Airgun Deer Hunting
Last year, we featured the Benjamin Rogue .357 air rifle. This year, they’ve unveiled their new Bulldog and needless to say it has been put to good use in Alabama this season. It is the perfect weapon for antlerless deer harvest and doesn’t spook other deer on the property because of it’s limited noise upon firing.
For the past 37 years, Chuck or his father has harvested a deer on the family farm. They set out this year to continue on the tradition with the new Benjamin Bulldog. Not only were they able to continue the tradition, but they also capitalized on the new extended Alabama deer season that lasts into February. Biologists collected conception data for 10 years testing the timing of the rut. The tests found the peak of the rut was in early February. With the peak of the rut coinciding with the time antlers start to drop, many bucks permanently injure their pedicles fighting each other when they knock antlers off before they’re ready to drop on their own. The permanent injury will forever effect the deer’s antler.
Planting Trees For Wildlife
The key to any piece of property is having the key elements of what a whitetail needs. A landowner needs to identify a property’s strengths and weaknesses then work to fill those. In the case of this property, cover is abundant, but hard and soft mast is sparse. This week, we’re working with Allen Deese of The Wildlife Group on planting mast producing trees to increase the long-term food source.
Planting trees is more than just digging a hole and covering a rootball. Careful planning and care must be taken to ensure success. The best time to plant trees is in late fall or winter when trees are dormant. We planted AU Buck Series Chestnuts from The Wildlife Group which offer a continuos drop through the months of September, October, and November. When planting these trees or any trees, be sure to keep the base of the planted tree an inch or so above the soil. Over time, the soil will settle and if you plant the root ball flush with the soil, a depression will form around it and could kill the tree.
Small Land Management and Hunting Strategies
The majority of hunters and land managers deal with small parcels of land. Successfully managing and hunting these tracts of land can be challenging, but it is far from impossible. The key is providing everything a whitetail needs so it doesn’t have a reason to leave. This can be done through a variety of different measures, but a vital key is not only managing the land, but also the amount of hunting pressure you put on the deer on your property.
A lot of hunters have that place they call home. For Casey, this is his grandpa’s farm where he got his start deer hunting with his brother, dad, and grandpa. Over the years, the hunting turned into managing by being more selective of their harvest, planting food plots and enhancing the habitat by planting Switchgrass. It was a family project and vision shared by the Shoopman family. The last time Casey saw his grandpa was the same day the first Switchgrass seed hit the soil just months before he passed away in 2010.
The story of Casey’s deer season began back in the summer months with a move and acquisition of a new property to hunt. After initially stepping foot on the property, he located a perfect area for a food plot and hung trail cameras in preparation for the season.
This year is different than many years past. After 12 years of spending time in a tree with someone else, either filming or being filmed, he was faced with having to hunt on his own. Combine the self filming with the run of bad luck of not being able to capture a mature buck getting shot on film and Casey had more than just a monkey on his back, he had a gorilla.
On just his second sit of the year on this new farm, he was faced with the decision of which deer to shoot as two mature bucks were within bow range. The younger deer with the larger rack or the more mature deer with the smaller rack. The teacher came out in Casey and he shot the more mature deer.