Archive for December, 2010

Buck Fight Caught on Trail Camera

Thursday, December 30th, 2010


Now you guys know how much I love my trail cameras and I am amazed sometimes at what I capture on them. Placing a trail camera on a tree in the middle of the woods is the same as setting up a tree stand. You have to do your research with scouting. I think of my trail cameras as my hunting buddies that are hunting 24 hours a day during the year.

While hunting in Mississippi, I got quite a few trail camera photos of two good sized bucks fighting. When you put the photos together in sequence like I did in the video below, you can see the posturing and the bucks fighting. It is truly like Christmas morning when viewing trail camera photos. You just never know what is going to be on that next photo.

Not Quite Big Enough

Monday, December 27th, 2010

As we were doing our doe management, written about in my last blog post, I had a few occurrences with 2 young bucks. I show these encounters in the video below. I find it funny that the does come out after video light is gone but these 2 bucks show themselves with plenty of daylight. Well, that is hunting.

Performing Management Duties

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

A great family friend gives us the privilege to hunt his 1,500+ acres of land in Mississippi. I have hunted in Mississippi all my life and the rut occurs in December/January time frame. This allows me to hunt the rut in Georgia in November and then move to Mississippi after Thanksgiving to hunt the rut there during the Christmas break. My Dad and I have been hunting this property for 4 years.

During the week after Thanksgiving my Dad and I spend a lot of our time getting ready for the rut during the Christmas break. We put trail cameras and deer stands up. We hunt sometimes if the weather is favorable. This property’s buck to doe ratio has never been managed. A game biologist suggested that we needed to shoot 20+ does this season to try to get back in somewhat of a check. This year we decided to tackle doe management before the rut. My Dad and I took 2 young does but unfortunately it was too dark to film. Shown below is the post hunt recovery video of our does. The group I hunt with on this property is up to 10 does so we are half way to our management goal.

BuckScore – Software Review

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Let me preface this review with the fact that I am a Mississippi State University graduate (Aerospace Engineer 1994) and that this product was developed by fellow Bulldogs and by the greatest college in the nation. So with that said, everyone knows that I was bias to begin with.

I first discovered the BuckScore software scoring system while reading my Quality Whitetail magazine produced by Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). As you guys know how big a nut I am about my trail cameras and how I deploy them year round, I immediately got excited about the possibility of adding a new tool to my trail camera tool box. In the middle of reading it, I got up and proceeded to buy the software which cost only $10 at I then downloaded and began to install it. Now I also write software for my main income and I was not too excited to watch the setup program install a bunch of computer software packages. Then it wanted to reboot my machine and then install some more. This makes me start to second guess my decision BUT after all the installing, the software started right up. My experience with software is to keep it dumb and easy for average users and this whole process makes me wonder how many customers will fail or have to contact BuckScore for assistance. I would recommend them having it Web based so that all the software runs on a central server instead of deploying it to individual computers. The good news is this is the only thing I can say negative about the BuckScore software.

Now that I got the BuckScore software running, I immediately started making a list of bucks I wanted scored. I watched their demo/help videos to make sure I understood how the process works and what parts of the antlers to measure to give me the most accurate score. I figured to get the best product review of the BuckScore software I should score a trail camera photo of a buck that we have killed and then have a good friend of mine who is a taxidermist score the same deer. This will give us a one to one comparison. I was fortunate that my taxidermist friend had killed a nice buck that he wanted to test the BuckScore software on it also. That means 2 real life test cases.

I am not going to go over the detailed steps on how to run the software, but I can tell you that you do not have to be an expert in scoring deer to use it. As a matter of fact if you can follow the instructions and look at the photo examples you will have no problems getting an accurate score. The whole concept is to import a trail camera photo of a buck where you can see all his scoreable points. It can be a head on shot which they call a zero degree shot, a side shot which they call a 90 degree shot, or an in between shot they call a 45 degree shot. I used the head on shot – 0 degree shot. An example of these three shot orientations are shown below.

0 degrees

45 degrees

90 degrees

Once you import your photo, you enter some basic information. The software takes into account what state the buck is located in, whether the antlers are in velvet or not, and age if you know it. The next important thing is to create a reference point to establish a measuring scale. They have different reference points such as ear widths (which is the best), eye to eye, nostril to nostril openings, etc… Once you have all this data entered, you then input the points and start measuring the antlers. The software will walk you through these measurements step by step. I found it really easy to do and user friendly. I captured this whole process in a video below.

Now that you have seen how to use the software, let me show you how accurate the scoring system is when comparing trail camera versus actual score. Now shown below is a deer I was fortunate to kill. He was named No Brow Jr. and was a 4 1/2 year old buck. He lived on our lease all summer and I got a ton of trail camera photos include a real good one to use with the BuckScore software. His actual score was 109 and his BuckScore’s score came to be 108.88. This was amazing to me because it was right on. BuckScore produces a print out of the score and I have converted it to a PDF file in which you can view it below.

BuckScore: 108.88″

Actual: 109″

Score Spreadsheet (PDF)

I was really impressed with how accurate it was so I was ready to test another one. I tested my friend’s 8 point buck and the actual score was 116 and BuckScore calculated it to be 110.91. This time it was off 5 inches so I started trying to figure out the difference. I came up with the conclusion that all of the deer’s antlers are not as clear in this photo as the previous one and his left G3 is obscured in the photo so I had a hard time figuring out where to start the line for measuring that tine. I am pretty sure that is where the difference came from BUT I was impressed enough for it to be that close to the actual score. I will take any score with an error deviation of plus or minus 5 inches.

BuckScore: 111″

Actual: 116″

A few more bucks that I used the software to score are shown below with their scores.

Crab Claw 10 – BuckScore: 155″

911 – BuckScore: 150″

Dam Buck – BuckScore: 120″

Mr. Potential – BuckScore: 110″

In conclusion, I strongly encourage hunters to purchase this software. Not only can you have a hit list of shooter bucks, but now you can know a good estimate as to what they score. So when you see them while hunting, you can already have your decision made as to whether you are going to shoot or not. Good stuff!

Now on iTunes

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I am now happy to report that my videos are available on iTunes for download. They are low resolution videos but you can download them to your portable devices to watch on the run. Click here to view my podcast channel and then subscribe. Remember you can still view the HD videos on this blog via YouTube. I think it is kind of funny that someone might watch one of these videos while sitting in a tree stand hunting. Enjoy!

One Man’s Great Trophy

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I have been very fortunate the last few years to help first time hunters kill either their first turkey or deer. I have found that these hunts are very fulfilling and some of the most memorable I have ever had.

We have a great member named Bob, who is a retired gentleman, and has been hunting for 9 years. He told us that he always wanted to kill a decent buck, big enough to mount and hang in his living room. I told Bob to shoot any buck that meets his criteria regardless of our management rules. So going into this year, Bob getting a mountable buck was our number 1 goal.

The night the three Toxies where in the tower (previous blog posts), we heard Bob shoot up the power line food plot. Sure enough he called and said he had killed a nice 9 pointer. He was nice enough to do a post shot interview and he was touching enough that I wanted to include it in this post. You can see how appreciative he was to have taken a nice buck. This is what hunting is all about and I wanted to remind us all of this point.

3 Toxies in a Tower Stand

Monday, December 13th, 2010

My favorite kind of hunting is anytime I can hunt with my Dad and son. Since my Dad and I had tagged out with bucks, we decided to both sit with Tad and try to get him a buck. We hunted hard for 4 days but the weather changed and big buck movement stopped. We saw some small bucks but Tad has killed small ones before and I wanted him to wait. Shown below is a video of us 3 goofing off with some interaction with deer and a bunch of turkeys in a tower stand.

It is YOUR pleasure: A horrible story about leasing from a disrespectful timber company.

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Imagine this. You lease land from a timber company for a substantial amount of money. You spend all year getting ready for deer season. Then the weekend before opening gun season, you find a strange truck on your property. You then ask what he is doing there and he informs you that they are marking areas for fifth row cutting next week. You think “NEXT WEEK!” Well this happened to us. So they waited all year to decide to cut during opening of the deer season. We were not happy and the timber guy could sense it. He then made a sarcastic comment that we were one of the lucky clubs. As he laughed, he told us that there were 2 clubs down the road from us that were going to have all their land clear cut. He found this humorous thinking that they were going to show up to hunt next weekend and their property will look like an atomic bomb testing site. Such insensitivity shared by him.

Luckily for us, we have enough land that we could hunt other areas. It took 3 weeks for them to finish 5th row cutting. One thing we did learn, was the cutting did not bother the deer. It actually funneled the deer closer to our other stands. This is not the point I wanted to make. The title of this posts states that it is our pleasure to lease their land. That is how all the timber companies think. They feel that if you do not like it then they will lease to the next group of hunters. Their philosophy is that there is limited supply of hunting land to lease and a massive amount of hunters looking for it. Knowing this, they do not care about how they treat the hunters. I hate it but that is life. Unless you can lease from a private land owner or if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford your own land then you are stuck with this crappy situation. Oh well, at least our land is going to be more productive with young tender growth now that it was cut but that is not the point…

Before and After shots:

This Buck Shows the Correct Way to Tend a Doe

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Now that I was tagged out in GA, I started sitting with my Dad videoing him. The first evening we saw this awesome 2 1/2 year old 8 point tending this doe. I was impressed how well he was doing it as shown in the video below. We tried to make this buck grow in real time, but we will have to wait till next year or the year after that.

What Happen to this Doe?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

One of our club members got a photo of this doe with a big hole in it like a crater. Some of us think she was shot with a bow due to the second smaller hole. If this is the case, why is the hole so big and circular? You would think of an elliptical, elongated hole with a bow shot. I think it was an infection or maybe a tumor or growth that fell off. Anyway whatever happened to her, it will be interesting to see is she survives.