Impressive Finnish whitetail

Story and photos by Teemu Simenius

I had seen this buck before few times and tried calling it in, but always it had kept a too long distance between us – I didn’t quite manage to get it within under 60 meters at all as it circled around me out of reach.

When I’ve had my friend around we’ve placed each other 30-40 meters apart when calling deer in – that way one of us had had a shot sometimes. The deer circles usually downwind from the sound source and having your friend placed 40 meters downwind from you when you’re rattling, has actually shown good results.

Often anyhow I was out hunting myself with no help from a friend, and wanted to resolve this problem. How could I be able to rattle with antlers and be far enough downwind from the sound source at the same time? I spent time thinking about it and finally got an idea. I attached the rattlers to a tree and tied a long wire to them. When I pulled the wire, the antlers rattled. I decided to give it a try.

According to Teemu he had to do some quick decisions along the way.

14. of November I finally went out, attached the rattlers to a tree, positioned myself downwind and on to the side I thought the deer would probably circle in from, and started rattling with the wire-driven antlers, waiting for the buck to show up. After a while of calling and rattling, I noticed this buck appear further away and watched it to start getting closer. I felt an excitement to build up as this buck was really big and had droptines on its antlers. Didn’t want to spook it away. As the buck closed the distance, suddenly out of nowhere a fawn appeared close to me, and for this occasion I thought it was too close. I didn’t want it to snort as they do when they’re alert, alarming all the other deer. Figuring out the best action I quickly decided to shoot the fawn first, hoping the buck wouldn’t notice. I drew my bow and managed to get a good shot, the fawn went down quickly and miraculously the buck didn’t have a clue of what was happening. Unbelievable. After a while the buck started to do it’s circle around the sound source, only this time I was there waiting, holding the 50 meter long wire to the rattling antlers. The buck ended up circling right towards me, it’s attention locked in to the rattlers 50 meters upwind, and I got a good shot at it. And down it went.

Teemu said he thought the buck to be at it’s peak age as the antlers were as massive as they only are on a mature but not regressing animal. However, when he finally got to hold it’s lower jaw, he noticed the teeth were worn down to the gum making it closer to ten years old. A massive old buck was finally outsmarted!

About Bowhunting in Finnland and the special case of Whitetail

White-tailed deer is a strong cornestone of American bowhunting and the most significant game animal responsible of the development of modern bowhunting as we know it today. White-tailed deer is a northern american species, annual archery harvest numbers being seven-figured. Surprisingly, the all-American white-tailed deer can be also found in Europe

Introduction to Finland
Six white-tailed deer were imported to Finland in the beginning of 1900s, and due to motivated game keepers and restricted hunting, its population grew into huntable numbers in a few decades. As a matter of fact, white-tailed deer has established itself as one of the most popular game species also in Finland during the last decades, and during the last years has shown it’s importance also in the development of Finnish bowhunting.

The status of white-tailed deer in Finland
Even if white-tailed deer is not a native game species for Finland, it’s abundance and significance as a source of locally grown, wild, ethical, and sustainable food, it’s hard to imagine finnish hunting scene without it today. White-tailed deer has brought an essential upgrade in hunting opportunities within southern Finland, and is slowly spreading towards eastern and northern areas as well.
As white-tailed deer is not distributed evenly around it’s range, local densities arouse also criticism due traffic accidents and crop damage, which has lead to a buildup of also willingess of reducing the population sharply in some areas. Despite of this, the benefits of this game species are generally valued clearly higher than the damage caused for the agriculture and traffic.
Finnish wildlife authorities are putting more and more effort in creating accurate methods of estimating the deer population and controlling it more efficiently. Until last years the population has grown in an accelerating pace, but recently achievements have been made in restraining it towards more controlled levels. The amount of Finnish research on white-tailed deer is still low, but interest towards it’s potential and opportunities posed by it are growing. Perhaps the next viable themes in the work done for white-tailed deer are focusing even more on it’s benefits, bringing this magnificient game species to it’s peak. Already now, it has grown to be one of the most significant game species in southern Finland.

Finnish Bowhunting facts:

Finnish bowhunters: app. 15 000
Annual combined roe deer and white-tailed deer harvests: estimated 1000+
Species allowed for bowhunting: All ungulates (excl. moose), wildboar, small game
Not allowed for bowhunting: Moose, larger predators (wolf, bear, lynx), seals
Requirements for bowhunting: Hunters certificate, passed shooting test, bow draw weight 40+ lb, broadheads for all but small game.

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