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Whitetail Wisdom

Whitetail Wisdom articles and tips from some of the finest Whitetail authorities in the country.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Shed Antler Hunting - Part II

Techniques For Finding Sheds
A new shed antler search technique is getting even more people involved in this non-consumptive sport.  The technique, called the “shed drive,” is similar to the deer drive hunting technique so popular in the Midwest.  The shed drive involves organizing your partners in a line with each member evenly spaced across the line at the edge of the area to be searched.  Drive members then walk through the area, picking up sheds along the way, until everyone meets at the opposite end of the area (where you have hopefully previously left a vehicle for transport back to the starting point!).  This technique is growing in popularity because of the camaraderie shared among members.  And because all members can take part in the excitement whenever someone finds a shed.  During shed drives, hunting becomes a team effort, strengthening friendships and providing free entertainment and lasting memories.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 03/28 at 02:40 PM
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Monday, March 19, 2018
Shed Antler Hunting - Part I

As soon as I noticed the sun glare off the tip of the antler tine, I knew which buck had shed the antler that lay on the deer trail in front of me.  It was the right side shed antler from a buck I had passed the previous fall with bow and arrow in hand, as well as a buck for which we had dozens of trail camera photos.  He was the largest buck on our Iowa property that we knew survived the previous hunting season.  And a buck I hoped to have in front of me again the next hunting season!

As luck would have it, the shed buck mentioned above, not only survived to the following year’s hunting season, but he gained more than 20 inches in gross Boone and Crockett Club score and added eight antler points.  On top of this, I was the lucky hunter who was able to put a harvest tag on this magnificent buck when I killed him last December!  The icing on the cake was the fact that my brother Jason missed the buck minutes before my opportunity… and everything was caught on video!  The 194-inch buck is the largest I have ever killed.  Thanks to my interest in shed hunting, I can now display the shed antler beside the pedestal mount of the buck.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 03/19 at 02:40 PM
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Monday, March 11, 2013
What is EHD/Blue Tongue?


Last fall I returned from a deer hunt in SW North Dakota where we were filming for Bucks of Tecomate. The location I was hunting had been hit the year before by Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) and unknown to me I was going to be in for a crash course in what this fatal disease is. Although many people refer to EHD as Blue Tongue, it’s important to realize these two diseases are anti-genetically different. Very similar clinical signs but truly classified differently.

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Posted by Terry Sedivec on 03/11 at 11:22 AM
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Monday, October 01, 2012

We had just rounded a curve on the ranch road when we noticed, at the same time, a huge-framed buck crossing a prickly pear flat only 50 yards from our truck.  I slammed on the brakes and we both scrambled for the binoculars.  The big buck didn’t miss a step and continued walking, almost nonchalantly, at an angle away from us.  We watched the buck walk the entire 150 yards to the brush line on the other side of the pear flat.  He was even cooperative enough to turn and allow us to view his rack from all angles - too bad it was February!

The buck was a typical 12-point with extremely long main beams, good mass, and at least a 25-inch spread.  The tine lengths were also exceptionally long and well balanced from side to side, with the exception of the third tine on the right side, which was broken off only an inch or so above the beam.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 10/01 at 08:12 AM
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Monday, May 21, 2012
Potential Selective Harvest Criteria for Adult, Male White-tailed Deer in South Texas

Mickey W. Hellickson, David G. Hewitt, and Fred C. Bryant

The practice of selectively harvesting inferior-antlered, middle-age and older bucks has become popular.  Criteria are often established based on age and antler points.  However, no research on wild deer has been conducted to determine the appropriateness of these harvest criteria.  Our objective is to randomly capture and measure >500 bucks annually on 5 areas to estimate age, count points, and determine gross Boone & Crockett Club (GBC) score.  Capture data will be used to relate GBC score of recaptured mature (>5 years old) bucks to the number of antler points these same bucks had when initially captured at a younger age.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 05/21 at 11:16 PM
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Monday, May 14, 2012
Can a Selective Buck Harvest Affect Free-ranging Deer Antler Characteristics?

Mickey W. Hellickson, Charles A. DeYoung, Randy W. DeYoung, Randy Fugate, Donnie Harmel, David G. Hewitt, and E. L. “Butch” Young

Selective breeding experiments with penned deer have documented rapid improvement in antler quality.  Our objective was to determine if rapid improvement was possible in a free-ranging population subjected to selective harvest.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 05/14 at 11:15 PM
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Monday, April 16, 2012
The Antler Shedding Process

Antler Shedding
In the past, it was believed that deer withdrew to secluded places to shed their antlers in order to avoid the loss of virility in “public.”  However, it is likely that deer are unaware of when they will lose their antlers.  Antlers are shed when a thin layer of tissue destruction, called the abscission layer, forms between the antler and the pedicle.  This layer forms as a result of the decrease in testosterone.  As the connective tissue is dissolved, the antler loosens and is either broken free, or falls off on its own.  This degeneration of the bone-to-bone bond between the antler and the pedicle is the fastest deterioration of living tissue known in the animal kingdom.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 04/16 at 11:13 PM
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Monday, March 19, 2012
Deer Stocking and the TTT Program - Part II

How Well Do Stocked Deer Survive?
Overall, 34 of the 47 translocated deer (72 percent) survived at least one year after the release.  However, bucks involved in Study Two survived better than the deer stocked during Study One.  Fourteen of 22 deer (64 percent) survived at least one year during Study One compared to 20 of 25 bucks (80 percent) that survived at least one year during Study Two.

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Posted by Dr. Mickey W. Hellickson on 03/19 at 11:07 PM
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