Hunters in 21 states and several Canadian provinces have been warned about chronic wasting disease (CWD) and asked to help protect the deer population. CWD, first recognized in mule deer in Colorado in 1967, is one of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Passed from deer to deer and also from infected soil to deer, CWD causes the brain cells to degenerate. The result is weight loss, tremors, and stumbling. There is no cure and once infected, the animals die in one or two months.
Although CWD is not spread to humans, once established in an area, it is impossible to stop. That means a great economic loss to deer hunters and wildlife watchers, who spend many thousands of dollars in the threatened states.
CWD currently threatens states from Colorado and Wyoming to New York and from North Dakota to New Mexico. The white-tailed deer in Missouri is especially threatened, and the state’s Department of Conservation (MDC) has sent out a call to its more than 20,000 deer hunters to help to identify and limit the spread of the deadly disease. Deer hunting is important economically to Missouri, which takes in about $1 billion annually, including the businesses that survive on deer hunting, such as meat processors, restaurants, and hotels.
MDC has tested some 38,000 free-ranging white-tailed deer in the state since 2001. The disease was first found in Missouri in 2010. Since then, efforts have been intensified to inform deer hunters and others so that the disease can be stopped from spreading. Hunters can aid by not taking any whole deer carcasses or parts of the animal that contain the spinal cord, eyes, brain, or lymph nodes out of zoned areas. Parts of the deer that are safe to transport without spreading the disease are those that do not contain any parts of the spine or head, hides with no excess tissue, antlers, or meat that is cut and wrapped or boned out. Hunters are also encouraged to leave any carcasses in the area or bury them, take the harvested animal to a licensed commercial processor, or use a licensed taxidermist for taxidermy work.
Although there has been no evidence of CWD spreading to humans, deer hunters in Missouri and other states are asked to use common sense if they are handling any animals that may have been exposed to the disease. Number one common sense rule is: Don’t handle any animal that appears to be sick or is acting in an abnormal way.
Written by CollegiateCamo Pro-Staffer Chris Travers
It’s mid-June and all I can think about is deer season. How am I going to make it until October? There is plenty to do between now and then, but I am going crazy thinking about whitetails.
So how will I pass the time this summer till bow season starts? It will start with setting the cameras out over the next two weeks to start getting a deer inventory for the season. I will have 2 properties here in Ohio and one in West Virginia. With two new properties I will need to see what is out there and see what has made it through for the 2013 season
Then the new catalogs will be coming out from the various retailers with all of the newest gear and clothing so that will also help pass the time along with catching up with new and old episodes of Solo Hunters, The Short Season, Bone Collector, along with the new volumes of Realtree Monster Bucks.
Then it will be time to start looking at stand placements and clearing shooting lanes and finding entrance and exit routes to and from my stand placements, and, of course, shooting the Prime Defy to make sure I am ready for opening day.
All of this will fill the itch for the summer while spending time with friends and family. Hopefully these activities can fill the time till October. Hoping everyone has a great summer and best of luck this fall.
Follow Chris Travers on Twitter @cmtrav
Written by Pro-Staffer Brad Tansey
Well, I’m writing this blog a little sooner than I’d like to. I went to check my trail camera Tuesday to find that it was stolen. I had it cable locked with a pad lock to boot. I guess the saying of a lock only keeps an honest man out rang true in my case. For someone to steal another man’s equipment is beyond me. People that do this shouldn’t be allowed to even step foot in the great outdoors. It’s people like that who give hunting a bad name in general!
I’ve seen my fair share of cameras in the woods. Not once has it ever come across my mind to steal it. That is someone’s hard-earned money. Last year, I noticed a fairly expensive camera near a stand I had. When I passed it, I thought in my mind “Hey that is a really good spot. I hope it doesn’t get stolen.” I hope that man had more luck with his camera than I did. I only had my camera for a week and a half. Needless to say, I’m not buying another. It’s appalling that this is what we as hunters and outdoorsmen have sunk to.
This is something that will probably only get worse. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it. My buddy has had three cameras stolen in the last four years. He even had someone cut down the tree it was mounted to because he had it enclosed in a welded steel box. Now that’s just wrong!
People that steal equipment or anything for that matter need to take a look at themselves in the mirror and realize what they are doing is dead WRONG. No wonder I can’t get hunting permission anywhere anymore. It’s because of morons (and I say morons because I shouldn’t type what I really think) like that disgrace the hunting industry.
Oh well. I’m done ranting. Maybe I’ll just start scouting harder. You know what? I’m going to chalk this up as a lesson learned. Now I’m going to kill an even bigger buck because I’ve got more drive to do it. Don’t worry, when (not if) I do, I’ll be sure to let you know all about it.
Written by Pro-Staffer Brad Tansey
During the summer months, I try to learn about every deer on the property I plan on hunting in the fall. By doing this, I learn the habits and tendencies of the deer.
For example, a few weeks ago, I saw four bucks in a group feeding one evening. After watching where the deer went into the woods, I decided to put up a trail camera. I’ve never used a camera before this year. It’s definitely a great buy because I’ve learned I have at least six different bucks on the property. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t guarantee these deer will be there come September 25, which is the opening day for Ohio’s bow season. But I can guarantee if the big I seen, I’m going to do my best to close the deal on him.
I’ve learned more about scouting this summer than in my other 10 years of hunting whitetails. I’ve never tried any minerals or anything like that. I’ve always thought it was considered cheating. The truth is, in my opinion, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a lot of benefits to using food and minerals for the deer.
I put out some corn and created a mineral lick for the bucks. Since I’ve never used any of this gear, I didn’t know what to expect when I went to check my camera for the first time. I was surprised to know that there was a few deer over the week that came to the site religiously. Now, as you can tell in the photos, there isn’t any monster deer here from what I’ve seen. But there is a blurry photo of what looks to be an 8-point. He’s one of the four bucks I saw feeding in field a few weeks ago.
I got about 80 pictures from the first week. The 40-pound bag of corn was gone. There was a few squirrels, rabbits and raccoons that ate some of the corn, but the majority of the photos were of deer. I’m surprised that the majority of the deer were bucks! That’s a good problem to have sometimes.
I’m still waiting to go back and check the camera to see if I was able to get any better pictures of the 8-point. If I do, I’m sure you’ll hear about it!
Written by Pro-Staff Team Member Matt Truesdale
On Thursday, April 7, I had the opportunity to continue a tradition started by my hunting buddies and me - the tradition of attending the Pittsburgh Pirates home opener. This is the 3rd consecutive year that we have been to the home opener, and regardless of whether the Buccos win or lose, it is still an extremely enjoyable time. Nothing can compare to a full day of tailgating in the parking lot with the American and Jolly Roger flags flying high, supporting our favorite ball club at one of the best ball parks in the country and throwing down a Primanti’s sandwich with an IC Light.
As the game rolled into the bottom half of the 7th and we sang “take me out to the ball game” I began to wonder what are the year’s best season openers? Here at Collegiate Camo, we not only get pumped up for the start of hunting and fishing seasons, but for athletic seasons as well! Because of the bonded love affair of outdoorsman sports and athletic sports being a common trend that we all share, I have put together what I consider to be the most anticipated opening seasons of each year from the least popular to most popular.
12) NHL and NBA: I understand that these two sports are completely different, especially during playoffs in the post season. Heck, the playoffs for both of these leagues are an entirely new season and a different more exciting game. Even though I am a fan of the NHL I just cannot get as excited for the first game of the year like I can other sports. I’ll just wait for the start of the playoffs…
11) Small Game: Have you ever felt that heart pounding, nervous, exciting feeling as a big fox squirrel slowly comes down the path toward you? Yeah, neither have I. Although I do enjoy small game hunting and the camaraderie with my friends, small game is more of a thrown together afternoon activity than anything else. Even grouse and pheasant are more annoying and frustrating than they are enjoyable to hunt. But seriously, have you ever heard of “squirrel drives”? Exactly.
10) College Basketball: How long is it until March? This year VCU proved that the college basketball regular season does not matter and the big tournament is the only excitement worth watching. Yes, the end of the season tournament may possibly be one of the most exciting post seasons in any sport, but the opening game is just a tease until all the madness.
9) Waterfowl: I will hand it to the waterfowl hunters. I have yet to get fully enveloped into the sport, but these guys are crazy. Blinds, decoys, boats, face paint, calls, you name it. This season requires a lot of attention to detail, equipment, management and site location which could only lead to excitement on the opening day. Seasons in, migration’s cancelled.
8 ) White Tail Deer, Archery: Why did I separate archery and rifle? If you have to ask this question, than you must only hunt deer with a rifle. There are not many feelings that come close to having a deer walk within yards from you, and the practice and preparation needed in order to slay a buck with a broad head. Unfortunately, the first day of archery cannot quite contend with the first day of rifle. Be sure to bring enough scent eliminator as the first of archery always seems to be too hot, sticky, and muggy.
7) NFL: The NFL opener is similar to a family reunion. Every year there is a reunion, you generally see the same people, there is usually something or someone new that brings interest and then there is something or someone that embarrasses you. The majority of NFL fans already know what they have regarding their teams. The NFL opener is exciting, but the NFL opener lacks some of the glamour and anticipation of other season openers.
6) NASCAR: Yes, NASCAR. I know you are all wondering how and why NASCAR is as high as it is on this list. The answer is that the “Super Bowl” of NASCAR is the Daytona 500, the season opener. You can disagree all you want, but you cannot argue the fact that Daytona 500 is a hugely popular event full of everything needed for a great opening day.
5) Turkey: The elusive thunder chicken is by far one of the most frustrating and fun species to hunt. Combine this birds characteristics with the preparation it takes to bag a bird and 2 opening seasons throughout the year, you can’t beat turkey hunting. No other species or sport has 2 openers in a year, and doubling proves this sport aint no turkey.
4) MLB: Our nation’s pastime. The spring weather. Smells of popcorn, hot dogs and beer. 9 innings of excitement and a packed house. The MLB season opener matches and exceeds the excitement, anticipation, and popularity of any sport. Yes, the 162 game season is long, but every game counts in the attempt of achieving one of the few post seasons spots. The fact that the MLB opener does not just bring baseball back, but also brings back the warm weather and the thought of summer heralds the MLB opener high in this list.
3) Trout: The opening day of trout season may be different for many people throughout the country. But where I come from, the trout season opener is a right of passage for children and a day long family fun event. Everyone, literally everyone comes out to the streams for the first day of trout, which does have a drawback. Although some lines may get tangled between those fishing, the trout opener continues to be a spectacle year in and year out. Each cast of the line holds suspense of the possibilities of pulling back a 24 inch brownie, or just a 8 inch rainbow.
2) College Football: Do I honestly have to make an argument for this one? College football is simply American and brings an eruption of pent in anticipation into each fall from the past season. Every year is different in college football. Unlike professional sports, lineups and rosters change on a routine basis, keeping the game fresh and new. But most importantly, with the college football comes the tailgating. Other sports have their loyal and crazy fan base that do provide a spectacle of amazement when showcasing tailgates, but college football fans do it best and on a larger scale. Every school has their traditions, their massive tailgates and their crazy fans. Walk around any college stadium on any home Saturday afternoon and you will find the most die hard and loyal fans of any sport. The fans and tailgaters could only relate to college football as having the best season opener of any athletic sport.
1) White Tail Deer, Rife: I should not have to explain why. There is no more popular, exciting, anticipated day for any outdoorsman than the first day of rifle season for deer. There is nothing more important for an outdoorsman than bringing home the venison and bragging about the previous days hunt over the water cooler at work. The first day of rifle for deer is essentially a national holiday in most areas. No other season opener is built into work and school schedules, allowing individuals the day off to continue the American tradition and to spend time with family members at camp.