Deer Season Updates - 2006
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Mid October Paradise Update
Crazy weather so far in Whitetail Paradise... ranging from near 90 degrees to several nights below freezing have us more confused than the deer it seems!
Thankfully our food plots finished maturity prior to the freezes and are in great shape for fall and winter.
"Little Beast", a regular star in several Volumes of BWP and a favorite buck of Bob's met his demise early in October. Little Beast (est. 5 ½ years old) made the mistake of passing too close to a hunter, on a non-QDM neighboring property. He made it back before expiring and died where he spent most of his life... in Whitetail Paradise. Interestingly, he is the first mature buck that we know of to be harvested on a non-QDM neighboring property.
Fans will recall Bob's buck "Tall Tines" from Volume 1. Well, "Tall Tines Brother" will be featured in Volume 5!
Two years ago Daniel Sheely (Vol.'s 2, 4a, 4b) got a picture of an estimated 2 ½ year old buck that we instantly thought looked like Tall Tines, with the exception of double forked G-2's instead of a single fork. Shortly thereafter Matt Soehn (Vol. 2) began seeing tracks of a buck with the left portion of his hoof missing. That unique track belonged to none other than Tall Tines Brother who went unseen since his 2004 photo!
Well Matt met up with this Mystery Buck on October 15th... A perfect arrow and steady nerves allowed Matt to apply his tag to this gorgeous 168 4/8 gross buck!
QDM and our informal coop pay off again! When neighbors work towards QDM goals together and share information... a much clearer picture can emerge of individual bucks lives. This intel can prove useful time and again, and has paid dividends in Whitetail Paradise once again!
Early October has been good to Bob so far as well, with 3 doe tags filled! Strangely, only 2 reached the cooler. This passage (true story) says it all...
I found a nice looking deer, and asked if she'd ever played a game called whack-a-doe. She was game, so we played. I won.
Took a walk to play tag with her, but she went for a swim in the deep-water portion of the creek. I thought in due time she would tire of that game and make landfall.
In the interim I'd look for another partner to play with, given we still had an hour and a half of light left.
Saw a coyote at 250 yards and asked if he'd like to listen to my impersonation of... the "Best of the Dyin Rabbits". He LOVED the idea and ran right over, although I never saw him up close.
After the hunt I stopped by George and asked if he wanted to play fetch-o-doe and he was game. When we got there... we guessed that the coyote figured the Dyin Rabbits music could wait... while he played fetch-o-doe. What a good dog... he left me half!
I guess in the end we tied... I tagged the doe... he feasted, then I went back to the house for a tasty treat... of Humble Pie.
Most deer hunters would be tickled to tag a classic heavy ten point buck. Ask that same hunter about a drop tine and salivation begins. Now ask yourself... What if you saw a mid 150's ten point, with a drop tine, that actually grew off a 3rd beam containing vertical tines emanating from the side of a bucks head? Coronary time... call the ER!
Our friend Dave Ferris did just that on the 19th of October, just a couple of sections from Whitetail Paradise! This incredible non-typical went unseen by anyone as far as we know, until Dave launched his fateful arrow! Unbelievably, Dave also has a photo of a buck with the same strange antler configuration, only bigger that was hit by a car last year in the same area, he believes!
This is Dave's fourth deer so far this year, the first three fat does he bagged came on consecutive arrows shot a few days prior, within minutes of each other! His dandy buck grossed 189 2/8...
Best Wishes for good luck to all our friends around the country with a safe and successful deer season! Send us photos and stories of your successful QDM hunts, and we will post 'em up for others to enjoy!
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It has been a very busy (hunting) month since the last Whitetail update. October closed out as one of the top 10 coldest Octobers on record for our area with many frosts and freezes and even a bit of snow twice! November on the other hand has been downright balmy... go figure! Drought conditions persist which have made hunting very pleasant indeed.
The tooth aging results from the October Update are in! Wildlife Analytical Labs (DeerAge.com) cementum annuli test results arrived right on schedule as usual. The results are as follows:
- "Little Beast" 6½ years old.
- "Tall Tines Brother" The Matt Soehn Buck 5½ years old
- "Great Non-Typ" The Dave Ferris Buck 4½ years old
This type of information is of great assistance in validating harvest decisions, and provides another educational opportunity for us to learn more about these remarkable animals we love so much! Check out Volumes 4A & 4B segments on cementum annuli, and visit www.deerage.com for additional info and educational articles!
Coyotes continue to taunt Bob at new levels and will be a topic in next years BWP Volume 5.
A morning with major rutting action quickly turned into a comedic disaster thanks to unexpected visitors. "The frosty morning in early November was the prototypical day for tagging a big boy. Simply awesome buck action with bird dogging, chasing and flat out rut intensity that stopped on a dime at 9 A.M." said Bob. "I was set-up on a native grass bedding area when Pheasants began busting like crazy, but only flying 40 or 50 yards before diving back into the heavy cover afforded by the tall grasses."
"Deer were scattering in all directions, and I felt a coyote had to be working the area for a late breakfast. Shortly not one, but a full six pack of these critters ran by at about 80 yards," Bob said. It took a bit of time to dig out my predator call, but after a quick rendition of "The Best of the Dying Rabbits", I thought I was at a greyhound track! Here they come, all six of these rascals. I set the camera for a 20 yard shot, but the closest coyote screeched to a stop at 40 yards. I go for it and draw my bow and the alpha dog starts barking from 100 yards away. The other 5 head for the hills before I can release an arrow."
And the band played on... "This coyote stood and barked for ten full minutes. I've never been yelled at by a coyote before, and boy it was really getting to me. How high is the hold for a 100 yard bow shot? I launched a long range missile and barely missed my mark. The dog runs off and barks a few times... and comes right back to the same spot, and let's me have it again for a full 5 minutes! Long story short... I climbed down and literally chased that barking hussy out of there... and went home to regroup. Payback is a -----!" said Bob. Stay tuned.
On to the deer...
Bob (4th doe) George and Daniel all tagged does working on the buck to doe ratio... fine shots all!
Neighbor Rob Diehl's 6 year quest to improve his 50 acre property through QDM continues to pay dividends. 2 friends tagged beautiful bucks, with the larger being Tim Hasara's stunning main frame 8 pointer, sporting sticker points and great mass. One brow tine was broken (est. 6 incher with 5" missing) but still grosses 170 4/8 P & Y! WOW WHAT A BUCK!
Dr. Mickey Hellickson (Chief Wildlife Biologist of the King Ranch) flew up from Texas and joined us for our 3 day firearm season. What a treat to learn many amazing things from one of the leading Whitetail researchers in the world. Mick assisted our QDM program by tagging a mature doe and enjoyed daytime sightings of all age groups of bucks.
Eddie Paneque (Vol.'s 1 & 4b) kicked off opening day by scoring on a brute of a 9 pointer named "The One Eyed Jack". Eddie was actually hoping to shoot a doe that came through an open field to a woods edge, but stopped with brush blocking her vitals. Rather than take a risky shot, he chose to wait a moment and see what would develop. What developed was a big ole buck followed her trail, he stopped the deer, took careful aim and squeezed the trigger.
This dandy buck sported a double white throat patch, great mass and several war wounds including the complete loss of one eye, a broken beam tip and busted g-1. A great single shot anchored him within 50 yards or so. You can see this buck on video from last year in Volume 4b, switchgrass bucks. He really added mass this year!
The action slowed late morning for Rocco Marzullo (Vol.'s 1 & 4b) having seen a good buck early and a doe. Foregoing his traditional noon-time nap in or by his tree paid dividends this year for Roc. Following a sandwich in his tree, he spied a wide-racked buck as it passed out of range of Mick Hellickson, and patiently waited for him to "Come to Papa". At 95 yards, Roc let this moving, fully mature buck have it, and dropped him in his tracks with a 12 gauge slug! This gorgeous 20" inside 8 pointer also sported war wounds, having taken an antler to his nose, with some serious swelling apparent. 12:45 P.M. was the magic time, mid-day mature buck movement!
On the radio Roc was asked how far the shot was, and he replied "40 or 50 yards". Amazing what excitement can do when judging distance! Upon arrival Bob and Eddie measured the distance of the shot at 95 yards!
Day 2 was very good to Daniel Sheely. Patiently sitting every minute of day one, and prepared to do the same on day 2 (without food), Dan spied our "Big 7" (See switchgrass bucks Vol 4b) at 3:00 P.M. Yelling at the buck over the wind in order to stop him did the trick. Dan's Muzzleloader made smoke and a perfect 80 yard shot allowed Daniel once again to tag a terrific fully mature monster buck! George Noble in a tree 300 yards distant heard Daniel yell also! He never did tell anyone what he yelled though...
Day 3 was Bob's turn... Rutting activity was in overdrive on November 19th. By 11:00 A.M. 20 Does and fawns and all kinds of bucks (22 sightings) passed into the bedding thickets. Hoping to fill a pocket full of doe tags, but not able to get a surefire clean shot at so many does due to the brush was driving him crazy!
Finally a doe presented a broadside shot at 60 yards, standing in the heavy cover, with a very small opening to her chest area. While getting the camera into a position to record the shot, he glimpsed sunlight reflecting off an antler just behind the doe. Then another and another... This doe and fawn had attracted quite a following, barely visible through the cover.
He decided to wait to see if a mature buck would hit the same opening. Bob patiently waited as the camera rolled, and finally the doe moved on. One mature 8 point buck followed immediately, but passed just uphill of the small shooting window through the heavy cover. After several long seconds another 8 point buck moved forward, and as soon as he hit the tiny opening... bang! A perfect hit dropped the buck within seconds. All the exciting action was recorded for the upcoming BWP 5!
News from around the Country...
Bob Schuknecht (BWP4b) of Michigan can scratch a swamp buck off his Christmas Wish List. Bob is a very passionate QDM'r on his and other MI properties, who seldom has the opportunity to see a mature buck due to the Traditional Deer Hunting habits of many in the State of Michigan.
Bob has steadfastly believed that a small landowner who sticks to his QDM beliefs can eventually harvest a mature buck. Year after year of hammering does instead of young bucks paid off big this season, as Bob tagged a bruiser of a swamp buck! Perfect symmetry, long beams and ten points on this mature buck! Great job Bob!
Tom Mayers (BWP Vol. 1) down in Georgia had a heck of a day recently as well! Limited time afield has been the story for this avid deer hunter. A recent November afternoon found Tom in a treestand hoping for an opportunity to score. At 3:15 P.M. Tom grunted softly several times and directly a tall tined buck responded aggressively, but stopped behind a tree that conveniently blocked his vitals. His neck and head were visible though, and at 60 yards Tom drew a bead on the exposed neck and squeezed, dropping this beautiful buck where he stood! He had suffered a broken g-1 from fighting, but thankfully those other tall points are intact!
We are all thankful for a safe and very enjoyable fall to date with more exciting QDM hunting to follow. Everyone here hopes that all our friends had a very Happy Thanksgiving. Until next time, happy hunting from us here in Whitetail Paradise!
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December continued our strange weather pattern here in Whitetail Paradise.
An unusual blizzard and arctic temperatures kicked off the beginning of the month. A single snowfall dumped 14 inches of fine snow, creating amazingly early "late season" conditions for a week or so, then came spring...in December!
The snow cover prevented any frost from accumulating in the ground, even though temperatures grew bitter following the snowstorm. Lawns in our neck of the woods are still green for the first time in memory as we approach January 1!
Weird weather all year...
The lab results are in for the deer from our November update! Cementum annuli aging provided by Wildlife Analytical Labs (DeerAge.com) reported the following:
- Tim Hasara Buck (Monarch's Brother) 4 ½ yrs old
- Eddie Paneque Buck (One eyed Jack) 5 ½
- Daniel Sheely Buck (The Big 7) 5 ½
- Bob Coine Buck 4 ½
- Bob Coine Doe 4 ½
- Rocco Marzullo Buck 4 ½
Interestingly, the State of Illinois biologists at our shotgun check station have not aged a buck correctly for us yet. They are using the tooth wear method. The oldest age given our bucks by the biologists has been 3 ½ years.
According to a State of Michigan study, Cementum Annuli tooth analysis is 85% accurate, misses are typically reflected as 1 year younger. (see www.DeerAge.com for a report on this study)
Our attempts to hold off on tagging a buck until he is 4 years old are continuing to go well, as treestand age estimates have proven correct so far. A segment in BWP Volume 3 on "Aging deer from a treestand" illustrates how to do this, and it works!
On to the deer...
Our 2nd gun season (4 days) kicked off November 30th, which was the day before the blizzard.
At first light Bob saw a huge bodied buck stand up from a bed on a hillside in Indian grass, stretch and lie back down.
He watched and videotaped him nap, get up and stretch several times, as the buck never strayed from his bed throughout the day. What a treat!
Bob couldn't make up his mind whether to shoot or not, as his antlers were not as huge as his body mass. "I knew he was going nowhere fast" said Bob. "The wind was howling at 25 mph, the deer were not active, and the rut had tapered off. I knew I could make the 153 yard shot with my shotgun...and finally did at 1:45 PM!"
"I have named him Leviathan as he is possibly my largest bodied deer, and certainly had the biggest head, almost like a donkey!"
"He has symmetrical antlers with 9 points...and I can't wait to get his teeth back from Wildlife Analytical Labs (DeerAge.com) to learn how old he was!"
George continues patiently holding out for a monster, and has passed several mature bucks. He also continues tagging does, helping to keep our herd in check.
Daniel also continues tagging does, patiently passing up bucks waiting on something special.
Our hunting friends and family have also been a big help tagging does in December.
Todd (Vol. 4b) broke in his new bow by arrowing a fat doe.
Cousin Jonathan, (Vol. 4a) visited again, and enjoyed 7 bucks pass within 15 yards...and shot em all, with his video camera! 2 were real dandies, but uncertain as to their ages he passed. Now that is typical of the restraint shown by serious QDMers. Way to be JC!
We are anxiously awaiting our final 3 day firearm season, which for the first time allows either sex hunting (CWD Season) and no limit on bucks, providing a hunter possesses the proper tags.
Everyone here hopes you had a wonderful Holiday Season!
Until the next update...We wish you the best with your hunting seasons!
The weather continues to be mild for this time of year in Whitetail Paradise!
Bob finally exacted some revenge on coyotes for their earlier antics! While working in his home office he was alerted by little Bobby to the fact that Ole Wiley was sauntering through the yard at mid-morning. A mad dash for the 22-250, a fling of the window, and a 150 yard perfect shot on this departing varmint resulted in one less coyote in Paradise! Reinforcements are on the way for some late season calling sessions... we'll keep you posted.
A quick trip to Arizona resulted in some awesome mule deer memories! Bob and friends met up in Phoenix with bows and arrows at the ready. Several stalks on mature bucks were thrilling for these Whitetail Hunters.
One buck in particular was truly a Monarch of the West! His harem consisted of many does, and several bucks that also traveled with the group. On one memorable day they located, and spent the entire day, following and observing a super, fully mature 4 x 4, with obscenely tall, heavy and wide antlers.
We actually were in bow range twice, in full sun, but the only shots taken were with the video camera as we elected to pass up these opportunities.
The ATA Show in Atlanta afforded the opportunity to have several veteran Mulie hunters guestimate the score of this perfectly symmetrical typical monster buck caught on camera. Estimates ranged from 185" to 200" with very few deductions. We'll have to figure out a way to include this surreal footage in a future BWP segment... We wish Whitetail hunting could be that easy!
Deer aging update! Wildlife Analytical Labs (www.deerage.com) promptly replied with cementum annuli results on the mega-bodied buck Bob tagged in December, whom he called called Leviathan. 6 ½ years old...
Friend and neighbor Darren Burke tagged the oldest deer of the year during our Shotgun Season. Based upon tooth analysis by WAL, this old doe was an incredible 9 ½ years old! Great job Darren!
On to the deer report... can you say buck to doe adjustment? We rocked the section with quite possibly our record January doe harvest! Eddie, Rocco, George, Daniel, Jonathan, Bob & other guests accounted for an additional 12 does, 11 of which were mature!
With careful examination and observation, we can learn a lot after a our tag is on a deer. All mature does carried at least 2 fetuses, with the exception of a single doe who carried only 1. Interestingly, 2 of these does had 3 fawns with them, and one carried 3 fetuses! All fetuses were of very similar size, meaning all of these does were bred very close in time to each other. A great indication of a healthy, well-balanced deer herd, with a very tight breeding time frame. Reproductive rates are top notch here, with no mature does being found to be barren of fetuses.
So what does this mean to us, and our hunting? By consistently targeting the doe segment of our population year after year, we are achieving balance within our herd sex ratio. We are harvesting many more does than bucks. In a typical year we shoot 4 does or so for each buck. When you consider that we are tagging quite a few mature bucks from our patch of Paradise, you can realize just how many does we continue to tag each year.
Our rut hunting is enhanced year after year due to our habitat work, and continuous doe harvest. A very visible rut, including buck sightings, scraping and many rubs are observed. See Building Whitetail Paradise Volumes 4a & 4b. Regardless of how relentless we are in pursuit of does, recruitment of fawns remains strong and even possibly increasing!
I believe that research reported on orphaned buck fawn dispersal is accurate. It is said that orphaned buck fawns predominantly stay close to their birth area, and have a smaller home range than bucks whose mother survived. In Volume 5 due out this year, you will see a segment on censusing that we did here, and it will blow your mind on several fronts! We will relay buck population density, and age class distribution numbers, along with documentation photos.
Holding deer on your property affords many benefits to us hunter managers, not the least of which is the opportunity to observe many bucks year after year as they grow to maturity! Check out Bob's song sample "Watchin' Him Walk" in the entertainment section of our web site for a very cool take on this indeed!
Now that deer season is in the rear view mirror, it's time to begin our habitat efforts. Timber Stand improvement, native grass burns and other projects are scheduled to begin soon. We'll keep you posted...
Is it easy to achieve incredible hunting action year after year? No, but it is priceless, and we wish you success with your management efforts... Building your own Whitetail Paradise! Untill next time...