Monthly Archives: November 2015

Prehistoric Deer That Make Modern Deer Look Tiny

If ancient hunters from the ice age were still alive today, they would probably be wondering what shrunk all the deer.

Deer come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and for the most part, prehistoric deer look much like their modern equivalents (moose, whitetail, elk, caribou, musk deer, etc.). One thing that is different however, is the sheer size. In times past, massive deer with antlers that span the width of barns doors roamed across the land, coexisting with saber-toothed tigers and wholly mammoths.

The earliest deer actually came from diminutive animals (Archaeomeryx and Dicrocerus) and barely rose more than a few feet off the ground. Throw in a few million years of evolution though, and you get something much bigger. Here are five of the largest prehistoric species in the deer family.

1. Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus)

Image from I, Atirador on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from I, Atirador on the Wikimedia Commons.

The Irish elk, commonly referred to as giant deer, is one of the largest deer species that ever lived. With well-preserved specimens being found in the peat bogs of Ireland, scientists estimated that these massive creatures stood about 7 feet tall at the shoulders on average, weighed well over 1,600 pounds, and carried the largest antlers of any known deer species. Just a full rack by itself could weigh up to 90 pounds. With all these characteristics, the Irish elk can be seen as a mega-sized version of the modern moose.

Irish elk first surfaced towards the end of the Pleistocene Epoch roughly 100,000 years ago. Specimens found in Siberia show that the species was still present as recent as 7,000 years ago, meaning it was likely a prime game animal for early human hunters. The species was found widely across Europe, Asia, and Africa and it is believed that hunting by humans may have have played a part in their decline. Believe it or not, scientists actually say their large and unwieldy antlers were most to blame for the elk’s eventual extinction.  A decrease in high-quality forage was unable to sustain massive deer with equally massive antlers, and some speculate that the deer failed to grow smaller to adjust.

You can get a sense of how big Irish elk were compared to humans in the video below:

Species of the Megaloceros genus are all honorable mentions on this list due to their size, and uniqueness of their antlers. Below is an artist’s depiction of them.

Image from Apokryltaros on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from Apokryltaros on the Wikimedia Commons. From left to right are M. savini, M. cazioti, M. obscurus, M. pachyosteus, M. giganteus, and M. verticornis.

2. Stag-moose (Cervalces scotti)

Image from dantheman9758 on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from dantheman9758 on the Wikimedia Commons.

Imagine a large modern moose with the head of a deer and you would have some picture of what the stag-moose looked like. This creature from the Pleistocene epoch lived alongside other megafauna such as giant beavers, woodland musk ox, and the dreaded dire wolf. Stag-moose can grow up to 1,500 pounds and reached 8 foot at the shoulder. Unfortunately, its large size did not help it any when the ice age ended, and competition between large-bodied animals lead to a mass extinction event in North America. Eventually, the stag-moose was replaced by the now iconic plains bison.

Experts say that the animal’s downfall may be due to its inability to adapt to warming temperatures. The stag-moose was hyper-adapted to ice and snow, with razor sharp hooves designed to break ice and a thick coat to survive frigid temperatures. Due to its large size, the stag-moose was more than capable of fighting of predators such as ancient brown bears, wolves, and the American cave lion. It is believed that the stag-moose was also a popular target for early human hunters.

3. Bush-antlered deer (Eucladoceros dicaranios pictured)

Image from Ghedoghedo on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from Ghedoghedo on the Wikimedia Commons.

These large deer may not be the heaviest on this list, but they certainly have some of the most interesting antlers. The Eucladoceros genus was nicknamed the “bush-antlered deer” because of the unique shape of their racks. Their comb-like antlers can split into twelve tines per pedicle and were up to six feet wide. It is believed that due to the shape of the antlers, they were used mostly for presentation than any actual fighting.

Species within the genus could be found across Europe and Asia and date back to the Early Pleistocene.

4. Broad-fronted moose (Cervalces latifrons)

Image from Ghedoghedo on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from Ghedoghedo on the Wikimedia Commons.

This is it, the be-all, end-all of large deer. The broad-fronted moose is the largest deer to have ever existed—probably—and was so large, it weighed twice that of the Irish elk. If you’ve been keeping track, that puts this massive animal at well over 3,000 pounds! It was also surprisingly fast for its size since its long limbs allow for a gait known as “silt-locomotion,” which allows it to run quickly through snow or bogs.

The animal lived in the colder parts of Europe and Asia during the end of the Pleistocene epoch and eventually crossed over into North America where it evolved into the stag-moose. Experts are still uncertain whether ones that stayed in Europe eventually developed into modern moose, or died out entirely after the end of the ice age.

5. Broad-antlered deer (Libracles gallicus pictured)

Image from Stanton F. Fink on the Wikimedia Commons.

Image from Stanton F. Fink on the Wikimedia Commons.

One of the earliest deer on this list, the Libracles genus lived during the Pliocene period starting 2.5 million years ago. These deer was not especially large, but had the largest antlers proportional to their body size, rivaling that of the great Irish elk. Despite being only slightly large that modern deer, the species of the Libracles genus sport antlers over two meters wide. Not surprisingly, some scientists suspect that this genus is the early ancestor of the Meglaoceros.
By:  Daniel Xu



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by M.R. James

I’VE SAID IT BEFORE and I’ll say it again. If you hunt from a treestand without wearing a safety harness, you might as well wear a great big sign that reads “Yes, I’m stupid!” Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Only this morning I read another news account of a bowhunter found dead at the base of his tree stand. And while he reportedly had a safety harness with him, it was in his pocket. So what happened? No one will ever know the details of why and how he died. But he’s dead and that’s a damn shame.

Somehow I can’t help but believe that like some folks now reading these words, the guy believed it could never ever happen to him.  But it could and did.

He was wrong. Dead wrong! And so are you if you think you’re bulletproof.

Treestands can be a deer hunters best friend and worst enemy. Hunting from trees is the most consistently successful method to tag game, but each year falls injure and kill hunters.

STATISTICS SAY ODDS ARE one-third of bow hunters are destined to take a tumble while climbing into, out of, or while in elevated stands. Think about that. Can you name anyone who’s fallen? I sure can and so can most of the veteran bow hunters I know. It can happen to anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.

Believe it!

Wearing a safety harness is mandatory when hunting from elevated stands. It’s also smart to wear a climber’s strap or safety line when climbing into and out of stands.

A friend of mine, who was with me when I arrowed my first Montana bull elk, died of a broken neck years later while hunting bears from a tree stand. No one knows why and how he fell, but somehow he did and he’s dead.

Another friend fell while hanging a stand. He survived but suffered severe injuries – and still walks with a bad limp. Another guy I know is paralyzed and “lives” in a wheelchair because he’ll never walk again. And even though I wasn’t hunting at the time, I once lost my balance and jumped backwards from an eight-foot stepladder while trimming tree limbs, cold cocking myself when I banged my head on the ground. This list of accidental falls could go on and on. Sadly, it does.

SO HOW DO WE STAY SAFE? We begin by recognizing the fact each and every one of us is vulnerable and we must never climb without wearing a fall restraint safety harness. Ever! If we won’t do it for ourselves, we should do it for family and friends who would have to attend our funeral, visit us in the hospital, or feed, dress, and to tend us because we’re paralyzed and we can’t do it for ourselves.

When hunting alone, we also make sure a hunting buddy or family member knows exactly where we’ll be and when we expect to be home. We slip a cell phone and a whistle into our pocket or pack in case we fall and can’t walk to get help. And we take pains to be safe each and every time we climb a tree, especially in cold, wet, or icy weather. We not only wear a safety harness but add a lineman’s climbing strap or treestand lifeline for use when climbing up and down to and from a stand. We never climb while holding our bow or other hunting gear, raising and lowering hunting tackle with a haul line. We always keep three of four contact points (hands and feet) with the ladder or steps when climbing into or out of stands. And once in the tree stand, we immediately buckle ourselves in and do not unbuckle until just before climbing down. This is the most dangerous time frame we face while hunting from elevated stands.

Here’s a hunter’s-eye view of a couple of feeding does. Knowing you’re securely buckled in allows you to focus on making the shot, not fretting about falling.

Finally, prior to using our hang-on or climbing stands, steps, and ladders, we inspect them for any sign or wear or damage. We check support cables and tighten bolts and screws, if necessary, and double check all straps.

BACK WHEN I RAN BOW HUNTER MAGAZINE, I repeatedly included little reminders designed to make readers think of safety. One of my favorites was, “Bow hunting Safety Is No Accident!”

It was true then and it’s true today.

But the bottom line is we are the ones responsible for keeping ourselves safe. We are the ones who must recognize the need to be proactive in doing whatever is necessary to avoid injury or death. We are the only ones who must admit that a life-changing or life-ending accident could happen to us.

Because doing anything less is downright stupid!



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This Shotgun Shoots Hunting Arrows [VIDEO]

When it comes to shooting, Americans are ingenious — and here’s proof.


Called the Broadhead-Bullet, this unique offering combines elements of shotgun shooting and archery.

In this video test, you’ll see how the new idea pans out. Who knows? It may even stimulate more creativity among enthusiasts.



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Posted by on November 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


Ozonics: How Does it Work?

Thankfully, wild turkeys don’t have a sense of smell, like deer, or we’d never outfox one. However, turkeys often thrive in deer habitat. Many seemingly perfect spring gobbler set-ups have been blown by a snorting deer that entered the hunter’s scent stream. A unique device called “Ozonics” can change that by eliminating human odor. It’s especially effective in an enclosed space, such as a turkey or deer blind. This unit works in spring or fall and has captured the interest of sportsmen, yet many aren’t sure how it works. Here’s the explanation from the manufacturer.

ozonics0b00a4ed-2288-483c-8cf7-b8e2d7d42280Neutralize a mature buck’s best defense, its nose, and a hunter’s chances of success rise dramatically. Cover scents, hunting clothes washed in scent-free detergents, avoiding a buck’s core area during the prime time to hunt because the wind isn’t right… Hunters are obsessed with scent, and for good reason. A deer’s nose is truly its best sense.

1041It’s not often a new hunting product revolutionizes the sport. Ozonics is just such a product. O1041zonics is the only scent-control product that deals with your human scent zone. Simply, there is nothing else like it. Ozonics is an in-the-field ozone generator. An Ozonics Unit electronically changes oxygen into ozone, which destroys your human scent zone. Ozonics blankets your scent zone with scent-destroying ozone propelled by a quiet fan. The ozone is unstable, so it will bond with your scent molecules, rendering them indistinguishable to the nose of a deer.Ozonics should be positioned 6 to 10 inches above you and angled downward. Use a wind tracker to detect wind direction, and then aim Ozonics downwind. Heavy ozone molecules generated by the Ozonics Unit fall through your scent zone. The ozone concentration is heaviest in the direction Ozonics is facing and closer to the unit. This is why knowing wind direction is important. Reducing your scent profile means more ozone reaches your scent stream.

Best of all, Ozonics is guaranteed. If you do not experience a dramatic reduction in the number of downwind deer that bust you, Ozonics will refund your money in the same calendar year as purchase.



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10 Incredibly Cool Adventure Campers You Wish You Owned

By Matt Alpert


These are 10 of the most awesome adventure campers ever made.

If you want to go car camping in the wild — the real wild — your Toyota Camry is not going to cut it. No my friend, you’re going to need something with some more chutzpah.

These 10 heavy-duty adventure campers are designed to crawl over any terrain that stands in their way, be it a steep mountain or dense jungle brush. Heck, some of them can even drive across the ocean.

Some of these adventure campers are loaded with amenities that you’d typically find in a high-end RV. So, if you’ve ever wanted to try glamping in a desert, jungle or rugged mountainside, these adventure campers will get the job done.

Jeep Forward Control


1The Jeep Forward Control is a unique utility vehicle that was made from 1956 to 1965. These trucks feature a cab over engine layout that gives the vehicle a shorter wheelbase.

Jeep Forward Controls were made as both a pickup truck and a van. Both designs are great vehicle platforms for rugged camper conversions, such as the one pictured above. Good luck finding one today.



2If you had the thought to put your RV on a jacked-up 4×4, EarthRoamer beat you to the punch.

The company makes heavy-duty, go-anywhere expedition campers that are loaded with the amenities you’d expect in an RV. The company started by building self-contained Jeep Wrangler camper conversions, but later switched to modifying Ford trucks like the F-650 featured above.

Terra Wind Amphibious RV


3The Terra Wind is a fully-loaded luxury motor home that can operate on land and water.

It can reach a cruising speed of 7 knots on the water, and can drive up to 80mph on land. But it comes with a hefty price tag – these bad boys cost $850,000.

Unicat TC55 Comfort Plus


4Ok, it kind of looks like a garbage truck, but don’t let this rugged camper’s exterior fool you.

Inside you’ll find high-grade wood paneling, skylights, a shower room, multiple beds, a kitchen, stereo system and a whole lot more. This self-contained camper is also about as durable as adventure vehicles come. Plus, it can charge over anything in its path.



5The Unimog is the quintessential heavy-duty expedition vehicle. Manufactured by Mercedes-Benz, this rugged vehicle has portal axles for high ground clearance and flexible frames to handle rough terrain changes.

The Unimog’s powerful off-road capabilities have made it a big hit among adventurers and explorers.



6Similar to Unimogs, Pinzaugers are highly-capable all-terrain vehicles. They were originally designed for military use, but adventurers and expeditionists have taken a shine to them for their off-road capabilities, carrying capacity and durability.

These powerful vehicles can drive up and over just about anything in their way.


7Engineering whiz Rick Dobbertin built this one-of-a-kind camper out of a stainless-steel milk tank, and drove it from Florida to South America and back again via the Gulf of Mexico in 1995.

It has living quarters inside, and a front dash that looks kind of like it belongs in a spaceship. There’s only one Dobbertin Surface Orbiter in existence, and we wish we owned it.

Conqueror Australia


8Conqueror Australia’s UEV’s are rugged and versatile off-road camper trailers that have independent suspension systems and loads of cool campers features.

Each model comes with a fold-out kitchen, large hot water heaters, queen-sized beds, and lots more.



9Sportsmobile has been making customizable adventure campers since 1961. They convert Ford, Chevy/GM and Mercedes Benz vans into off-road vehicles.

As you can tell by the Sportsmobile featured above, they can get pretty tricked out.

Ford Push Button Camper


10Okay, it’s not a rugged all-terrain vehicle, but Ford’s 1958 push button station wagon camper is just too cool to leave off this list.

This one-of-a-kind camper contains a lifeboat and shelter that both unfold on the roof at the push of a button. It also has an unfolding kitchen with a refrigerator, sink and stove, and dozens of other automated gadgets.



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How To Prevent Venison From Tasting Awful

I hear people say all the time that they don’t like the taste of deer. Some people say that just because they know what they’re eating and have a preconceived notion that it won’t be good. Others have legit gripes, mainly due to poor handling by the hunter from the time of the kill up until it was cooked. This often results in gamey, tough meat. Here are some tips to help combat bad-tasting venison.


Hunting in the real world is not like the Outdoor Channel portrays it to be. Hunters make bad shots from time to time and the deer has to be tracked for a while. Shot placement and the stress the animal received while being trailed plays a big role in gamey meat. The faster a deer dies, the sooner it can be field dressed. This will reduce the amount of acid that builds up in the deer’s muscles.

Hunters often fail to get the deer cooled as quickly as possible. The first step it to field dress the animal immediately and wash out the cavity with cool water. Be sure to dry the cavity out, as the water can be a breeding ground for bacteria. If the temperatures outside are in the mid-30s or cooler, it’s okay to let the deer hang. Anything warmer than that, and the deer needs to hang in a walk-in cooler (or be skinned, quartered, and put on ice if you don’t have a walk-in).

A whitetail is not a hard to deer to quarter. Because of how their joints and tissues hold their legs on, a simple pocket knife can have a deer quartered quicker than you might think. Some might use a saw to cut through bone marrow and small pieces of bone, but then you’d need to watch that shavings from the saw don’t get mixed in with the meat. Stick with a sharp knife instead, and your meat will be free of small bone pieces that can contaminate the meat.

Growing up, I can remember how much my dad loved the taste of fat from a good cut of beef. The same does not hold true with deer fat. Simply stated, deer fat tastes awful. It is not red meat, so cut it off before it’s made into steaks or burger. This includes all fat and silver skin.

Every year before deer season begins, we call in an order to the local butcher shop for beef suet. Even though we removed all of the deer fat, we need to add some sort of fat, whether beef or pork, when grinding it. If this is not done, the lean venison will quickly fall apart when making burgers, meat loaves, etc. We add beef fat at a ratio of 3:1 (three pounds venison per pound of fat).

If you have the means, the time, and the knowledge, I recommend processing all your deer yourself. When you take a deer to a meat locker you can’t be sure how the meat is handled — or if it’s even your own deer that you’re getting back. For all you know, you could be getting back someone elses deer, perhaps one that was gut-shot and not properly handled after the shot. If you have to take a deer to a processor, research the facility by talking to other hunters who’ve used it, and also talk with the workers, who will hopefully be honest with you.

Don’t overcook venison. Cooking deer for too long causes it to become chewy and dry. Venison is best cooked to medium rare, but the outside needs to be cooked. To accomplish this, the grill must be hot enough to quickly sear the outside and lock in the flavors and juices. Turn your venison only once. If there are no grill marks on the meat after three minutes or so, the grate is not hot enough.

Freezer-burnt food, whether it is venison or other food, does not taste good. Some people use a vacuum sealer; if you go this route, buy a good one, as a cheap product will not keep the food fresh. When we butcher our deer, we make wrapping the meat a family affair, with all involved. We put one-pound portions of burger in sandwich bags and the steaks and roasts are wrapped with plastic wrap. After covering it with plastic wrap, we wrap it with good freezer paper and tapes. Writing on each package, we identify the cut of meat, who killed it, and the date of the kill.

I hope this advice helps you create a great-tasting meal. A few more final tips: The younger the deer, the better, more tender it will be (even though this might not sit well with trophy hunters). Thaw venison slowly to prevent toughness, then serve it hot and keep the remainder hot to prevent it from getting a waxy taste.



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Hunter Fends Off Grizzly by Shoving Arm Down Its Throat


Sticking an arm down the throat of a bear is regarded by some as an effective last-ditch tactic for fending off an attack.

There are few animals in North America as frightening as an adult grizzly, and if one of these massive animals get it in their heads to attack you, your day just suddenly got a whole lot worse. Twenty-six-year-old Chase Dellwo was expecting to bag some elk in the Montana back country near Choteau last Saturday, but a chance encounter with a bear ended with him sticking his arm into its roaring mouth instead.

That decision may have saved his life.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, Dellwo was bowhunting near a creek bed with his brother Shane. Strong wind and intermittent snow and rain kept visibility to a minimum, but the brothers heard elk bugles in the area and Dellwo was eager to make his first elk harvest of the year. The hunter had been steadily driving the animals toward his brother, but the weather also hid a sleeping grizzly, which Dellwo practically tripped over. At less than three feet, there was little that Dellwo could do before the animal charged him.

“I had an arrow knocked, and I put my bow up in front of me and took two or three steps back,” he told the Tribune. “There wasn’t any time to draw my bow back.”

The grizzly knocked Dellwo off his feet and bit him in several places across his head. It then reared back and gave what the hunter later described as the loudest roar he had ever heard, before attacking him again and biting his right leg. It was at this point that Dellwo recalled that an old survival tip about how bears have sensitive gag reflexes—so the hunter plunged his arm down the animal’s throat.  The bear promptly left.

Dellwo is not the first person to have stuck their arm down a bear’s throat and lived to tell the tale. The trick is commonly regarded as a last-ditch defense against bear attacks. As recently as last November, a hunter in British Columbia used to same trick to disable and ultimately kill a large grizzly sow near Fernie. According to CTV News, Wilf Lloyd was seriously mauled by the bear before he was able to stop its biting by jamming his hand down its mouth. While the bear was still on top of the man, Llyod’s son-in-law arrived and shot it dead with a rifle.

Lloyd also received a bullet in the leg during the chaotic struggle, but he did not blame his hunting companion in the least.

“The man saved my life,” Lloyd later said. “What Skeet did and because of his fast reaction, the shots, I had maybe fifty stitches in my hand and that’s it. So I was very fortunate that way.”

Dellwo echoed Llyod’s sentiment after his own bear encounter. Shortly after the attack, he was able to reunite with his brother and was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated for various cuts and punctures on his head and right leg. Dellwo expects to be back in the woods later this year for rifle season.

Officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks are currently investigating the case and believe that the bear involved was a 400-pound male. Experts added that the brothers seemed to have done everything correctly and that the bear will likely not be tracked down since the attack was not predatory in nature.   By: Daniel Xu



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