Last year was nearly identical to 2011 for deer hunters in the Great Lakes State. An estimated 414,004 deer were harvested, which was roughly the same number as the previous year. While the antlerless kill was down 6 percent from 2011 (191,364), the antlered buck harvest was up about five percent (222,640). With another mild winter, the whitetail population in the Lower Peninsula (LP) continued to increase in 2013. The winter started out mild in the Upper Peninsula (UP), but by mid-January the weather turned severe, with lingering snowfall well into spring.
Enter a photo of yourself with your 2013/2014 deer and you could win great gear and be featured on the cover of our August 2014 issue! We’ll use the information you give us to generate the charts to the right.
Outdoor Life reader Paul Erola, 34, took this big 9-pointer on his family's farm in Itasca County, Minnesota earlier this month. The buck rough-scored 145 inches and weighed 210 pounds dressed. Erola attributes some of his early-season success to luck, but his hours of hard scouting and careful preparation certainly didn't hurt either.
Last year hunting participation was the highest on record for both archery and youth hunts. In 2012, bowhunters purchased 108,349 licenses, while youth hunters bought 62,949 licenses. Both groups took their fair share of whitetails last season. Archery hunters alone bagged about 22,000 deer. In total, 185,000 deer were harvested in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Based on population estimates, the number of whitetails appears to be up about two percent over last year (over one million deer).
“In the North and Southeast, over 90 percent of our permit areas are at departmental goals,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the Minn. Department of Natural Resources. “But deer numbers in the North are expected to be a bit lower due to the prolonged winter.”
When Bryce Epple set out for his stand on the evening of Oct. 8, everything seemed to go wrong. He was running late, he forgot his quiver, and the platform stand he'd planned to hunt was rotted out. But somehow Epple, 27, turned a frustrating night into his most successful hunt yet. Epple's buck could go down as the largest typical ever recorded in Gasconade County, Mo.
With the rut approaching, we are beginning to see an uptick in deer/vehicle collisions. As the number of bucks chasing does increases, so will the number of whitetails decorating the grills of 18-wheelers.
According to State Farm Insurance, approximately 1 million whitetails are killed each year by vehicles. That is roughly 33 percent of the annual hunting season harvest across whitetail country. In fact, in the Northeast, motorists kill six deer for every 10 taken by hunters. That’s a lot of carnage on the highway. Were it not for hunters thinning out the herds, collision rates would skyrocket even higher.
We noticed a marked decrease in deer sightings this past week as did most of our whitetail watching network. It’s clear that hunting pressure is starting to build. The deer are running into hunters all over the place, back road traffic and ATV activity is up, and there’s an increase of human scent in the woods.
The deer season is underway and the big buck rumor mill has already started turning. You might have seen this monster buck photo floating around since the shot surfaced online earlier this month. Mike Hanback published a short post to his Big Deer blog, but we still haven't heard the whole story. If you've got any details to share about the hunt, comment below. In the meantime, here's what we think we know so far.
This is a huge whitetail with one gnarly rack. The hefty right drop-tine and pair of double brow-tines are impressive, but it's the massive drop-club off the left beam that really sets this buck apart. With a reported 22 scoreable points and possible rough scores ranging from 239 to 256 inches, this bruiser certainly could rearrange state record books.
Long before there was an Outdoor Channel or anyone ever thought to utter the horrid word "awesome" to describe a dead deer, there was Larry Benoit.
Referred to by some as "the greatest deer hunter to ever walk the face of the earth," Benoit, 89, passed away last Tuesday in Duxbury, Vermont.
Whether you think the proclamation overstated or not, to say that Larry Benoit influenced an entire generation of deer hunters is not hyperbole. Benoit spawned a resurgence in the art of tracking deer. He didn't, however, track run of the mill deer, he targeted giant bucks in the big woods of northern Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada.
Whitetails in Texas have experienced drought for so long that the species has adapted and now thrives despite little moisture falling from the skies.
“Deer population trends over the last eight years indicate increasing deer populations in the Pineywoods, Cross Timbers, Post Oak Savannah and the Rolling Plains,” said Alan Cain, whitetail deer program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Populations continue to remain stable in South Texas and Edwards Plateau.
With over 3.6 million deer, the Lone Star State boasts the highest whitetail population in the country. Most parts of the state received some spring rains to “green up” the brush and produce a few weeds that will provide adequate forage and help out with antler growth. South Texas, Trans Pecos and the western edge of the Edwards Plateau are still very dry, so hunters should expect lower fawn crops in those areas.
Archery hunters in Kentucky started getting after whitetails beginning Sept. 7 this year, with the season continuing through Jan. 20, 2014. For the past three seasons, record harvests have been posted for the month of September: 5,577 deer in 2012; 4,945 in 2011; and 4,407 in 2010.
"Even though weather conditions aren't always ideal early on [hot and humid], there are some advantages to early season hunting,” said Tina Brunjes, deer program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (WDFWR).
Deer are still calm and predictable when bow season opens, enabling hunters to pattern them and tag out early.