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Dead Deer Scent Q. & A.

Last year a kid shot an 8 pt opening morning, he let it lay and 4 hrs later had a monster 12 pt come in and he shot it too.


The Question Is...

Could a dead buck or doe release scents that could attract other deer?


The Reply From...Tommy Kirkland - Field Staff Editor, Michigan's Hooks & Bullets Magazine.


In reality, it is most likely the 12 pointer was following a scent trail which the 8 pointer had previously traveled; therefore, the 12pt was either scenting the 8pt as rival competition, or just cruising a route used by more than one buck. If it was cold, which as you know, then odors were suppressed - making it highly unlikely that the 12pt tracked/pinpointed the 8pt by random air currents, etc. As for scent being released from the dead deer - maybe. There is a possibility that the 8pt's tarsal glands were very pungent and could have possibly attracted the 12pt. to investigate. If the kid cut a gland open and spread scent everywhere, then the odds were increased. Now if the 8 pt was in peak rut with elevated testosterone, then here again, there is a remote possibility that the 12 pt. caught wind, but again, this is highly unlikely. Though I'm not a biologist or veterinarian, I'm fairly confident, that the 12pt located the 8pt via scent and that scent was previously laid by the 8pt. on a licking branch, pawed ground scrape, rub-urination on the ground, or a tree rub near the harvest site - even 4 hours later. I personally don't think the 12pt located the 8pt by random air currents from a dead carcass. Though a buck could very well smell a dead buck's scent glands, there would most likely be scent or something in the vicinity to get the 12pt in range to smell the dead buck's tarsals.

As you know, if deer are undisturbed, they will consistently work certain corridors and travel routes. It is along these routes that scent is communicated. Though we may never fully understand this youngster's harvest, it is highly probable that the 12pt could have still showed up regardless of the 8pt being there or not. Yet my first conclusion is that the 12pt located the dead 8pt by scent which was previously marked somewhere in the vicinity. As for the carcass releasing scent and attracting the 12pt, it is less likely - especially if wind and temperatures were not favorable to disperse scent.

Hope this isn't too speculative, but it is hard to know without all the facts and not being there. If anything, I say this youngster had a very exciting experience - slamming 2 bucks in one morning!!!



Editors Note: See what Tommy has to say in the Sep/Oct issue of Michigan's Hooks & Bullets Magazine in his article "The Community Scrape".

Photo above is a Tommy Kirkland shot that will be the Sep/Oct cover and will be hitting the shelves soon.

A Cold Hunt
By: Kevin Speer

The following story was 1st printed in Michigan's Hooks & Bullets Magazine, White Tails Unlimited and many local papers in 1995. John's story has continued over the past 8-years in a saga of one injustice after another making this one of the most expensive deer ever shot in Michigan. An old standing law was changed from Johns persistence in standing up for our constitutional rights, as a sportsman who had been violated, by those who are supposed to be defending the law. Watch future issues for more to the story about "The Piebald Buck".

   It was December 19th and John was anxious, as he hadn’t filled his restricted 2004-buck tag yet. Getting dressed in foul-weather gear, he was ready to head out into the 14 below zero temperatures for the last day of the Muzzle Loader season in Michigan.
   With binoculars and his Omega .45 caliber with its 3x9 scope, it was off to the blind for the afternoon hunt, the last chance of the year. The walk from the house to the blind seemed to take forever as the bitter air challenged his every breath and each step produced a loud echoing “CRUNCH” from the frozen snow covered ground as he tried to sneak into his spot.
   Finally in the blind, glassing of the surrounding area began with hopes of spotting the ever-elusive white tail. Minutes seemed like hours as sub-zero temperatures made anxious hopes quickly turn into skeptical dreams, as nothing was moving, it’s too cold he thought. Then suddenly John sees movement in the trees, it’s deer! Checking with his binoculars he sees it’s a doe, about 200 yards out and she lays down, then another. Several does walk in one by one and lay down and the 14 below zero temperature doesn’t seem to be an issue any more as the adrenalin of anticipation grows. Then as suddenly as they appeared, they all jumped and started running all over in different directions.
   Thinking a coyote that has been spotted several times has moved in, a quick glassing of the surrounding area reveals an 8-point buck, just standing there! Amazed by this magnificent sight, John uses his cell phone and calls for someone with a camera. At the house a camera is readied incase this buck goes up into the yard and not towards his blind. As the buck slowly walks, he goes the right way for John to have a chance at getting a shot. Checking once again through his binoculars and then with gun in hand, cross hairs on the buck, John feels confident that with all his practice, years a field and his new gun, he was able to make the 200+ yard shot. One… two… three… hold it… squeeze. BOOM, the gun goes off and John watches his 8-point, last day of the season, trophy buck of a lifetime disappear behind the large cloud of smoke from his muzzleloader. Out of the blind and off to the last spot he saw the buck he discovered he had … a good kill.

John Ingersoll's Piebald 8-pt Buck has turned into an 8 year battle and a law change for hunting "white" deer in Michigan. Photo by Kevin Speer

   The controversy continues and life goes on as it has throughout the years. We all have different beliefs and opinions for just about every thing life has to offer. Good for one, bad for the other. Feelings run deep and judgments are clouded. This is how I felt after recently meeting John Ingersoll and hearing the rest of the story. A seemingly quiet guy, John proudly shows me his scrapbook which contained 25 years worth of patches, cards and letters from participating in DNR. surveys and the head survey program, pages of pictures from years of hunting and fishing with family and friends and plenty of news paper articles. Truly a dedicated outdoorsman and a long time resident to the area John went to the area newspapers, TV and his local DNR. post, where pictures were taken, he told his story, the deer and licenses were checked and verified as good and legal.
   A hornet’s nest was stirred up in his small community when John legally shot and killed this 8-point buck, a Piebald deer. John’s success story quickly became a bad dream for him and his family. Opinions were voiced, accusations were made and feelings were hurt. Personal harassment started towards him and his family out in public and at home. Ethics and legalities soon became the topic in area newspapers of “The Piebald Deer”. Most were negative, some were uneducated and others supportive in defense of John and his rights as a citizen and a legal hunter.

  The deer hide was damaged in the process of proving the deer was a true Piebald, and it had to be mounted in a laying down position rather than the standing position he was hoping for. Daylight In The Swamp Taxidermy did the mounting of the deer for John and it is at Jay's Sporting Goods in Gaylord on display for the public, along with some of the newspaper articles that have caused so much unnecessary attention to be brought to this long time conscientious hunter. Almost one year later John is still dealing with legal issues steaming from his trophy “Piebald” 8-point buck. Not quite what John thought would happen as he proudly and openly had told his story to all.
   With deer hunting in full swing for the 05 season, John has once again taken to the woods with hopes of another successful deer hunting season and dreams of a new story to share with all.
   A genetic variation (defect) produces the piebald condition in white-tailed deer, not parasites or disease. Piebald deer are colored white and brown similar to a pinto pony. Sometimes they appear almost entirely white. In addition to this coloration, many have some of the following observable conditions: bowing of the nose (Roman nose); short legs; arching spine (scoliosis); short jaws. This genetic condition is rare with typically less than one percent of white-tailed deer being affected. Limited research indicates that two piebald white-tailed deer cannot produce offspring; however a piebald white-tailed deer and a normal white-tailed deer can reproduce.


Ramp Up To ‘Skate Baits’ For Aggressive Walleye Action - Unique bait and technique takes advantage of walleye biology
By Marty Glorvigen
Fact: Walleyes are gluttons for super-sized meals.
Why? A fish’s biological imperative is to conserve energy at all costs. Potential food has to yield a certain level of caloric return to validate the energy cost of its pursuit.
So, put a Sunday dinner spread in front of a walleye and more often that not, it’ll grab those easy calories. It’s like walleyes enter a reactionary mode at some point when confronted with giant baits where they just have to bite. This is the point when biology takes over.
In the 1970s I discovered that walleyes (even two- to three-pound shore lunch fish) are quick to devour giant sucker minnows, waterdogs and other big forage up to a foot-long or more. Taken to its extreme, I was ordering 40-gallons of foot-long salamanders at a time from Carl Lowrance, one of the grandfathers of fishing electronics. Much to my mom’s chagrin, my brother Scott and I kept them outside in a claw-foot bathtub we’d buried in her front yard.
   But our waterdog hoarding was for good reason. We had discovered that they’re walleye-catching machines in deep weeds. And we caught some giants, though it soon became a hassle to have waterdogs shipped and trapping them locally was a headache.
But we learned a valuable lesson during our waterdog years. Ramp up in bait size and you’ll catch walleyes, day-in-day-out.
In the ‘80s we moved on to fishing big creek chubs and redtails. At the time, we were convinced redtails were the magic ingredient. But through countless hours on the water, we learned it had everything to do with bait size. To this day, I’ll take a giant creek chub over a medium-sized redtail.
Walleyes As Opportunistic Feeders
Now here’s an interesting phenomenon: Three-pound walleyes will spit out a small shiner but hold on to a giant creek chub all the way to the boat. Kind of like the way a lion sinks its claws into fallen prey to keep it from circling hyenas. It’s Animal Planet stuff: Once a big walleye drops a kill – whether it’s a coughed up shiner, young of the year fish or foot-long chub – another walleye will gobble it up. Fish, like many creatures in the animal kingdom, walleyes are opportunistic feeders.
   We discovered this valuable lesson in the turpentine-clear waters of Northern Minnesota. Many times we’d hook a walleye and it’d spit a big, half-digested fish (some giants) on its way to the boat and we’d witness a trailing fish engulf the regurgitation. Again, easy calories.
More Than A Fluks
   I started thinking there had to be a soft plastic that would accomplish the same thing we’d discovered using live bait. Taking full advantage of the countless soft plastics on tackle shop shelves, I experimented with everything.

Walleyes won’t pass up a free meal, even if it’s dead. Notice how closely this ‘Skate Bait’ resembles a regurgitated sucker minnow.
Photo courtesy of Scott Glorvigen

Don’t let ‘em pull your pants down! Attach the Zoom Magnum Super Fluke to a 3/8-ounce Northland Mimic Minnow head with Krazy Glue.
Photo courtesy of Scott Glorvigen

   It wasn’t long before I had that  ‘Eureka!’ moment when I started playing with fluke-style baits so popular with bass anglers. From that first cast with a white pearl 7-inch Zoom Magnum Super Fluke rigged upside down, it was game on. But since that time I’ve also found the Northland Impulse 5-inch Jerk Minnow is also a solid bet.
The first year I fished it from June into August and caught tons of fish. My first guess was the flukes were just that – a fluke – because that year the thermocline was just starting to set up and fish were holding at the edge of the weeds through mid-summer. So the next year I fished ‘em from ice out to ice up and discovered you could catch walleyes all year long on ‘em. I was dumbstruck.
   From a casting perspective, depths between 15 and 25 feet are typically hard to fish. I thought, wow, now finally here’s a bait that works effectively at those depths. I started positioning on deep weedlines, rocks and breaks with even deeper water access.  More walleyes – and all sizes – not just big fish, but lots of quality 2-, 3- and 4-pound fish inhaling the giant soft plastics, too!
More Than Match The Hatch
   I learned it was more than match the hatch. It wasn’t that walleyes thought they were ciscoes or smelt. Walleyes keyed in on the Magnum Flukes because of size, water displacement and speed, just like a giant creek chub. And when I say speed, it has nothing to do with the bait cadence. It has everything to do with covering water fast…something we wanted to do all along, but couldn’t accomplish with livebait.
   The other reason they proved effective is that they represent the kind of scenario walleyes are scanning for 24/7 – a free lunch of dying or wounded meat coughed up by fellow fish.
   Here’s the thing, while I experimented with lots of colors, even those that even more closely match forage patterns like shiners, herring and ciscoes, white pearl won out every time.
   Why? Solid white mimics the color of the stuff walleyes cough-up, half-digested by stomach acid and on a slow sink. And that’s why rigging the fluke upside down is so important.
   Ever watch a wounded baitfish? They kind of twitch and skate along through the water column. With the Magnum Fluke inverted, pops of the rod tip cause the bait to displace water and skate along in a way that suggests stunned, easy-to-eat prey. Besides easy visibility, white Magnum Flukes also have the kind of bulk that a walleye picks up via its lateral line from a long way away.
In between pops of the rod tip, the bait falls in a way that perfectly mimics this dance of the dead. Hence, the presentation became known as a “skate bait,” although my brother jokingly suggested “The God-Awful."
   While the bait looks deceptively simple, correct rigging is essential to put it to work for you.

Rig Your Skate Bait Right
Simply thread a Magnum Fluke upside down on a Northland 3/8- to ¾-ounce silver shiner-colored Mimic Minnow Jig Head and you can attach a Northland three-inch Sting’r Hook as insurance. Then, to make sure the plastic stays on the hook fish after fish, run a bead of Krazy Glue between the head of the jig and Fluke body.
   When it comes to rods and line, there are also a couple key components to making the skate bait system win for walleyes.
   First, the use of a quality superline like 20-pound Northland Walleye Braid or Sufix 832 on a fast-action medium-heavy spinning rod like a 7-foot medium-heavy St. Croix Legend Xtreme is a must for working this bait. The braid responds quicker at greater depths using a pop-pop-pause cadence, not unlike how you’d fish a deep-water jigging spoon. Plus, it seems to create a better and more seamless skating action.
   Also, make sure to attach a three-foot section of 30-pound premium monofilament leader to prevent the shock of the rod action and fish strikes from breaking off your bait. Although you can use a double-uni or other line-to-leader knot, I opt for the no-fail performance of a size 10 or 12 barrel swivel like the Aquateko InvisiSwivel. Attach the skate bait to the mono leader with a palomar knot.
Skate baits have opened my eyes to the untapped potential of casting soft plastics for walleyes. It’s proven to me that paying attention to fish behavior can help anglers build presentation systems that work not only seasonally, but throughout the entire open-water calendar.
   Without a shadow of doubt, skate baits and jerk minnow-type baits have proven to me that walleyes will consistently take advantage of a big, free meal, especially something that looks dying or wounded. And, when it comes to size, if you think you’re fishing something too big, well, you’re probably on the right track. Just talk to a few muskie fishermen about when, where and how often they catch walleyes on giant baits!
   Over the years, I guess you could say the proof is in the livewell … or at least a lot of photographs.
My next experiment? You got it – ramping up to even bigger soft plastics for skate baiting!


Fishing is not the Whole Focus
Josh Lantz dishes on what’s important for overall success as a fishing guide


  Would you be surprised to hear a veteran fishing guide say that the fishing is “only about a third” of his focus when taking out customers?

That might seem hard to believe, given, after all, that he’s a fishing guide – and the most obvious service he provides is helping people catch fish. But the slippery truth behind the longevity and success of the best guides is that they understand the big picture of guiding – and embrace the reality that fishing can be good one day, bad the next. And that, despite the ups and downs of the bite, it’s important to be paid at the end of each trip.

  For going on 14 years, Josh Lantz has been taking anglers on rewarding adventures in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. His business is called World Class Fly Fishing with Josh Lantz, although his customers are free to use a variety of tackle types to target bass, steelhead, salmon and muskies. He employs a drift boat or center console, depending on the waters, and includes fly-fishing instruction at no additional cost if they would like to break into handling the long rod.

  Fishing guides, to paraphrase Lantz’s philosophy, would do well to surrender to the serenity prayer, and make sure they’re covering all the bases that lead to an enjoyable day on the water.

  “I learned right away,” he says, thinking back to the beginnings of his guiding career, “that the fishing was only maybe one-third of the total puzzle. I knew the fisheries well, knew where I could take people that they could catch fish, knew I would be able to teach them how to catch fish on those fisheries. But because there are so many variables that help determine whether your customers catch fish or not, I also figured out that I needed to do whatever possible to help them enjoy their day."

Fishing guide Josh Lantz, shown rowing his drift boat, leads a client on an early-season steelhead adventure. By delivering an overall outdoor experience tailored to each customer’s hopes, Lantz has been able to build a strong business built around repeat bookings.

  Rather than thinking you can get by on fishing knowledge and a few grunts from the back of the boat, Lantz believes successful guides should prepare for, and deliver, an overall experience. “I contact my customers ahead of time,” he notes, “and find out what beverages they would like while they’re out there, and what they want for lunch. I cook them a nice lunch. I try to soak in their personality, figure out what to say and what not to say. A fishing guide needs to be an adaptable social expert with top-notch interpersonal skills. You are responsible for their day, and people are different.

  “You don’t get two people who are the same in all respects. You have to figure out what they need in order to have a good day, as fast as possible."

  Tom Neustrom, a legendary guide in northern Minnesota, echoes this same idea, noting that guides “are entertainers, really; that’s what we are. Some people like when you talk their ear off, some people want to just be out there and fish quietly. Some people bring important business contacts, and want to talk to them, not you. Guides have to know when to just keep the boat in position and listen."

Ron Lindner, an icon in the guiding world, is another believer in the “overall experience” factor. “The customer is paying you for your expertise,” Lindner stressed, “not for a certain number or size fish in the bag.” In order to make certain that visions of arm-straining catches do not become the central focus, Lantz believes, it’s important to avoid highlighting your best all-time catches to every new client.
  “You can’t post a stellar fishing report all the time,” says Lantz. “You want to show good catches when you can (on your web site, in your fishing reports in a blog or Facebook), but you can’t lead people to believe fishing is dynamite all the time. I’m really careful about that one."
  Setting realistic expectations, then delivering on the overall promise of a good day doing something your customers enjoy, is the road to success.
Lantz’s latest email blast sent to past and potential clients featured the theme, “your memories are waiting.” It included a picture of a guide client holding one nice fish, and another image of a father and son fishing together. No hard-to-repeat photos of rare catches.
  “People go fishing for a lot of reasons,” says Lantz. “It’s your job to find out what’s most important to each customer and try your best to give that to them. The fishing is always going to be up and down. You can’t control that. But you can control whether they have an enjoyable day on the water. As the guide, you’re responsible for that.”

Notes: To connect with Josh Lantz’s Facebook account, check out
To help guide your efforts to become a fishing guide, or break into the outdoor industry in other capacities, check out the services at


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