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Tag Archive | "hunting"

Montcalm County deer tests positive for CWD


With archery deer hunting season underway, DNR urges all hunters to take harvested deer to area check stations

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is encouraging hunters not to feed and bait deer in Kent and Montcalm Counties after a deer taken by a youth in Montcalm Township tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. A nine-township core area is also being created within the two counties with special regulations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed Wednesday, October 4, that a 3-1/2-year-old female deer taken during Michigan’s youth deer hunting season in September has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

The animal, harvested in Montcalm Township in Montcalm County, is the 10th free-ranging deer in Michigan found to have chronic wasting disease. The youth hunter who harvested the deer opted to take the animal to a Department of Natural Resources deer check station and then submitted the animal for testing—steps the DNR strongly encourages hunters across the state to take during the 2017 deer hunting seasons.

“Because this family decided to bring their deer to a DNR deer check station, state wildlife managers were able to gain important information about chronic wasting disease in mid-Michigan,” said Dr. Kelly Straka, DNR state wildlife veterinarian. “As we move through the archery and firearm seasons, voluntary deer testing will be critical not only within the currently affected areas but also throughout the south-central Lower Peninsula and the entire state.”

With Wednesday’s confirmation of chronic wasting disease in the Montcalm County deer, DNR Director Keith Creagh has signed an interim order (effective Oct. 4, 2017, through March 29, 2018) outlining next steps as governed by Michigan’s CWD Response and Surveillance Plan. The order:

  • Creates a nine-township Core Area that includes Douglass, Eureka, Fairplain, Maple Valley, Montcalm, Pine and Sidney townships in Montcalm County, and Oakfield and Spencer townships in Kent County. Within the Core Area specifically:
    • Institutes mandatory registration of deer at a check station within 5 miles of the new Core CWD Area, within 72 hours of harvest, starting Nov. 15. (Available stations currently are at Flat River State Game Area and Howard City.)
    • Removes antler point restrictions for the restricted tag of the combo deer license within the nine-township Core Area.
    • Allows antlerless deer to be tagged using the deer or deer combo license(s) during the firearm, muzzleloader and late antlerless seasons.
    • Institutes mandatory submission of the head for testing of a road-killed deer within 72 hours of pick-up.
    • Allows disease control permits, effective immediately, for landowners with five or more acres within the nine-township Core Area.
  • Bans the feeding and baiting of deer in Kent and Montcalm counties, effective Jan. 2, 2018, and encourages hunters not to bait and feed in these areas immediately.

The DNR will work with the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to make the order permanent, adjusting as needed in response to the evolving situation.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Susceptible animals can acquire CWD by direct exposure to these fluids, from environments contaminated with these fluids or the carcass of a diseased animal.

Some CWD-infected animals will display abnormal behaviors, progressive weight loss, and physical debilitation; however, deer can be infected for many years without showing internal or external symptoms. There is no cure; once a deer is infected with CWD, it will die.

To date, there is no evidence that CWD presents any known risk to non-cervids, including humans, either through contact with an infected animal or from handling venison. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.

Since May 2015, the DNR has actively conducted surveillance for CWD. To date, more than 14,000 deer have been tested since the first positive case was found, with 10 cases of CWD confirmed in free-ranging white-tailed deer identified in Clinton, Ingham and (now) Montcalm counties.

As additional deer have tested positive for CWD within Michigan, the DNR has put specific regulations in place. Currently, there are two CWD Core Areas, which are deer management units (DMUs) 333 and 359. To review regulations related to those areas, visit michigan.gov/cwd.

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Hunting continues to drive economic impact in Michigan


out-hunting-economic-impact

LANSING, Mich. – Hunting remains a vibrant annual tradition in Michigan, with generations across the state and beyond preparing for Opening Day on Tuesday, November 15. Along with that rich heritage comes a significant impact on Michigan’s economy.

This year, more than 525,000 hunters are expected to participate in the annual firearms season for deer, which accounts for the largest economic impact of hunting in the state. The DNR estimates more than 90 percent of Michigan hunters will pursue deer this year, with hunters spending an average of 7 days afield during the firearm season. In Michigan, 60 percent of hunters hunt only deer making the upcoming firearm season especially critical for the economy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates hunting in Michigan generates more than $2.3 billion in economic impact in the state, including expenses related to food and lodging and $1.3 billion spent on equipment.

“Hunting provides the perfect opportunity to get out and experience Michigan’s vast natural resources while contributing to the tremendous quality of life found here in our state,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Steve Arwood. “We know hunting drives travel to Michigan as well as within the state, and that travel in turn generates economic impact for communities and businesses across Michigan.”

In addition to the overall economic impact of hunting provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2015 leisure travel spending on hunting reached an estimated $123.8 million, up from $85 million in 2014, according to data from D.K. Shifflet. Hunting and fishing leisure travel spending came in at a combined $340 million in 2015.

“Deer hunting is one of Michigan’s most important outdoors traditions,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh. “We encourage hunters across the state to enjoy some treasured time with family and friends, support local economies and have a safe and fun time in the woods.”

A marketing partnership between Pure Michigan and the DNR is running a hunting-specific campaign to highlight the experience of the hunt in Michigan. The largely digital campaign has been running since August and has targeted younger sportsmen and sportswomen in addition to individuals whose interests, such as fishing and camping, may intersect with hunting. The goal of the campaign is to drive license sales and also continue to grow the number of hunters in the state. The campaign includes partnerships with Michigan Out of Doors, Outdoor Sportsman Group and OutdoorHub.com as well as a paid social media campaign.

In addition to in-state hunters, the campaign reaches hunters in neighboring states including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2015, more than 75 percent of the page views on the Pure Michigan landing page on OutdoorHub.com came from outside the state of Michigan, up from 62 percent in 2014. This landing page, with original content and videos as well as key information on hunting and fishing in Michigan, continues to be a central component of Pure Michigan’s hunting and fishing marketing efforts.

“Hunting, as well as fishing, are prime examples of activities that people are passionate about and travel to take part in,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the MEDC. “Our campaign reminds people about the thrill of the hunt found in our state, and is reaching a younger audience to ensure these traditions continue for years to come.”

Michigan continues to be one of the top states in the nation for paid-hunting license holders and last year, there were 63,900 new customers for all hunting licenses combined. Both hunter satisfaction and hunter success rates increased from 2014 to 2015, according to the DNR.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org.

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Muzzleloader deer season opens 


 

The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the 2015 muzzleloader deer season opened across the state on Friday, Dec. 4.

Zones 1 and 2 will remain open to muzzleloading until Dec. 13. Zone 3 is open to muzzleloader deer hunting until Dec. 20.

Hunters are reminded that archery deer season also is open statewide during this time. Archery season started Dec. 1 and runs through Jan. 1, 2016.

Hunters should be aware of any applicable antler point restrictions in the areas where they are hunting. Check the antler point restriction map and chart on pages 32 and 33 of the 2015 Hunting and Trapping Digest for details.

In the Upper Peninsula, only deer hunters with a certified disability may use a crossbow or a modified bow during the late archery and muzzleloader season. This restriction applies to the Upper Peninsula only.

All deer hunters are required to wear hunter orange when participating in the muzzleloader season. The hunter orange requirement does not apply to those participating in the archery season.

For more information about deer hunting in Michigan, visit mi.gov/deer.

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Fall colors in your backyard


N-Fall-landscape

Brilliant hues of red, orange and yellow leaves greet us all around the area, and some leaves have already fallen. Last week we asked for your photos, and Ryan Maloney sent us some beautiful photos (like the one above) that were taken at a private lake in Sand Lake. He said they were taken while his father, uncle and brothers were out hunting waterfowl just after dawn.

Thanks, Ryan, for sending us your photos!

We would love to see your recent photos of the beautiful fall colors. Please email them to news@cedarspringspost.com, and tell us the general area of where they were taken.

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Get paid to allow hunting on your land


The DNR’s Hunting Access Program provides hunters with quality hunting land close to home and landowners with incentives for allowing hunters access to their property.

The DNR’s Hunting Access Program provides hunters with quality hunting land close to home and landowners with incentives for allowing hunters access to their property.

Landowners looking to make the most of their land can support local hunting traditions and economy, improve their land, and get paid to do it through the Department of Natural Resources’ Hunting Access Program. The DNR encourages landowners to consider enrolling their lands in the program, which provides private-land hunting opportunities in southern Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula. Landowners with at least 40 acres are eligible to enroll.

Michigan’s Hunting Access Program (HAP) was created in 1977 to increase public hunting opportunities in southern Michigan, where 97 percent of the land base is privately owned. Landowners enrolled in the program receive an annual payment, up to $25 an acre, for allowing hunters to access their lands. HAP, one of the oldest dedicated private-lands public-access programs in the nation, provides access to quality hunting lands close to urban properties.

Using funds from the new hunting license package and a new United States Department of Agriculture grant, the DNR—in collaboration with Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and local conservation districts—plans to continue expanding the program over the next three years.

According to DNR wildlife biologist Mike Parker, “Providing access to hunting lands that are close to home is critical for supporting Michigan’s strong hunting heritage. Our commitment to providing access has more than tripled the number of farms enrolled in HAP the past three years. We now have over 140 farms and nearly 16,000 acres available for public hunting.

“HAP is also good for the economy,” Parker said. “Hunters taking trips to HAP lands contribute $1.7 million annually to Michigan’s economy. The majority of the HAP hunter trips are only 25 miles from the hunter’s home, making HAP lands extremely accessible and close to home.”

Landowners have the ability to choose which types of hunting are allowed on their lands. Hunting options include:

  • All hunting
  • Youth and apprentice hunting only
  • Small game hunting only
  • Deer hunting only
  • Sharptail grouse hunting only

Landowners may choose more than one option, such as deer and turkey hunting only. Maximum payments will be given for all hunting or youth and apprentice hunting options.

In order to manage the number of hunters using HAP lands at any one time, hunters are required to register to hunt each time they visit the property. The landowner can select either a mandatory registration at their home or a hunter self-registration box, which the DNR will provide and install. The maximum number of hunters allowed on the property is determined by the total acreage, as well as the habitat type. Leases are for a two-year period, with annual payments made each spring.

To ensure landowner and hunter satisfaction, HAP offers landowner liability protection. Public Act 451 of 1994 addresses the concerns some landowners have over sharing access to their land. In addition, HAP lands are patrolled by conservation officers, with an increased focus on patrolling during the busy fall hunting season.

Visit www.michigan.gov/hap to learn more about the program and to see a current list of private lands available for hunting in Michigan. The HAP Web page includes details about enrolled properties, including types of hunting allowed and aerial photos of the properties.

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JAMES BERNARD CLOUSE


C-obit-Clouse-fcMr. James Bernard Clouse of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 65, passed away into the arms of his Lord and Savior on Thursday, January 29, 2015. He was born to Robert and Betty Jane (Chulski) Clouse on Sunday, June 12, 1949 in Grand Rapids, and had been a life long resident of the area. Jim received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University and later worked as a quality control engineer, a profession which he was exceptional at. He was also a veteran who proudly and courageously served his flag and country in the United States Marine Corps in London, England during the Vietnam Conflict. Jim loved many things in life. He was a great outdoorsman. He enjoyed fishing at the Pere Marquette River or deer hunting in the Upper Peninsula along the Paint River. He loved spending time with his family, being around his children, grandchildren, and his nieces and nephews. He also loved to tinker, always keeping a spotless garage. He was a selfless and altruistic man, putting others before himself, especially his family. His love for them was immeasurable. He was a loving father, proud grandfather, wonderful brother and uncle, and dear friend. His big-heartedness, kindness, and generosity will be deeply missed but fondly remembered by all those who knew and loved him. Jim is survived by his loving children Scott (Rachael) Clouse, Andrew (Karla) Clouse, Peter Clouse, Josh Clouse, and Kelly Clouse; adored grandchildren Lincoln, Paige, and Amber Clouse; siblings Dr. Robert (Carol) Clouse, Mary (David) Malecki, Michael (Cindy) Clouse, Gayle Barkey, Linda (Wesley) Ruwersma, Cindy (Neil) Kimball, and Diane (Ray) Weaver; and many, many nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; and nephew Gregory Clouse. A  time of visitation was held on Monday, February 2, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service for Jim was celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home. There will also be a one hour visitation prior to the service.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford, www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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Wolves in Ecosystems Part 2


The gray wolf. Photo from the Encyclopedia Britannica online (Britannica.com)

The gray wolf. Photo from the Encyclopedia Britannica online (Britannica.com)

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Wolves’ presence and behavior increases wildlife populations despite their killing individual prey. Their predatory role in ecosystems has significant positive impacts on animal and plant communities. For thousands of years their presence in Michigan nature niches fluctuated in relation to plant and animal population abundance.

Canada lynx studies found plant populations control top predator populations. The Hudson Bay trapping records show snowshoe hare populations increased despite lynx, wolf, and other predators until the hares over browsed the plants causing hare starvation. When hares died the predators starved. Predation slowed hare population growth that helped maintained healthier communities.

When wolves were returned to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, they caused elk and other prey species to roam more. This saved shrubs and trees from being over browsed in valleys along rivers. Shrubs and trees regenerated habitat when protected by wolves.

Mice, rabbits, and other herbivores were able to find food where deer and elk had previously devastated wildlife communities by overgrazing. Songbirds moved into areas when vegetation recovered. Beavers found rapid growing aspens provided essential food that allowed their return to streams and rivers. They built dams creating rich floodplain habitat that had been lost and washed away in the absence of wolves. Wolves eat beavers when the opportunity arises but these rodents reproduce more rapidly than predators kill them. Large fires in the Yellowstone region also rejuvenated early succession communities but wolves caused elk and deer to move preventing overgrazing.

Beavers created wetland habitats, stabilized stream banks, and reduced soil erosion. Fish populations found healthier streambeds for egg laying. More oxygen in less silted rivers aided fish survival.

With increased landscape vegetation that resulted from wolf presence, plant-eating rodents increased and resulted in more predators like hawks, eagles, weasels, foxes, and badgers. Carrion left by wolves allowed bears, ravens, and other animals to provide more food and it improved their health and reproductive success. Increased shrubs provided more berries needed by bears, birds, and many other animals. What inferences can be applied to Michigan ecosystems? No one animal or plant is responsible for all positive or negative changes. It is a community effort but some animals like the wolf start what is called a positive “trophic cascade” in how they change animal movements and cull animal populations with selected animal predation.

The wolves even changed the course of rivers. Overgrazed landscape along rivers cut straighter channels when wolves were removed but with the wolf return stream meanders returned. Vegetation recovery along banks reduced erosion causing stream meandering. More pools developed with more fish hiding places. Waterfowl increased. Wolves transformed the landscape to healthier nature niches for plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, insects and a host of native wildlife that had diminished in wolf absence.

Human social and economic aspects of wolf presence have been beneficial in the Yellowstone ecosystem but not completely. Ranchers drive cattle into the national forest and leave them unattended to feed. In Michigan, farmers graze animals on their private property and care for their livestock. The national forests are public lands used for watershed flood management, timber harvest, grazing, hunting, hiking, camping, recreation, fishing, and mineral extraction. In short they are all things for all people.

This becomes a management challenge when people consider their interests more important than their neighbors and it results in Congressional gridlock. Maintaining healthy ecosystems to provide for future generations of our families requires decisions beyond one group’s personal self-centered interest.

There are times when wolf management is important for our neighbors. At present in Michigan, each case is addressed when a problem arises. Legal hunting might one day be appropriate in balance with the multiple uses of our National and State forests in the UP. Decisions should be ecosystem focused for maintaining society’s sustainable needs. Plants and animals have essential roles in ecosystem sustainability that we cannot duplicate. Future generations are as important as our own but decisions frequently place priority only on the present.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

 

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Deer seasons in Michigan


 

 

It’s that time of year again, when hunters take to the woods for deer hunting season. For the most up to date changes and requirements for deer and other game licenses, see the Michigan DNR’s Hunting and Trapping Digest. It can be downloaded for free at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Deer seasons:

Early Antlerless Firearm: Sept. 20-21

Liberty Hunt: Sept. 20-21

Independence Hunt: Oct. 16-19

Archery: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1

Regular Firearm: Nov. 15-30

Muzzleloading:

Zone 1: Dec. 5-14

Zone 2: Dec. 5-14

Zone 3: Dec. 5-21

Late Antlerless Firearm: Dec. 22 – Jan. 1

 

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Is your tree stand safe?


 

 

Hunting from a tree stand is a popular way for hunters to enjoy their season, but nearly every year a Michigan hunter is seriously injured or killed falling out of a tree stand. Conservation officers at the Department of Natural Resources remind hunters of the top safety tips when it comes to tree stands.

Before a hunt, know your equipment:

• Read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings before using a tree stand and harness.

• Check the stand, straps and chains before you go out for signs of wear and tear or missing parts.

• Practice at ground level with your tree stand and harness with a friend or family member.

• Learn how to properly use your harness. The DNR recommends a full-body harness.

• Waist belts or upper body-only harnesses can cause serious injuries or death in a fall.

• When scouting for a tree:

• Choose a healthy, straight tree that is the right size to hold you and your stand.

• Check the tree beforehand for insect nests or animal dens.

• Avoid using climbing stands on smooth-barked trees, especially during icy or wet weather.

• Clear debris from the base of the tree to minimize injury from a fall and to ensure a sturdy base if using a ladder stand.

During your hunt:

• Tell a reliable person where you are hunting and when you can be expected to return.

• Wear a full-body harness and make sure it is connected to the tree at all times. If using a ladder stand or climbing sticks, attach the harness before securing the platform to the tree or stepping onto it.

• Climb higher than your stand and always step down onto your platform.

• Wear boots with non-slip soles.

• Never carry equipment when climbing – use a haul line to raise and lower equipment, unloaded firearm or bow. Do not attach the line near the trigger or trigger guard of your firearm.

• Have emergency equipment – a knife, cellphone, flashlight and/or whistle.

“DNR conservation officers responding to tree-stand falls see the same mistakes over and over – not using a harness or a haul line,” said Sgt. Tom Wanless, supervisor of the DNR hunter education program. “Nationally, 82 percent of hunters who fall from a tree stand are wearing a harness, but it’s not connected. And 86 percent of tree-stand falls take place during the climb up or down. Harnesses and haul lines save lives.”

For more information about tree stand safety, go to the Treestand Manufacturers Association website at www.tmastands.com.

For more information about hunting in Michigan, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/hunting.

 

 

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Structure hunting your buck


by Jack Payne

OUT-Jack-Payne-deer-by-pine-tree

It was Halloween before my first opportunity on a buck came along. Well actually my first since opening night, when I blew a wide-open shot. The rut was just hitting full stride and I had mapped out what I thought was a few strategic locations.

The early morning quietness was broken by a grunt and the slow crunching of leaves. Sure enough a buck was working the scent line. I hit my deer call and the buck took notice and slowly continued onward.

The buck would walk a few steps, grunt, raise his head up and sniff the air. It quickly became obvious that the buck would travel into my lap following the drag line. I was sitting in my Lone Wolf Stand that was hung just that morning.

Using my Ten Point Crossbow I was able to shoot sitting down. The Carbon Express shaft tipped with the Muzzy head found its mark. Buck number one was down for the count.

Fish use travel routes and have a deep water sanctuary from cold fronts and when spooked. Deer use certain travel paths and have a prime bedding area that they call home. Migration routes are used to travel primarily from a bedding area to a feeding area.

A thick cattail marsh bordering a set of pines is one example. Another is a clear cut bordering a thick set of pines or a swamp or possibly an oak grove. A corn field or a bean field bordering thick cover is another good example.

A deer’s sanctuary is its prime bedding area. A good bedding area can be a thick grove of pines, a cedar swamp, a cattail bog or often times in Southern Michigan an isolated patch of cover. In the farm country these small parcels might be only a quarter acre to an acre in size.

The best migration routes have something unique about them. In fishing you look for the breaks or the objects on this path from the deep water to the shallows. In hunting these objects could be a small finger of trees that stick out. It might be a small inside turn or cup that is formed by the change of terrain or ground cover. Any type of change is a potential spot for a stand.

An inside corner or an outside corner where two types of ground meet is perfect. Deer love to follow edges and if both types of terrain have something that the deer needs then more deer will be using it. A stand of oaks bordering a young clear cut offers two types of food and the young clear cut doubles up as a bedding ground.

An over looked piece of structure especially in Southern Michigan is the usage of a ditch or gullies. These two types of structure allow movement of deer to be nearly invisible. Very critical when hunting thin cover or near open areas.

In hilly areas deer love to run the edge of a gully where they are completely out of sight from danger on the flats or the use the bottoms and play the ever changing wind currents to their advantage.

A young clear cut has plenty of lush grasses and many new buds in the fall. Finding a secondary food source close to a primary food source is critical. Weather conditions can alter a food source being used. Hunting pressure will alter a preferred food source.

Trail cameras are the same as underwater cameras to many anglers. Both show fish or game. While I do not own an underwater camera, I do own one trail camera. This camera gets moved each week and is fun in showing you an actual photo.

Waterways are fun to hunt. A river or even small creeks that you can jump across are great pieces of structure to hunt. Streams twist and turn creating natural pinch points. Follow a stream and mark each time that the stream takes a hard turn.  Hang a few ribbons in the tree and after the second or third hard turn you should be able to spot a location where a stand would be able to watch both of these hard turns or points.

Protect your areas, slide in quietly and don’t over hunt a particular stand. Whatever you do, don’t spook the does. I want as many does filtering through my area as possible. The bucks will show up if the does are there.

Hunting open fields requires a change of strategy. Bucks have a tendency to hang back until darkness takes over. They also love to stage or watch over the field from a safe distance. A lone tree or a small group of trees in the middle of a field can be golden.

Just like in fishing where an angler can alter a travel route, a hunter can do the same. Blocking a trail with fallen limbs will force the deer around the obstacle. This is one trick that we use a lot.

If you can force the deer to funnel through a location that is more desirable to you the higher your odds increase. Just remember to wear gloves when altering the terrain.

During the rut scent is huge. Making mock scrapes before the season starts and continuing throughout the season is an easy and very effective technique.

During the season we try and find an active scrape line or a least an area with sufficient deer traveling through. The best mock scrapes will have a licking branch so look for a bush or a limb that a deer can reach. One option is that you can snap a branch downward, just don’t cut it off.

Saturate both the ground and the licking branch with scent. This is where I like the scent from Buck Fever. It comes in a large bottle and really works great on the drag lines and the mock scrapes. Be extremely careful with your scent, the ideal is to lure in a deer, not give away your presence.

Think of deer hunting as you should when fishing. Edges, corners, change of elevation, areas where two types of terrain meet and your success will rapidly climb.

 

 

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