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Illinois Bow Buck “Wild Thing”

Today’s guest post is from Illinois bowhunter Zach Atkins, who along with his wife Ellie make one of our favorite outdoor couples:

IL zach 2016 buck

Hey Mike: Here is the buck I killed on November 19th 2016. We call him “Wild Thing!” This deer is very special to us because he was the first deer Ellie and I ever got on trail camera together. We have been after this buck for 3 years and I finally got it done.

On November 19th I decided to put Ellie in a stand where we had been seeing 7-10 deer every night. I decided to go to a different stand, not knowing what I would see. I never would have imagined that Wild Thing would come out because we hadn’t seen him in 2 months.

But sure enough he appeared, 25 yards and perfectly broadside. It all worked out and I couldn’t believe it. I had 10 days of vacation, and I got him on the last day.

It’s going to be very sad not seeing Wild Thing on our cameras this year, but he’s going to look dang good on the wall.–Zach

IL zach 2

Posted in BigDeer | 2 Replies

Shed Hunting: Why Some Bucks Drop Antlers in December or Early January

first shed 2017

Kelly aka “Shedhunter” from South Dakota sent this picture of a fresh shed he found the other day, and it got me to wondering:

What causes bucks in some areas to shed their antlers early in late December or early January?

QDMA biologist Kip Adams points to a couple of things. “Nutrition is important, as bucks in good physical condition generally retain their antlers longer than those who are nutritionally stressed,” he says. “Widespread early antler casting (in your area) may signify a nutritionally stressed herd resulting from too many deer for what the habitat can support.”

Also, Kip says that in northern states mature bucks typically shed antlers earlier than younger, smaller deer. “(Older) bucks skip many meals during the breeding season, and those that rut hard may be in poor post-rut condition… even when abundant (food) is available. These bucks are choice candidates for early antler casting.”


Indiana Bow: Bleat Calling Bucks in the Rut

I got this email from Kenny from back in 2014:

South in kenny 1

Mike: I watch your TV show all the time and want to thank you for the great information on deer hunting. I watched the recent episode “10 things to know about the whitetail rut” and took your advice. I hunted every day from November 8th to the 11th (Veterans Day); you said in the show that these were the best days of the season.

I grunted, rattled and used a bleat can, as you suggested in the show. I called in and shot the biggest deer of my life! Shot him from a ground blind at 28 yards with my Hoyt Faktor. –Thanks again, Kenny Kyte from southern Indiana

P.S., I’ve already scheduled my vacation for November 8-11 for next deer season

I got this email from Kenny last month: 

south in kenny 2

Mike: I was unsuccessful in 2015. But on Veteran’s Day 2016 I was able to use your rut tactics once again to be successful in the deer woods. I was able to call in this buck not once, but twice. I had been in the stand for about 35 minutes and hit the bleat call. He came right in, but I didn’t have a good shot, so I let him walk. I waited about 30 minutes and hit the bleat can again. The buck came running to me! I didn’t let him get away for the 2nd time.

Needless to say, I’ve had my best days in the woods November 8 to 11…2 bucks in 3 years on Veteran’s Day. Thanks again for the advice.–Kenny


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