And So It Begins…

Diehard whitetail hunters claim that deer season is a year round activity and that next year’s season begins as soon as this year’s season ends. I’d tend to agree but right now is when I really feel like it’s the beginning of the season. Why now? Because velvet antlers have begun growing! It might be early but I have cameras out over mineral stations just to see how the local deer herd looks. I also am curious to see if any bucks with big bases are around to give me an idea of potential survivors.

So far I can say there is probably quite a bit to be hopeful for. I have two properties that I hunt in Michigan and those properties house some decent bucks, not quite booners, but a couple of 130″-140″ bucks are around. I have reason to believe two very large 8 pointers, Lee and Slicer, made it from last year.

Lee is a buck I never saw while hunting. I watched him grow via trail cameras during the summer of 2015 and then in mid September he disappeared. I am not sure why but I have two theories. One, his fall range just happens to be nowhere near his summer range. Two, the early youth season in mid September gave him a heads up to get out of town. Either way I thought he was dead until one night in December when he started showing up again all over the 100 acres where I watched him grow that summer.

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Lee in full velvet.


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Slicer is a buck from the other property I have access to hunt and I somehow overlooked him all summer long. I continuously captured him on trail cameras from the side and a lot of times those side angles blocked his brow tines. The rest of his rack matched up to a big 7 point (Sidewinder) I was capturing on trail cameras who was missing a brow tine. So from the side, Slicer and Sidewinder looked the same. It wasn’t until late September that I was scrolling through photos and realized what I had been missing all summer.

I had two encounters with Slicer, neither were from a tree stand. On the first encounter, we stared at each other from 40 yards apart as I opened the gate to enter the hunting property. On the second encounter, my buddy and I bumped him on the way to our tree stands and watched his giant white rack disappear into the woods on the neighboring property. Both encounters were during the rut. I found pictures of him on a camera I had left out all winter and didn’t check until late January.

slicer half

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These are the bucks that keep me awake at night. I never found their sheds. The only reason I have to hope that these bucks are still alive is because they both walked in front of one of my cameras on a cold December 7th night. Hope…

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