Almy: New guide offers hunting insights

Everyone knows that the Boone & Crockett Club is a prestigious conservation organization that keeps the records for the largest big game animals taken. But the B&C Club also operates a publishing house that produces some amazing books and DVDs.

The most familiar of these publications are their record books. These contain not only detailed antler and skull measurements, but also helpful and entertaining articles and many photos of the largest trophies taken.

The Boone & Crockett Club also produces more specific books, though, focused on narrower hunting and wildlife conservation subjects. The most recent of these, just released, will be of particular interest to anyone who hunts whitetail deer.

It’s called the “Boone & Crockett Club’s Complete Guide to Hunting Whitetails.” The book is a high-quality paperback, 272 pages long, printed on thick, glossy paper and contains a wealth of information not commonly found in websites, magazines and other books on deer.

For instance, using their data base from the record books and computer software programs, they reveal that 93 percent of record book bucks were taken when there was no precipitation. That indicates to me that good weather is a great time to go after a bruiser whitetail, rather than rainy, snowy days.

Wind is also bad for good deer movement, we learn from this new book. Eighty-five percent of bucks in the book were killed when winds were calm or less than 5 mph.
Cold weather, though, is good for hunting. Eighty-one percent of bucks were killed when the temperature was 50 degrees or less.

The book also points to the very best time to shoot a big buck. It’s the week of November 13. That date in particular is one I almost always highlighted as the single top day for a mature whitetail when I used to write Field & Stream’s “Best Days of the Rut” feature. The best time of day to hunt during that period is between 4 and 5 p.m. It’s no coincidence that the week B&C pinpointed is the height of the pre-rut just as it merges into the peak breeding phase for most parts of the country.

Lots of how-to strategies are also included by well-known authors such as Bill Winke, Larry Weishuhn, and Gordon Whittington. Craig Boddington contributes an excellent chapter on where and how to shoot deer for a clean, quick and humane kill. It’s called “The Perfect Shot.”

Dave Richards and Al Brothers have a superb chapter on Aging Whitetails on the Hoof and detail the differences between all age classes from yearling bucks on up to 8-year-olds. There are field judging tips that will help you quickly rough score a whitetail in the field before you pull the trigger so you’re not surprised when you walk up to the deer after the shot. And another chapter tells how to score the deer once you’ve harvested it. One of the most fascinating chapters is the last one, written by Justin Spring, on Whitetail Statistics. There’s also a state-by-state listing of how many record book deer each state has produced and what its rank is over the last 10 years. Wisconsin, not surprisingly, is number one with 756 record book animals.

Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa and Ohio are the others that round out the top five. Surprisingly to some, Texas is way down at No. 11 on the list, with 225. Virginia has a respectable 39 entries, 23rd on the list, and tied with New York.

The book sells for $19.95 (plus shipping and handling) and can be purchased directly from the Boone and Crockett Club at www.boone-crockett.org or by calling 888-840-4868. It’s also available as an e-Book from major book sellers.

Note: The 75th Annual Western & State Big Game Trophy Show will take place in Harrisonburg on Sept. 27-28. Entries may be registered from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The show is from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Awards will be given for deer, bear and turkey, with several categories for deer according to type of weapon used and number of points. For details, visit www.iwla-rh.org or phone Rick Deviers at 540-433-7691.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.