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“What Keeps Me Coming Back for More!”

I’m at the hunting shack, sharing stories with friends and excited for tomorrow’s hunt. The crisp, cold air fills my mind as the frost on the corn and trees surrounds me. Wishing everyone the best and safe hunting!

Fat Man’s Landing, MN

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“The Future of Hunting Depends on Us!”

Kids today, have many more opportunities and plenty activities to take up their time. If we don’t spend time teaching kids and introducing them to the outdoors — who will?

Pictured Above: Finishing their Field Day is the South West Metro Minnesota Hunter Safety Class taught at Staring Lake Outdoor Center in Eden Prairie, MN.

Fat Man’s Landing, MN

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“Moving Forward.”

Sometimes what you need in life is right around the corner – but first, you must stop and get directions.

Fat Man’s Landing, MN

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“I’ve Seen God Paint!”

A beautiful fall day hunting.

Fat Man’s Landing, MN

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“Exercise for my eyes!”

Mushrooms gather on fallen tree.

Fat Man’s Landing, MN

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A Star-of-a-buck in Starbuck, Minnesota.

Whether it’s “First blood gets the deer” or “The person who makes the killing shot?” In either case, it’s not an easy answer.

My friend hunts private property near Starbuck, MN. He usually hunts a fence line dividing two fields. On this day, the neighbors were hunting close by, so he decided to hunt the adjacent woods. From his stand he heard a shot and watched as the neighbors drag a doe to their vehicle. While watching the hunters, a massive buck moving slowly, through tall switchgrass, caught his eye! The deer was between my friend and the other hunters. As the deer moved passed the other hunters, a safe shot presented itself. He took the shot and the deer dropped! You can imagine how excited he was! He yelled from his stand, “I have a big buck down!” The other hunters walk in his direction as my friend climbed down from his stand. The hunters and my friend walked towards the deer from opposite sides — at 30-yards the deer gets up and starts to run. A hunter from the other party shoots and hits the spine — killing the deer.

The Loaded Question?
Later inspection, my friend had hit the deer in the hind quarter. It was a deer of a lifetime! A huge 11-point buck worthy of a wall mount!

As everyone stood around the deer, the question came up, “So who’s deer is it anyways?” The hunter who shot the second time felt it was his deer. My friend feels that if he had not called the others over — that he would have had a second shot.  In the end, my friend decided it wasn’t worth arguing over and walked away the better man.

So what do you think? Please share your thoughts.

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“Coyotes Mousin”

Picking my daughter up from skiing, we came across coyotes looking for lunch.

FML Outdoors picture of the Day

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Innate vs. learned

The basic relationship between predator vs. prey is well-known. There are laws of nature that we not only embrace, but take an active role in. This begs the question of some as to whether our hunting/gathering instincts and behaviors are innate or learned. I whole heartedly believe that it is innate.  Now, I won’t argue with someone who testifies that certain behaviors can be learned or introduced and then further explored and fine tuned. There’s no doubt of that, but If you look at every single living organism on the planet, everything from an ant to an elephant, the shortest blade of grass to the tallest tree, and even bacteria, in and around us, along with all microscopic living organisms, our most basic purpose is the same and that is — to survive. I don’t care what living organism we’re talking about, we all inhibit the basic will and termination to exist. (more…)

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Fawn birth (Late spring/early summer)
Most fawns are born by the last week in May — into the first week or two of June. There are always early-birds and late bloomers. The key here is the abundance of forage for does to consume and produce milk and ultimately — a healthy fawn.

Fawn nursing (Summer)
Fawns begin nursing immediately and continue to nurse throughout the warmer months. Most fawns are completely weened by September. Every now and then you may notice a fawn during the fall trying to nurse, but adult does normally aren’t very receptive and the fawns are able to digest forage by September.

Antler growth (Begins in early summer)
You can start seeing the beginnings of the racks by mid June. By the end of July it’s much easier to see what the buck will likely be (main frame 8-pointer, 10-pointer, etc.) by late August the rack is basically fully grown.

Shedding Velvet (Early fall)
Most velvet sheds in early September. In all the years I’ve hunted, photographed and filmed whitetails, it seems the antler shedding may begin as early as the last week of August, but the bulk occurs the first week of September. By mid September (normally opening day of bow season) the majority of bucks have shed their velvet. Every now and then you may see a buck with velvet but consider it fairly uncommon.

Losing spots/coat change
(Early Fall)
Most fawns shed their spots the first couple weeks into September. Adult deer are also transitioning from their orange-colored summer coats into their thicker, darker fall coats. The transition can occur anywhere from late August into early September. However by mid September most coat changes are complete.

Bachelor group dispersal
(Late summer/very early fall)
Deer begin to get more independent in August. Most buck groups disband by the last week of August to first week of September.

Deer Rubs (Fall)
Aside from velvet shedding rubs, the first rut-related rubs of the season begin to pop up around the 15th of October and increase into the end of the month. Rubs are continually made, visited and refreshed throughout November, with varying degree of activity due to rut phases and conditions.

Deer Scrapes (Fall)
Typically linked in occurrence to rubs, these markers begin to pop up the last couple weeks in October and can increase in frequency into November. In the areas that I hunt in Northern Minnesota, I almost always find the season’s first rubs before I find scrapes.

Main Deer Rut Phases (Late fall)
These can vary every year depending on different factors such as deer density, buck to doe ratio, weather, moon phase timing and hunting pressure but overall the days and occurrences are normally very close from season to season.

Seeking Phase
(Late October – early November)
Chasing Phase
(Early November – mid November)

Breeding Phase
(Mid November – late November)
can even last into December, sometimes with a large deer heard and abundance of food, a second, less aggressive rut takes place. Often young does are bred during this time.

It’s also important to note here that when an adult doe reaches estrous, it lasts for around 36 hours while the entire breeding phase of the rut can last for many days given the fact that more than one doe enters estrous.

Key back in on food sources
(Late November/into winter)
Can depend on region and weather. Normally deer focus heavily on food sources after the rut into winter and really hit the food hard after the first major drop in temperatures and/or first major snowfall. In northern Minnesota most deer begin to consistently focusing on food sources by the first two weeks of December. This behavior continues throughout winter, as food becomes the main drive. When it comes to late season hunting the way to a buck is through his stomach!

Shed antlers (January/February)
Can depend on climate and availability of food. Sometimes bucks lose their antlers as early as late December and I’ve even watched deer keep their headgear into late March. This is not common however and the majority of antlers are shed mid to late January into February.

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To say this season has been odd — would be an understatement! The early season’s weather made hunting conditions, in many areas, less than ideal. This left a lot of folks banking on the rut, which ultimately fell pretty flat for many hopeful hunters. The 2010 deer season has been a head-scratcher. Even so, we have been fortunate this year.

We’ve had steady deer activity despite very unusual patterns all season.

At Chasin’ Tails, we are fortunate to have harvest a number of deer. Both Justin and our dad scored impressive bucks and only until recently…I was rewarded a nice doe. Each season has its ups and downs. All we can do is put in our time to win. Lose or draw, it’s important to enjoy the pursuit. (more…)

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“Whitetail Party On Wheels!”

Everyone should have one of these!

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A battle with frostbite and big deer leave this bow hunter numb.

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“Happy Thanksgiving!”

On behalf of the entire FML Prostaff, wishing save travels and bountiful harvest
on this glorious day!

FML Outdoors picture of the Day

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“Things do turn around!”

The phone rings…It’s Matt Kohout of Minneapolis, “Say, I was watching a doe when off to my right, I see this buck 20 yards away! It spooked and ran away. I hope he comes back!”

Congratulation Matt for being in the right place — at the right time!

FML Outdoors picture of the Day

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If you’re a deer hunter, you know there is no better time of the year to be in the woods than during the rut! It’s that magical time of the year that fills deer hunters’ dreams, that vacation time is scheduled around and when family and good friends join together in shacks, cabins and family farms to share in the camaraderie, tradition and excitement that is deer hunting! There are a number of factors that determine the rut and can influence its three main phases. Year after year however, one aspect remains the same — it is the most action packed, explosive time to be in the woods! Not to mention the days encompassing the rut can be a hunter’s best chance at connecting with a big, weary but wise whitetail! (more…)

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