’s a plethora of info on how to track game available on the ‘net.

First of all,when you take a shot at a deer,lean against a tree if possible to steady your arm,shoulder,and rifle or shotgun. If you can rest the forearm of your shotgun or rifle on a branch at the right height for you-that’s even better. Carrying shooting sticks is hands down the best way to insure that you have a stable shooting platform-aside from using your pack as a rest and shooting from prone.

If you are taking part in a deer drive-pay attention to where the other hunters are at ALL times!!!

When shooting at a deer that’s walking/running-do not stop moving your weapon when you pull the trigger-it’s just like shooting clays-keep the gun moving,pull the trigger as the gun is moving-as you keep your sights/bead on the deers vital organs-(look it up-behind and slightly below front shoulder).

Pay attention to where the deer was when you took your shot.

If you do not see or hear the deer fall-sit down,wait at least a half hour before tracking the deer. Keep your eye on the spot where the deer was when you shot.

Slowly and quietly walk to the spot-mark the spot. I carry surveyors tape/ribbon in my hunting pack. It’s simple to tie a piece on a branch,or leave it on the ground with a rock or stick to anchor it in place.

Start walking a small circle around the spot you marked,looking for fresh  tracks and blood,walk a slightly bigger circle each time-when you find either-mark the spot. (use toilet paper if you don’t carry anything else)

Follow the trail as far as you can-marking it every 20 yds or so-closer in heavy cover-if you lose it,start walking circles around the last blood you found. Watch the trail in front of you-wounded deer will lay down in cover almost every time-that’s why you wait a half hour-if you made a good shot,the deer will lay down and bleed out.

If you took your shot at last light-it helps to have something reflective-trail tacks,the orange Tink’s scent bottles-something you can easily spot with a flaslight/headlamp.

Another thing that helps tracking at night is a light with a blue filter or blue light/lens.

Blood seems to show up better under the blue lights.

The rest of tracking at night is the same as tracking during daylight-mark the trail,if you lose it-mark the last spot you found blood-then walk a circle-starting small,then slowly increasing in size with each trip ’till you find the trail again.

Every animal that moves through the woods leaves signs of it’s passing-learn what those signs are,and you’ll have an easier time tracking.

A few points about the blood you find…

If the blood is bright red,and full of bubbles,sort of foamy or frothy looking-that’s a sign of a solid lung hit,which is a fatal wound.

Blood with deer shit in it,partially digested vegetation in it means you gut shot the deer,and it’s going to die eventually. Best to back off,and come back in the morning-(unless temps are over 50-55 at night)

Really dark colored blood usually means a liver hit-again,the deer will die at some point,usually not quickly. A liver hit deer will bed down ASAP. If conditions are right,and you can move quietly,follow the trail-marking it as you go-watch ahead of you for the deer to get up to run again. They often have a hard time getting up,so you have a chance at putting another round in it.

There’s more to it than that-too much to get into in this post-my version of tracking basics comes from over 45 years spent hunting whitetailed deer,elk,moose,bear,bighorn sheep,antelope,mule deer,dall sheep,and caribou.

I’ve worked for outfitters,tracked and found wounded game for clients to earn my paycheck-I highly reccomend the trail tacks,surveyors tape/ribbon,blue light method of tracking.

When you know the area,you can often predict where the critter is going,and save yourself a lot of tracking time-which is slow,tedious work.

You owe it to the animals to kill them as quickly and humanelay as possible.

Don’t take questionable shots.

Before deer season,when you are at the range-don’t just shoot from a table or bench-shoot offhand,shoot sitting,shoot leaning against a tree/post,shoot kneeling,shoot prone.

Shoot clays.

If you have somewhere to do this safely-take an old tire,using good duct tape,tape cardboard over the hole,then thumbtack targets to it-we use a 3″ bullseye,then have a friend roll the tire down a slight hill. When you can hit that target every time-you are capable of hitting a running deer. Also great practice for rabbit hunting-which you should also be doing if there are bunnies in your area.

*alternate method of attaching cardboard-drill small holes,use tie wire to attach cardboard-use duct tape or thumbtacks to attach targets.

If you don’t have a hill to use the tire method-hang a tire from a tree branch-(where there’s safe backstop behind it)-or make a frame from old 4×4’s or landscape timbers.

Drill a small hole in bottom of tire-through tread-screw in a medium sized stainless steel eyebolt,get yourself 50 or 100 yds of rope,tie to eye bolt. To the side of frame,install another eye bolt-run your rope through that,then pull it to where you will shoot from.

Pull the rope with a hard quick pull to get tire moving-then practice hitting target attached to the moving tire.

That’s how you get good at hitting moving targets.

Good luck to everyone hunting this weeks Ohio gun season-and to those in the second week of W.Va and Pa gun seasons.

Pay attention,wear hunter’s orange-too many guys shoot an anything moving that’s even close to the color of a deer-but I have yet to see a day-glo orange deer.




Do More PT!



Here in N.E. Ohio,the whitetail rut usually peaks right around November 15th.

There’s probably more deer killed on November 15th than any other day of the deer hunting season.

But that’s quantity,that’s not what you want-you want quality-as in the biggest,baddest buck in the area you hunt-you want the dominant buck.

There will be a few challengers around the dominant buck the last two weeks of Oct.

Now is the time to find those few biggest,baddest bucks in the area,as they’ll be fighting and settling which of the big boys is going to be the dominant buck during this year’s rut.

You should know what the food source is in your area,corn and soybeans are being harvested,so try not to focus too much on ag fields-unless they’ve been harvested recently.

Modern farming equipment leaves quite a bit of food for the critters in the fields. Deer will feed in a recently harvested field for at least a week-there’s always some stray ears of corn or some soybeans laying in the fields. There’s enough to keep them coming to the field every evening for at least a few days-usually a week to ten days.

Around here,once acorns start to drop-deer will eat acorns above all other food sources,as they are high in proteins and fats,and winter is fast approaching.

There’s one problem with that in a lot of N.E. Ohio-the cicadas caused a lot of the ends of oak branches to fall off the trees,as the female lays her eggs under the bark,the larvae feed on the wood,then the branch ends turn brown and drop to the ground.The ends of oak branches are where the acorns come from,so…there’s not going to be many acorns in a large part of N.E. Ohio.Yeah,it only affects those of us who live here-but pretty much all of the eastern U.S. gets the cicadas every 7 or 17 years-or both.

Something to think about in the future for those of you who don’t live in N.E. Ohio.

So,if there’s not many acorns-what are the deer going to eat? They’ll hit ag fields hard,then they’ll go for crabapples,apples,any decent greenery that’s not all fiber and no proteins or fats. Deer naturally eat some grasses,weeds,small trees,evergreen trees,and fruits,like apples,pears,blackberries,and grapes-deer love grapes,anyone who’s from or been to N.E. Ohio knows there’s tons of grapevines in our woods.

I’ve already seen plenty of signs of the deer hitting grapevines hard,not 100% sure,but I think they pull on the vines to try and shake some grapes loose. Deer also eat greenbriar,and young maple,dogwood,and sassafrass trees,they’ll eat chestnuts over acorns when both are available-but there’s not many chestnut trees around here. We do have buckeye trees,and I’ve seen deer eat the buckeyes. I don’t know if they wait until the very sharp,prickly outer husk falls off the buckeyes,or if they step on them to get the buckeyes out.

If you aren’t sure what the main food sources are in the area you hunt-contact a wildlife biologist from your state fish and game agency-O.D.N.R. in Ohio-and they’ll be happy to help you out.

Once you have the current food sources located-something you should already know-figure out the nearest bedding areas,and the nearest water sources-something else you should already kow.

Pick several stand locations,so you’ll be able to hunt no matter which way the wind is blowing.

Remember,this time of year,deer are starting to become mostly nocturnal,so you need to hunt mostly at dawn and dusk-except when the rut kicks off-deer are somewhat unpredictable during the rut,but still move mostly at dawn and dusk.

That’s why a some of your stand/blind sites should be between a bedding area and a food or water source,that the deer will be either going to the bedding area-(morning hunts)-or coming from the bedding area-(evening hunts).

Around mid October,bucks start making scrapes. Finding the scrapes will let you find out which bucks are making them-set up a stand or blind along a field edge that has plenty of young trees along it,that’s where they’ll make scrapes,and that’s how you’ll find the big guys.

Around Oct 21st,you can increase your chances of seeing and taking a big buck by making a fake scrape line-I wrote about the techniques Here and Here and Here

It works-plus your fake scrape line will get the attention of the dominant buck,and a couple of the up and coming younger bucks that are right behind the dominant buck in the deer “pecking order”. Deer,especially bucks as the rut approaches-want to know “who” the deer is that made your fake scrape line-and they’ll be checking it out at dawn and dusk.

Starting the last week of Oct.-(for N.E. Ohio)-I start using a grunt tube and estrous bleat can. The calls work-just don’t overdo it early in the season,once November 1st rolls around-use them every 10-15 minutes. I’ll use the grunt tube,then wait 5 minutes,and use the bleat can. Then,after a half hour or so,I’ll repeat the calls.

Last week of October is also the time to rattle,rattling works best from late October,until mid November.

I stopped using real antlers,I just use either the fake antlers,or the pieces of wood that come in a bag-both sound damn near like the real thing. Rattle loudly,and really crack the antlers-or the pieces of wood together-remember,when two bucks fight-you’ve got 150-200+ pound of deer cracking antlers with another 150-200 pound plus deer-they are loud. That’s why you want to really make some noise when you rattle.

I hope this helps someone out-you can look up deer hunting under the categories to the left of the page-click on deer hunting,and there are quite a few posts I did about deer hunting. I’ve been hunting since I was about 10 years old-started out going with my dad-at 16 I was hunting by myself-I was 16 in the 70’s-I’ve got a lot of years in the woods whackin’ deer. Well over 40 years-pushing 50 years hunting deer. That’s counting from when I was 10.

Scouting the area you hunt,finding the food and water sources, knowing what the main food source is at what time of year,and picking good stand/blind locations is at least 90% of what leads to a successful deer hunting season. Sure,there’s guys and ladies who by pure luck and chance get a big buck-but for them,it’s probably the only big buck they’ll ever get. Those of us who consistently whack a deer every year get the deer every year because we put in the time and effort to have the right blind/stand in the right place,at the right time of year.

I don’t use trail cameras-they only tell you where the deer were-not where they are,or are going to be. To successfully use trail cameras-you need at least a dozen of ’em,and I ain’t spending that kind of $$$ on trail cameras-that’s a new bow,a new archery target,a couple pairs of new boots-etc,etc.

I also no longer use tree stand-deer are so used to them that they now look up as they’re walking through the woods. Deer never looked up in the 70’s and 80’s,all it took was enough missed shots,and the deer knew there were guys in the trees in the fall,so while they’re looking up in the trees-I’m behind some camo burlap sitting on a hunting stool. I’ve had does and young bucks walk by the blind and they were less than 10 yards away.

Get out in the woods-get your blinds/stands set up-get a couple spots picked out for your fake scrape lines-make the scrape lines the last week of Oct. and chances are,you’ll get that big buck long before gun season gets here and scatters the deer all over the place for half of December.

*One last tip-figure out the date the rut peaked in your area-then 28 days later the does that did not get bred come into estrous again-so there’s a second,less intense rut,but grunt tubes and bleat cans work well during the second rut.*

Read. Learn.


Do more PT !

This is a re-post of something I wrote last year…

I wrote about this last year Here and Here and Here
*since I wrote those posts last year,I’ve seen 8-10 bucks raking antlers on branches above their scrapes-was too busy hunting to write up a new post on the subject during last year’s rut.*
I’m putting lots of hunting info up long before deer season gets underway.
It’s now September 12th-Ohio’s archery season for deer starts on September 26th-that’s two weeks away people-get out there and get set up,only a month or so away from the time to be making fake scrape lines-so read up on it…
Via Field & Stream Here
Minnesota whitetail nut Billy Jerowski is a fair-minded, modern husband—one whose manhood isn’t threatened by doing dishes or hanging laundry. But he never imagined his domestic experience would improve his deer hunting. That is until after he’d been watching numerous bucks work scrapes, when it dawned on him that the licking branch doesn’t have to be parallel to the ground. “I realized that bucks love getting their antlers up into anything—a deadfall or a vine—whether it hangs vertically or horizontally,” he says. “That got me to thinking.”
The Scrape Line
Always ready to experiment, Jerowski drove to his hunting area and strung a wire tightly between two trees, like a clothesline. To this wire, he hung short lengths of rope, a green tree branch, even a section of grapevine. “I roughed up some dirt below the wire to start the scrape,” he says. “But I doubt I needed to. The bucks just hammered those overhanging ‘branches.’ When I came back to check my experiment, the little scrapes I started under each had been hit so many times they’d melded into one giant scrape.”
Jerowski feels his technique trumps the standard mock scrape for several reasons. “First, I can put it wherever I need it—no need to find the right tree, with the perfect overhanging branch,” he says. Second, hanging several different “branch” materials seems to ensure that a buck will become interested in at least one. “Bucks are curious, and once one starts getting his antlers up into one branch and pawing the ground, it isn’t long before other bucks are in on the action, and hitting all of them.”
Hang Tight
When it comes to constructing this mock scrape line, the keys are “tight and strong,” says Jerowski. Bucks can pull down a light line easily, so use strong wire, cable, or a stout rope. Stretch it tightly between two trees, and tie it securely. “To attach the hanging vines or branches, I use zip-ties and I make sure they’re cinched down tight or bucks will pull them off,” he says. “You can scrape up the ground to get bucks started, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Once they start working those hanging ‘branches,’ the scraping comes naturally. In a couple of weeks you’ll have a super scrape right where you need it to be.”

Sit Tight

Where you hang your “scrape line” should be determined by the best possible stand location. Start by picking a tree that offers a good combination of cover and shooting lanes. Then look for another similarly good stand tree nearby that will allow you to hunt a totally different wind. If you position your mock scrape line so you can shoot to it from either tree, you’ll have a buck magnet you can hunt in almost any breeze, and one that’ll stay hot right through the start of the rut.
Do more PT !

Now’s the time to step up your target practice.
I go from my 18-36 arrows a day all summer,to shooting 36 arrows twice a day,morning and close to last  legal shooting light,which is one half hour after sunset here in Ohio.
You have to go by the ODNR’s sunrise-sunset tables-not other sources,their tables are the legal hunting times,if you use the times in the newspaper,or online sources,then you may be off by several minutes.
That could lead to large fines and/or suspension of hunting license/right to hunt.
Plus,if your hunting privileges are suspended in Ohio-they are also suspended in the rest of the U.S. except for two states-New Jersey and Nebrasaka- due to the Interstate Wildlife Violater Compact
Your blind or stand should be already set up if you hunt private land,shooting lanes cut,and blind/stand “brushed in” using the branches you trimmed for your shooting lanes.
Now is also the time to start putting out corn if you feed the deer where you hunt.
You should have had mineral blocks out since early spring,as it helps with antler growth,and provides deer nutrients that are lacking in the natural foods available.
I keep blocks out all year,in spring I put out one of the “rack rock” type blocks made for antler growth. In fall,I put out apple,sugar beet, and acorn scented blocks. Once the rut is over,I add blocks as needed,but switch to stockman’s blocks available at your local feed store-or farm supply,Tractor Supply,etc. This helps provide the newly pregnant does with a boost in nutrients.
If you put out corn,and don’t use a feeder,spread it out,rather than make one big pile,as it will help prevent deer from passing diseases to other deer when spread out. If you just dump corn in a big pile,the deer can transmit diseases to other deer.
I hunt a 70 acre or so private property,and we do mange the deer as much as possible,which is why we put out food and mineral blocks. Over the years,there have been some monster sized deer taken there,both in body size,and antler size. There’s only 4 people who regularly hunt the property,and another 4 guys we let hunt gun season. Usually it’s no more than 4 people hunting on any given day of the season.
The property is surrounded by ag fields-most years it’s about half corn,half soybeans-this year for some reason,it’s all soybeans.
That’s good for us-the beans will be off the fields before the rut kicks in,and there will be no standing corn during gun season.
I also put out apples from the time they start dropping of the trees,up until the end of muzzleloader season in Jan. since I get them for free from a neighbor. If you have local apple orchards,ask the owners,they’ll usually give you extra or bruised,wormy,,etc apples for free or a really reduced price.
I freeze a bunch for us later in the season,the deer still eat them,and when there’s snow on the ground,some apples spread around 30 yards or so from your blind will draw hungry deer in from all over the area.
I hunt a lot on public land,where you can’t put out any kind of bait,no corn,no apples,no mineral blocks.
No big deal,deer travel the same trails all the time,the key to finding deer on public land is to find the major trails,then find the bedding areas,the water sources,and the food sources. Deer have to drink water at least twice a day,usually soon after they move from their beds,and again after feeding.
When you find the trails,anywhere from 5-15 yards from the main trails-you will find smaller,less used trails.
These are the older buck’s trails,yearling bucks usually still travel with the does up until the rut begins.
Find a spot near a water source,a food source,or on the trail the deer use to get to the bedding areas.
Deer feed all night during hunting season,if you set up near a bedding area,and are trying to get a deer heading to bed-you have to be able to get to your blind long before first light,and do it without spooking deer.
I usually use the opposite approach-I set up far enough away from the bedding area that I can get to me blind any time during the day,and try to get the deer as they move out of the bedding area.
If you find the food source,pick a spot that’s either still back in the woods a little,or right at the edge of a field.
When there’s a lot of acorns on the ground,deer aren’t going to eat much of anything else,so concentrate on water sources and trails to and from bedding areas.
The single most important thing you can do is get out in the woods,and see what the deer are doing where you hunt,there’s no substitute for scouting-none.
I don’t use trail cameras,because unless you own a huge farm/property,and have dozens of cameras,all you’ll find out is where the deer were,not where they are,where they’re going,what they’re eating,where they’re bedding-which are the things you need to know to be where the deer will be after you get in your stand/blind.
You have to pay close attention to wind direction-and have more than one stand or blind set up so you have another choice if the wind is not blowing towards your stand or blind. I have 4 locations,so I’m covered every day I hunt. The public land that I hunt-I also hunt different spots when the wind is from different directions. The best public land was hit with a severe EHD outbreak in 2012,we didn’t see a single deer hunting that gun season at the Ladue public hunting area,and we hunted it for 5 days. This year should be good there,as the 2013 fawns will be 3 1/2 now,2014 fawns 2 1/2. Next year will probably be better at Ladue,as there should be plenty of 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old bucks.
I’ll probably hunt there at least 2 days of gun season this year,just to see what the deer numbers are like.
Deer can smell you from a long ways off,unless you are hunting in an area where they are used to people-like the suburbs-they aren’t going to come within bow range if they smell you.
Use the wind to your advantage,I also will take a trash bag into the wods with me a couple weeks before hunting season,and pack it full of leaves and twigs from the area I’m going to hunt.
Then I put the leaves into paper bags,and put them in plastic bins with all my hunting gear.
I’ve been doing this for years-it works,I’ve had deer walk right by me when I’m in an ground blind and the wind shifted so it was blowing at my back-and they still didn’t smell me.
I don’t use the scent control clothing or products-my method has worked just fine for over 40 years-why change it now?
I would rather spend the $$$ I save by not paying extra for scent control clothing and products on new broadheads,arrows,and crossbow bolts.
Wear camo that matches your surroundings-wearing solid earth tone colors is better than wearing something like woodland camo in Ohio in November.
Either wear some kind of face mask,or use camo face paint-deer recognize the shape of a human face-so hide your face.
Don’t hike around the woods during the day once deer season starts-stay put. As long as you picked a good location,the deer will come to you. If you are hunting public land,there’s enough people moving in and out of the woods  to push deer right to you,another reason to sit still,stay in your blind.
Pack enough snacks plus a lunch,bring plenty of water,and if you’re like me-pack a thermos of coffee.
Make sure you have some surgical gloves,hand soap-I use an empty one of the 99 cents at the qucikie mart hand sanitizer bottles filed with Dial antibacterial hand soap-plus hand sanitizer,and a towel/washcloth to wash your hands after to field dress your deer.
Either buy a deer drag,or make your own-I just use an 18″ piece of 3/4″ oak dowel rod that I tie my rope to,makes it much easier to drag the deer.

Ohio deer hunting regs/info…

White-tailed Deer Hunting

Species Opening Date Closing Date Daily Bag Limit
Archery September 24, 2016 February 5, 2017 The statewide bag limit is six deer. Only one may be antlered. You cannot exceed an individual county bag limit .

Refer to the Deer Hunting Section for details on zone and bag limits.

Deer Youth Gun November 19, 2016 November 20, 2016
Gun November 28, 2016 December 4, 2016
December 17, 2016 December 18, 2016
Muzzleloader January 7, 2017 January 10, 2017

The statewide bag limit is six deer. Only one may be antlered. You cannot exceed an individual county bag limit.
No more than two deer may be taken from a two deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. Both deer need to be tagged with an either-sex permit. The antlerless permit is not valid in a two deer county.
No more than three deer may be taken from a three deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. The antlerless permit is not valid in most three deer counties. Check the antlerless permit map on this page to determine if the antlerless permit is valid in the county where you hunt. One deer may be tagged with an antlerless permit in specific three deer counties, and two deer may be tagged with either-sex permits. The antlerless permit is not valid in specific counties after Nov. 27, 2016. Three deer may be tagged with either-sex permits if the antlerless permit is not valid or not used.
No more than four deer may be taken from a four deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. One deer may be tagged with an antlerless permit and three deer may be tagged with an either-sex permit. The antlerless permit is not valid in specific counties after Nov. 27, 2016. Four deer may be tagged with either-sex permits if the antlerless permit is not used.

Two Deer County Three Deer County Three Deer County Four Deer County
A hunter may kill no more than two deer in a two deer county during the 2016-2017 season. A hunter may kill no more than three deer in a three deer county during the 2016-2017 season. A hunter may kill no more than three deer in a three deer county during the 2016-2017 season. A hunter may kill no more than four deer in a four deer county during the 2016-2017 season.
Up to two either-sex permits. Up to three either-sex permits. Up to two either-sex permits and one antlerless permit.
– OR –
Up to three either-sex permits.
Up to three either-sex permits and one antlerless permit.
– OR –
Up to four either-sex permits. 
Antlerless permits are NOT valid. Antlerless permits are NOT valid.

I’ll do a post on stand/blind site selection in the next day or two.
If you haven’t been out in the woods yet,get out there,boot leather in the woods and fields equals venison in the freezer.

Ladue should have decent deer hunting this year for those of you around here…

LaDue Public Hunting Area

More info on Ladue here

The increase came even as the state lowered bag limits

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio wildlife officials say good weather and other factors led to an increase in the number of deer killed by hunters this past season.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says hunters checked 188,335 white-tailed deer dating back to the opening of archery season in the fall. That’s up from the 175,745 deer checked during the 2014-2015 season.
The increase came even as the state lowered bag limits and eliminated antlerless permit use in most counties. Coshocton and Licking counties produced the most tagged deer.
The state says that until recently deer populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above the wildlife agency’s goal. In the last few years, the population in most counties has been brought down to near the goals.

Ohio Deer Harvest

Posted: December 27, 2015 by gamegetterII in deer hunting, hunting
Tags: , , , , ,

According to the ODNR,the 2015-2016 deer season harvest is up slightly…
Up by 3,742 over last year,however,the deer season was changed,there was no
Oct. doe only muzzleloader season
plus there’s an extra two days of gun season,tomorrow and Tues.
The muzzleloader season is a week later than last year as well.
Jan. 9th-12th is this year’s muzzleloader season.
We hunted 5 of the 7 days of gun season,and never saw a deer in gun range.
We hunt in Ashland county,the harvest there is almost the same as last year,
there’s an eight deer difference.
The ODNR apparently listened to us hunters at the meetings they held last year,
when we said there were way too many does being harvested,and deer numbers
were way down from the year before,and have been dropping for the years-as
antlerless permits were only sold in ten counties.

2015/16 Deer Harvest Totals

The 2013/14 and 2014/15 deer harvest totals here

There’s still plenty of time to get a deer,and get some venison in your freezer,
we have the 2 days of gun season,the four days of muzzeloader season,
and the archery season is open ’till Feb 7th.
What’s important to deer now is food and cover,they need more food because
it’s colder,and the bucks are still recovering from the rut.
For morning hunts,set up so you can catch the deer coming back to the
bedding area,for evening hunts,set up so you catch them going from
bedding area to food source. If there’s a water source  between the bedding
area and the food source-that’s the perfect spot to set up-as the deer will
drink water on their way to the food source and on their way back to the bedding area.




Do more PT.

By Will Brantley

Is your deer meat tough, dry and gamey-tasting? It shouldn’t be. Check out this list of 12 deer-butchering sins to find out why your venison tastes bad — and how to make it better

 By Will Brantley

Is your deer meat tough, dry and gamey-tasting? It shouldn’t be. Check out this list of 12 deer-butchering sins to find out why your venison tastes bad — and how to make it better
I’m often amazed at the people, deer hunters included, who tell me they just don’t like venison. That statement is usually followed by a qualifier: it’s tough; it’s gamey; it’s dry. And so on.

In warm weather, deer should be skinned and quartered ASAP. I’ve eaten a lot of good deer meat. But I’ve eaten some really bad deer meat, too. I’m only a self-trained butcher, but I process five or six animals each fall, and have been doing so for a decade or more. I’m no Scott Leysath, either, but my wife and I do eat venison in some form two or three meals per week, year-round. I think we eat pretty good.
Some things consistently make venison really tasty. And some things will ruin the flavor, too. Here are a dozen of the worst offenders.
1. Poor Field Care
In the real world of hunting, things happen. We all make bad shots on occasion. And while we know not to “push” a deer that’s been hit marginally, realize that the longer it takes for the animal to die and the farther it runs, the more adrenaline and lactic acid builds up in the animal’s system and muscles. Ever had a glass of good-tasting acid? I didn’t think so.
The faster a deer hits the ground and can be field-dressed, the better the meat will be. Some of the best-tasting deer I’ve ever had have been shot in the head with a gun. The animal is killed instantly, and the meat is uncontaminated by blood and entrails from the chest cavity. That said, head shots are risky. The lungs remain the best place to aim.
2. Failure to Cool Quickly
Internal bacteria rapidly takes over after death, expelling gases and causing the animal to bloat. That’s the first step in decomposition. This process is accelerated in warm weather. Learn how to field dress a deer, and get to it ASAP. Removing those organs is the first step in cooling the animal down.
On a cold night—in the mid-30s or lower—a deer can be left hanging skin-on overnight. In especially cold weather, some hunters like to age a deer in such a manner for several days (more on aging in a bit). I live in a warm climate, and most of the deer I shoot in a season’s time are during early bow season, so I don’t have that luxury. When I find my deer and get it field-dressed, I plan on having it skinned, quartered and on ice within the hour.
3. Shot the Wrong Deer
Modern deer hunters are in tune with deer herd management. We’ve learned of practices that contribute to the health of a herd, including which deer to shoot. Given the chance, most of us want to shoot a mature buck with big antlers. Me included.
Old bucks are perfectly edible, but rarely the best. Muscles get tougher with use and stringy with age. An old buck that’s spent a full autumn fighting, rubbing, scraping and chasing does will be lean. Expect chewy steaks. Same thing goes for an old doe that’s burned all her summertime calories producing milk to nurse fawns. I usually make hamburger, sausage and jerky out of such animals.
For steaks, you can’t beat a young, crop-fed deer. Deer that spend a summer munching on corn and soybeans have an easier life—and more fattening food sources—than those that spend a lifetime wandering the big timber in search of scattered mast and browse.

The tastiest venison I’ve ever eaten came from a 1 ½-year-old fork horn shot through the neck near a picked corn field during early bow season.

That young deer had nothing to do all summer except get fat. Am I saying to forgo everything the QDMA is teaching and whack every young buck that walks by? No. But I am saying if a deer for the freezer is your goal, young bucks from the early season are usually good eating, and have more meat than does to boot. If you want to shoot one and it’s legal, go for it. You don’t owe anyone an apology.

Field dressing is the first step in cooling a deer down. Get to it fast, especially if the weather is warm.
4. Failure to Age / Purge I’ve been told that aging venison on ice is a mistake, but I don’t buy it. The mercury rises above 50 degrees on most days of deer season in my area. That’s too warm to let a deer hang, so icing them down is my only option. I line the bottom of a cooler with a layer of ice, add my deer quarters on top of that, and then cover them with more ice.
I keep the cooler in the shade with the drain plug open and on a downhill incline. That’s very important. The idea is to let the ice slowly melt and drain from the cooler. This not only keeps the meat cold, but purges an amazing amount of blood from it. Do this for at least two days, checking the ice a couple times per day in especially warm weather. (Note: if you do this without a drain plug, you’ll get the opposite effect; deer quarters that are essentially marinated in bloody, dirty water. Does that sound tasty? Didn’t think so.)
5. Dirty Knives and Power Saws
A deer’s legs are held together just like yours: with ball-and-socket joints and connective tissue. Learn where these are, and you can cut an entire skinned deer apart within minutes with a good pocket knife. Laying into a deer’s legs and spine with a power saw puts bone marrow, bone fragments and whatever mess was on the saw blade into your venison. Would you season your steak with bone fragments and wood shavings? Didn’t think so.
I keep three sharp knives handy when I’m cleaning a deer. One is for field-dressing. This one will be a stout knife with a drop point for prying through bone. Another is for skinning. Though a skinning blade with a gut hook is nice to have, I’ve been using a long-bladed fillet knife the last couple seasons, and it works beautifully. These knives can be honed to a razor’s edge and quickly re-sharpened. Other than quickly dulling a knife’s edge by slicing through hair, skinning is not taxing on a knife’s blade, so a flexible fillet knife works fine. Finally, I swap over to another knife—again, with a heavier blade—for my quartering. The point to take from all this is to keep your knives separate so you reduce contamination of the meat with blood and hair.
6. Poor Trimming
Unlike beef fat, deer fat does not taste good. Neither does the sinew, membranes and other connective tissues holding the various muscle groups together. Venison, whether destined for steaks or hamburger, should be trimmed free of anything that’s not rich, red meat.

For great deer burger, try blending the ground venison with a little cheap bacon.
7. Burger is Too Lean Ironically, because fat needs to be trimmed away for the best flavor, venison often becomes too lean for hamburger purposes. Patties made for grilled double cheeseburgers often fall apart soon after hitting the hot grate. The solution is to add some fat, either beef or pork, when you’re grinding venison. We use cheap bacon, mixed at a rate of 5:1 (5 pounds of venison per pound of bacon). It makes our patties stick together, and the bacon adds a great flavor.
8. Used a Cut-Rate Processor
Some commercial deer processors do a great job. But some do not. I once took a deer to a processor, filled out my paperwork and watched him disappear to the freezer room. He weighed my animal and returned with a corresponding amount of packaged, frozen venison. “We mix all our meat together and package a lot of burger at once,” he said.
For all I knew, the deer I was getting could’ve been gut-shot, left to hang in 90-degree heat, and then dragged along a black-top road en route to the processor. No thanks. That was the last deer I ever took to a processor. Insist on getting your own deer back when you have processing work done. If that’s not possible, I’d advise doing business elsewhere.
9. Marinade Problems
“First, soak for 48 hours in Italian dressing …”
It’s enough to make a venison-lover cringe.

Look, Italian dressing and BBQ sauce taste fine, but you’d better be a ravenous fan of them if you’re using them to soak venison steaks for two days. At the end of those two days, your steaks will taste just like … Italian dressing or BBQ sauce.

There’s nothing wrong with a little splash of flavor enhancement, but try lighter flavors that complement, rather than mask, the flavor of deer meat, and keep the marinade time short. My usual maximum is three or four hours. A favorite marinade for grilled venison steaks is a mixture of olive oil, a spoonful of balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of Worcestershire sauce, some minced garlic (with the juice), a squirt of mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Good venison needs to age a few days. One good way to age is in a cooler of ice with a drain plug open and pointed down-hill. This purges blood from the meat.
10. Cooked Too Cool, for Too Long Venison recipes, especially grilled recipes, often call for removing the meat after a couple minutes per side. For many, the result of that is, “this is raw and gross.” And so they place it back on the grill. After a while, it turns gray, chewy, dry … and still gross.
Grilled venison is best when eaten with a medium-rare interior, but the outside needs to be cooked. In order to do that, your grill needs to be hot enough to instantly sear the meat surface and lock in those flavors and juices. Flip your venison steaks one time. If you don’t have nice grill marks after three or four minutes, the grate isn’t hot enough.
11. Improper Packaging and Freezing
Freezer burn doesn’t help the flavor of ice cream or anything else, deer meat included. Modern vacuum packaging systems are handy and save on space, but I’ve used some that resulted in freezer-burned meat after a few months. If you’re buying a vacuum-sealing unit, get a good one.
We package our deer the old-fashioned way, first wrapping our portion in clear plastic wrap, and then covering that with heavy-duty freezer paper. Each package is clearly labeled, not only so we know what cut of meat is inside and when it was killed, but also which deer it came from. If one animal proves especially tough, we know to use that meat for slow-cooking recipes.
12. Getting too Fancy
There’s no big mystery or secret to cooking venison. Treat it as you would treat very lean beef, and you’ll get outstanding results day in and out. We substitute deer burger for beef hamburger in virtually everything—chili, tacos, sloppy Joe’s, burgers on the grill, spaghetti and who knows what else. We never plan on a “wild game night” at the house. We just plan to cook dinner, and that usually means wild game by default.

(Editor’s Note: This Retro Realtree article was originally published in October of 2012)

Long Range Hunting Newsletter


The cover image this month was taken of me by Robb Wiley of Non-Typical Outfitters on a hunt together this year. It demonstrates the use of an Ultrec Saddle Rest on a front tripod plus the use of some stacked up rocks for supporting the right arm and elbow. Both are taught in the LRH-NTO Shooting Classes which we’ll be offering again next summer.

I had fun this month writing the article on “What’s In Len’s Backpack”. It refers to the stuff I typically have with me on a solo DIY “boots-on-the-ground” hunt for mule deer in the western states.

It turns out that when they are counted, 51 items (a crazy number) find a place in my pockets, around my neck and in or lashed onto my backpack. And a reader already pointed out that I forgot to list toilet paper.

Read more  here

Image result for big whitetail bucks


As the month of November draws to a close,the rut has passed-(at least around NE Ohio)-bucks seem to vanish.
The bucks are exhausted from the rut,as they’ve spent a couple weeks acting like horny teenage boys with a non-stop supply of horny teenage girls wiling to do the deed.
They don’t vanish,they do rest a bit more,but the big bucks are still on the move-they have to drink water at least twice a day,and as it gets colder,they have to eat more not only to stay warm,but to replace the weight and muscle lost during the November rut.
The key (s) to finding bucks now is food sources and bedding areas.
Set up on a trail near a food source,either one going in for afternoon/evening hunts,or a trail going from a food source to a bedding area for an early morning hunt.
Something a lot of hunters don’t concentrate on are the two secondary ruts.
The first begins 28 days after the peak rut in your area,as around 10% of does do not get bred during the main rut.
These does go intro estrous,and get bucks chasing after them-just like the main rut-but a much,much smaller version.
Once you figure out the approximate date of the peak rut,you can begin using doe in estrus scents,estrous bleats,and grunt tubes 28 days later.
The buck I got last year came in to a combination of doe bleats and grunt tube calls.
I did have some scent wicks out-but he came in from the wrong direction to have been able to get wind of them.
That buck didn’t have much of a rack-he was a big bodied deer,and likely the dominant buck in his area,judging by how busted up his rack was,and the newly formed scars he had.
The buck began the season as a high-racked 6 point,by the time I shot him on Dec. 6th,he had a broken brow tine,3 points on one side,and two on the other.
He went down after a 30 yard or so shot from a .45caliber  240 gr Hornady XTP mag jhp bullet in a .50 caliber sabot-pushed by 2 50gr Triple7 pellets. I prefer the .44 cal 240 gr XTP’s in a .50 cal sabot,as they are much easier to load,but my brother and I had split a box of 20 of the .45 cal XTP mags.
My preferred load is the .44 cal XTP pushed by 95-100 grains of Triple 7 FFFG,as it’s a higher velocity load,and accurate out to 150 yds.

Okay,back to late season tactics-after the 10% of does that didn’t get bred in the peak/main rut have been bred-usually in early to mid December,depending on timing of main rut-there a third,but extremely small percentage of your local deer herd that go into estrous around the first or second week of Jan.
That very,very small third rut-( maybe 2-3% of the local deer herd)- is generally yearling does coming into estrous for the first time.
This very minor rut coincides with Ohio’s January muzzleloader season.
I’ve had success during this period using estrous bleats and a grunt tube sparingly.

Some stuff I’ve learned about whitetails over the years…
Bucks use grunts,and does use bleats a lot more than most of us realize-several years ago,I had a 2 year plus long series of surgeries done on my leg,in the nice weather,I would sit on our deck most of the daylight hours-hell,I couldn’t do a whole hell of a lot during the first year and a half of that period of torture-(see pic on sidebar  of landing page @
During that time,I watched does with newborn fawns,does with fawns as they grew up their first summer,bachelor groups of bucks,bucks making rubs and scrapes,bucks chasing does,and bucks and does during the rut.
As I watched the steady procession of deer emerge from the woods that are the Cuyahoga Valley National Park,what I heard was almost constant vocalization,bucks grunt all year ’round,does and fawns bleat all year ’round.
After the bucks have rubbed the velvet from their antlers,sparred with the others in the bachelor groups,and the bachelor groups have broken up-their grunts change.
They get louder and longer,there are more snort-wheeze challenges made when bucks spot other bucks,and then the bucks start fighting in earnest.
Once the pecking order has been established,and the dominant buck has beat up on all challengers,the bucks start making scrapes and rubs in earnest.
Most scrapes will be made under a tree at a field edge,or where thick cover turns to small trees.almost every scrape has a branch hanging down that the bucks can reach-they lick the branch,and rub their heads on it-(there’s scent glands in the buck’s head).
As I’ve said in other posts about deer hunting-make a fake scrape line-and be sure there’s a branch hanging within the buck’s reach over the scrape.
All you have to do is clear all the leaves,branches and other debris in a half-circle/oval shape under the tree-make a bunch-I usually make a line of 6-8 fake scrapes.
**** Great new technique****
Something I tried for the first time this year is using the branches I cut when I cleared shooting lanes-tying some  OD color paracord between trees that had no branches hanging down that a buck could reach,and zip-tying the branches to the paracord.
Holy shit-the bucks tore those branches up-I’ll be using that again next year.

You can use scents such as Active Scrape-(or just piss in the scrapes yourself-but be sure you’re hydrated so your piss is clear),or add some doe urine in the early fall,then a few drops of estrous doe urine starting around the first week of November-don’t use estrous scents any earlier-or you’ll spook the deer,they know that’s not normal.
Then as the leaves turn colors,and nights get colder in late October/early November-the first does start coming into estrous,and the bucks are on their feet chasing those first estrous does for much of the day-and all of the night.
This goes on for about two weeks most years,despite weather,the peak rut remains fairly consistent year after year.
In Ohio,there’s probably more deer killed the second week of November than any time except the week-long gun season.

For the best chance at a late season buck-get out and hunt the really cold days,hunt the days a low pressure system is moving in,hunt in the rain,if it’s not cold enough to snow.
Other than the rut (s),I’ve taken most of my big bucks on days with a cold drizzle or light rain.
After that,the day before a big snow hits is always a good day,as is just after a big snow.
The bucks are still there-it ain’t rocket science to find ’em-know the deer trails in the areas you hunt-the big trails are almost always doe trails-look 10-15 yards to either side of the doe trails,and most of the time,you will find a much less traveled trail-these are the trails the bucks use.
Know where the bedding areas and food sources are-never try to hunt a stand or blind near a bedding area in the afternoon/evening-you’ll get busted-the deer will see and/or smell you.
They choose the bedding areas for a reason-they can see any danger approaching from a long ways off. Hunt near bedding areas really early in the morning-get in to your stand/blind well before daylight,and you have a good chance of catching a buck coming back to his bedding area after feeding all night.

Those who live in areas with large stands of mature timber,and huge hunting areas can take big bucks by tracking them in the snow-search for Larry,Lanny,and Lane Benoit-an entire family of some of the best deer trackers who ever lived.

Do More P.T.!