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HomeLocal & StateVelvet Bucks & Stinky Old Boars

Velvet Bucks & Stinky Old Boars

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I haven’t been out in the field this past week. I’ve been suffering some inconveniences with my pickup truck, which has caused me to be currently stuck at home awaiting repairs. But, despite my newfound case of cabin fever, I’ve made the most of it by making swift progress on another book project and shooting my bow often on my indoor range.

I even got to sit and watch a small herd of does, trailed by a velvet-antlered buck, browsing lazily outside my dining room window. The buck appeared to be about three years old and, like the doe herd, was butterball fat. I’ve gotten quite a few photographs in my inbox lately of trail camera images of velvet antlers that friends and readers have shared with me. It’s definitely a happy sight to see!

The velvet surrounding the new growth of bone is an intricate web of blood, fueling the growing antlers with very rich concentrations of minerals. Antlers are the fastest-growing bones in nature, they are shed each spring and begin to grow back anew towards the end of March. By September, there will be a fully grown and hardened rack of antlers.

By following these velvet-antlered bucks, you can determine favored feeding and bedding areas to get a grasp of the travel patterns during the early archery season in late September. Also, you can have a visual confirmation of the approximate age and trophy potential as the rack grows. I know I’ll be taking advantage of this time of the year to learn as much about them as I can now that my old truck is back in shape.

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This coming weekend though, I’ll have hogs, hog dogs, and good times on my mind as I’ll be traveling north to Levy County. I’ve been invited to act as a judge for the “best of the best” in a hog hunting competition hosted by Bit of Both Kennels.

The competition is a celebration of our Florida heritage of herding and capturing hogs with the use of trained hog dogs. Since 1521, when Ponce DeLeon brought the first herd of swine to set foot in North America, there have been hunters with dogs to tend and manage the sounders. In that spirit of management, all hogs brought into the competition are brought in alive. Hog-tied, as it were.

It’s sure to be a fine time, filled with music, barbecue, and a whole lot of tall tales and bragging on them wonderfully trained dogs. If you’d like to join me, give me a shout-out at [email protected], and I’ll get you the time and location. God Bless, and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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