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Monday, January 16, 2012
The Huisache Buck – Part III

We were 40-50 yards along the buck’s escape route when we found the first signs of blood and a bone chip that we both identified as a one-inch section of rib.  This was a good sign and our confidence rose as we began to find more and more blood.  At the time, everything about the shot indicated that we would find the buck; as Glenn and I constantly scanned ahead of the blood trail looking for the carcass.

We continued to blood-trail the buck, but unbelievably, after 500 yards of tracking, we lost the blood trail.  We spent the last 30 minutes of daylight searching for the next spot of blood, but never found another drop.  Major depression now began to set in for both of us as we each wondered what could have gone wrong.  It was obvious that the buck had been hit hard by the way he stumbled.  It was also obvious that the shot had entered the rib cage, but why then did the blood trail end without us finding the buck?  We both concluded that the buck must have been hit just a little high and a little too far behind the shoulder.  Although it was likely the lungs had been damaged, it was also obvious that not enough damage had been done.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 01/16 at 11:10 AM
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Huisache Buck – Part II

As mentioned during Part I, the 2003 buck capture ended without us capturing the Huisache Buck.  To make matters worse, none of the other guides had even caught glimpses of the wary buck during the first 11 weeks of the hunting season.  Was the huge buck still alive?  Or, had he died of natural causes, never to be seen again?  My trophy hunter and I were about to find out.

On December 17th, I had the privilege of guiding my first trophy hunter of the season, Marcel Robichaux from Richmond.  I had guided Marcel twice previously, so we were already familiar with each other.  In fact, I had suggested to Marcel before his arrival that we should concentrate on hunting for the Huisache Buck.  Although the buck had not been seen in nearly 10 months, I felt confident that if we stuck to a game plan of hunting only for this buck, we would eventually cross paths with him during his three-day hunt.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 01/10 at 12:41 AM
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Monday, December 26, 2011
Rattling 101 - Part III

Wham!  I hit the shed antlers together as hard as I could and then quickly pulled them apart.  Again, I slammed the antlers together with all of my force.  This time I kept the antlers entwined and twisted the tines and beams against each other for several seconds.  I repeated this several times.  Two minutes into the rattling sequence I noticed movement and a flash of gray out in front of me.

The deer stopped out of sight behind a thick clump of mesquite trees.  I continued to rattle, but tried to shield all of my movements from the deer.  After several anxious moments, the deer stepped into view.  His rack was huge.  The main beams were over 20 inches apart and carried 11 typical points.  The tines were also very tall and symmetrical.  The only flaw, if there was one, was his lack of mass.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 12/26 at 01:46 AM
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Monday, December 19, 2011
Rattling 101 - Part II

Far and away the best time to rattle is during the rut peak - if you are interested in rattling in high numbers of bucks.  Often when rattling during the rut peak more than one buck will respond at a time.  On two occasions, during this magic time of the year, we had eight different bucks respond during one 30-minute sequence.

Although rattling during the rut peak can be very exciting, the majority of bucks that respond are young and middle-aged.  A few mature bucks will respond, but the overall response rate for these mature bucks is lower than during either pre-rut or post-rut.  More than likely this is due to the fact that the majority of the mature bucks are too busy tending, chasing, or trying to locate receptive females to respond to the rattling.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 12/19 at 01:45 AM
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Monday, December 12, 2011
Rattling 101 - Part I

I caught movement out of the left corner of my eye just as I pulled the shed antlers apart from each other.  I slowly turned for a better look, but whatever it was that had made the movement was no longer visible.  I sat motionless, intently staring toward where I had seen the movement.  With nothing in sight, I softly blew the grunt tube around my neck.  At the sound of the grunt the buck finally made himself visible by jerking his head up in attention.

The buck, a mature nine point with tall tines and exceptionally heavy main beams, began trotting in my direction.  He quickly moved to within 30 yards and then stopped and looked to his left.  I looked that direction as well and noticed a second buck also responding to my earlier rattling segment.  This buck, an eight point that appeared to be middle-aged, froze in his tracks when he noticed the first buck.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 12/12 at 01:43 AM
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Monday, October 03, 2011
Concerns to Consider When Implementing a Supplemental Feeding Program - Part VI

The Need to Control Deer Density
Part I of this six-part series outlined all of the many positive benefits of a supplemental feeding program to a deer herd.  Two of those benefits were higher reproductive rates and higher survival.  Both of these benefits can quickly result in excessive deer numbers, especially if the property where feed is provided is surrounded by high fence.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 10/03 at 10:28 PM
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Monday, August 15, 2011
Antlers

The Antler Cycle
Antlers - there is something magical and mystical about deer antlers.  Part of their allure is that every antler is different and unique.  However, our fascination with deer antlers has its roots deep in our psyche, from our ancestors, who have hunted antlered game since man’s existence.  Our ancestors used antlers for tools and in religious ceremonies.  Today, we are still captivated by antlers.

How antlers grow and why they are shed each year is a source of wonder and curiosity.  Antlers are one of nature’s most remarkable accomplishments.  Deer, which are capable of re-growing antlers every year, are the only mammals with this capacity to regenerate these complex appendages.  The speed at which antlers grow, also makes them the fastest growing structures in the animal kingdom.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 08/15 at 01:39 AM
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