Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

October 29th, 2021

Well, today was my last day in the Adirondacks for a bit. Unlike most years, I won’t be gone as long this year. I’m not sure why, but our schedules did’t line up the way they normally do. I’m looking forward to getting home to hunt, and I haven’t even left yet. We will be on the road tomorrow. I’m not sure what to expect, as the majority of my time will be spent in an area I’ve never laid eyes on. Hopefully, I can figure it out and give it my best shot.

I have a bum left leg right now. It’s the tendon that funs along my knee, and it’s getting hard to lift my leg over logs without quite a bit of pain. However, as I continue walking, the pain subsides and I all but forget about it until I have to step over things. I’m hoping it will improve when we are out west.

I expected to see a good one visit the scrape I sat on this morning, but once again, I didn’t make a good prediction. There was a heavy frost last night, and the temperature read 22 degrees when I rolled out of bed at 4:30. The woods were quiet until the frost began melting from the leaves and tree limbs. Then, the ground became wet and the falling droplets of water created a gentle music to my ears.

Before long, I knew I had to head out of the woods, as I didn’t have much time to waste today. I still had to work eight hours and pack my stuff for the trip. The temperature climbed quickly and reached 58 degrees by the time I got back to my truck at 11. Then, the wind picked up and the high for the day landed at 64.

Amazingly, I passed nine vehicles on my way back down the road after hunting. I couldn’t believe how many people were in the woods on a Friday. It reminded me of the old days in Southern Zone when I was a kid. I’m thinking that might be why I haven’t seen very much sign at all in the area I hunted today. I keep trying to convince myself that the sign will show up, but at this point, I realized on my walk out of the woods that sometimes things change and it’s hard to understand the reasons behind the change. Although I’ve racked my brain trying to figure it out, I haven’t come up with anything. However, Dad believes it might have something to do with EHD. EHD has pounded a few areas not too far from the house, and Dad said he has smelled a few dead things while wandering around the woods the last few weeks. Although he hasn’t located anything, he said it reminded him of the year we found all of the dead deer in Ohio after an EHD outbreak. We could smell dead animals all over the place, and we didn’t see many animals either. I”m not sure if that’s what is going on or if possibly all of the pressure is leading to the problem. Anyhow, it will be glad to get away for a bit and try my hand at a different style of hunting. I believe I might have access to Wi-fi, so I might try to update this as often as possible. I’m leaving the state of New York with one deer sighting in the last month, although I did see a few tails blasting through the woods after I kicked them up, but I don’t count them.

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021

October 29th, 2021

Although the week brought us some hellacious weather, I figured the deer would be freshening scrapes after it passed. Knowing this, I knew exactly where I was going to go on Thursday. I figured the heavy wind that was forecasted on Wednesday after two days of heavy rain would keep the deer hunkered down. Well, my guess didn’t pan out.

When I arrived in the area I wanted to sit on Thursday, I realized the major scrape in the area had been freshened in the last 24 hours. I missed the boat, but I remained optimistic that the big buck might return for his second trip to it in 24 hours. The day was ideal for his return, with minimal wind and a low of 30 and high of 50.

I studied a lot of things today, and realized the place where I was hunting was a great location. Although I had always thought it was good in the past, I finally realized it is great. It has everything needed for a big buck. The terrain funnels them into a flat on the side of a mountain that is no bigger than a football field. There are steep cliffs on three sides and a good-sized pond in the vicinity. All of the buck sign from past years made me well aware that bucks use the flat annually during the rut. Unfortunately, I’ll probably be tramping around the woods somewhere halfway across the country during the rut, but I can only imagine how good this spot could be if I were going to be home. I found some giant scrapes and a little bit of old buck sign to keep me alert.

At the end of the day, it was another day of nothing. Things just haven’t been adding up this year, and it’s not for lack of trying.

Old rubs always intrigue me.

Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021

October 27th, 2021

The morning welcomed me with frost on my windshield for the firs time this fall. I wondered when we would finally get a frost, but I don’t have to wonder anymore. It felt brisk outside, and I couldn’t wait to get into the woods. I always overdress early in the season because I can never tell what the day will bring or if it will warm up steadily throughout the day. As usual, I carried way too much junk in my pack and I regretted it later in the day.

On my journey through the darkness, I got turned around a few times and ended up losing time while bushwhacking through foreign territory. I have to laugh about it because it happens every year, at least a few times a year. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not paying attention or if it’s just from unfamiliarity with the direction of my travels.

As I nestled into the big yellow birch tree to get ready for the sun to come up, I didn’t know what to think. Although I was just looking at the ground with my headlamp, I didn’t see too many tracks in the area. I know that doesn’t mean much, but I usually see a fair number of tracks in the leaves in this area.

As one hour rolled into the next, I felt myself nodding off. Mentally, I was shot. I’ve had so much on my mind lately that hunting seems to be the furthest thing from needing my attention. My mother’s illness has kept me staring at the ceiling on more than one night, and I don’t see an end in sight. My mother has always been my sounding board. I can sit and talk to her for hours, and she just patiently listens to me and gives me feedback. She’s my biggest fan, but she also tells me what I need to be told at times. I appreciate that the most. She has always gone out of her way to help me and everyone around me. She has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and it’s in Stage 4. It’s awful to see her when she’s getting beat on from the disease. It drains her energy and takes all the color from her skin. I find it almost impossible to concentrate on hunting, even though that has always been my release. I’ve lost my edge when I’m in the woods, and I’m not sure it will return this year. I’m basically just going through the motions to escape reality. My heart isn’t into hunting.

After sitting until about 11, I decided to do a loop and check a few places out. As I continued over hills and through valleys, I realized I wasn’t seeing any sign at all. Usually a few of the places I went are torn up but not this year. It appears there isn’t going to be much action in that area this year. I’m assuming it’s because of the feed. When I reached my truck at 2:30, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was disappointed.

To end the day, I met up with Josh, and we went exploring. I pushed off an area to him but nothing went past him. Then, we wandered around for a bit. We saw some sign to get excited about, but it’s still early. I had a good day today and a good weekend. The temperatures finally dropped enough to make me aware that hunting season has arrived — and I welcomed the sensation. Here are a few photos from my weekend.

Brian wandered back into camp about an hour after dark. We learned that he shot a nice bear. He made good work of it and quartered it out and got the entire thing in one trip. There’s nothing like a real-life Paul Bunyan, and that is Brian. It also says a lot for Kiui backpacks. The only thing that stayed behind was some of the shoulder that was too fart shot up to save any meat.

A bear climbed this beech at some point in the past.
The moon and stars breathed life into me as I made my way though the woods in the morning.
Josh and I found a big rub with the shavings still in th leaves

Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021

October 25th, 2021

Unlike many opening days of Northern Zone, I went to bed and was unsettled all night. I felt like I used to feel on the night before opening day of Southern Zone when the season opened on a Monday. The excitement felt back then is still beyond explanation, even today. It’s something I fell very fortunate to have experienced, as I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge during those times. I learned what deer do under pressure, and I watched people and learned how to use pressure to my advantage. I’m glad Dad let me experience it with him. We had some great times in my younger years.

After a restless night, I hit the alarm at 4:30 a.m. and headed out the door at 6. When I arrived to the spot I wanted to park, a truck had already beaten me there. With more than hour before daylight, I couldn’t believe someone was already in the woods. It’s not often that I’m the second guy to get in the woods first thing in the morning. I also don’t like walking past people in the dark. It creates an awkward feeling.I wasn’t sure If I would walk by the guy or if I would never see him.

Dad and I hunted together today. I put him in a spot that was easy to access. I had a great feeling about the spot. There were huge scrapes on a a little flat, and the scrapes haven’t been opened yet, but I know they will be opened soon. I was hoping today would be the day.

After an hour’s walk, I arrived to the place I wanted to sit. My clothes were drenched in sweat, so I quickly changed out of them and put dry clothes on. This morning was the first time I really felt in the mode of hunting season. The morning chill found a home in my bones, and I enjoyed it, if even for just a few seconds. Fall had finally arrived, and I welcomed it. The temperature was hovering around 35. Although it didn’t frost, the morning air made it known that it will only be a matter of days.

Shortly after daylight, blue jays began cawing, and I had an uneasy feeling. With so many leaves still not the low stuff, it makes it almost impossible to hear anything, let alone see something. I glanced through the woods regularly throughout the day and never moved. Something in my gut told me to stay put. I threw all my cards on the table and went all-in. I was sure a buck was going to visit the scrape.

As th hours ticked off the clock, my hopes remained high. It was the first great hunting day of the season. Eventually, I gave in and headed back to the truck to make it there before it got dark. I picked my dad up on the way out, but not before jumping a few deer and watching their tails bounce like popcorn dancing in a microwave after exposing out of the bag. I enjoyed the scenery, even though I was not happy that they spotted me before I spotted them. As they zigzagged through the woods, I found myself wondering if any of them wore headgear suitable enough for me to want to find his shoulder with my crosshairs. I will never know for sure, but I think one of them was probably a solid candidate. I’ll see what tomorrow brings. The first frost of the year is forecasted for tonight. I’d guess that will get them moving tomorrow. Brian saw three does today shortly after daylight. Dad didn’t see any deer at all.

Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

October 25th, 2021

I got out of work early today and headed north to meet Brian. We had intentions of checking out a few places before the opener of Northern Zone rifle season on Saturday. It was about 65 degrees when we headed into the woods. We marched around for a bit and found what we were looking for, which was a few areas where bucks were working.

After studying what was in front of us, I decided to give it a whirl for the opener. I didn’t know what to expect for other hunters, and I didn’t know if I would see any deer. Neither one of us had ever hunted this area, and opening days can sometimes tell you all you need to know about a place. Being early in the season, I don’t mind being the guinea pig. When there are bucks making scrapes earlier in the season, it’s usually a good idea to sit night someplace near them. The bucks will almost always return to the them in the daylight in areas that aren’t overruled with pressure.

Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

October 20th, 2021

I knew I had to get in the woods today because it was the coolest day of the hunting season so far. However, the wind was howling at a pretty good clip. I hunted with Kentucky today, and we went into an area with a lot of oaks in the southern Adirondacks. I knew a good place to send him where I’ve had a lot of action in the past, so he headed in that direction. I hunted on the back side of the mountain from him in hopes of walking up on a feeding deer in the oaks or a bedded one due to the wind.

After a few hours of still-hunting, I packed it in and began my journey back to the truck. I had the “feeling” tonight. I was almost certain that I was going to walk up on an unsuspecting buck, especially in the areas that I traversed. I purposely set my route ahead of time, so I could hunt across many oak flats and through other oak groves. In all reality, I didn’t see much sign. I did find a few rubs here and there, and I saw where a few guys had sat in recent times.

I most likely won’t get out much the rest of the week. It won’t bother me, as the weather is headed back into the high 70s. I just can’t get into it when it’s that hot out. I’m sure the deer still roam the hills, but I don’t like to be all sweated up when I’m trying to be stealthy.

Here are a few pictures from today’s adventure.

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021

October 20th, 2021

I went with my gut today and headed to a different area than where I hunted yesterday. It was the best morning we’ve had, and it still wasn’t even close to a frost. For some reason, I felt chilly after climbing into the stand and getting settled. It’s probably because the temps have been in the 70s and 80s almost every day.

The birds went crazy for a bit, and it alerted me that something was going on in the near vicinity. That’s when I leaned forward to get a better look, and something startled me — or I startled it — in the brush behind me. Then, I saw a deer darting through the heavy brush, but it stopped and stood motionless. It tried figuring out what had spooked it but couldn’t place the origin of the problem. Then, I realized that it must’ve gotten spooked when I leaned forward.

After she became relaxed, she began feeding and continued eating in front of my stand for almost three hours. Eventually, she wagged her tail and wandered over the hill out in front of me.

The rest of the day was uneventful, and in the afternoon. the skies opened up and dumped rain in buckets. I got drenched to the bone, so I packed it in about an hour before it got dark and headed for the truck. Overall, it was a good weekend. I put on 15 miles total in the three days. I did see where a few bucks have begun working, so that was the positive point to take home. Hopefully, the cooler weather will stick around for a bit.

Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021

October 16th, 2021

It rained cats and dogs last night. This weather just doesn’t want to give in. It feels as if we are in a tropical jungle. When I walked outside today, I couldn’t see more than 50 yards. As I began my trek into the woods, the light cast from the headlamp made me dizzy due to the dense fog. If I hadn’t followed the terrain features, I probably could’ve ended up in a mess.

I couldn’t make myself sit down for the better part of the morning. With all of the low leaves still on, it made it difficult to find somewhere to sit. Instead, I poked through the wet leaves in hopes of catching a deer lying down. It never happened.

Nobody in the bunch saw a deer today. It was incredibly muggy. Although there were severe T-storm warnings, we never experienced one. I guess we got lucky in that regard. The forecast is calling for temperatures to finally drop into the mid 50s tomorrow. Currently, I can’t believe that, but we will see what the day brings.

Friday, Oct. 15, 2021

October 16th, 2021

Amazingly, the heat dropped like a rock today!! It got down to 72 degrees from the 80s yesterday… almost into the 60s. The deer are not moving in the areas I’ve been hunting. The leaves are also falling at a pace that makes it almost impossible to see sign unless it was just made.

I went on a 7 1/2 mile jaunt today after getting out of work at 1:00 p.m. I got drenched to the bone. I’m not sure if I got more wet from the sweat or from the moisture that was still on the trees and underbrush from the earlier rain.

Halfway into my journey, my GPS decided it no longer wanted to work. I guess it has finally run its course. While climbing a mountain, my signal got weak, and the unit lost its ability to communicate with any satellites. I figured it was just a momentary thing, but after trying to get it to reboot, I realized that is probably on its way to GPS heaven. I will probably have to upgrade to a newer version. It’s somewhat disheartening, because I’ve never used it much, and I have taken good care of it.

It seems that bears are all over this year. I’m not sure if that is what has slowed down the typical deer movement or if the extended summer weather is the issue. I did find one place where a deer had scraped in the last 24 hours, and it was in one of my typically good areas. Hopefully, that’s a sign that things are going to improve, but I’m not counting on it at this point in time. Tomorrow is the first day of Northern Zone NY muzzleloader season, then we will have seven consecutive weeks of hunting with firearms. Here are a few pictures of my day. There’s nothing like following a dirt road into fall.

A dirt road has a splendor all its own… something only a hunter can understand.

Most of the high leaves are gone. Still a lot of underbrush, though.
I’ve seen a few places where bucks have begun their annual rituals.

Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021

October 16th, 2021

Although it was 81 degrees when I got out of my truck this afternoon, I still headed into the woods. I didn’t have hunting on my my mind, but I did want to go for a walk in an area to see if I could find any type of sign.

As I wandered across ridges and the sweat seeped down the crease of my back where my spinal cord resides, it didn’t bother me. I continued walking and somewhat enjoyed the process. As warm as it was outside, it didn’t feel overbearing to me.

As the minutes began bringing me toward sunset, I knew I had to turn around and head back to the road. I had been aimlessly wandering for the better part of three hours at that point. Looking at my watch, I didn’t know if I could get back to the road before it got dark, but I knew I was going to attempt it.

When I arrived at my truck, there was still a hint of daylight that could be seen in the skyline, but it would be gone by the time I packed my gear in the backseat and started the truck.

My trip today was somewhat useless. The weather just won’t let up. We haven’t had one day that I can remember the daily high being under 67 degrees. The movement has been minimal to nonexistent in the areas I’ve hunted, and it makes the desire to go out decrease with every new day of high heat. I’m ready for fall.