Ready for Deer Hunting Season

Article first published as Ready for Deer Hunting Season on Technorati.

The Rut Distracts Deer from Their Usually Cautious Behaviors!


You have done it all: You have watched the deer trails in preseason; studied the topographical maps so you can see the lay of the land in your sleep, and gotten the fix on the prevailing winds of your hunting area. You are ready for deer season!

Deer Are Ready

While you have scoured the catalogs for the latest gear in hunting deer, your foe has been getting ready too. As summer changes to fall, the blood testosterone in the bucks rise, which signals the antlers to harden and the velvet to curl up and fall off.

Without a mirror to view his ‘rack,’ bucks start whacking their antlers against small saplings or cedar bushes. They need to learn what they can and can’t do with their head-gear! This exercise also develops their neck and shoulder muscles.

Before the rut starts, the male deer start sparring with other bucks in the group, honing their skills and determining their hierarchy in the herd. The prize: The dominant buck will mate with the most does.

Surprisingly, dominance is not determined by antler-goring but by deer flailing each other with their front legs, while standing on their back two legs!

If you are lucky enough to witness one of these fights, you will be struck by the awesome and savage majesty of nature!

Fortunately for hunters, as time moves closer to breeding, the bucks lose interest in fighting with each other and start searching for receptive does.

Deer Season and ‘the Rut’

State game wardens generally set deer hunting season during the deer breeding season. This is good timing for hunters because deer, which are usually extremely cautious, wily and nimble, let their guard down for a few weeks.

However, once a hunter zeroes in on a whitetail, the buck literally snaps to attention! The hunter usually only gets one shot because the buck does the impossible: He jumps, he swerves, he soars – and he’s gone!

The Annual Conflict

The reason most hunters return each year is because they love pitting their deer knowledge against the instincts of a beautiful foe.

Deer hunters come out second-best so often because they are fighting for their dinner, while the buck knows he is fighting for his life!


“Dream Team One-on-One” – used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics!


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Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 1:24 am  Comments (6)  
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What is the Definition of a ‘Spike’ Deer?


Unbranched Antlers

Unbranched Antlers


According to the dictionary, a spike is an unbranched antler of a young deer.  Therefore, a spike deer is one that has unbranched antlers.

Before you get dewy eyed about this cute creature, please be aware that it is not what you want in your deer herd, if you are trying to manage for better deer yields.

Same Song, A Different Verse

If you are interested in  learning about this issue, I’ve written a series of 4 articles about ‘when to take (harvest) spike deer.’

Don’t take my word for it: Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas A & M University have done extensive testing to prove their claims.  My articles rephrase and explain their hypothesis.

1) Should I Shoot a Spike While Hunting Whitetail?

2) Why Don’t We Just Let that Little Spike Grow Up?

3) What About Spikes While Whitetail Deer Hunting?

4) “This Spike is Better Lookin’ Than Any Ol’
6 Point Deer

In a Nutshell

For those who just read the last page of a book: Spikes do not carry the genes for gorgeous racks. Culling them from the herd, before they can breed with the does, reduces their numbers – eventually.

This leaves antlered deer to breed and pass on their genes for full racks.

Does have an important role in all of this and TP&W also offers advice in this area.  From what I’ve read, managers who have taken their advice have noticed improved yields from their lands.


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Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 12:03 pm  Comments Off on What is the Definition of a ‘Spike’ Deer?  
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I Hope You Don’t Think I’m Jealous, Darrell!

If you’ve scanned my blogroll, you may have noticed that I list tn_j0133729 “Rantings of an Outdoorsman.”

All this time, I’ve been waiting for Darrell, site guru and hunter extraordinaire, to start “ranting” (as his site name seems to promise).  However, after seeing his photos over the past few days, I know the REAL STORY.

Tiptoe Through the Photos

A couple of days ago, I suggested my readers go check out his photos (and great story), dated 27 November 2008.  “BBD! My Nice Whitetail Buck from Opening Day of 2008 Missouri Firearms Season.”

Was he satisfied when we drooled all over his photos? Of course not.

To heap on the grief, he just happens to have a few pictures of his Iowa hunt, dated 17 December 2008!

And Now — The “Awful” Truth

“Rantings of an Outdoorsman” has nothing to do with Darrell. “Rantings” has everything to do with those of us who read his blog!

I used to think Darrell was one of the luckiest hunters ever. Over the past months, I’ve come to realize that luck is really overrated. He must have considerable talent (but please don’t tell him I said that).  😉

Be Careful

If you have a fragile psyche (and have not shot a deer this season), Darrell’s blog  may send you to the anti-depressant aisle of your local drug store.

However, those of you with a sturdier constitution (and a freezer full of deer), will undoubtedly enjoy

Two Questions

Does Darrell’s diet include venison 21 meals/week? *

I can get a group therapy rate for “deer envy;” anybody interested?


* Perhaps he can market a new craze – “Darrell’s Deer Diet!” I can hear the ca-chings already!


Yes, I’m still feeling awful (and the photos on don’t help a bit)    😉    {you know I’m kidding, right?}.  Monday, I’ll get back to serious writing.  Have a great weekend!


Thought for the day: Do something good for your mental health this weekend — stay out of the stores!  Go hunting instead!


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Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 7:36 pm  Comments (2)  
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Deer Smuggling: Don’t Try This At Home


020126L_Jordan Buck_66x20

Expensive Racks!


Since gun-running and drug smuggling have gotten so dicey – thieves have a new ploy — ‘wild deer smuggling.’ Wonder if it’s worth it? A breeding whitetailed buck with the ‘right genetics’ auctions for $500,000!

Who Buys Smuggled Whitetails?

Brian Becker, owner of a deer breeding facility in Minnesota was caught delivering 8 wild deer to a posh hunter’s spread called Circle E Ranch, in Grimes County (TX), between Navasota and Huntsville.

Circle E Ranch offers a wide range of game – from addax to wildebeest and zebra. Accommodations are $250/day, with a 3 day minimum. There’s also a fee for each animal shot – a zebra, including field dressing, costs $6,500.

Follow the Money

Becker was willing to take the gamble — he’d earned $300,000 from the owner of Circle E Ranch, Robert L. Eichenour, over the past 4 years!  He’d driven these whitetails over 1000 miles (I hope gas was extra).

It’s hard to say just how prevalent this practice is in America. The US Fish & Wildlife Service and Texas Parks & Wildlife avow that the practice is profitable and common. Others (land owners and ranch managers) don’t see it that way.

Why It’s Illegal

Texas is a closed state, meaning that deer cannot be imported from other states. Why? Because many states are battling “bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease, a devastating condition likened to mad-cow disease but spread among deer, elk and moose.”

This is serious: Minnesota, where the deer lived, has spent $30 million trying to eradicate the disease in their wild deer. Texas, which has no such infestation, has banned the importation of wild or domesticated deer, to protect their herds.

A Hefty Price on Their  Whitetailed Heads

Because of the ban, deer with large racks, are in high demand. Deer with antler racks scoring between 140 and 149 on the Boone and Crockett Scale, are very popular. Trophy deer in this class can easily cost the hunter between $2,500 and $15,000 (for each animal shot). Mounting extra, of course.

A Hefty Price When You Get Caught

Brian Becker, on probation for smuggling deer into Oklahoma in 2005, earned a 33 month sentence by a federal court in Plano.  Wealthy Houston-area businessman, Robert L Eichenour,  got 18 months in jail and a $50,000 fine.

Both men had pleaded guilty. Some Grimes County citizens were surprised by the jail-time.  “We see murderers and rapists given probation, but bring a whitetail deer to Texas, and you do federal time,” Constable Dale Schaper said.

Grimes County Judge Gene Stapleton said the 18-month sentence “totally ruins [Eichenour’s] life. If you are going to ruin someone’s life, ruin a drug dealer’s life.”

Not-So-Warm-And-Fuzzy-Words from Other Deer Breeders

On the other side of the fence were the deer breeders.  “I am outraged,” said Mike Lamb, a West Texas whitetail deer breeder and rancher.

“I’ve spent a lot of money proving my deer are tested and healthy. An outbreak from smuggled deer would totally wipe me out. Nothing is worth the risk, and to have people exposing the wildlife population to make a few thousand is just ridiculous.”

The whole story is here:

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, article by Barry Schlachter


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Anyone Out There? Questions for My Readers!


Calling all Readers!

Calling All Readers!


Just want you to know that it gets mighty lonely in my Ivory Tower, issuing,  ‘Calling all Readers!’  pearls of fascinating lore.

If there is anyone in cyberspace who has read my article:  Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Turkey or Deer this Year or A Few More Facts About Deer Hunting — I’d love to hear how you are handling this issue.

Hey, I’m even willing to listen to anyone who hasn’t read either article!

Briefly, hunting clothes purchased from China AND/OR washed in detergents have UV brighteners. This is a real bummer if you are hunting either of the two species with extremely sharp eyes — the turkey and deer. Essentially, folks with brighteners in their hunting clothes “glow” — making it very easy for the turkey and deer to elude those hunters.  Either of the mentioned articles has a photo of the “bright, blue, glowing hunter.”

What I’d like to know is

Are you concerned about the issue?

Have you tried the product mentioned (UV Killer)?

Did it work? As well as advertised?

Have you discovered an alternative method of removing (and keeping out) “the glow?” What is it and how does it work?  Inquiring minds want to know!

I appreciate your input; thanks for taking time to respond. (No Mom, you don’t need to answer these questions. I want to see if I have any readers besides you!)


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A Few More Facts About Deer Hunting

Because my last article was getting too long; I omitted some facts of interest. If you recall, the title was: “Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Deer or Turkey this Year.” (For the full article, look back to 1 October 2008, on this site.)



GhillieFlageSuit-Desert; 1 Piece


In earlier times, American fabric producers and hunting garment  manufacturers had an agreement NOT to add brighteners to clothing used for hunting. When China took over textile and clothing manufacturing, someone forgot to tell them about the problem with UV brighteners (for hunters).

Scientists Find that Deer See Two Colors

At about the same time hunters were realizing their clothes had a ‘glow,’ a study came out about deer and their eyesight.

The study I’m referring to is the cooperative effort between the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin.  This group of scientists proved that deer see only two colors — yellow and blue.

Deer are essentially color blind – in the same way some humans can be – by not seeing green or red.  They also lack a filter for UV light, therefore they see those UV brighteners added in clothing very easily.  Humans, in contrast, do not see the UV light, because their sight is filtered.

UV brighteners give clothes a bright blue cast. Generally, this is not a problem; street clothes look more attractive with brighteners. However, the UV coloring additions to hunting clothing are NOT good for hunters.

How Do I Get the UV Brighteners Out of Camouflage?

Well, I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that! 😉 You can’t take it out by the average means available! All grocery detergents (liquid and powder) contain brighteners. Once clothes have been washed in these detergents, the dye (brightener) is permanently added to the garment(s).


There’s only one way I’ve heard that you can remove the brighteners (other than throwing the clothes away) — by using a product called, U-V Killer, by Atsko ( After using that product, you need their other product, Sport Wash, to wash hunting garments for the life of said garments.

The only other option is to buy and use wool camo garments. This is not a viable option here in Texas; where folks often hunt in shirt-sleeves and shorts!

Where Do I Start?

You need to know if you have the UV brighteners in your hunting clothes. First, get a black-light and shine it on your hunting duds, in a dim location. The brighter the glow, the more dye is in the clothing.

Less Expensive Alternative

R. Henshaw, in a forum discussing the UV Dye problem, suggested 20 Mule Team Borax. Because this is not a detergent in the normal sense of the word, this product may protect goods from getting the “glow.”

I’m planning to experiment with it. I hope to keep the glow out of new clothing and reduce the glow – over time – in hunting garments that have it.


The reason I haven’t gotten my knickers bunched about this issue is — MDH has been hunting for years. If, by washing his camo goods in detergents all these years he’s had glowing garments, why has he been able to get a deer each year?

After reading this, MDH suggested that the deer did not see him in the deer blind or he did not hunt in the twilight or early morning (the two times the scientists say the deer’s eyesight is most acute).

So you see, it really is a personal decision. Richard isn’t rushing out to buy new hunting duds, but adopting a wait-and-see attitude. As stated in the last article, there really is much more to hunting deer (like movement and smell) than just worrying about ‘glowing.’

What do you think?


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