Friday, November 17, 2017

November 19th, 2017

Today was our final day of hunting. The weather wasn’t nearly as bad as it was supposed to be. It never got very cold, but the winds took their toll by the end of the day. Brian and I hunted the pine tree stands one last time. We both went in with hopes of seeing the deer we call Lucky, but it never panned out.

In the mid-morning hours, I heard a wicked ruckus in the brush across the creek. When I turned in that direction to get a better look, I saw two bucks chasing a doe through the CRP. The noise I heard was a shooter buck’s antlers banging off from all of the saplings he was running through. It was a sight to behold. The deer looked just like the buck that Dad killed on  opening day of Ohio’s shotgun season about 10 years ago.

I thought he might make his way across the creek after he lost sight of the doe, but he turned and headed back toward the ridge on the opposite side of the CRP.

After a phone call to Dad, we decided to pull stands. He had a guy in front of him who was metal detecting. The amount of pressure we’ve  seen this year from a number of different types of people has amazed me. Everything from hunters, people playing in the creek, boaters, metal detecting and squirrel hunters have had a negative impact on the hunting. Every time I hunt here, I tell myself I will never come back. I’m not really sure why I return. The frustrations constantly build until I almost get to a breaking point.

After pulling those stands, we decided to get the few remaining cameras and pull the last few stands. I decided to sit in my culvert stand and pull it when I got out of it at dark. On my way in, I jumped six does that were bedded on the side of the ridges.

When I got close to my stand, I could feel something looking at me. Glancing to my left, I could see a deer’s body behind a tree. The deer appeared to be about 250 pounds or more. As soon as I stopped to get a better look, the deer bolted. It was a giant buck. I was really disappointed to see it run away but felt lucky to see it.

After getting into the stand, I settled in for the last three hours of my hunt. Sitting in the tree, I reflected on the trip. I hunted harder than I can remember hunting in a lot of years. I spent every day in the woods from sunup until sundown. I just never got a great shooting opportunity. Although I saw a few dandies, the timing never lined up quite right.

Just as daylight was fading, I heard a lot of racket down in front of me. Peering into the brush, I saw a shooter buck rubbing its antlers. As he thrashed the tree and pawed at the scrape, I hoped that he would walk under me after he finished his business.

Unfortunately, he walked in the opposite direction when he finished destroying the tree he was rubbing. I was sad to see him go but realized I saw some fantastic deer on this trip. Hunting is made up of a lot of luck, and I didn’t have luck on my side this year while in the Midwest.

When we got back to camp, we checked the last few cameras that we pulled. One buck stands out above all others, and the picture tells you that it’s all about timing. We had stands in every location that there were cameras. We just didn’t pick the right spots to sit on some of the day we hunted.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 19th, 2017

I really thought today was going to be the day. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. It could have happened for Dad if he had a buck tag. He saw three shooters in the spot where he missed the big buck a few years ago. It’s funny how that works. When I guy doesn’t have a buck tag, he’s the guy who sees all of the big bucks. He saw 10 does this morning and two does this evening. This morning, one of the big bucks was chasing a doe.

Brian and I hunted over in the pine tree place. Before daylight, I saw a small 4-pointer. I could see him with my binoculars, but I couldn’t see him with my bare eyes.

As soon as it got light enough to shoot, I saw an 8-pointer cruising on the runway that is halfway up the hill. I can’t imagine what the scrape looks like that all of the deer visit on that runway. I’d love to look at it, but since it’s on posted land, I’ll just have to imagine what it looks like. I know I’d be sitting on it if I had permission to be on that land. It’s a money spot. I’m sure I could find a killing tree if I had the time to explore it.

Around 10:30, I saw a fawn and button horn. They stayed and fed for a while in front of the tree stand. Eventually, they smelled me and ran up the hill. They returned around noon. This time they came from the other direction and did the same thing. Eventually, they winded me and took off.

Around 2:00 p.m., I saw a big deer cruising on the runway on the side of the hill. Once again, the deer stopped at the scrape that all of the deer stop at. When I got a look at him, I saw that he was a really good 10-pointer. He wasn’t a giant, but he was a deer I would have loved to shoot.

After working the scrape, he made his way up the hill and disappeared amongst the trees. I was disappointed to see him go, but I also thought he might make his way back to me before it got dark.

Brian had a decent day. He saw a bunch of does and three bucks, one of which was the shooter buck that went by me before it made it’s way past him.

Overall, today was a great day. The deer seemed to be cruising. We have one day left. It doesn’t look like Brian and I are going to get it done this year on this trip, but it’s not for a lack of trying. I can’t remember a time that I hunted harder than I’ve hunted on this trip. I’ve seen some great things and passed some really good deer. To kill great deer, you need to be happy with going home with an unfilled tag. In my earlier years, that would have been really difficult, but as I’ve grown older, I don’t have any problems watching deer and learning things about them.

It was 20 degrees when we headed into the woods today, and it remained cold the entire day. The wind made it almost unbearable at times. Tomorrow morning it’s supposed to rain and be miserable. It’s a fitting way to end the trip. Hopefully, the big bucks will me on the move because they’re feeling secure. I’ve seen big bucks move many times when the weather is really bad. I’m hoping tomorrow is one of those mornings.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 19th, 2017

I had a good feeling when I woke up today, and I felt like I was going to see a good buck. I had already figured out where I wanted to go, and I let my gut instinct guide me to the tree I call the 200-inch tree

.

During my 45-minute walk, I realized I had forgotten my safety harness in the truck. The sky was littered with stars, but it was still pitch black outside. I had to decide if I wanted to climb a tree or sit on the ground. I know better than to climb a tree without a harness, but I went against my intuition and climbed one anyway.

Shortly after it got light, I began hearing shots fired from a .22 in the same patch of woods that I was trying to hunt in. Within the hour, I could see a guy on the ridge behind me with a full backpack and a rifle.

After spotting me, he walked to the top of the ridge until I could no longer see him. Once there, I’m assuming he sat down. He started shooting his gun every 10 to 20 minutes. Eventually, the shooting subsided, and I figured things were going to calm down and get back on track. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and I spotted two more guys with rifles and backpacks.

I’m still trying to figure out why these people were in the woods before daylight on a Wednesday to hunt squirrels. It kind of makes me wonder about a lot of different things. I’m thinking there might have been a little bit of funny business going on, especially since the game warden told me a lot of poaching goes on in the area.

With the clowns walking all over the ridges around me, I knew the day was probably shot. A big buck had been making regular appearances in the area, and I was certain that the presence of the rifle-toting men would keep the buck away for the day.

Although I saw an 8-pointer at daylight and a few smaller bucks at 10:30 and 1:30. It appeared that the deer had been jumped by the squirrel hunters. The rest of the day kind of dragged. I saw a few small does right before dark. They never knew I was in the tree as they wandered past me.

Dad hunted the new spot this morning. A beagle and a cat chased some rabbits all over the area. Finally, Dad got sick of it and relocated to the stand I’ve hunted the last few days. He saw a really nice buck and a dandy buck. He said if he had a buck tag, he would have shot both of them. He said it appeared that a hot doe was in the vicinity. He also saw a small buck cruise through while he was sitting. All of the action occurred in the last hour of daylight.

Brian hunted the dead-end road today. He saw a doe and two small bucks this morning, but he didn’t see anything the rest of the day. It was really windy today. Tomorrow is supposed to be 20 degrees. It’s going to be tough to sit in the morning. Something in my gut tells me that we might finally get lucky. I’m hoping the feeling plays out. We should have a better idea in about 14 hours. Until then……………..I’m going to try to stay warm in my sleeping bag.

There are only three of us left in camp. Shawn left this morning. He’s going to try to get to Detroit tonight to see the Red Wings play their game. It was a pleasure to have him here. He took some fantastic photographs, and I’m hoping to use one of them for the cover of my book.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 19th, 2017

Eleven years ago today, I killed the biggest buck of my life. That buck still stands as the biggest buck I’ve killed. Today was a really slow day all the way around. Brian hunted the bottom and didn’t see a deer the entire day. Shawn, Dad and I hunted near the pine tree. I saw six does filter by the stand throughout the morning, but no bucks followed them. Shawn saw a couple of does and a small 8-pointer, which he was able to capture in a few fantastic photos. Dad didn’t see a deer.

This afternoon, we wandered around in an area around the river that we had never explored. We jumped a few does and saw a decent buck. Dad decided to bring his stand back in there tonight, so he can sit there in the morning. It looks like a great place for cruising bucks, and it’s far enough off the beaten path that very few people probably ever put pressure on it. Dad ceases to amaze me. I don’t know how he does it at is age. He never slows down and seems to have more drive and determination than people who are half his age. He doesn’t even have to be going out since his buck tag is filled, but he’s trying to find better places for us to hunt. Here’s a look at the buck he tagged before I even got to camp.

  

 

With every passing day, I’m losing confidence. The deer just don’t seem to be moving too terribly much. I guess they are in some areas, but they haven’t been moving where we’ve been hunting.

Sean Rice drove down from his house to see us today. It was really good to see him. He shared a lot of time with us in the tent, so when he pulled out his sleeping bag and found a spot on the cot, it brought me back to a time that was a lot of fun. The aging process sucks. I hate to see my father getting older by the minute. I wish I could lasso time and keep it from moving forward. I love life. I love being able to do the things I love to do with my family and friends. That’s what makes the trips so enjoyable. Unfortunately, Father Time is undefeated, and I know the days are limited for doing these things with my father.

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 19th, 2017

November 13 has notoriously been one of my best days in the woods if you take a snapshot of my hunting career. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen today. It was slow for all of us.

  

After yesterday’s excitement, it would have been hard to experience anything that could stack up against it. We had to hunt the same area again because I had to see if I could find the arrow I shot last night.

After sitting for a while and observing a handful of does, a spike and an 8-pointer that we call G-3, I got out of the tree. When I got to where the deer was standing when I shot, I was excited to see brown and white hair. After further examination, I couldn’t find the arrow. I called Dad to come help me look for it.

Between the time I called him and the time it took him to get there, I discovered that the hair was mere coincidence. A rabbit had been killed in the same place. Looking a little beyond the hair, I saw my arrow lying harmlessly in the leaves. There was one speck of blood on the end of the broadhead and a tiny piece of white hair under one blade. It was a clean miss. Although I was disappointed, I was happy that I didn’t wound the deer.

The entire day was slow. It was23 degrees when we went into the woods and about 43 when we came out. It took a while for the fog to lift today, and I figured the deer would really move afterward. My guess was wrong. They didn’t move the rest of the day.

I can see the end in sight right now, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year. Although I had two opportunities to get it done yesterday, neither opportunity was really good. I’d like to be able to get a good shot at one. That definitely makes it easier. Everything can change in a minute, but with the way the movement has been, it’s going to be really hard to get it done.

It’s supposed to be warm tonight and not get below 43 degrees. It will be the warmest day we’ve had yet. I’m thinking that’s not going to help matters.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

November 19th, 2017

It was raining on our way in today. I sat in the woods for an hour before daylight. When it finally got light, the rain tapered off. Right after it got light, I saw a doe come across the creek. About a half hour later, I saw a giant, but I couldn’t get a shot at him. He meandered up the hill and disappeared, but it was an awesome sight to see. It was the big buck that we have on trail camera.

Later in the day, Shawn was able to get a lot of pictures of him when he walked by the place where he and Brian were sitting.

  

Around 9 o’clock, a doe ran off from the hill in front of me. When I looked closer, I could see a giant buck following her. They both stopped at a bowl in front of me to feed. After feeding for a bit, the doe headed toward me, but the buck stayed back and continued feeding. When the doe got to the right of my stand, I saw the buck coming quickly. He was heading right toward her and grunted as he got closer.

When she saw him, she bolted toward the creek. I tried stopping him with a few loud grunts from my voice, but he never heard them. I tried following him with the pin to get a shot, but nothing was available. I finally squeezed the trigger, but the shot hit way low and back. It wasn’t a lethal hit, and the arrow only shaved some white hair of from him and got a bunch of fat on it.

When I was on the ground looking for the arrow, which I quickly found, I saw a shooter 10-pointer on the ridge above me. After confirming that the deer I shot at was okay, I got back in the stand. A few hours later, I saw another great buck in the scrape on the runway halfway up the hill. He didn’t stay very long and headed down the ridge.

The rest of the day was pretty slow until right before dark. Two fawns raced down the ridge in front of me. They didn’t have their mother in tow, so I was well aware that bucks were chasing.

A few minutes after they passed by me, I saw a doe and fawn come down the ridge. A small 4-pointer was following close behind them. They milled around in front of my stand as it was getting dark. When they finally disappeared, I got ready to get out of the stand. Right when I got ready to tie my bow, I spotted the same giant deer that I had seen in the early morning hours, and he was on the same exact runway but going in the opposite direction.

Although it was fairly dark, I decided to give it a whirl. I ranged a tree for 43 yards and the deer for 37 yards. I settled the 40-yard pin on the deer and squeezed the shot off. It sounded like it buried itself in the mud as the deer bolted and ran up the hill.

After getting out of the tree and going to the runway he was standing on, I ranged the tree stand, and it was 48 yards away. I’m assuming the arrow went well below the deer. I’m going back in the morning to see if I can find the arrow. Although I’m 95% sure I didn’t hit it, I will try to find the arrow to confirm my assumption.

We will see what tomorrow brings. I can’t imagine it being anything close to what today gave us.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

November 19th, 2017

Jeff and Doug packed up and went home this morning. Brian, Shawn and I planned on going to where I shot the deer a couple of years ago. When we pulled into the place, there were two trucks there. One of the guys was a pain in the ass. He had a little of the Angry Man syndrome. We asked where he was going to be hunting because we didn’t want to get in his way. After he began hemming and hawing, we decided to go elsewhere. There’s no need to deal with the extracurricular shenanigans. We are fairly certain that this guy is the one who stole the camera, too.

After changing our plans and heading down the road, we decided to go to the culvert, one of my favorite places for some reason. When Shawn and Brian set up, they had a buck chasing does under them before daylight. It was way too dark to see them. I saw four bucks today, but none of them were very big. I also saw a couple of does. It doesn’t seem to be on yet.

This evening we all headed south to where Dad missed the big buck last year. Since Dad found a lot of sign, we decided to give it a whirl. It was really bad. I saw three guys, and Brian and Shawn saw two guys; one was carrying a rifle.

It’s supposed to rain through the night and break in the morning. Hopefully, that will get the big boys moving. A few years ago, I killed a really nice buck on November 11, and six years ago today, Dad killed an 11-pointer. An 11-pointer on 11/11/11, simply awesome.

  

Friday, November 10, 2017

November 19th, 2017

Today was brutally cold. When we headed into the woods, it was 19 degrees, and the wind was blowing about 20 mph. It was a slow day. I saw a few does getting chased by a small buck, and Brian saw a few small bucks. We sat until around noon, then went exploring. During our explorations, we came across a nice 8-pointer which wouldn’t budge, as he stayed watch above his doe. I took a few pictures of him, and I easily could have shot him if I wanted to.

  

 

Today we hunted a different area, which we looked at a few years ago. Someone cut a hole in the fence, and the deer use it to get onto the public ground. I saw a button horn and a doe, and Brian saw a nice buck chasing a doe.

Dad saw a big buck this morning. He said if he hadn’t already filled his buck tag, he would have shot it. He seems to be enjoying himself, even though he doesn’t feel well.

Doug and Jeff are headed home in the morning. They both had a good trip, but the time flew by. We will see what tomorrow brings. Things are starting to look rather dismal. I’m going into the woods with waning confidence every sit.

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November 19th, 2017

The cold continued today, and the wind didn’t help matters. It was 21 degrees when we came out of the woods tonight, and the wind chill made it about 5 degrees. It’s supposed to be colder in the morning. The forecast is calling for teens in the morning with a 9mph wind. It should be interesting.

The big bucks just don’t seem to me cruising very much. We continue to see small bucks cruising and occasionally chasing. Unfortunately, the time is fading. For some reason, I’m just not feeling it this year. It won’t matter if I don’t shoot a deer because I’ve shot plenty of them in my lifetime, including the one from last week when I was getting ready for this trip.

The day started off good when I saw a doe at first light. I’m pretty sure it was the same doe I saw yesterday. I sat in the pine tree place again. Shortly after the doe went past me, a really nice 8-pointer came in and hung out for a bit. The bucks continued cruising until about 10 a.m. I ended up seeing seven bucks and a doe for the morning. I could have shot all of them.

This evening, I went to the place where I shot the buck a few years ago. When I tried to check the camera, I couldn’t find it. I’m not exactly sure where Brian placed it, so I guess I’ll have to wait until he pulls the card to see what’s on it.

Jeff saw 17 does tonight and three bucks down in the area where Dad hunted a few years ago. This morning, he hunted where Doug shot the deer, and he saw two bucks and six does, one of the bucks was a good 10-pointer.

Although the action has been relatively slow, we are still having a good time and seeing deer. I’m hoping that someone gets a crack at one in the next few days. We’ve been working really hard at it, and I think someone deserves a nice buck.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 19th, 2017

Well, Nov. 8 is known for having the most Boone & Crockett entries of any day during the hunting season. That means the big bucks must move regularly on this day. Unfortunately, no big bucks moved past me today.

It was 21 degrees when I went into the woods today. Although it was cold, I didn’t think it was too terribly bad. The action started right at daylight when I saw a doe come past me with frost all over her back.

A few minutes after she passed, another doe came down the hill, and shortly after that, a nice 10-pointer hit a scrape on the hill above me. He didn’t come down the hill like the does, but it was nice to see him.

The rest of the morning was dead for me. The action heated up around 1:00 p.m. when a doe came by me. Within five minutes, I had five different bucks run past me chasing her. None of them were very big, but it was a sight to see. The largest one was a small 8-pointer. I was really surprised that no big bucks followed them. The rest of my day was dead, except for the two does I saw at 3:30 p.m.

Brian and Shawn were sitting about 150 yards from me, and they had a day to remember. They saw over 30 deer, including two really nice bucks that Shawn was able to photograph. I think Shawn’s having a good time and enjoying this style of hunting. It’s different for him since he’s hunting with a camera.

Jeff saw five bucks and five does this morning but nothing this evening. Doug and Dad did some scouting. We are having a good time, although nobody feels that well. Everyone is experiencing cold symptoms.

We will see what tomorrow brings. I’d like to see some deer up close, especially one that gets my blood pumping. I’m not having very good feelings about getting one in front of me, but all of that can change in a second or two.