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Patrick Durkin

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The Injuries and Illnesses that Trigger Amazing Antlers

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The Injuries and Illnesses that Trigger Amazing Antlers

Just as premier wines come from the grapes of stressed vines, cool antlers with great character often come from bucks who suffered broken bones, harsh diseases, or crippling injuries. As Demi Lovato sings, “Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that struggled through tears.” Admirable antler...
The 3 Most Important Factors for Antler Growth

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The 3 Most Important Factors for Antler Growth

Karl Miller doesn’t hesitate when asked to list the five key factors of antler growth in white-tailed deer. “Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition, nutrition; and then age and genetics, but you can’t do anything about genetics,” said Miller, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School...
The Truth About Fertilizing Oak Trees

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The Truth About Fertilizing Oak Trees

If you want oaks on your land to grow more acorns, forget the fertilizer and fire up your chainsaw. Professor Craig Harper at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville routinely repeats this advice when hunters request fertilizing tips for oaks. Harper said hunters typically want a quick way to...
Do Antler Point Restrictions Work?

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Do Antler Point Restrictions Work?

Hunters who push for antler-based regulations often dream of record-book bucks or bulls shredding the bark off thigh-thick pines and aspens across their region. However, great expectations of antler restrictions often shrivel to disappointment. After all, Western states mostly credit record-book elk...
The False CWD: Cranial Abscess Syndrome

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The False CWD: Cranial Abscess Syndrome

From 1938 to 1962, trucks regularly drove nonstop from central Wisconsin to the Deep South with cargos of whitetail deer for rebuilding wild herds from Florida to Louisiana. Many of those deer were released from their plywood box-traps into central and south-central Georgia during the 1950s and...
Bait Piles and Food Plots: Is There a Difference?

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Bait Piles and Food Plots: Is There a Difference?

Few hunters apologize for shooting deer off food plots, and many hunters pose their kills amid clover and brassicas for hero photos. Few hunters, however, freely admit to shooting deer off bait piles, and even fewer pose their kills amid hay, beets or shell-corn for grip-and-grins. Likewise, if you...
Hunters vs. Wildlife Biologists: Who Says There’s Too Many Deer?

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Hunters vs. Wildlife Biologists: Who Says There’s Too Many Deer?

No matter how carefully state-agency wildlife biologists use computerized models to convert elk and deer data into population estimates, one outcome remains certain: Many hunters dismiss the numbers as high, and question the agency’s motives if it boosts antlerless tags to reduce the herd. That’s...