John's Journal...


Locating Dead Deer with Bob Zaiglin

Editor’s Note: Sportsmen across Alabama know Don Click to enlargeTaylor of Birmingham, Alabama, as an avid deer and turkey hunter, and Dr. Bob Sheppard of Carrollton, Alabama, as a bowhunting instructor. Bob Zaiglin, a wildlife biologist from Texas, has done extensive research in managing and hunting trophy white-tailed deer and is a nationally-recognized expert for his rattling and calling techniques. These three longtime outdoorsmen know the importance of Scouting for deer after the season.

“I’ve also discovered some dead trophy deer before while hunting sheds,” Bob Zaiglin notes. “One season, I picked up both sides of a 14- point buck that scored 176 points non-typical on the Boone and Crockett scale. A shed hunter will find that these dead deer will includClick to enlargee not only deer that may have been wounded during hunting season, but also some deer that have died of natural causes. Remember, you're hunting sheds after the rut. During the rut in regions with big deer, the trophy bucks usually will be beaten-up badly during mating season. They may have had to fight on a daily or a bi-weekly basis, and the bigger, dominant buck must fight more often to prove his dominance. These big old bucks are not invincible. They may develop an infection after being pierced by the antler of a rival. In this weakened condition, they can be attacked and killed by predators like coyotes.Click to enlarge

“A buck can lose as much as 25 percent of his body weight during the rut. The rut also coincides with the worst weather of the year. After deer season in inclement weather, deer will concentrate heavily around food sources. Also, some deer, especially trophy deer, simply die of old age. They have escaped hunting pressure through the years and eventually die of natural causes just like humans dClick to enlargeo. Too, deer are accident-prone. Sometimes they'll kill themselves by running into a tree or hang up on fences and die. Heat affects deer adversely the same as drought, and whitetails are susceptible to various parasites and diseases. The main reason you find these dead deer when hunting sheds after the season is because you are in the woods at the time the deer generally die off. Shed hunters also may find one of the most-discouraging sights in all of nature - two bucks with antlers locked in combat, both deer dead. When a hunter discovers two locked racks, the first thing he knows is that the sex ratio of the herd is probably approximately one buck for each doe, because bucks fight more and therefore lock horns more often when there are fewer does.”



Check back each day this week for more about deer hunting after the season

Day 1: Learning About the Deer and Their Habitat and Trying New Hunting Tactics
Day 2: Understanding Where Others Are Hunting
Day 3: Looking for Deer Sheds with Bob Zaiglin
Day 4: Locating Dead Deer with Bob Zaiglin
Day 5: Determining the Condition of the Herd with Bob Zaiglin



Entry 339, Day 4