Jeff Booth almost didn’t take his bow with him (last) Wednesday.
He was planning to drive up from his Broken Arrow home to his hunting lease in northeast Oklahoma to just put up a camera near a deer stand. He figured the chances of killing a nice buck on the second day of archery season in 90-plus degree weather were remote at best.
“I have never killed a good deer in October,” said Booth.
Booth had a change of heart, however, and grabbed his bow at the last minute. He decided if he was going to drive all that way, he might as well take his bow and sit in the deer stand for a while.
He is sure glad he did. Booth arrowed a non-typical buck…that will likely measure more than 200 inches when it is green scored this week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a 77-year-old Michigan man was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. He had no known contact with any human infected with TB, but he had hunted and field-dressed deer for decades. Many deer test positive for bovine TB in the northeastern Lower Peninsula of Michigan where the man lived and hunted.
The CDC says the man may have inhaled the bacteria that causes tuberculosis while he was gutting a deer. Officials don’t know when that might have happened, but the infection might have reactivated in 2017.
Turns out this is not the first time TB has showed up in Michigan hunters. In 2004, a hunter cut his finger while field-dressing a deer and apparently contracted TB. In 2002, the CDC believes another hunter breathed in the bacteria while dressing a deer.
It is unclear how widespread TB in deer is in Michigan, and others states for that matter, but we need to be aware of the potential threat. I am going to research this topic more and will provide further updates.
To prevent exposure to TB, CDC officials recommend hunters wear protective field-dressing gloves, which is a good idea no matter where you hunt. If you kill a deer in or near an area where TB has been confirmed in deer (or cattle) you should also wear a mask over your nose and mouth.
If you kill a doe or buck in an area where TB has been reported in deer, you should submit the head for TB testing. If the results come back positive, the hunter should be screened for TB.
His body is thick and blocky. Mature deer, say 5½ years and older, are just heavy. Their chests are very deep.
When not alarmed, he moves slowly and with purpose, like he owns the joint.
When you are aging a buck before the rut has occurred, look at stomach girth, provided you get a good, broadside view of the animal. “The older a buck gets, the bigger his belly gets,” notes whitetail biologist Mickey Hellickson. “If the bottom line of the stomach sags noticeably lower than the bottom line of the brisket, the buck is likely mature.”
This characteristic does not work well after the peak of rut, however, because bucks can lose 25 to 30 percent of their body weight during the breeding season. After rut, Hellickson prefers to look closely at how darkly stained a buck’s tarsal glands are. As a buck matures, his tarsal glands appear darker. Use your binoculars.
Another helpful feature is the juncture between the neck and chest. As a buck ages, this area becomes broader, and his brisket becomes more obvious.
Antler-wise, “I advise hunters that overall rack frame and size are first characteristics to look at,” Hellickson says. “I will never use only antler size, though. You have to look at additional characteristics to verify your initial impression.”
Hellickson says to look at a rack’s overall mass, circumference at the bases and the presence of abnormal or atypical points. Non-typical or abnormal points are usually found on older bucks.