I'm not a trained deer scorer, but working for Outdoor Life I see a ton of bucks each season and it's our job to track down their story. Part of that involves getting the score. By running down these trophy bucks each year, I thought I had a pretty good handle on eyeing up a buck and estimating its score.
But then I spent three days hanging out behind the scenes in the scorers' room and the Deer and Turkey Expo in Illinois. There were about 11 official scorers measuring hundreds of trophy bucks for the big buck competition. Most of the time I could eye up a typical buck and get within 10 or so points of its score. But some bucks absolutely threw me for a loop.
I found out that when an average deer hunter (like me) eyes up a buck and estimates its score, many times he'll end up way, way off. For example, the two bucks in the photo above. The buck on the left is clearly carrying more bone than the one on the right. He has heavier antlers, and it seems that he has higher tines. He should have a higher score, right?
There were a lot of cool looking bucks at the Deer and Turkey Expo in Illinois last weekend, but this one was definitely the most unique. Scott Setzer was hunting his go-to stand last October when he spotted the gnarly rack coming his way.
I met Jay Ramseier and his son Brad at the Illinois Deer and Turkey Expo last weekend while they were waiting to check in this beautiful 10-point buck. Jay shot the deer last November but had a heck of a time recovering it.
The folks at Whitetail Properties are planning the "The World's Largest Shed Hunt" on March 1, and to get participants motivated and educated, they posted this video on how to find more sheds. The basics of shed hunting are pretty obvious of course: look for sheds where deer spend most of their time during the late-winter months.
But this video divulges some insider info: bring binos for glassing distant habitat, check honey holes that get a lot of sun light, and focus on field edges.
Most readers of outdoor writing know a good deal about Ernest Hemingway. But for those of us who want to find out the details — like for example what Mary Hemingway's favorite hamburger recipe was — there's good news coming from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
More than 2,500 documents collected from Hemingway's farm outside of Havana have been newly digitized and made available at the museum, according to a story yesterday by The New York Times.
What makes the collection all the more interesting is that Hemingway seemed to be a hoarder, saving everything from Christmas cards to tickets to bullfights to the Cuban gun permit pictured above.
A vintage shot of Glen Eberle competing in the biathlon.
If you have limited time to watch the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, do yourself a favor and skip the ski jumping and figure skating, and hold out for the biathlon, which starts on Feb. 8 and runs until the 22nd (see the full schedule here). There are a total of 11 biathlon events — five for men, five for women, and a mixed team relay. The cross country skiing aspect of the event is impressive, but tune in for the shooting — it will be some of the best you'll see for the next four years.
We sat down with Glen Eberle (pictured above), founder of Eberlestock and former biathlete, to gain an inside perspective on the sport. Eberle competed for the U.S. national team for eight years in the 80s and also competed in the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. Eberle worked to make guns lighter and was one of the competitors who ushered in a new era of biathlon that was faster paced and a lot more fun to watch.
It's official, the Boone and Crockett Club announced today that an Alaskan-Yukon moose killed by Heinz E. Naef of Dawson City, Yukon, is a new world record. The bull scored 263 5/8 inches. The previous record bull was killed in Alaska in 1994 and scored 261 5/8.
When California decided to ban the use of hounds to hunt bears in 2012, many around the country worried that it was another thinly veiled attempt to snuff out hunting in general. Now those concerns seem to be well founded.
California hunters killed fewer bears in 2013 than during any other year in the last two decades, and most agree that this a direct consequence of the ban, according to the Sacramento Bee.
California has about 33,000 bears and in 2012 hunters took 1,962. In the 2013 season, they took about 1,000, a 48 percent decline.