Hunting season from heaven – life of a deer magnet

- November 14th, 2012

Well, I can honestly say this year I was the lucky one – a deer magnet if you will.

You know that hunter who’s always in the right place at the right time? The one they call ‘the deer magnet’?

I have no real explanation as to why some guys have all the luck some years while others struggle just to catch a glimpse of Cervid. Some seasons, it seems, I am that lucky hunter while other years I have been on the losing end.

This year was my year!

From the very first day of this deer season I had a gut feeling I was in store for something marvelous. First chase of opening day and a dandy 4-point yearling strolled out to me at the end of a lake I was watching. He got to within 10 feet of where I was sitting and never even knew I was in town. I knew this little buck well from photos I had seen on my trail cam, and I had no intention of raising my rifle on him; especially first thing on opening morning.

I sat there quietly and enjoyed the sight of this young lad as he disappeared up the hill behind me…man, these are the moments I live for.

The following day, we hunted the top of one of our favourite 2000 ft. mountains and I watched in amazement as yet another 4 point buck bounded his way to within 50 feet me. It was a different forkhorn this time. This guy was bigger and sported a slightly larger rack, yet I let him pass hoping other hunters might do the same if they saw him.

Call it what you want, but choosing to pass on first year bucks is something I do in the best interest of our (recovering) deer herd. I have hopes that by letting these yearlings walk they will, one day, grow up to produce a damn fine progeny; seeding the deer woods with quality genetics. We have gone home empty-handy several years as a result…but so be it.

Ok, so they say some guys have all the luck. By the end of the first week of deer season I had seen, by far, the most deer of anyone and two bucks to boot, while the remaining four members of my gang saw scant few deer and no antlers at all.

It’s just luck I tell myself, as we prepare for our annual luxury trip to Fairmont Kenauk in Montebello, and surely it will run out eventually.

First day of the hunt at Kenauk and my deer numbers are going sky-high. On one chase alone I had 8 deer come out to me including two more bucks; one a spike and the other another forkhorn. Man, I’ve now had 4 bucks make an appearance at close range and I still haven’t raised the rifle.

The boys were getting a little ticked at this point. I chased, I sat, I stalked and it didn’t matter, the deer were all around me it seemed like I was the Pied Piper or something; leading the mice out of the town. Was it something I was wearing?

To be honest it was a bit weird…and somewhat of a burden to carry.

The final day of our season arrived and I promised my 81-year old father that HE would sit in the hotspot where the 8 deer had been all over me the day before. I explained that I would take the post he had and put him in my special ’hotspot’, with hopes of sharing the wealth…

The chase was on!

I could hear the chasers(doggers, as some call them) on the radio commenting on the fresh buck sign from the day before. I watched the knoll in front of me with another more watchful eye over in my father’s direction with finger’s crossed.

Today has to be HIS day, I thought.

Surely if the big buck which had been making all the rubs and scrapes were around, he would appear and practically run my father over in his hotspot. My poor Dad had seen but 1 whitetail all season long and he deserves this chance at a nice buck.

But alas, as irony and my fate as deer magnet won out, I heard the rustling of leaves on the knoll above me and the glimpse of antler caught my attention.

OMG, here sneaking down the ridge, was one of the biggest set of ivory white antlers I’d ever laid eyes on!

 ”How could this be?” I thought to myself. “This isn’t the hotspot, the oldman is supposed to see this deer over there!!” A small but persistent wave of guilt come over me.

Finally, instinct took over as I picked out a semi-clear window in the brush I figured this majestic beast would step into. And as my continuous knack for doing everything right won out, the deer  stopped into the very spot I had chosen; as if on cue.

Within seconds it was all over and the most beautiful 10-pointer I had ever seen was down and as I walked up to this magnificent beast I knew this had to my destiny this year, and I just couldn’t fight fate. As much as I tried to share my good fortune as deer magnet with others, it simply did not work.

This deer was a very special animal indeed and not your run-of-the-mill whitetail. He sported an almost perfectly symmetrical 5X5 crown with long sweeping main beams and even showed signs of piebald pigmentation along his lower legs and hooves. Two hooves were half white and half brown. It almost looked like the old fellow was wearing white slippers!

Yes, some guys have all the luck and this year was my time. The way things go, next fall lady luck may shine out of someone else’s arse. Man I hope so, I’m not sure I handle the pressure any more. It’s like the weight of the world and extremely tiring to be so popular…

How can one member of a hunt party see 5 bucks during the season, and the rest of the guys see none? I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure…

Anyhow, enjoy these images of one magnificent whitetail buck that wouldn’t have been possible without the other guys in my gang – Rathwell Morrison, Ken Campbell & Jim Bindon.

Next fall, it could just as easily be someone else who plays deer magnet, but just in case, I told the boys I would be leaving my rifle at home….

Outdoorsguy(AKA Deer Magnet)

P.S. A special thanks to Bill Nowell & Celyne Fortin of Fairmont Kenauk and Denyse Murphy of Tourism Quebec.

Deermagnet1

deermagnet3

deermagnet2

(The look of an exhausted but very proud deer magnet)


 

Categories: Hunting

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84 comments

  1. Iggy says:

    just to change it up
    earlier in this thread I mentioned that I was doing some dogging in Quebec, and we pushed out over 30 deer one day, but in all the walking I did, no buck scrapes, anyone have any idea why no scrapes, at our hunt camp near Dacre there were buck scrapes everywhere

  2. jeff.morrison says:

    Iggs, my first thought was that there may not be a lot of mature bucks in the area..sounds like those hunters take out a lot of the younger bucks each fall. I have read that much of the larger rubs and scrapes and overall activity is carried out by the older bucks, and the yearlings dont bother with much of that.

    Just a thought…

    Outdoorsguy

  3. chessy says:

    no need to make scrapes if that many deer around…. do you know why they think deer drop there antlers??? , cause most bucks are physically depleted in the fall and mother nature has helped them shed there antlers so they can blend in better with the does making it harder for the predators to figure out which are bucks and which are not…. all i can say is thank god they don’t work at a candy store cause beer nuts are over a buck and deer nuts are under a buck

  4. johan says:

    There aren’t many scrapes in my bush this year either but the numbers of deer seem to be there. When the population was at it’s peak they were everywhere and I would see active scrapes made near apple trees in full view of my windows. I have also seen little bucks making scrapes along hay fields many times but I do think the bigger lads spend more time staking a territory. In more remote areas is it harder to locate natural scrape lines, especially if you are only in that bush a few times a year? My place there seems to be natural areas for scrapes and over the years there always seem to be buck activity in those places. I cut an oak tree down two years ago and there were not many years out of 22 which there wasn’t a big scrape under that branch.
    This year I set my cam over the first huge scrape I found after the first week of the hunt. I got pics of a doe in it twice, once leaving her scent but I think that buck was already on the meat pole because he never showed. I moved it over to a new scrape that was made last Saturday and I will see what’s cultivating the land when I gather the card this weekend.

  5. jeff.morrison says:

    Hey Johan, thats neat..you have some good rub/scrape experience there, Im impressed.

    Actually, of all the trailcam work I’ve done over the years and hundreds of thousands of images, I still havent set one up over an active scrape. It would produce an interesting set of images. My feeling is too that some bucks make ‘diversion’ scrapes..which they never actually plan to return to.

    Just a theory I have…

    Outdoorsguy

  6. chessy says:

    http://shooterscenter.hubpages.com/hub/-The-secret-of-deer-hunting-scrapes

    c/p Reading your scrapes

    Lack of scrapes may indicate an out of balance buck to doe ratio. In an area where there are too many does or less competition among bucks there will be less scrape activity. Usually the bigger the scrape, the bigger the buck. There are times however a young buck will work on an existing scrape.Young bucks will make a scrape and not return, many times because of larger deer in that area.

    Larger bucks will do a majority of the breeding and frequently create scrapes and revisit them regular using a winding trail. If you find a scrape in a high traffic area with many deer trails, it may be used by multiple bucks, this is a good hot spot to hunt.

  7. Iggy says:

    thanks chessy, as I suspected, an out of balance doe to buck ratio

  8. johan says:

    No expert here, I just pay attention when I walk. I used to walk in the woods every day, sometimes twice when the old dog was able so I just notice things. Cameras now you can tell what’s making the scrape which is pretty cool.

  9. johan says:

    I suspect there are a few very happy bucks in that area now Iggy.

  10. Iggy says:

    Oh for a man it would be like living in paradise ;)

  11. jeff.morrison says:

    I dunno…high doe to buck ratio sounds awfully stressful to me..think of how high maintenance that’d be!

    Outdoorsguy

  12. Iggy says:

    high maintenance, but it’s over in about 10 to 15 days then you get 350 days off, I don’t know if I’d like 350 days off
    but the fifteen would be action packed, I think spreading it over a longer period of time is preferable

  13. johan says:

    Paradise yes, likely mayhem along with mild chaffing but it’s short lived. Then it’s back to that little hummock in the swamp to rest, rejuvenate, and staying out of sight until next year.

    Jeff, how old was that buck?

  14. jeff.morrison says:

    “…mild chaffing” good one man.

    johan, I should be finding out from the government biologists later this fall how old that bad boy is. The oldest buck they’ve taken on that territory so far is 11.5 years old which I thought was unheard of.

    I’m guessing he’ll fall in the 7.5 – 9.5 year range, but I could be wrong. The old boy I got in ’96 was around 8.5 -9.5 based on dental wear..and he had no front teeth at all left.

    The buck this year had some front teeth but they were very old and brittle and basically fell apart when we tried to remove them. In the end, we cut out a section of lower jaw to give them for aging.

    Another reason I think he’s really old is the section of HIS main beam we found in the area where he was taken.(about 300 yds away) The boys brought it out to me when they arrived at the deer. It was most of one side and clearly from the same buck..only diff was tine length. The points were longer but the overall beam looked a bit shorter.

    We guessed that it was his rack from two falls ago and someone had shot the antler off, along with ripping part of the old boy’s ear in the process. Not sure if you can see it in the photo.

    One thing he is lacking though is heavy mass…usually older bucks have very massive racks with shorter points and lot of sticker points, which he didn’t have..he’s all about length..hehe

    Oh well, have to wait and see I guess..it’ll be an education for sure.

    Outdoorsguy

  15. Iggy says:

    mild chaffing hahahahahahahahahahahaha
    is that what they call it

    Jeff do they age your deer in Quebec for you, like they do in Ontario for bears, or is this something you get done through your connections?

  16. jeff.morrison says:

    Iggy, they don’t age whitetail in QC as part of the registration process, this was something requested by Fairmont Kenauk itself..each year they pull teeth from a couple of their biggest/oldest bucks just to get an indication of what is around. And for moose on their territory, they get the gov’t to age each and every one..all as part of giving a profile of the game on their land. I suppose because they are completely private they are able to do that

    This is the fourth buck I have taken in Montebello over the years, but the first one they’ve had aged. The 12-point I got 3 years ago was a nice buck too but was not a particularly old deer.

    Outdoorsguy

  17. LeGrand says:

    Coming back yesterday from Pembroke, I was travelling on a backroad and had to stop the truck to let a buck cross the road.

    Well I was surprised. Nice size buck, with all of it’s antlers covered with velvet (full rack which I would say close to 8 -10 point maybe, hard to eveluate from a side view and antlers so puffy). Velvet like you would see in August. Really fluffy.

    Never new that bucks kept their velvet so long. Guess he did not want to bother with territorial rights and get into a fight.

    Someone has an explanation of this late condition for a buck?

  18. jeff.morrison says:

    Hey LG, what you most likely saw there was a very very old buck! I’ve always heard that often-times when I buck gets to a certain age they won’t even clear the velvet from their antlers in fall…I guess it’s a combination of old age and laziness.

    I suppose there could be another explanation, but this is the most likely.

    You, my friend, are very lucky…I have often heard of this but never actually seen it myself!

    Rick..would you agree with this assessment?

    Outdoorsguy

  19. keebler says:

    Outdoorsguy, I bet you’re right – an old guy who couldn’t care less.
    On the opposite, I shot a yearling bull last year who still had velvet on his alien like rack. We figured he didn’t know any better plus, he wasn’t in a position to fight for anything :)

  20. johan says:

    Maybe he was in one of those high doe to buck ratio areas and just didnt’ get time….
    Would be cool to find sheds with velvet still on them.
    I am noticing more rut acitivity in my woods in the last week, 4 more scrapes but all done by the same buck. These are 10 yards from the scrape that I have my camera on but still only have does in the pics.

  21. Iggy says:

    Here is a rather interesting answer to The Large’s comment about the buck with velvet
    funny too
    ========================================================================
    Late-Season Velvet
    http://www.americanhunter.org/articles/six-deer-facts/

    These bucks are called “cryptorchids”. This phenomenon usually occurs after some sort of injury to the testicles, or in some cases when the testicles may not extend down into the scrotum. The result is a reduction in testosterone production, and thus the normal antler growth cycle, which includes the antlers hardening and the shedding of velvet, is drastically changed. Cryptorchid bucks act differently from other bucks in that they don’t participate in normal buck activities like rubbing or scraping, as they lack the chemical stimulation necessary to express dominance. They will not participate in the breeding cycle. Also, the antlers, goofy as they are, continue to grow as the animal matures. Old bucks of this type often turn into what we call a “cactus” buck with a host of abnormal points.[B][I][U]

    Some of these deer can grow very large in both body size and antler mass.

    The antlers tend to continue to grow continually year in and year out.

    Note:

    If I may suggest if you encounter this while feeding deer just add a couple of little blue pills to the corn mix to help the poor bugger out

    ===========================================================================
    I poached this off Adrian Hare’s Ontario Hunting Lodge forum

  22. jeff.morrison says:

    “..some sort of injury to the testicles, or when the testicles may not extend down into the scrotum”

    Man, do you think LG somehow caused this in his Pembroke-area buck??

    Poor bugger…the deer, I mean!

    Outdoorsguy

  23. Iggy says:

    I’m thinking he probably got them caught on a barb wire fence.
    I had to cross a few fences while up dogging for the guys near the cottage and I just about got another unwanted operation done on me

  24. LeGrand says:

    Wow, now that you mention it, a few years back I really lost it and got impatient with that yearling standing in the middle of the road and not moving. Had to get out of the truck and kick him in the ar_e to make him rejoin his mother. Guess when you wear size 12-13 shoes, it might just have knicked him (testicules I mean).

    LOL

    Thanks for the scientific observation iggy.

    Guess that Buck will never have a prostate problem.

    LOL

  25. jeff.morrison says:

    No LG, he won’t have any prostate issues..but because he’s different from the other bucks he’ll likely end-up in the land of misfits like Rudolf(red nosed raindeer) did..sad really.

    Outdoorsguy

  26. jeff.morrison says:

    Iggy, you may want to consider a protective cup during the season..hehe

    Outdoorsguy

  27. LeGrand says:

    Iggy says:
    November 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm
    I’m thinking he probably got them caught on a barb wire fence.
    I had to cross a few fences while up dogging for the guys near the cottage and I just about got another unwanted operation done on me

    iggy, next time use your hands to scratch them, and leave the land owners’ fence alone.

    LOL

  28. Rick Poulin says:

    Iggy beat me to the most likely answer to a buck still in velvet in late November – testicular damage.

  29. jeff.morrison says:

    OK Rick..but what if he was realllly old AND had testicular damage, what happens then?

    Outdoorsguy

  30. Iggy says:

    He gets his own parrish LOL

  31. jeff.morrison says:

    hehe…

    Ok everyone, get your stories and photos ready, Im about to put-together a Deer Season in Review Blog post feauturing all your highlights of the season and any pics you’d like to send in..I already have a couple of photos send in, but will need more!

    Outdoorsguy

  32. johan says:

    the perfect deer; large rack AND actually chewable after not spending a month chasing does and fighting…

    Iggy, remember, the only thing you leave in the woods are footprints….

  33. jeff.morrison says:

    Get those stories and photos sent in!

    http://blogs.canoe.ca/outdoorsguy/hunting/2012-deer-season-in-review/

    Outdoorsguy

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