This week is a busy one on Realtree 365. Deer seasons are opening across the country, and there's plenty going on as the crews with Whitetail TV, Grigsby, and Midwest Whitetail are out to fill those first early season tags. But this week is also a sobering reminder of what's truly important when it comes to deer hunting with our family and friends. All we can say is, we're glad Michael Pitts is OK. Check it out on Realtree 365.
Whitetail TV: A Heart Attack and the Georgia Opener
The Realtree family recently had quite the scare this summer, as Michael Pitts experienced a life-threatening heart attack while hanging a stand.
“Man, this isn’t the way I wanted deer season to start,” Pitts said. “We were hanging a set for deer season. I guess it was about three or four weeks ago. Did good with the ladders. Got to the stand portion and lost all energy. Really couldn’t finish hanging the set. I was just gassed. Ended up finding out the next day that I had 100 percent blockage in the LAD [left anterior descending artery]. And, basically, that’s your widow-maker.”
We’re all just thankful Pitts (and his sense of humor) are still here, because Team Realtree wouldn’t be the same without him. Hear his words and thoughts on health, hunting and the enjoyment of life.
On a lighter note, Tyler and the crew are on doe patrol in Georgia, and you'll want to see how their hunts go. Lastly, we'll head over to Kansas to see what Doug Hampton and his son Eli are doing to prepare for a youth hunt.
Grigsby: High Whitetail Densities and Depredation Deer Tags
Due to extensive crop damage, the Grigsby farm applied for depredation deer tags from the state of Illinois. They came through. And Mike Stroff makes use of them to help reduce the deer density in certain areas. This helps both the farmer and the overall health of the herd.
“We’ve got to get some of these deer out of here,” Stroff said. “There are so many deer on the Grigsby farm. They’re destroying crops. These are crop-depredation tags. That’s what makes it legal to do this. They issue the farm antlerless tags.
“It helps the farm,” Stroff continued. “It helps us from a management standpoint, too, because we’re able to get our antlerless [harvest] numbers up. As non-residents, we’d only be able to shoot a couple [without depredation tags].”
Midwest Whitetail: Patterning Deer and Big Early Season Bucks
On this week's episode, we head to Kentucky where the team has its first mature-buck encounter of the season. Next, Drake Lamb updates everyone on the new farm he recently got permission to hunt. Then, Owen Reigler discusses how his season is shaping up and introduces his top two bucks, both of which are giants.
“We’re just running trail cameras,” Reigler said. “It’s a lot of fun doing that. I’m always excited this time of year to run the cams and see the bucks from the previous year and new bucks. We’ve got a couple we haven’t found yet. With Paige’s Muzz Buck, the fear is winter kill, but maybe he just moved off for the summer. Captain Jack, I haven’t seen that buck yet, either. But we have seen a few. Picket Fence and Wolverine are probably the two best bucks that I have right now.”
Finally, Winke puts out his trail cameras and shares the strategy he's using to find the big 8-pointer he filmed this summer.
“The bucks usually have a summer range and fall range,” he said. “Sometimes they overlap, but they don’t always. A lot of the time, you have to find them back again once they break up their bachelor groups, shed their velvet and disperse into those fall ranges. That’s what I’m doing now.”
In this installment, Winke discusses how to create oak forests by planting acorns. In doing so, he reflects back on a project from 2007.
The pros and cons of red and white oak acorns
How to store acorns prior to seeding
Direct nut seeding 101
What resources are available to you
“There’s a lot of [additional] information available about this online,” Winke said. “You can also get a lot of information from your local forester. Take advantage of either the state district forester or even private consultant foresters.”