In Mid-August I put out my “buck forecast” for the 2019 season. I did the same thing last year when I predicted a banner year for giant bucks. Little did I know that in early November Luke Brewster would shoot a new world-record non-typical roughly 10 miles from one of my hunting spots. Back in August I predicted a poor year for 2019 based on the fact that a lot of mature bucks that I had been keeping tabs on and that I know survived last hunting season had unexplainably disappeared. Someone suggested that I do an updated buck forecast for 2019 in late September to see if any of those missing bucks were found. Here it is.
The thing that really astounded me after my original prediction back in August was the number of other deer hunters who contacted me and said “you know what, I have seen the same thing! I also have mature bucks that I know survived last season that are nowhere to be found!” My good friend Tim Heath even threw out this quote just a couple of days ago –
“I read your blog from August on 2019 buck report…. I have that “1” giant on me but that’s IT! I have 13 bucks that are home boys by September 10 every season. Never once has that wavered. I have 2 of those 13 accounted for. I haven’t found any dead deer from EHD. I have 7 bucks over 150 that should be accounted for and my 200+ buck and 2 others over 170… none of those bucks are accounted for… with 20 cams on 220 acres. And glassing 30+ times. Something is wayyyy wrong. I have the best plot imaginable and “1” shooter of 7 is on me. Your blog post is very accurate and very sad. Not sure what to think”
This giant is one of several mature bucks that I was hoping to get photos of this summer but were nowhere to be found. Most of these bucks I am certain survived last season and were still alive last winter. The big question is “What happened to them?”
So I have had nearly 6 weeks since writing my original 2019 buck prediction to gather more intel from my cameras. I have been hoping to find at least a couple of those “missing” bucks. That has not happened at all. I am now more convinced than before that those bucks are dead but will continue to keep running my cameras searching for them.
Now we have another reason to be pessimistic for 2019 – EHD. Parts of the country, including big-buck mecca Southern Iowa have been hit hard with EHD. I have heard reports that some areas have lost over 50% of their deer herd.
In closing, I stand by my original prediction that 2019 will be a down year for big bucks. Sure, there will be some hunters who kill the biggest buck of their lives and some world-class bucks will certainly be killed but in the grand scheme of things those number will be minimal compared to other years.
Be sure to check out my new podcast – Chasing Giants. It can be found on this website or on most podcast platforms.