When’s the best time to kill a wall-hanger whitetail? There’s no question the rut is a top time to catch a wise ol’ buck slipping, but at HuntStand we’re also big fans of bachelor groups and early season patterns. In this hunt for the HuntStand Whitetail POSSE, Josh Dahlke is bowhunting a giant 8-point velvet buck in Kentucky.
Scoring Big on Day 1
Dahlke has taken a couple of velvet mule deer, but his only crack at a velvet whitetail ended in heartbreak many moons ago during a public-land hunt in Minnesota. “I did a hang-and-hunt on a small parcel of public that held decent numbers of deer,” he explained. “I had just climbed into my stand on opening morning when a velvet buck emerged from a foggy beanfield and caught me off guard. I hadn’t even strapped on my release as the buck strutted into range. I rushed the shot like a rookie, hit low, and never ended up recovering the deer. I was devastated. It’s pretty uncommon to encounter a velvet buck in Minnesota, because most bucks have gone hard-antlered by opening weekend.” So, when Dahlke got a call from his friends at Yamaha to join them at Salt River Outfitters this season, he was excited for a chance at redemption.
HuntStand forecasted heat and a chance of rain for the Sept. 3, 2022, Kentucky archery deer opener. Conditions weren’t ideal, but Wade Middleton from Yamaha Whitetail Diaries had deployed some Stealth Cams at multiple treestand setups, and a couple of them were showing consistent daylight buck activity. One of the cameras revealed a handsome velvet 4×4 showing up in the evenings, and HuntZone predicted a perfect wind to hunt that stand on the first afternoon. To Dahlke’s surprise, the buck ended up coming in like clockwork.
Kentucky Velvet Bucks
The Bluegrass State has stacked up a reputation as one of the nation’s best locations for shooting big velvet white-tailed bucks. With an archery season that opens during the beginning of September, bowhunters have a short window to pursue bucks before they strip their velvet. Josh Honeycutt is a Kentucky resident and he has tagged a number of impressive velvet bucks. HuntStand user Matthew Antle connected with a smoker of a buck this year on the second day of Kentucky’s archery season, making him a weekly winner of our Big Buck ALERT contest.
If you’re looking to get into some velvet whitetail action, consider planning a bowhunting trip to Kentucky and use HuntStand to hone in on the buck of your dreams.