The End of the Season

December 12th, 2022

Unlike most years, I didn’t do too much in the pursuit of bears this year after filling my tag. Instead, I relaxed and tried helping others get deer. Normally, the decision to pursue bears is made easy because there are a lot of them in the areas I hunt. Unfortunately, there were a lot of bears in the early season, but they seemed to disappear quickly once they realized there wasn’t much food available.

It’s hard enough to find deer in the Adirondacks and finding bears has always been more difficult for me. I wish I knew more about them, but I devote too much time to the whitetails that inhabit these mountains. I probably should sit down and try to figure out how to locate them and kill them more readily. I guess I’d probably do that if they had antlers.

I accomplished a lot over the last two weeks of the regular season and feel good about the progress I made. I learned a new area and figured out what deer do in that place — at least I think I figured it out. After telling Jim about it, he thinks he’s going to hunt there next year. I’m excited to see if he has any success from using the intel I gained while stomping around.

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022

December 12th, 2022

A damp cold greeted me when I walked outside this morning. There was a slight breeze out of the west and the chill struck me to the bone. Before heading into the woods, I knew it would be one of those days that would make it difficult to stay warm. I stuffed my pack full of the essential I might need and headed out early. I planned on still-hunting for the day due to the dampness, and I had a general idea where I wanted to go.

I wanted to cover enough ground before daylight to allow me to be in a good area to start hunting when I could see to shoot. My plan worked perfectly. When the woods became alive, I felt good about my chances. I saw a few fresh tracks here and there on my walk, and more tracks appeared in front of me as I picked a direction to travel.

After sorting through a handful of tracks, I found one that garnered attention and chose to tackle it. I could smell the buck’s hocks, and I knew I wasn’t far behind him. I was sure he was probably circling the area to intercept a hot doe. I liked my odds. As. I began doing my 3-step and 5-step stops, I lost myself in the moment. Before long, I was totally immersed in the chase.

Suddenly, some movement caught my attention, and I could see a buck. Instantly, I moved the two-position safety forward and got ready to take the first available shot. Fighting with the devil on my shoulder to shoot, I waited until I had what I thought was the best shot I was going to get. Then, I slowly squeezed the trigger.

The buck’s legs collapsed and the mountain monarch fell to the ground. I had anchored him in his tracks. Excitedly, I rushed to the fallen animal. I knew he had a big rack and couldn’t wait to see it up close. When I got over the small knob and looked at him, I was ecstatic. However, that’s when I noticed that one antler was broken . There wasn’t anything beyond the brow tine on the deer’s right side. Although I was disappointed, I was still pretty pumped up. I knew it was a big, mature mountain buck, and deer of that caliber are hard to catch up to.

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022

December 12th, 2022

I decided to go into another area today that we haven’t hunted this year. Brian and I got a good jump on it, and I was into the area before daylight. The morning hours passed slowly and not much happened. 

  When I went into the woods, it was 28 degrees and the wind was blowing at a pretty good clip. When the sun came up, the wind subsided. It was a perfect morning to sit, so I hunkered down under a big yellow birch and made myself comfortable. I had sat in this place one other time a few years ago and passed a 5-pointer. 

  I found a lot of sign in my travels after sitting until about noon. Then, I found a place closer to the road for my afternoon sit. A pile of deer ran by me, but I never got a good look at them. I’m not sure what made them run, but I suspect it might have been a big buck that was harassing them. 

  When they stopped, I rolled over my can call, and I saw one of the deer break away from the others and make its way toward me. Within a few minutes, it was standing under me. I gave a free pass to another buck. Now, I had passed three bucks in the last four days, with this one being the smallest. It was just a spike. 

  It seems that I’m putting myself in the right positions to be successful, although I haven’t filled my tag yet.  I feel like I’m getting close, but you have to make good on it when you can feel it. I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I do know the snow ill be gone by Thanksgiving, and we will most likely finish the season on bare ground. That’s OK with me because I don’t like getting wet. I also don’t like when people follow others’ tracks around. I’m looking forward to the bare ground.

  We will see what tomorrow brings. The weather is supposed to be decent, with the temperature hanging around 30 degrees in the morning and warming up to about 40 degrees by afternoon. 

Monday, Nov. 21, 2022

December 12th, 2022

This date has traditionally treated me well. I’ve had a lot of success in the Adirondacks on this day since the beginning of my hunting career, and I’ve killed a few smashers, too. 

  I felt confident this morning, and Brian and I decided to head to an area that we only hunt a few times a year. We had about a half hour ride to get there, and I mentally prepared myself for the 13-degree reading on the thermometer. We decided to collect some cameras that we put out in late summer and do some still-hunting to get to them.

  The morning went well for me. I spotted a doe and fawn shortly after daylight. They fed past me as I hid behind a tree. They had no knowledge of my presence. 

As I continued making my way through the woods, I saw some areas with good sign and other areas that didn’t have a track. 

  At 9:15, I spotted a few does in some thick stuff, and they were making their way down a finger in front of me. After quickly glassing, I saw that there were three adult does and a fawn. Staying motionless, I let them continue their journey down the hill. I decided to hold tight in case something followed. 

  I didn’t have to wait very long. As soon as they were out of sight, I spotted a buck trotting through the thick cover, and he was right on their trail. It appeared that he had a good beam, but I couldn’t see it clearly. When he got closer to me, I saw that he was a nice buck, but he wasn’t one I wanted to wrap my tag around. It was a 6-pointer. If I hadn’t already shot a deer in Illinois, I might have considered taking him, but I still have a lot of hunting in front of me. 

  When the day finally came to a close, I had seen 15 deer. I’ve always known that it’s easier to see more deer when walking than sitting, and I enjoyed myself today.  Brian saw four does today, and Dad saw two does. 

  Brian is not a happy camper today. All of the cameras we went to retrieve were his cameras. However, when we got to where we had put them, they were no longer there. Someone had stolen them. 

  This hunting season has made be wonder why people do the things they do. When I see people’s stuff, I either walk around it and pay no attention to it, or I wave to it if it has caught my movement before I saw it. 

  If I come upon a stand or a blind, I continue on my way and don’t return there to hunt. Although it’s public land, I try to respect the fact that another hunter found the place and is hunting there. The woods are a big place, and I know I need to find another place. It just makes me feel better to be away from people, and I always feel good when I do my homework and get the job done without using help from another person. I guess it’s to each his own. It’s just not for me to hunt in areas where I can clearly see others are hunting, even if they’re not there when I’m wandering through the place. 

  I’m hoping my decision to not pull the trigger today doesn’t lead to an unfilled tag, but if it does, I really can’t complain. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Looking at the forecast, it looks like the snow will only be with us for two more days, and the long-range forecast looks like we will end the season with no snow on the ground. 

Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022

December 12th, 2022

Today was the most brutal day of the season so far. When I left camp, it was 25 degrees, and the wind was howling. Throughout the day, the wind speed picked up and topped out around 40 mph. I dealt with blizzard-like conditions throughout the day. 

  In my gut, I thought I was going to kill another bad-weather buck today. Everything inside me told me this. However, as noon approached, I knew it would have to happen in the afternoon if it were going to happen. I didn’t see anything until 3:30 p.m. when a doe fed past me, but nothing followed her. 

  I decided to still-hunt toward the road, hoping I would make it there before dark. In doing so, I walked up on a small doe. Unfortunately, no bucks accompanied her. 

  When I got in my truck, I saw that it was 18 degrees. I’d imagine the wind-chill must’ve put the real feel temperature around zero degrees. 

  Dad saw a guy walk past him this morning around 8 and that’s all he saw for the day. Brian saw seven deer today. One of them was a spike that was feeling a little frisky. 

  Tomorrow is supposed to be brutal. At daybreak it’s supposed to be 2 degrees with 25 mph winds. It should be fun. I’d imagine not much will be moving, but you never know. I’ll go give it my best and see what gives. 

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022

December 8th, 2022

Today was my first day back to the Adirondacks, and I expected to have a nice, relaxing day. Well, that didn’t happen, as I had to deal with a few unexpected things throughout the day. 

  It was 25 degrees when I headed out, and I knew exactly where I wanted to go. On my way into the woods, I saw where a horde of hunters had been there too.  As I moved along, I saw where they had dragged a deer, hung out and made a fire. 

  After getting to where I wanted to sit, it felt good to be in God’s country. The wind made it a bit chilly, but I was ready for the day. The first hour passed slowly, and I had a hard time getting readjusted since I had just returned from the Midwest. 

  Around 9:15, I saw some movement down the ridge and quickly spotted a buck making its way toward me. I took some video of it. He had no clue I was in his world as he nibbled on some branches and slowly made his way past me. He was a nice deer, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him do his thing.  I was sad to see him disappear over the hill, knowing that would probably be the only – and last – interaction I would ever have with him. Unlike the Midwest, it’s not often that you see the same buck more than one time in the Adirondacks. 

  I got up about noon and began wandering around to see what I could find for sign, as I fully expected to bring my dad into this area when the timing was right. Unexpectedly, I found it in areas I’ve never seen it in before. I found it in traditionally dead areas. I’m not sure what is causing this, but I would venture to guess it’s from all of the pressure in the area and the total lack of food.

  Unlike most people, I study deer and deer behavior while hunting. I notice the stupid little things that most others probably never think about. I pay attention to what deer like and don’t like and why they do the things they do. Passing a lot of bucks gives me insight that many others are not able to analyze, especially in the big woods where you don’t see too many deer. Unlike many others, I don’t feel the desperate need to fill a tag to validate myself as a hunter. I’ve killed many deer in my life, and it wouldn’t change a thing if I never killed another one. Therefore, I could care less if I fill my tag. I’m all about experiencing a new adventure every time I step foot in the woods.

  As I began covering more and more ground, I began seeing things that made me question others’ character. What causes people to do the things they do? I’ll never know for certain, but I do know that I’m thankful that my father brought me up the right way and showed me how to be ethical and follow a good moral compass. Unfortunately, many people have no ethics and care about nothing other than themselves. I’ve seen this happen more often in the last few years.

  As many of you know, in recent years I decided to use less trail cameras in the areas I hunt, but I still use a few. I use them mostly for my father, so I know what deer are doing in an area before hunting it. The last few years I’ve used a cell cam in an area my dad hunts occasionally, so I know if there are any doe groups hanging in the area or to see if there are bucks trolling those groups looking for some action. With my dad being 76 years old, we use the camera to wait for the most ideal time to hunt a few places. Although he can still put the miles on, it becomes more difficult with every passing year. That’s why I do this. I do it to give him better opportunities and to not waste energy when it’s not necessary. We also know how quickly an area can be blown up and made useless to hunt.

  Well, I got a really bad taste in my mouth today, and before I begin, I do realize that public land is open to everyone. However, in most of the areas I’ve hunted, people tend to avoid areas that others hunt. They do this as a courtesy and it shows good ethics. It’s called respecting your fellow hunters and staying clear of them so as not to interfere with their hunting.

  The Adirondack Park is 6.5 million acres, yet someone thinks he should sit right next to where my dad sits. Furthermore, not only does he decided to sit there, he decides to come from the backside of the cell camera to make sure he doesn’t get caught on it, then pops open the camera and steals the card. This says volumes about an individual. The camera was over a mile and a half from the road, and it’s no easy feat to get to it to hunt. I hope this individual is proud of himself. I hope when you are 76 years old (if you make it that long) that someone does the same courtesy for you that you have done to my father. You are a class act, kudos to you. I know you’re most likely reading this, and you must feel great. I wish I could be like you. I won’t tell people that you originally approached the camera from the wrong side to open it, so you backed up and went onto the correct side to snag the card. I also won’t say that once you got the card, you went and cleared out a spot to sit about 30 yards from the camera.

  I’m sure glad I’m not like you and lack the confidence to find a spot where I’m not interfering with someone else. In all reality that’s the least of it. I just hope you feel great about taking stuff that isn’t yours. In case you were wondering, because you’re probably not smart enough to figure out the camera had a lot of pictures from all over the country and different spots on it, there are bucks on there from Iowa, Illinois and other parts of the Adirondacks. I hope you didn’t shit your knickers when you saw a few of them and then went and told all your buddies that the deer were from where you stole the camera. I guess the real joke is on you. I do think that part is kind of funny, especially seeing all of the people in the area right now. I’m assuming that’s what happened. You got excited seeing some really big bucks, yet you didn’t even notice they weren’t from where the camera was hanging. Actually. I think one 4-pointer showed up on the cell cam all year. Don’t forget, I get all of those pictures too, so I have them.

  Well, enough of that. In making a long story short, I guess I can say that after having minimal issues for the last 14 years, things have been getting increasingly more aggravating every year.  It’s too bad that these scumbags are in the woods. It’s a shame that people can’t find a good area and kill a deer there. It’s a rewarding thing when it happens. When you let someone else do all the work for you, is it rewarding? Please try to get some confidence and see if you can do something for yourself ad find your own spots where you’re to encroaching on others. There’s plenty of wilderness in all directions where you can start looking. If you need help, just let me know, and I can point you in a good direction. I’ll even give you the GPS coordinates so you can check the cameras that are there since I have’t checked them since putting the out in August.

  Dad missed a nice buck this evening in the place where he hunted. He shot through quite a bit of brush, and the bullet must have ricocheted off something before reaching the deer.  Brian saw seven deer today but none of them had antlers. Neither Brian nor Dad could believe the story when I told them what I had found. Here are the pics of the person’s work.

Here are the honest, ethical hunter’s tracks going to the camera. He’s got a pair of kahunas on him, since I know he stole the card the day before I got to the camera. That’s pretty ballsy. The first picture show’s where he went and set up next to the camera and sat for a while. He didn’t even put the card back. Instead he decided he would steal it. What a fella. A true Adirondacker right there. Hopefully, he doesn’t have any children or other hunters he’s mentoring.

No description available.

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022

December 8th, 2022

Today was our last day hunting in the Midwest. We will pick up all of our belongings in the woods tomorrow and hopefully get on the road before the sun goes down.  We hunted the area where we got all the pictures. 

  On our walk in, we spotted a few deer in our headlamps. They quickly bolted away. After getting set up, I had a small buck go past me and head into the bottom where Brian was set up. 

  At the end of the day, I had seen five bucks, and one was a dandy. I had a beautiful 8-pointer go past me, turn broadside, stop, and look the other direction. He was 23 yards away. As he stood there, I learned a valuable lesson: do not let frustration get the best of you when you are amongst huge deer. 

  If I hadn’t done what I did, I could’ve wrapped my tag around this buck’s antlers. I’m not unhappy with my decision, as it was a really tough week of hunting. I will try my best in the future to keep it from happening again. 

  Brian saw five bucks today. It’s unfortunate that gun season is coming in. The deer are really starting to move, and I’m sure we could do well if we had a few more days. At the same time, I’ll be happy to get home and get into the mountains where my heart lies. I’m and Adirondacker, and I was raised to hunt with a rifle in the big woods where there are not many other people. I look forward to the challenge that awaits me when I get home. 

Monday, Nov. 14, 2022

December 8th, 2022

Brian went to where we hunted the first day and saw a lot of deer. Later, he went to the money spot and saw two four pointers and seven does. He didn’t see anything to shoot at. I tried my hand at filling my doe tag but never saw a thing. I was a little disappointed. 

  Rain is forecasted for tomorrow. I’m not sure what we will do. I will continue trying to put a notch in my doe tag before we leave for home.  I just haven’t seen many deer this trip. 

  Brian got a giant deer on one of his cell cams today, so he will probably hunt that spot tomorrow. He’s pretty excited and has every reason to be.  It’s a legitimate giant. There were also a few other incredible deer on the camera too. The same thing happened in that spot the last time we hunted here. There are resident deer and deer that only show up when it’s go time for the does. When that time arrives, some giant deer appear. 

Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022

December 8th, 2022

This morning we headed across the road from camp. I figured the snow would be gone by the time we came out, and I wasn’t far off the mark. It didn’t warm up too terribly much, but it was enough to melt the snow. 

  I had a decent morning finally. I saw 10 deer, but only one was a buck, and it was more than 100 yards away and chasing a doe. It was a high-racked buck that we have on camera. With the way the week has gone, I probably would’ve tried shooting him had he given me a good opportunity. Brian saw one spike, and it fed under him for about an hour and a half. 

  We came out of the woods around noon and scurried around to go to one of my favorite spots.  When we arrived, nobody was parked alongside the road. That was a relief since the area gets pounded. After hunting it for a few years, we have enough data collected to understand the area’s resident deer can withstand the pressure. However, the best part about the place is that as the archery season moves toward gun season, many nonresident deer filter into the area to look for does and many giants show up out of nowhere. This time usually corresponds with when the pressure finally lets up. It’s a win-win.

  There wasn’t much sign in the area where I put my stand, but I know it’s always good, as it’s a great transition zone. Within minutes of getting in the tree, I had two does make their way past me to feed on some acorns. 

  After they disappeared, I saw a buck appear out of nowhere. The sun glistened off his antlers, and he looked majestic as he looked around. Since the week has been rough, I decided I would take him if he went past me. 

  Eventually, he made his way to me, and I drew my bow and anchored. Seconds later, the arrow found its mark after being in flight for 45 yards. The buck ran about 50 yards before running into a tree and falling to the ground. 

  It has been a long week. It’s not the type of deer you dream about going to Illinois to take, but I’ll be happy to have it in my freezer. I love eating venison more than ever, and I want to make sure I have a good supply going into the new year. 

  After skinning the deer and deboning it, we realized that much of the meat was bad. Someone had already shot the deer earlier in the season, and it had some bad infections that showed themselves when we began working on him.  One arrow had split the backstrap in half and another pierced the the guts. It’s hard telling what happened or if it was the same person who wounded both animals. Like last year, it could’ve just been someone who shot at one buck and didn’t know if he had hit it or not, then looked away and turned back to see another buck there and wing another arrow at that one and kill it, not knowing if he had wounded the first one. The stories people tell are sometimes beyond believable, but when you hear it from he source’s mouth, it’s hard to deny it.

Unfortunately, my batter on my phone had stopped working when I got the deer, so was not able to snap any photos before we cut it up. It was a nice 8-point frame but he was missing a brow tine, making him a 7-pointer. I was happy happy to wrap my tag around his antlers.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

December 8th, 2022

We woke up to a couple of inches of snow this morning! It’s hard to believe it has been in the mid 80s all week and suddenly we have snow. I sat until about 11:00 a.m. and didn’t see a thing. Brian saw a 4-pointer. I left Jim in a good spot this morning, and when I came back to get him there were tracks all over.  I asked what he saw and he said he didn’t see anything. I quickly found out he took a little snooze. It was funny and we had a good laugh about it. Dad didn’t see anything this morning. Here’s a photo of my dad’s bow this morning.

May be an image of nature

  The woods were lit up with sign on our walk out. I wanted to stay put, but we had too many things to do with Jim and Dad leaving at the end of the day. When Brian and I headed back into the woods across from camp, we jumped a bunch of deer and Brian shot at a nice buck after that. He ended up giving it a haircut on the low side.  I never saw the deer before he shot at it, but I ranged a leaning tree for him at 43 yards.  He didn’t realize the deer was about seven yards beyond the tree and didn’t estimate the right yardage. 

  There were tracks everywhere, but we never caught up to anything. I can’t lie and say it isn’t disappointing. Although I’d like to complain, I really can’t say much. I’ve had so many fantastic years, I think it’s only normal to finally get walloped with a bad one. I can’t catch up to a deer. 

  Tomorrow is supposed to be 25 degrees. I’m hoping I get lucky and have a nice buck wander past me. I’m not sure where I will hunt in the morning. I’ll have to make that decision when I get up. Dad and Jim just left for home. It sucks without them here. I didn’t like seeing my dad head home, but he has to be home for my mother. She is not well.