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BuckTracker: This is How You Do It
It’s mid-November, the rut is on, and great photos keep finding their way to my computer. I can’t imagine the pictures we’ll get to see in the weeks to come, since the firearms season has yet to open in many top whitetail states. Stay tuned!
Every year I think the number of great bucks being shot will level off, but each fall it seems more record-class whitetails are tagged than the year before. So here’s a poser for you Buck Tracker folk: What’s causing this amazing run? Are more folks practicing the QDM principle of letting small bucks walk? Have habitat and nutrition improved markedly over the past? Are hunters simply shooting more deer now, thus elevating the statistical probability of B&C and P&Y candidates? Or has it always been this way, but modern technology (email, blogs, magazines, etc.) just has helped us find out about bucks that would have previously gone unnoticed? I’m interested to hear your thoughts!
Today’s great buck comes to us from Tim Walmsley, a whitetail expert who enjoys hunting with his wife on their property in west-central Illinois. The buck below is a trophy that Tim had seen on two other occasions before the deer offered him a shot. Here’s his story. “I hunt my farm 100 days a year, so I know most of the bucks on it,” Tim says. “But I rarely go into the timber in October, I just hunt the edges of fields because I don’t want to let bucks know they’re being hunted. And I hardly ever hunt mornings until I know the bucks are starting to run. On an evening hunt I’d watched this buck badger all the does in a field, so I knew the time was right to get deeper in the woods. On November 5th, the winds were blowing really hard and, in my experience, this is one of the best times to hunt rutting bucks. I think they’re more active in a high wind because they can smell does better and because they feel safer then. Anyway, I got into the timber that windy day and sure enough, this buck showed up, tailing a doe. They bedded down by me for a long time, and then left before I could get a shot.”
Three days later, Tim went to the same area and sat a stand near a wheat field. “It was an amazing night, because almost every buck I knew on that part of the farm was on that field,” he says. “Then a 4-1/2 year old buck came in tailing a doe that was in estrous. A few minutes later, this buck—a 5-1/2 year old that would never have tolerated the younger buck—showed up. I was able to grunt him in and get the shot. It was just lucky timing; if he’d showed up just a few minutes earlier, he’d have taken that doe and I probably wouldn’t have had a chance.”
Not only is this a great buck, but a good story, full of practical advice on how to approach the pre-rut and rut time periods. Congratulations, Tim!
Buck Tracker Stats
Date: Nov 8, 2007
Location: Adams Co. Illinois
Weight: 220 lbs field dressed
Green Score: 162 gross
Shot Distance: 25 yards
Method: Tree stand