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January 09, 2009
Minnesota Lawmakers Eye Lead-In-Venison Issue

From the Pioneer Press:

The chairman of the Minnesota Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee plans to hold a hearing on the human and wildlife health risks posed by lead bullet fragments in venison.
Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, said he wants lawmakers to review recent research on lead fragments found in Minnesota's food-shelf venison before acting on any legislation restricting lead hunting bullets.

"If there is a reasonable issue, we will address it, but it will be based on the facts," he said. "I want to go over all studies that are out there. . . ."

Understandably, their hackles are raised," Chaudhary said of hunters' concerns. "I absolutely want to avoid a political slugfest between hunters and anti-hunters."

Whitetail News Roundup

Video: Iowa Deer Breaks Into Bank

Northern Kansas Deer Test Positive For CWD

Mushrooms, Pepperoni, and Venison: PA Pizzeria Fined


January 07, 2009
BuckTracker: Bucks on Ice!

Last week, a group of ice-fishermen were happily pursuing their passion Wisconsin’s Green Bay (for you non-Wisconsinites, this is a body of water as well as a town that hosts a once-great football team) when a large tanker pushed up the bay. The ship was far enough distant that the fishermen never saw it, but the resulting wake carried under the ice and broke off a giant slab…the very one holding the ice-fishers. Thankfully no one was injured or drowned, and the party was rescued after many anxious moments floating about.
The prospects for this buck—riding a riverine ice flow somewhere equally cold—seem less cheery. Though the whitetail appears healthy at this stage of the voyage, what’s his next move? Wait until the slab rams into a larger, stouter one and skip to safety? Pitch out into the current and make a swim for shore? Whitetails are incredibly nimble on many surfaces, but ice is not one of them; every winter deer are rescued after wandering onto lakes or shelf ice and exhausting themselves trying to escape.

So what’s this buck to do? And does anyone know the origin of these pics?

January 05, 2009
BuckTracker: Christmas Swag

If Santa isn’t a deer hunter he at least gets what we do. In each of the last few seasons the Jolly One has jammed a tree stand in my stocking. This year? Climbing sticks, an antler mounting kit, and even some camo seat covers for my truck. Guess I was good ‘nuff the past year!

Of course, if Santa really wanted to treat me right, he could send a buck like this past my stand someday. This 23-point buck was shot by 20-year old hunter Brandon Green near his home in Mt. Jackson, Virginia. The monster non-typical grossed over 208" B&C. Congrats to Brandon!
24pt Virginia Kill field pic
So how ‘bout you guys and gals? Get any great deer hunting gifts this year? I’d love to hear about ‘em!

December 24, 2008
BuckTracker: Merry Christmas from My Deer Camp to Yours

My wife and kids are Christmas lights fanatics. If it glows, twinkles or pulsates, they become slightly feverish and highly giddy. Holiday decorations are also known to incite the reverent “oohs” and “aahs” normally reserved for fireworks.
Naturally, this condition has forced me to hang numerous electrically-driven phantasms on the eaves and porch railings surrounding my home. Next winter, I am going to shock them all and volunteer to take this decorations mania to new and loftier heights. I submit the following as Exhibit A, and hope to have something equally inspired and artistic displayed at the Bestul home next winter. Perhaps my Buck Tracker friends can supply me with further inspiration?

In any event, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and thank you for dropping in to my electronic deer camp from time to time. Anyone still hunting out there?

December 23, 2008
BuckTracker: Another Mystery Buck

Well asking for help solved the mystery of a great Kansas buck last week, so I’m back with my hands out once again. I know nothing about this deer other than it is one gorgeous whitetail. The only email heading I could track down was titled “LaPryor deer.” Is LaPryor the hunter’s name? A town or region? The name of a ranch?
I’ll take a stab at this being a Texas buck, mainly because the body and neck on this buck aren’t particularly huge and Northern-looking. Also, the cape and hair are sleek and short, which means the buck was shot either a) early in the season or b) in a region where whitetails don’t need thick hair for fall/winter survival. So if anyone can get me more specific than this, I’d be grateful

Regardless of the buck’s origin, he is a monster; great beam length, tremendous tines (especially those G-2’s…WOW!), and very nice mass. Perhaps whoever steps forward with the buck’s (and hunter’s) identity could also provide a score?

December 19, 2008
BuckTracker: Buck Meets Grim Reaper

OK, this certainly isn’t hunting…but it is a unique buck “harvest.” The whitetail in the pics below met his maker in the form of a Midwestern combine. I think the photos are from Iowa, but haven’t been able to verify that. The nice buck managed to somehow get tangled in the combine heads and was dragged for some distance before the machine could be shut down and the animal dispatched. Apparently one of the farm workers took the buck so the meat wouldn’t go to waste.


I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire life and have never heard of this before. It’s not unusual for fawns to get killed when farmers make first-crop hay in June, but this is perfectly understandable as the primary survival mechanism of these newborns is simply to lay still and hope danger passes them by. Mature bucks are notorious for holding tight to avoid danger, but they’re usually wise enough to know when it’s time to bail. Maybe there was something wrong with this buck’s hearing?

Note: In my last post I put up a photo of a huge Kansas buck of unknown origin. Fellow FS writer Steven Hill emailed me yesterday and said he’d talked to the hunter, who is Chad Christie. Chad shot the gigantic buck on December 5th, the 3rd day of the firearms season, on his family farm south of Lawrence. Chad says the buck scored “roughly 241 inches” and should rank among the top non-typs in that state. Congrats to Chad!

December 18, 2008
Video Report: Minnesota Man Rescues Deer On Ice—Twice


Smack dab in the middle of Lake Zumbro, a doe is trapped, not able to grip the slippery ice.

With the wind-chill of 30 below zero, it could be a death sentence.

A sentence Steve Breland won't see carried out.

Be sure to check out the video.

Whitetail News Roundup

Texas Wardens Bust Black-Market Deer Dealers

Wisconsin Hunters Donate 6,500 Deer

Ohio Doe Gets Head Stuck In Bucket

December 17, 2008
BuckTracker: Today's Two-Fer

I usually devote this space to a single giant buck or unique story. But last night I attended one of my favorite annual Christmas parties, so I am feeling lordly with generosity and the spirit of the season. Today you get a double-bang…

The first buck is actually a call for help. The multi-drop-tined monster below is said to be very real, was shot in Kansas, and (again, supposedly) killed by a non-resident hunter. That’s all I know. The pic has been floating around for a few days, and though I usually can pick up a lead or two on a deer, this one remains a mystery. If anyone can tell me anything about this buck (other than that it is simply huge), I’d be grateful.


The second buck I know slightly more about. The hunter is actually a former student of mine, a reminder of the days when I taught high school English. I think I had Bobby Ernst as an apple-cheeked 8th grader. He is now considerably older, but is definitely better at killing monstrous whitetails than he was at 14…or I am now. If Bobby shot this buck near home, this whitetail lived only 50 miles or so from me. He may have killed it in another state, but my informant (also a former student) noted when he sent me this; “Bobby probably wouldn’t tell his grandma where this buck lived.”

I guess the young man was paying attention in class, after all! Congrats, Mr. Ernst!


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100 Top Public Lands
Field & Stream reporter Steven Hill spent two months interviewing state game agency officials, deer biologists, and whitetail experts to identify the absolute best public whitetail hunting grounds in the nation.

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