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Living the hunter's dream in Hillsdale County


Jamie Blanchard, "Land Steward,"harvests 27-Point Buck


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Jamie Blanchard with his mighty buck, "The Bruiser" with 27 points that exceed one inch in length. There are 13 points on the left side and 14 points on the right side. Jamie hopes that by sharing his story more people will see the benefits of quality deer management.

December 01, 2009
Hillsdale county hunter Jamie Blanchard has chosen to live a life that a lot of others simply fantasize about. He purchased 240 acres and has successfully developed it for deer and deer hunting. His dream began in 2001 when he bought 80 acres. The following year he added 80 more and in 2006 he doubled his spread with the addition of 120 more.

Once Blanchard bought property he immediately looked for ways to maximize its potential. Jamie gathered information from various experts, including game biologist Neil Dougherty, QDMA President Brian Murphy and Michigan expert-in-residence Tony LaPratt.

Jamie estimates that he has 30 acres of food plots. In addition he has restored twelve wetlands scattered on his property. With a voice of passion Blanchard exclaims, "I really enjoy looking at the big picture and participating in year-round management. I consider myself a land steward."

Blanchard also practices Quality Deer Management and his property is part of the Crooked Horn Co-op. This same co-op produced Mike Zachary's 150 class 12 point buck that was featured in the January 2009 issues of Woods-N-Water News and can be read on the publication's website in the archives section. Members of the co-op practice the principle of "Let them go, to let them grow."

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One of Blanchard's neighbors participates in the co-op and he zealously adapts the principles of QDMA as well and has over 400 trail-cam pictures of a 4 ˝ year old buck that he nicknamed "Bruiser" because the buck would run off other deer from food plots. The neighbor also encountered the buck during hunting situations and passed on this buck as a 2 ˝ year old and then he did the same when the buck was 3 ˝ because it had broken a main beam. Oddly enough, Jamie never got a single trail camera picture nor did he have a visual sighting of this particular buck until October 17 of this year.

On this memorable night, Jamie was perched 20 feet up an oak tree that overlooked a food plot and restored wetland area. The first deer seen was a doe that sprinted from a bedding area to within 20 yards of the silent observer. The doe commenced to feeding but kept watching behind her. A second deer came into the food-plot along the tree line. This deer walked the wooded edge of the field until it was positioned under a licking branch that is used annually.

The deer then started towards the doe and made a very loud guttural sounding grunt. The doe immediately sprinted away. Once the second deer cleared out from under the oak it became quickly apparent that he was a buck and a definite shooter. With the buck standing in the desirable quartering away position, 20 yards away, Jamie drew his Bowtech Allegiance bow and shot the big bruiser.

After the shot the buck ran around a pond and out of sight. Blanchard elected to wait until morning to retrieve his trophy to be on the safe side. The deer was easily found the next morning lying in a creek at the bottom of a hill. There lying before him was "Bruiser." The mighty buck had points galore, in fact 27 that exceed one inch in length. Just three shy of the mythical 30-pointer. There are 13 points on the left side and 14 points on the right side. He is a main frame 12-pointer that would gross in the 150s on its own, but when you add the "stickers" it green scores 175 gross Pope and Young points.

For the record, this is not the only big buck to come from Jamie's labor of love. He shot a 12-point in 2005 that scored 165 and a 140 class 8-point in 2005. To maintain a healthy deer herd, Blanchard believes in shooting does and states that they shot 12 in 2007, 20 in 2009 and project a harvest of 30 this year.

Jamie hopes that by sharing his story more people will get with their neighbors and start their own co-ops. He would like to see Michigan's deer herd improve. He has hunted Iowa and was astonished at the quality of bucks that he saw while there.

If you are interested in learning more about Quality Deer Management, visit their website at www.QDMA.com. Whether you yourself choose to follow the principles of QDMA or not, I think that you might agree that Jamie Blanchard is living the dream in Hillsdale County.

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