Mid West Big Deer Harvest Decline

big deer harvest

The extreme winters have taken a toll on the deer throughout the mid west, as well as extreme drought conditions and EHD(Epizootic hemorrhagic disease).

By Adam Doby

As I was working at the Monster Buck Classic in Kansas this past January I just couldn’t help but notice that the big deer harvest numbers were down and the big bucks brought in and entered into the Monster buck contest just seemed to be down from the previous two years. Not that there weren’t some really nice bucks brought in, but the amount of them was just obviously down. I asked several others at the show if it was noticeable to them and they said yes. One of the outfitters I spoke with at the show told me in the fall of 2012 on a farm in Northeast Kansas they found seventeen dead bucks in one small pond.

I never found any dead deer but heard story after story of farmers and locals who did, one really nice drop tine buck was found in a pond about 450 yards from our house, just across the property line from where I hunt. I saw this video on YouTube and it just really hits home in seeing this, it’s not a very pretty thing to see the animals that we love and respect and want to help conserve getting wiped out by this awful damn disease.

Big Deer Harvest Numbers Down

I hunt in northeast Kansas and I run up to ten trail cameras throughout the season and the number of shooter bucks I get on those cameras has declined over the last couple of years, I believe caused by EHD (Epizootic hemorrhagic disease), drought, extreme winters, predators and over harvest in previous years. The drought and the cold winters have caused a decline in quality food sources but the main reason for the decline in the big deer harvest numbers I believe is EHD. As if EHD wasn’t bad enough Kansas made crossbows legal and even extended antler-less seasons, which  neither of these made much sense to me at all, why would you add a crossbow season and extend antler-less seasons when your deer herd was obviously hurting? I don’t know maybe I’m wrong, what do you think?

The big deer harvest numbers are down all across the heartland and there are a lot of people talking about it and Bill Winke of MidWest Whitetail recently wrote an article on his blog after attending the Iowa Deer Classic about the big bucks harvest numbers being down at the Iowa Deer Classic.

Mark Kenyon over at Wired To Hunt recently wrote an article about the QDMA for the first time is convening a “North American Whitetail Summit” to discuss ways to combat this recent trend in whitetail populations.

I sure hope the deer population will rebound, but this winter in the mid west has been brutal and I sure hope this summer isn’t as dry as it has been the last couple of years. Whitetails are amazing creatures and seem to adapt to many strenuous conditions, I just wish they could catch a break this summer and have a mild moist summer. Only time will tell. The stress they have gone through lately makes me appreciate them more and more everyday.

Has there been cases of EHD where you hunt lately?

Five Preseason Deer Hunting Tips

preseason deer hunting tips

Jake took this big brute in Kansas.

Deer season may be over until next fall but the earlier you can start preparing the better. I wanted to share with you these five preseason deer hunting tips to help you be ready to get out and get that big brute this year.

Preseason Deer Hunting Tips

  1. whitetail behavior and habitatLearn about Whitetail Behavior and habitat: The more you know about whitetails and their habitat the better prepared you will be when hunting season comes around. Learn to pattern the deer and it will help you to be able to pick good stand locations that increase your odds of harvesting that big boy. Read deer hunting books, magazines, get on the internet, go to seminars, join clubs like the Quality Deer Management Association etc. Knowing what the deer are doing at certain times of the year and why can and will help you solve the big buck puzzle.preseason deer hunting tips
  2. Learn About and Start  Practicing Quality Deer Management Where You Hunt: Quality deer management can improve your deer herd and increase your odds at getting that buck of a lifetime. Planting food plots and or starting a supplemental feeding program can help the health of your deer herd and attract and hold deer on your property. Learning about and implementing quality deer management will tremendously improve your overall deer hunting experience.
  3. Get Fit for Deer Season Now: Starting an off season fitness program can make a big difference when deer season rolls around. Being fit will help you stay in the woods longer and make you more alert and help you when scouting, putting up deer stands, checking trail cameras etc. Eating healthy and getting fit will help make you a better deer hunter.
  4. Make Your Deer Hunting Equipment Checklist Now: By starting your deer hunting equipment checklist now you will have an idea of things that you need or want to get before next deer season and can prioritize which ones you want to get first. A lot of products will be on sale this time of year and you can get some really good deals. Buying the  things you need throughout the year will be a lot easier on your wallet rather than having to purchase them all right before the season.
  5. Practice With Your Bow or Gun Throughout the Year: Practice makes perfect and a lot of practice makes you even more perfect. Practice as much as you can, make it fun. Practice with friends and family and even make it competitive. Go to 3d ranges or gun ranges and shoot. Archery tournaments can be a lot of fun and help you hone your shooting skills.

These are just a few tips that will help you be better prepared to get after those whitetails when September rolls around.What are some of the preseason deer hunting tips you use to help you be more prepared for deer season to get your big bucks?

Monster Bucks Make Classic Impressive

Kansas non-typical

200″ Kansas non-typical on display at Kansas Monster Buck Classic.

The annual Monster Buck Classic We Are Kansas deer hunting extravaganza was a great show and yes there were plenty of Kansas monster bucks .

Monster Bucks

The doors opened Friday afternoon at the ExpoCentre in Topeka on January 26, 2014 to a good crowd of avid deer hunters and vendors and it was a fun filled weekend. With the name Monster Buck Classic the deer hunting show lived up to it’s name and there were plenty of big Kansas brutes to be seen.

The Monster buck contest had some awesome entries and there was a new King of Kansas non-typical crowned as Lucas Cochren’s 238 4/8″ King of Kansas Non-Typical fell to the a non-typical buck taken by Cade Hays with a net score of 239 7/8″, a small 1 and 1/8 inches difference! Both are awesome bucks.

monster bucks

Locked monster bucks.

There was so many great venders this year with some really cool hunting products. I saw so many good deer hunting products and will definitely be getting a few of them to get ready for next season. One of my favorite products was the INFERNOEPS™ element protection system. It is a cold weather suit that easily makes into a backpack and I tell you I was impressed with all the features. Hopefully I will be able to do a product review on this bad boy, very nice. If you get a chance go by and check out INFERNOTEK.

Heartland Bowhunter Major League Bowhunter

Heartland Bowhunter and Major League Bowhunter at Monster Buck Classic.

There were many great seminars and and the headliners were Mike Hunsucker and the Heartland Bowhunter tv show cast, Matt and Jessie Duff co-hosts the popular Friends of NRA television show on the Outdoor Channel, Grant Woods wildlife biologist, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail, Dan Thurston of Drury’s Bow Madness, Torry Cook world champion predator caller, Steven Fuller host of “The Huntin Grounds”, Zac Cooper Little man big dreams, Marian Kincaid of the television reality series “Mudcats”.

Miss Kansas Theresa Vail

Miss Kansas Theresa Vail at Monster Buck Classic.

Matt and Jessie Duff

Matt and Jessie Duff with my father-in-law Bill at the Monster Buck Classic.

It was nice to get to know some of them a little and talk deer hunting. And one of my favorite events was the celebrity bow shoot. Dan Thurston, Matt Duff, Mike Hunsucker and the Heartland Bowhunter crew all did some great shooting with there bows. Matt Duff did great even though he borrowed someone else’s bow to shoot.

kings of Kansas

Kings of Kansas monster bucks at Monster Buck Classic.

We had a great time at the Monster buck Classic this year and look forward to another great show next year. I’m already getting ready for next deer season and plan on doing all I can to get a big Kansas brute with my bow on film and hopefully he’ll be big enough to take one of the King of Kansas crowns. I might as well dream big!