Apr
15

Mineral Supplementation for Deer

 

Deer at Mineral  Block

Deer at Mineral Block

If you have not already and it’s legal where you are it is time to place mineral supplements out for whitetails. Not only are minerals helpful for antler development at this time of year minerals can improve a deer’s overall health.  Although typically deer use mineral licks most heavily April through September they do use them all year.

There are several factors to keep in mind about mineral supplementation for whitetails. First of all there has been little research on whitetails and minerals. A lot of the opinions on the subject are based on research regarding domestic livestock and mineral supplementation.  However, the research conducted indicates deer would benefit to some degree from mineral supplementation especially from calcium, phosphorus, and sodium.  Another key factor to consider is there is a wide array of products on the market to fill this niche for whitetail hunters. Make sure you do your research on the product you pick as the quality of the products varies greatly.

Perhaps most importantly remember mineral supplementation is only a small piece of the puzzle for whitetail management. A lot of hunters are under the impression putting out a mineral lick in the spring will lead to trophy deer being behind every tree in the fall. This is simply not the case. The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) puts it best, a 1 ½ old deer is a 1 ½ deer weather it has access to minerals or not.

If you do decide to use mineral supplementation put some thought into the location of where you place it. Along trails especially near intersections are good places to start looking. I like to place mineral blocks on top of stumps, which seems to help the block last longer. I have also seen deer lick the stump well after the block was gone. An interesting note however from the book Quality Whitetails the How and Why of Quality Deer Management is wild whitetails, are more likely to lick leached minerals from the dirt than actually licking a mineral block. That information would suggest you may be better off placing the block right on the ground. Based on my observations, specifically trail camera pictures deer do not hesitate to lick from the block.

One point I really want hammer home about mineral supplementation is if it is illegal where you hunt do not place out minerals. The QDMA and to my knowledge every state wildlife agency believes mineral blocks aid in the spread of dieses such as Chronic Wasting Disease. The benefit the deer would gain from minerals does not out way the negative effects of spreading disease throughout a deer herd.

Deer at mineral block

Deer at mineral block

Trail cam

A buck approaching a mineral site.

Apr
14

Wolf Hit Near Portage Wisconsin

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This wolf was hit by a car in South Central Wisconsin in late March. The area is not considered prime wolf habitat, but the Wisconsin DNR has reported an increase of wolves passing through the area in recent years.  Another example of why it is important the State of Wisconsin is allowed to manage the wolf population through hunting and trapping.

 

Apr
12

Book Review: Whitetail Advantage

Whitetail Advantage by Dr. David Samuel and Robert Zaiglin is not your typical book about hunting Whitetails. You will not find information on the latest gadgets or strategies promising the reader they will bag a mature buck, although I enjoy those books as well.

Instead the book is crammed with nearly 300 pages of information on Whitetail biology and behavior. The authors say it best in the forward of the book “this is not a how to hunt book. Rather it contains tons of information that will explain why and what you what you saw from the tree stand”.

The book is written in a straightforward manner, which is easy to understand and entertaining. Wide ranges of topics are covered including Whitetail history, aging deer on the hoof, reading a deer’s body language, and the latest research regarding scrapes. I also enjoyed the chapters on Chronic Wasting Disease and the Future of hunting. The authors do a great job of blending scientific research and hunting experience to deliver an excellent book for hunters to gain a better understanding of deer and deer behavior.

Apr
10

Iowa CWD Bad News For Iowa

The first case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a wild deer has been confirmed in Iowa. The deer was shot in Allamakee County during the first shotgun season in early December 2013. Allamakee is located in Northeastern Iowa bordering Wisconsin and Minnesota. Wisconsin first detected CWD in 2002 while Minnesota’s first confirmed CWD case was from an adult doe shot in the 2010 season in Southeastern Minnesota.

I spoke with Kevin Baskins from the Iowa DNR who was able to tell me the infected deer was a buck, but at this point they do not have an age estimation. Baskins went on to say,

“With CWD being detected in every state around us, we are of course disappointed, but
not surprised. Likewise, we are probably not surprised to see Allamakee County being
the first due to the close proximity of detections in Wisconsin. Even though we
obviously didn’t want to see CWD come to Iowa, we also have the advantage of being
able to learn from some of the experiences in other states.”

According to Baskins Iowa has had a plan in place since 2002 for CWD. The first step which is being worked on right now is to start collecting additional samples from the immediate area.

Additional information can be found on CWD at cwd-info.org

Dec
10

Muzzleloader Success

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I went out for an afternoon hunt on Sunday. It was overcast with a light snow and breeze; the temperature was 10 degrees. I got settled into my semi enclosed stand at 3:00pm. I was a little surprised how comfortable I was in the chilly weather. One of my hunting buddies had a left a small propane heater in the stand, but I never fired it up.

It was a prefect early winter day to be in a deer stand. The cold weather added to the quietness of the woods. 4:20pm I looked over my left shoulder and saw a mature doe with 2 fawns standing on the edge of a bean field and the woods I was in. They started walking deeper into the woods towards my stand. When the lead doe was straight out from stand at 75 yards I prepared for a shot with my muzzleloader. Without warning she changed directions and started walking away from me.

One of the fawns stopped broadside in front of my stand at 75 yards. I had a quick decision to make. Take the easy shot on the fawn, take a marginal shot at the doe, or wait and hope the doe presented a better shot. I unapologetically shot the fawn and was proud to. I could have minced my words and said I shot a yearling or a small deer, but I am not embarrassed by my fawn. On the contrary I am proud I shot my first deer with a muzzleloader. I spent a fair time hunting deer this season without putting my tag on a deer. Although I would have preferred the doe I am thankful I had the opportunity to shoot the fawn and look forward to the meals it will provide.

Dec
01

Daughter’s 1st Gun Deer Hunt / Hunting with Kids

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Today I woke up early after working 3rd shift last night. I decided to go out for a quick deer hunt. At the last minute my wife asked our 3 year old daughter if she wanted to go deer hunting with daddy. She excitedly jumped up and down while screaming “yes!”

A good friend and hunter I hold in high regards named Chris always told me when taking a young one hunting it is all about them. If your kid is miserable and wants to go home thats what you do. Even if you have only been in your stand for 5 minutes. During the formative years of a young child being exposed to hunting it is imperative they have an enjoyable experience.

There are two categories, which need to be addressed to insure your little ones have a great hunting experience; comfort and activities. A child who is cold, wet, hungry, or thirsty for a long period of time is not going to have an enjoyable time. Not having an enjoyable hunt equates to having a difficult time getting your child to go hunting with you in the future. Bottom line, during cold weather proper clothing and or an enclosed blind are essential to your child’s comfort. Also keep in mind snacks, treats, and beverages. On our hunt today she and I shared hot chocolate from a thermos while eating granola bars. The fact I remember hunting with my dad and sharing coffee out of the same thermos made the moment extra special.

Activities are almost as important as comfort. Bring along books, games, coloring books, or anything else to keep your little hunting partner occupied. Not only will these items make for a more enjoyable hunt for them a child who is not bored will stay quieter. Today my daughter brought along a coloring book and an I Pad. Before you roll your eyes about electronics being in a deer stand remember it is all about them. She loves several games on the I Pad and it did a great job keeping her occupied.

We kept the hunt short, around 2 hours, which is another recommendation I would have if you are considering taking a toddler hunting. My daughter seemed to have a great time and we even talked about hunting a little bit too. We left the stand 10 minutes before legal shooting time because she told me she did not want to walk out in the dark. It pained me to do it, but it was all about her on this hunt. I didn’t sneak quietly out of the area like I would on a normal hunt. My 3 year old was just quiet for 2 hours, which was no easy feat for her. She wanted to make some noise and I wasn’t about to stop her. She screamed, laughed, and asked questions. I pointed out deer sign to her, but more importantly we acted silly and enjoyed each other’s company as we meandered back to the car.

Addy enjoying hot chocolate in our enclosed deer stand

Addy enjoying hot chocolate in our enclosed deer stand

 

Nov
28

Trail cam

We were able to get a picture of the buck I encountered in early November. I watched this buck engage in scraping activity from my tree stand. I attempted to use a grunt call unsuccessfully to bring him in. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

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Nov
25

2013 Wisconsin Gun Deer Opener

Deer StandMy friend Jim and I made it out Saturday morning for the gun opener despite the fact we worked 3rd shift the night before. We got done with work at 6:00am. We made it into our stands about 15 minutes after shooting hours were open. The weather was cold and very windy. Unfortunately we had tag soup for lunch, neither one of us saw a deer.  We didn’t even hear many gun shots and the ones we heard were not close.

We both sat until 10:00am when we decided to pull the plug since we needed to sleep to be back at work at 10:00pm. Jim and I discussed the hunt and both concurred the heavy winds hampered the deer activity. It was still great to get out and we were both thankful for having closed or semi enclosed stands.

 

Nov
21

Muzzleloader is sighted in at 100 yards

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Nov
20

Fall Update

It has been a great but frustrating fall. God has certainly showered me with many blessing this fall.  For starters in early October my family was blessed with a healthy vibrant baby boy. I am thrilled to have a son and look forward to enjoying many outdoor adventures with him in the future.

As you know from a previous post a good friend of mine and I were blessed with finding a hunting lease. We have been very pleased so far with the lease, however we found and signed it well into the bow season. A good portion of time we could have spent hunting was spent putting stands together, placing stands, and scouting. That was the frustrating part; I love being outside even though it was still fun I would have rather been hunting.

We have seen a good amount of deer activity while hunting. My friend and I have only experienced a few hunts where we have not seen deer. On one of my early November hunts I had the treat of watching a buck scrape for about 20 minutes before the close of legal hunting hours. When it became apparent the buck had no intention of coming over by my stand I tried grunting him in to no avail.

The next day about an hour before dark I shot a small spike. Earlier I had visions of grandeur in implementing  QDM on the property. I had hoped seeing a nice 8 pointer on our property would give  me the motivation to pass on a smaller buck. I guess that wasn’t the case. Unfortunately the shot was a bit high and after tracking the deer for 4 hours we called it a night after flashlight batteries began dying. By the time we got out the next morning it had rained washing the blood away.

I still have an interest in QDM. I recently joined QDMA and have learned a lot about deer and deer hunting in the short time I have been a member. I highly recommend checking them out. Below are a few trail cam pics from a scrape. We have a stand near the scrape, however we have not spent a lot of time hunting it.

 

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