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Ernie Calandrelli Travels for Deer

“Why do you travel from New York to Kansas, Illinois, Missouri and Georgia to bowhunt?” 

Ernie Calandrelli day2

These states consistently produce good-sized bucks, have quality soil and habitat and plenty of food. Then the bucks living in those states can grow big antlers and have heavy body weights. This old saying is true: “You can’t take a big buck if you're not hunting where big bucks live.” 

Years ago, Missouri wasn’t known as a big white-tailed buck state. But in the last 10 or 15 years, Missouri has started kicking out some quality bucks. Since Kansas has opened up its deer hunting to nonresidents, in my opinion, it’s probably the best big buck producing state in the nation. 

Another state that I hunt sometimes is Iowa. When I first started hunting there, I just hoped to see a deer - any deer. Sometimes, I’d hunt for 2- 3 days and not even see a deer. But now, southern Iowa is covered up with deer, and there are some true monster bucks there. As far back as I can remember, Illinois has always produced a high number of trophy-class bucks. If you want to take a big buck with a lot of head gear, these states traditionally produce those classes of bucks. 

I like to hunt the state of Georgia, because it’s an easy hunt for me. I have a good friend down there that has some really good property with a large deer herd on it. I usually can go down to Georgia and take a buck that will score 130 or 140, which is a really good buck from any state. I also stay in a very nice deer camp, and my friend has cut trails where I hunt. So, I have easy access to get to my tree stands without making any noise. The land also homes a number of pastures where I can see deer early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Then I’ll begin to formulate a hunt plan for the buck I want to try and take. 

Another reason I like to hunt Georgia is that the weather is pleasant almost every time I hunt there. I normally hunt late November or the first of December in Georgia when there’s plenty of snow where I live in New York. At that time, the rut is beginning to wind down in Georgia. There's a lot to be said for having a great camp to stay in, hunting with people you’ve known for years and feeling confident that you can take a nice buck every year you hunt there. 

Day 1: How to Set Up to Bowhunt New Lands  

Tomorrow: Why Kansas Is Ernie Calandrelli’s No. 1 Bowhunting State

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