My great friend Grant Kuypers of Buck Paradise Outfitters, who you have seen me hunt with many times on TV, had an unreal season in 2016. Grant wrote:
One morning in October: I don’t get to hunt much with the business but was lucky enough to have some time after the ag harvest and before whitetail season. What a great morning it turned out to be! Left the house to head to the farm with a mule deer tag I had drawn in my pocket. Took the long route to get there and came upon this awesome heavy old muley. Love hunting with my muzzleloader!
One day in November: I had a few hours off and went out at 3 p.m. to my personal farm land many miles from where our hunt area is (I would obviously never hunt deer in the area where I guide hunters). I sat for an hour and a half and got plain lucky when this big whitetail buck came in. I had no idea he existed! As I said I don’t get much time to hunt; this was my 4th buck in 18 years, and it was awesome.
What a season Grant, way to go buddy! A ton of mass measurements on those old brutes!
Mike: Once again early November proved to be a big buck’s downfall.
I posted on your rattling tips blog the other day about working on this buck with the horns:
Big Daddy on November 7, 2016 at 10:59 am said:
“I have been hunting hard for one certain buck since October 12th except for a few days I took off to hunt mule deer in Montana the third week of October. I have seen him twice with no shot either time. Today, Nov. 7th, I rattled him up again, no shot just too darn thick! It was in the mid-30s here and the sun had not burned the light frost off yet. I am working the polling places tomorrow for our boy Trump so will not have a chance to hunt him again until Wednesday the 9th….hope your tips work! BD”
Well, on Friday Nov. 12 at 11:00 AM I was able to use a combination of rattling, grunting and doe bleats to pull this giant into 17 yards and put a 3-blade Rage thru his lungs.
This buck is 5 1/2 years old and I have hunted him for 3 years. In 2014 I passed on him with a gun and missed him with my bow in 2015. He green scored 194 3/8″ without deductions. Love your work, Terry Murphy, aka Big Daddy
Way to go Big Daddy, buck of a lifetime!
In my preseason posts on BIG DEER I predicted that 2016 would be the best rack year we’ve seen since 2010 across America. That turned out not only to be true but an understatement, as gigantic bucks have been killed from Virginia to Indiana to Kansas to Wisconsin and all places in and around and in between.
A part of the buck boom has been the comeback of Pike County.
“We took in more big deer this October than any year I can remember,” says award-winning taxidermist Todd Smith. That is quite a statement from someone who has had a taxidermy business based out of Pittsfield, Illinois, in the heart of Pike County, for more than 25 years.
“The bucks have been exceptionally heavy this year,” says Smith. “Our average deer has been over 140 inches Boone & Crockett. This is at least 10 inches bigger than most years.”
When asked what he thought had attributed to this increase in size, Smith said, “I think it is a combination of things. First we did have a reduction in the number of deer in the area due to several factors a few years ago. I actually think the slightly lower numbers have helped the deer winter better and they are in better shape. Add to that the great summer we had with an almost perfect growing season for most of the area’s agriculture crops. Deer were provided with very nutritious feed all summer so antler growth and length is better.”
By the end of October, Smith had taken in 5 bucks that scored over 170 inches with one topping out at near 180 green. This despite less than optimal hunting conditions so far this year; Illinois like much of the country and into Canada has had a warm fall, with temperatures much higher than normal. No telling how many more good bucks would have been taken with some cooler weather, but surely it would have been some.
And this before gun season started, so look for more bomber bucks to fall in Illinois and across the country in next few weeks.
The big deer year of 2016 continues! Hope it’s going well in your neck of the woods.