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Deer Hunting: How to Deal With Pressure

Lannom buckBob L. shot this 16-pointer (164 2/8”) a few years back in Sumner County, Tennessee. The 4½-year-old animal is a great buck anywhere, and a true giant for the area. As such, the tall-racked buck had seen at least 9 times by local hunters that fall. “I knew of at least  12 stands that had been erected prior to the season by people trying to get the big old buck,” Bob said.

Takeaway lesson: You might have heard me say it on TV, or read it here on the blog: Pressure is the #1 factor in hunting big deer. The less of it the better. Anytime you can hunt unpressured land, your odds of shooting a mature buck on natural movement go way up.

But those opportunities are few and far between. Fact is, hunting pressure, either a little or a lot, is present in 95% of the areas that we hunt. Don’t let the fact that other people  hunt in and around your woods get you down. Scout well, hang stands/set blinds in strategic spots, hunt hard and keep the faith like Bob did. Sometimes you can create your own luck, and you might be the one who ends up shooting the biggest buck in those woods.


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Oregon: Coastal Blacktail Longbow Buck

Guest blog from my young friend and adventurer Austin Manelick. A “ghost of the coast” with a longbow and cedar shaft is a great accomplishment: 

or austin 1There’s something special about the Oregon blacktail deer, one of Fred Bear’s favorite species to hunt. Roaming the coastal forests of the Cascades with stick and string chasing the ghost of the coast is a soul-cleansing experience.

I found this buck while running through the woods back to my vehicle.  I was in a hurry to get back to my car and had let my guard down completely. The chunk of national forest I was hunting paralleled a busy back road adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.  Out of nowhere a buck sprung from his bed and paused at 20 yards.

Another buck stood up, looking curiously in the direction of the commotion about 15 yards away. The second buck looked odd; his antler appeared to have grown directly down the side of his face, or maybe he was about to lose his antler.  Either way both of these bucks were in my shooting range and just needed to present their vitals.

They positioned themselves quartering to me and were surrounded by a maze of downed Douglas firs.  After a few minutes the bucks turned and started to walk off when I grabbed my buck call and softly grunted once.  The bucks paused, and another stand-off ensued, all of our eyes dead locked on each other.

The deer began to lose curiosity and started to walk off. As I leaned forward and rolled my shoulders, my rattling antlers swung from my neck and clashed into each other.  The droopy antlered buck could not believe his ears and walked to 8 yards in search of this mystery buck!

I came to full draw as the animal turned broadside, and the cedar shaft did the rest of the work.  Heading to the location of arrow impact, I found the buck and then his oddly drooped antler on the forest floor, and immediately started to come up with theories (3) on how this buck’s beam had become deformed:

Theory Conclusion: He was hit by a car on the busy road last winter and had some time to heal his broken skull plate and pedicle. He then grew his funky drop antler during the summer.

This hunt occurred in the Suislaw National Forest.

60lb@28 take-down longbow and Port Orford cedar shafts by Rose City Archery, “Retro Bear Arrows.”

Thanks Mike!—Austin

or austin 2

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Alberta: New World Record Bighorn Sheep

alberta sheepA bighorn sheep killed in a highway collision in Alberta has the largest horns ever recorded for the species. Boone and Crockett Club measurers recently certified it as the new world record.

The horns’ final score of 209 4/8 B&C edged out the previous record, another ram from Alberta that scored 208 3/8. That animal was shot by hunter Guinn Crousen in 2000.

The new #1 ram was hit by a vehicle on a highway west of Longview, Alberta. A local rancher who knew of the ram and found the animal on his property obtained a possession permit from Alberta Fish & Wildlife.

He said, “This ram and a younger ram had lived on the ranch where I worked since 2009. The older ram would go down to the highway a couple times a month, but the younger ram would rarely follow. We always wondered if one of these trips to the highway would be his last.”

Bighorns are unquestionably one of the most magnificent animals on Earth. We encountered and filmed two nice rams on a mule deer hunt in Oregon last fall. It’s cool and unique footage for a new episode of #bigdeertv to air later this year.



Posted in BigDeer | 4 Replies
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