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Late muzzleloader season finds big bucks on the move

By Staff
Jan. 25, 2002
After spending many fruitless days in the field during the regular gun seasons for deer, numerous hunters are now finding success. Every year we hear pleas from hunters wanting another week or two to hunt. Last year many of the diehard hunters got their wish -sort of. Instead of extending the regular gun season, the last couple of weeks of January were set for primitive weapons of any kind. Previously only bow hunting was allowed during that period.
Now trying to bow hunt for deer during the late season, with no vegetation on the trees, is difficult When a deer gets within bow range, it's hard to draw the bow back without the deer spotting you. That's not the case with the muzzleloaders however. Many modern muzzleloaders are very efficient. Several years ago Knight Rifles came out with the first modern in-line version of the muzzleloader. The increased efficiency was evident in not only accuracy but reliability as well. No longer did hunters have to wonder if the rifle would fire.
Chapman takes advantage of late season
While many hunters are burned out and ready for a break, Zane Chapman is one local hunter who has taken advantage of the late season with success. With the enactment of the late muzzleloader season as well as the legalization of scopes last year, Chapman purchased one of the new in-line muzzleloaders.
Although he had several chances at late season bucks last year, this season has proven to be the ticket. With decreased pressure on the deer after the closing of the regular season, the bucks are now starting to appear in places previously devoid of deer.
After passing up several smaller bucks Chapman spotted a nice 8-point following a doe late one afternoon this week. One well placed shot took down the wily buck. Chapman has a history of scoring on big bucks late in the season and this year was no exception. He also recently killed a non-typical buck at the end of gun season that sported at least 16 points, 21 points counting all stickers.
Bucks on the move
This writer took advantage of a trip to Alabama this past week and was almost overrun with deer. In fact, it was like old times when deer were plentiful and few people hunted them. Countless does were seen daily. In three days I spotted 10 nice bucks. Add to that another 6 bucks seen in Mississippi, and I viewed 16 bucks during the week. That number is by far more than I have seen in any one week of my life.
Although I hadn't planned to do much muzzleloader hunting, the deer activity witnessed last week was too much for me to resist. After a couple of days break, I left work with a Big Buddy deer stand on my mind. I had taken a few youngsters hunting there, but hadn't put a lot of pressure on the deer. There was big buck activity in the area, as evidenced by many rubs and scrapes .
After arriving at the stand at 4:45, I didn't have a lot of hope as the wind was blowing in the direction of the main deer trail. At about 5:15 I decided to try the Primos can that I had heard so much about. I made about 3 bleats and put the call down. To my surprise, a nice buck appeared in the far end of the patch in less than 2 minutes.
There was no question that he was a shooter. After watching the tall-racked deer for about 5 minutes, I took aim and fired from a distance of 85 yards. Smoke filled the air and I spotted the deer charging into the woods. Minutes later, I found the beautiful specimen that sported 8 gleaming white points on a wide tall rack. It was by far the best deer I had ever taken with a muzzleloader. This late season ends January 31st so there's still time to get out there and get a big one if you haven't already gotten him.