Lopsided 9 Euro Mount

Posted by Scott Mensing | Posted in , | Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Due to the rain this weekend, I decided to stay close to home and try to get a few things taken care that I've been procrastinating on for some time now..... like cleaning up the Lopsided 9 that I found dead nearly two months ago (see the archived post from February).

Here's a little hint....if you find a deadhead, let it soak in water for a week or so, but don't wait two months.  Lets just say the skull skinned out pretty easy, but I nearly skinned out the inside of my stomach at the same time.  And we also had a little bit of bad luck and while the skull was soaking, the water turned jet black and ended up staining the antlers.  I've never seen this before, but lessoned learned I guess.   But it looks like the antlers ended up getting cleaned up pretty well.

And the finished product.  I still have a little bit of cleanup work and need to get him mounted to a plaque, but the tough stuff is done.  He ended up scoring right around 115", not too bad for a 2.5 year old.  After getting so many trail cam pics of him, we really hoped that he would make it another two years.  Unfortunately he gets added to the "man cave" just a little too early.

Gobblers, Poachers, Sheds and Deads

Posted by Bo Parker | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010

I was off work on Friday, so I decided to go scout/shed hunt a new property that we had never stepped foot on. On the way to the property, I drove down the gravel road behind my house to see if any turkeys were out. Luckily for me, they were out in force and put on quite a show for me. I was able to get some pretty good video footage of them and I got several birds to gobble while talking to them with a Woodhaven mouth call. It definitely got me pumped up for the upcoming season.

This photo has 10 different gobblers in it and is just across the street from a property that we can hunt. Hopefully the birds will start to spread out in the coming weeks and some will move over onto our side of the road.

After playing with the turkeys for a while, I headed off to the new property. We got permission to hunt it late in the year but never had time to scout it or hang stands. I wish that we had, because the property looked really good. There were some awesome trails and some really good buck sign. I also saw about 5 different deer on the property.

Unfortunately, the shed hunting didn't really pan out. I'm reasonably certain that someone beat me to it. That's the tough part about some of the urban areas that we are able to hunt. You have to deal with a lot of poachers. I found a lot of poacher sign on the property including a tree stand and a mineral lick.

Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed to find the poacher sign, but it got even worse. I found a total of five buck skulls with the skull caps removed like the one pictured below. It made me want to vomit. It gives us as hunters a terrible name and people like this don't deserve the right to hunt. I'll be in touch with our local conservation officer very soon and we'll be sure to have this property on his watch list next year. As ethical hunters, we all need to band together to prevent this kind of thing from happening. If you ever happen to witness or suspect that a wildlife violation is in progress, do not hesitate to contact Operation Game Thief. The number in Missouri is 1-800-392-1111.

After several hours of walking and 0 sheds to my credit, I decided to call it a day. 50 yards from the truck, I almost stepped on this little guy. It was an old shed off of a forkhorn, but at least I didn't get skunked!
On Sunday, Scott and I had a chance to run out to one of our favorite farms to scout for turkeys and do a little post season deer scouting/shed hunting. The deer and turkey sign looked great and we were fortunate enough to spot a group of toms in the distance, although we didn't get any pictures. The deer sign looked great and I think we will likely have a stand set close to this rub that has been hit for several years now. There are a few trunks in this cluster of trees that are torn up like this.
We also found a young dead buck... for the second time. I actually found him in December, but opted to leave him be until shed season. I believe that he may have been hit by a car since he was pretty close to the highway. It's unfortunate, but these things happen.
We used to have quite a bit of trouble with poachers on this property as well, but thanks to a good relationship with our local conservation officer and lots of effort to post the property, we have had very few incidents of trespassing/poaching in the last couple of years. It looks like we need to go down that road again on some other properties.

'Tis the Season for Struttin' and Drummin'

Posted by Scott Mensing | Posted in , | Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2010

Only four more weeks until the opener for of the 2010 Missouri spring turkey hunting season.  Even though many hunters, such as ourselves, are just starting to dust off the bows from the late season, the birds are all ready getting ready for the action.  In the last few weeks we have started to see an increase in the number of toms strutting in the open fields, but I'd never been able to catch this on trail cam....until the last pull this morning.  It sure does get the blood pumping though in anticipation of the upcoming season...only four more weeks....

In addition to the long beards, we also caught a couple shed bucks that will hopefully stick around until next fall.  I really liked the second picture with the cardinal in full flight.  It really goes to show you just how quick the trigger speed is on the Bushnell Trophy Cams.

VECtor Custom Turkey Call

Posted by Scott Mensing | Posted in , | Posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I got home and checked the mail only to find that the mailman had delivered a special gift for me to help us through this years spring turkey season, which will be starting in just four weeks.  I ordered a custom, handmade VECtor slate to help me bring those big, struttin' toms in a little closer this spring and hopefully close enough to stick one of them with the bow and arrow.  Vince Crawford (owner of VECtor Custom Calls - www.vectorcalls.com) is a local entrepreneur in NW Missouri that creates some of the best handmade wood calls available.  His attention to detail and customer service is simply awesome!  This is the first turkey call that I've purchased from Vince and I know Bo owns at least one or two VECtor turkey calls, but I've also bought four or five of his custom deer grunters.  With the help of his deer grunters, Bo and I were able to harvest three bucks during this past bow season that totalled nearly 450 inches of antler.  We hope that his turkey calls will bring us just as much luck during this years turkey season.  Thanks again Vince for making some of the best calls on the market!!  Hopefully Bo and I will be included in the 2010 VECtor Turkey Harvest Poster!

From Kansas to Iowa

Posted by Scott Mensing | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010

On Saturday Michelle and I took the dogs up to a new property that we were just granted permission to shed hunt on this year in southwestern Iowa.  It's my understanding that this property does not get hunted at all - sometimes I really wish Iowa nonresident tags weren't so expensive and hard to come by.  The property does not have much timber on it as it's mainly row crop with two draws that cross the property.  However, the land owner has installed filter strips to not only keep erosion down, but also provide a great deer santuary. 

Michelle and I were excitied to get out and get some exercise, well at least get the dogs some exercise.  Not five minutes out of the truck, I spotted a small tine sticking up from the grass bed.  I tried to get our lab to sniff it up, but she only found it when she stepped on it and pulled it out of the grass.  I guess I'm going to have to keep up on the shed hunting training with her.

But the deer sign on the property was simply amazing.  I can't remember a property that has had so many big rubs and wide trails.  This property would truely be a bowhunter's paradise. 

Not too long into the search, Michelle found her very first shed.  It's not the biggest in the world, but those smalller ones are always much harder to find than the big boys.

After we started out with two quick ones, we ended up finding four more in the following two hours.  This was one of my personnel best days shed hunting with us coming home with six.  The biggest antler was a six point side with a split brow that measured 63 inches.  Unfortunately the main beam had probably around four to five inches broke off. 

Here is a shot of the days catch.  I really can't believe how much my shed hunting year changed in the matter of two days.  I had started out on the first trip with Bo and found a small matched set, then went for 33 hours before finding the one matched set I'd hoped for all year, and then to finish up with six more and Michelle finding her first.  Turned out to be a pretty good year!

A Change of Luck

Posted by Scott Mensing | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010

As Bo mentioned below, we were able to get down to our Kansas lease on Friday for one last shed hunting trip before the prescriped burn that will be happening in the next couple of weeks. Upon stepping foot on the property that morning I started my 32nd hour of shed hunting without a find. I had high hopes for this trip since we've only been skunked once while shed hunting this property in previous years, which just happened to be the last time I was on the property just a month or so ago. Well about an hour or so into the search, I finally had a change of luck. I was walking the edge of a large CRP field when I noticed what appeared to be two tines sticking up along the hedge row that bordered the CRP field. The antler appeared to be of good size, but little did I know what I'd found.

There is a buck on the property that we nicknamed Potato Digger during the '08 season. We had numerous trail camera videos and pictures of this buck and Bo and I actually had this buck at 35 yards during our first sit on the property back in September but was unable to get a quality shot at this buck. Well after I took a couple of more steps closer, I realized I'd just found one side of Potato Digger. I yelled over to Bo and as he was coming up I turned around and there was the match laying just 10 yards away. If there was one buck on the property whose sheds I wanted to find more than any other, it was Potato Digger and I was looking at both of them. It is a great relief to know this buck is still alive and living on the property. Both sheds measured right around 64" and with an estimated 19" spread (might be conservative), this buck would have scored 147" this past year as a typical 8 point. Talk about a great way to break a 33 hour streak of not finding a shed. Unfortunately we didn't find anymore sheds, but we did find one dead shed buck. But we're hopeful that many more antlers will appear after the burn this spring.

Here are a few trail camera pictures we've gotten of Potato Digger as a 4.5 year old during the 2009 season and a few pics of his sheds. I also have his right side from the '08 season so we are really writing a great history with this buck. Hopefully we'll be able to display his sheds with his shoulder mount after the '10 season.

Here is a picture of Potato Digger's right side from 2008.

ATL (as they lay) photos of the sheds as I found them.  You can see the match in the background of the first picture.  The interesting thing is that all three of his sheds were found within 80 yards of each other.

And a final picture with me holding them.  The main beams on both sheds measured 26" to get an idea of just how long this buck is.  He doesn't have much for tine length, but definitely makes up for it in mass and beam length.

Shed hunting success in Kansas!

Posted by Bo Parker | Posted in , | Posted on Saturday, March 13, 2010

Scott and I, along with our buddy Jeff, had a chance to hit our Kansas lease for a little shed hunting yesterday. Our property is very difficult to shed hunt as it is enrolled in a CRP program and consists of mostly warm season native grasses. Sheds really blend in with all of that grass. However, we always seem to bring something back with us whenever we go down. There truly is some magic in those Kansas hills!

We had a great time and were impressed by the amount of deer sign. Sometimes, you just can't take inventory of your buck sign during the season. We are very scent conscious/low impact hunters. During the season, we try not to disrupt the deer patterns and really limit our scouting efforts during the season. We saw numerous rubs and scrapes along with some really good deer trails.
Scott is ready to get started.

Good optics are a must for shed hunting. They can save your legs a lot of extra miles. The Bushnell binos that Scott uses are crystal clear and are a great tool for scouting and hunting.

Shortly into the hunt, Scott found an armadillo that must have died from the cold. I've haven't seen one of these since I left Georgia 2 years ago. I hope this cold winter did the little buggers in!

Good friend and hunting buddy Jeff Gray is searching hard for his first Kansas shed.
After many hours and miles of searching, Scott finally broke his unsuccessful shed hunting streak. We were all really excited for him to find the matched set of a legend on our farm. I'll let Scott elaborate a little more on this bruiser 8 point we call Potato Digger. 26" main beams on an 8 point is pretty darned impressive... and he is only 4.5 years old!
I haven't been able to do too much shedding this year with a newborn at home. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the woods yesterday with two good friends. Man, do I love living and hunting in the Midwest!

Scott found the only two sheds of the day, but like I said before, this property is extremely difficult to shed hunt. We'll be back down there in a couple of weeks to help out with a prescribed burn of the CRP. I can't wait to see what we'll find then!
I cannot overemphasize the importance of shed hunting. There is no better way to find out what bucks made it through the season, and even more importantly, where they were spending some of their time late in the season. Shed hunting has taught us an awful lot about our farm in the past couple of seasons. For example, we have now found 9 sheds off of 8 different bucks and a dead head within an 80 yard radius of one spot in particular on our farm. Do you think we have a stand in that spot? You bet we do (just ask Grumpy, who got his best buck ever from that stand), and next season, we'll likely have two stands and a food plot in that spot to make it huntable on multiple wind directions. Chances are, we would have overlooked this spot altogether if we hadn't put in the many hours and miles that it takes to thoroughly shed hunt a property. Plus, it's a lot of fun and we love displaying the sheds that we find, in our homes.

Young 6 point shed

Posted by Bo Parker | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Grumpy (my Dad), Scott, and I hit a couple of our hunting properties on February 20th to do a little shedding/post season scouting. The deer are really hitting the grain fields hard! We're hoping to leave a few acres of standing soybeans in our foodplots next year for some dynamite post season hunting. Grumpy was lucky enough to find his first Missouri shed after a few hours of walking. It is the right side off of a young (2.5 year old) 6 x 4 ten point. We're really happy to see that he made it through the season ok because he has the potential to be a stud by the time he reaches 4.5-5.5. Here's a few pictures of the shed and the buck. Nice first find, Grumpy!