Sunday, October 21, 2018

October 21st, 2018

Today was a day I’d like to forget. I put on way more miles that I would have liked, but I got caught up in what I was doing and before I knew it I had traveled much farther than I had planned on going.

The wind howled today, and it spit snow throughout the morning. The wind blew right through me and wouldn’t let up. I waited as long as I could, which wasn’t long, before I finally had enough and decided to sneak and peek.

I discovered a few fantastic places, and I will surely find myself in those areas later in the year. I found a few more fresh scrapes and rubs, but nothing that really stood out.

When I got home tonight, I realized that my gun wasn’t in my truck. The last thing I remembered this afternoon was leaning my gun against the tire. I must’ve driven away without putting it in the backseat. Panic-stricken, I headed back to where I had parked and figured the gun was probably gone. Amazingly, when I arrived, the gun was lying in the leaves right where I had been parked. I was ecstatic to see it. Hopefully, my luck turns the corner sometime soon. The deer don’t seem to be moving much yet. I’m having a hard time getting into it this year, especially with all of the leaf cover.

It’s going to be a slow week for me. I have a lot of things going on and probably won’t be able to get out more than a day or two.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

October 21st, 2018

I hunted by myself today. That made for a long day. The wind howled all day. Thankfully, it wasn’t very cold. I got to where I wanted to sit before daylight and had a big doe feed past me around 8:15. I was tucked into a tree trunk, and she never knew I was within 20 yards of her. It was cool to watch her do her thing.

I aimlessly wandered through the woods the rest of the day, but I had one of the more productive days I’ve had in a long time. I came upon a few scrapes, but they weren’t anything significant, probably a couple of bucks that were feeling a burst of testosterone. I also found a few rubs.

The best thing I found today was an area where deer have been bedding regularly, which is something you very rarely come across in big woods. A short distance from all of the beds, I found there signpost trees. The trees haven’t been hit in a few years, but they are still there, which leads me to believe some big bucks travel through that area regularly.

I might hunt there a few times later in the year if  I can fit it into my schedule.

 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

October 21st, 2018

I got out of work and headed to the place that I had picked yesterday. Something in my gut told me to go there. I listened to the inner voice and made my way through the thick slash to find a place to sit.

Although I had it planned in my head, things didn’t look the same as they did in my imagination. That minor blip on the radar forced me to think on my feet and figure it out on the fly.

It didn’t take long for me to find a new place to sit. I ended up a little higher on the hill than I had planned, but I still had that feeling I get when I think I might see a good one.

The wind blew really hard today and continued blowing right up until it got dark. I didn’t see any deer, but on my way out, I had one blowing at me in a the place I have sat many times. I’ve never seen a deer while sitting there, but I jump them out of there regularly on my way out of the woods. I’d like to catch up with one in that place, and I’ll keep trying every once in a while. I figure I’m bound to run into one eventually.

I won’t be hunting  tomorrow night. Instead, I’ll be headed north for the opening weekend of Northern Zone rifle season.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October 17th, 2018

I didn’t have much time tonight, so I rushed into the woods and sat for an hour. The wind was blowing hard, and not many animals seemed to be moving. The temperature was hanging in the high 40s and it was partly sunny.

I saw one deer on my way out of the woods. I couldn’t tell what it was, so I can’t say I saw a buck or a doe. I’m thinking that tomorrow is going to be a good day. I already know exactly where I’m going. Hopefully, it pans out and I see a couple of deer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October 17th, 2018

I decided to run up to the place I hunted on Sunday to look for my blood monitor.  It was a good day to hunt. It was in the high 40s, sunny, and a light breeze hung around for most of the afternoon.

On my way in, I jumped a deer but couldn’t get a look at it to identify it. I’m almost sure it was a doe, but I wouldn’t wager my life on it. The chill in the air reminded me that we are close to the time frame when the woods come alive with whitetail magic. It’s a short period of time that people who don’t hunt cannot understand.

As I made my way to the place where I was almost certain I would find my blood monitor, I thought I spotted a deer getting out of its bed. Peering into the thick cover, I searched to find an outline of a deer but couldn’t locate anything. Knowing the deer was standing there, I continued looking. Finally, I spotted it about 30 yards away, and it was standing directly under the tree that my tree stand was in on Sunday.

I slowly brought the scope to my eye and searched the deer’s head for antlers. Not seeing any, I eased up on the gun and let it down.

The deer didn’t move an inch for the next minute, and the longer I looked at it, the more I realized that it was a large deer. Although I hadn’t seen antlers on its head, I felt the need to look at it again due to the animal’s size. Pulling the gun up to my shoulder, I tried getting another look at its head, but it took off running.  As soon as it bolted, I saw the rack on its head. Swearing at myself for missing it when it was 30 yards away, I quickly shouldered the gun and followed it with the scope. When it stopped, I reached into my pocket and grabbed my grunt call. I softly blew into the wooden tube a few times, and the deer suddenly started walking toward me. When it stopped in some hemlocks around 70 yards in front of me, I centered the crosshairs where the neck connects  to the the shoulders sine it was facing me. I pulled the hammer back but never applied any pressure to the trigger. Instead, I enjoyed the moment. The buck stood there for a few minutes before getting nervous and running down the hill. When it disappeared, I was a little agitated. The thing that bothered me the most was that I never saw the antlers and the buck was only 30 yards from me and standing still. It was a basket-racked 8-pointer. I got a good look at him in the open hemlocks. The points were barely large enough to call them points, but there were 8 of them, even if they weren’t an inch long. Having a muzzleloader in my hand, I wished that I had shot him. We don’t get many opportunities with that weapon, and I would have liked to capitalize with it. I was also agitated that I didn’t shoot him.

After the excitement, I trudged across the hill to find a place to sit for the rest of the afternoon. I forgot to mention that this buck had been working the mock scrape that I made on Sunday. I have a camera on the scrape, and he worked it about 45 minutes before I saw him, meaning that he laid down next to it after doing his thing. This surprised me for this time of year.

I saw another deer on the way out of the woods, but the news of the day was when I stopped at my parents on the way home. Dad came downstairs to see how I made out. He was hobbling around and holding his side. I asked him where he was going. He told me he was bringing himself to the ER because he was having severe chest pains like he was having heart attack.

Before I could get out of my hunting clothes and change into he clothes I had left there, he was gone and headed to the hospital. By the time I got there, the doctors already had him on a table and gave him his nitro before running a catheter through him .

When all was said and done, he didn’t have any blockages. He had to spend the night in the hospital (I’m writing this part the next day), and the tests showed that he had a viral infection ( I forget the name of it right now) that causes a sac around his heart and lungs to suffer inflammation, which causes a pain like heart attack pain.

He’s going to have to take it easy for a while. Hopefully, he listens to the Dr’s orders.

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 17th, 2018

We got a thorough drenching today. It rained the entire day and was still raining when I went to bed. We did catch a few breaks, and the rain tapered off to a drizzle. That’s when I decided to stay close to home and hunt an area that I usually only hunt once or twice a year. I figured there wouldn’t be many people out in the crappy weather, so it might just end up being a good time to take a chance.

As I made my way down the hill, I began sneaking into an area that has a small field with an apple tree in it. Looking closely, I spotted a big deer laying down under the apple tree. Knowing it didn’t see me, I looked it over closely and determined that it was a big doe. Since I’ve seen a lot of bucks in this area, I figured a buck might be nearby. Scanning the area around the doe, I tried my hardest to make a buck appear but had no luck. Eventually, the doe stood up but wasn’t too nervous. I slowly backed up and decided to leave her alone. As I walked away, I could see that she was watching me. I’d assume she probably laid down after I was gone, but I’ll never truly know.

As I crept along an old fence-line and through an oak grove, I watched closely for any deer that might be feeding. It wasn’t long before I spotted one. I ducked behind a tree and watched it. It was a small doe. I watched her for a half hour before she finally wandered away. I stayed in the area until shortly before dark and decided to head out of the woods. On my way out, I spotted two more does together just a short distance from where I had been standing against the tree for the last hour. At first look, I though one had a nice rack on top if its head, but I quickly realized it was my eyes playing tricks on me. Between the fog, bad lighting and light drizzle, it might clarity an issue.

After watching the deer for a few minutes, I continued my journey. Just before getting out of the woods, I spotted two more deer, but they disappeared before I could identify them. Although they didn’t run, they went over a rise, and I never got a good look at them.

My buddy Jacob arrowed a nice 6-pointer tonight. Big 6-pointers are unique. There’s something special about them, and I love seeing them when my friends get them.

 

Recently, I downloaded the DeerCast app from the Drurys. I wanted to see how it worked in this area as compared to the Midwest. Everything I’ve read about it says it is spot on for deer movement. People are praising it like crazy. It made me a little excited. It tells you what kind of day it will be for hunting and gives them times of day the hunting will be the best.

Well, today was an absolute dud. It said that the hunting would be poor the entire day. I saw a lot of deer, and they were all on their feet and feeding. Brian saw a few deer, and Jacob shot his deer while it was running around chasing some does. I know it’s a small sample size, but we all had good activity around us. I’m going to keep track of the days and see how they play out as the year goes by, especially different people’s trail cameras. The cameras should be a telltale sign.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 17th, 2018

Today we stayed close to home. It was a great morning to hunt. The temperature hung in the high 30s before the sun came over the mountain, and I could see my breath for the better part of the morning. I sat in a place where I passed a few bucks up one night about a decade ago. I know it’s a place where deer hang out in the early season.

I sat until a little after 10 before getting down and tramping around. Dad and I didn’t see anything. There wasn’t even much wildlife moving where we hunted. We did hear a shot and later found out that it was our buddy Doug. A buck winded him when it came in quietly. When he spun around to get a look at it after it took off running, he saw that it had a rack, so he took a shot. It’s pretty tough to get a good shot this time of year, but he thought the crosshairs were on the deer when it stopped for a few seconds before taking off running again. After looking around, it was determined that the buck had escaped. It might not have nine lives this year, but we all know it has at least two lives.

The day was relatively quiet besides that.  It looks like some more heavy rain is coming in tomorrow. I’m not sure I can remember the last time we had three consecutive days without rain.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

October 17th, 2018

Today was the first day of muzzleloading season in the Northern Zone of New York. I was up at 3:30 after going to bed at midnight. I told Dad and Brian that I would meet them at 4:30 under the bridge on the highway and park my truck there for the day.

As we headed north, we chatted back and forth about the many opening days of muzzleloading season that we have experienced. It’s funny how the ones we remember the most vividly are the ones when we got stuck in downpours, whether we were in leantos, on boats, or camping in a tent. We’ve seen it all. We laughed when we drove by a deer crossing sign and remembered the time we pulled off the road when we went past one because we figured it must be a good spot. It was the second day of the season, and we were headed home. To break up the ride, we pulled off and hunted. Within an hour, Dad had a buck on the ground……………..and he shot at it three times. Every time he shot, the smoke would clear, and the buck would walk closer to him. He had all the luck that day. As we continued up the highway, the raindrops found their way onto the windshield, but it didn’t appear that we were in for a drenching.

We made good time getting back in the woods. Dad decided to hunt with me for the day. It’s a sad realization that he is getting older. He didn’t want to climb the mountain in the normal place he hunts, so he opted to go with me because the walk is a little bit easier on the body. He’s a tough, old son of a bitch, but I love him for that. I wish I was half as tough as him. He’s got my respect in that area more than he possibly knows.

Hunting this time of year is tough if you’re going to walk or sit because it’s like being in a jungle. The visibility is limited, and this can make hunting discouraging in a hurry. Dad didn’t know where to go, so I researched my memory and came up with a place where I thought he might have a chance of seeing something. I dropped him off in an area I’ve sat many times and seen deer early in the season. He could see a lot of the open ground around in the area and would have an opportunity to get a shot if anything decided to go past him.

Shortly after daylight, a big doe came in behind him and snuck by the tree he was resting his back against. She got to within five yards of him before cutting my track where I had gone out in front of him when I dropped him off earlier that morning. She put her nose in my boot tracks and slowly followed my path through the woods. She wasn’t the least bit alarmed and didn’t act as if anything abnormal had been in her world. It kinds of makes you wonder, doesn’t it? We read all the stuff about people saying the deer instantly know if someone has penetrated into their homes, but then you watch this and realize the mature deer, which has probably seen many seasons, didn’t have a clue about my presence or Dad’s presence, and I had walked through her living room, and he was still sitting on her couch watching TV.

I didn’t see much of anything. I sat for about three hours before wandering all over the place looking for sign. In my travels, I didn’t see anything that caught my attention. There were tracks in most of the usual places, probably left there by the usual suspects. It doesn’t appear that there are many mast crops this year, which should benefit our hunting group. I’ve noticed that during big mast years, we usually suffer, while others benefit. I’ve never been able to understand it, but I’m sure there’s something behind it. I could just never pick the pocket they were feeding in the day I was hunting.

By the time the day ended, Dad was the only one who spotted a deer. Does this mean he will have a good season? I’m not sure, but I always love sitting back and watching the events unfold in front of us as the season progresses.

Monday, October 8, 2018

October 8th, 2018

Tonight I headed to a place I haven’t hunted in about 10 years. I’m not sure why I haven’t gone there, but I have just avoided it. It’s probably because of the amount of people that were tramping through the woods all over the place at the time. I just got sick of dealing with everyone’s shenanigans. Sadly, I had killed many nice bucks there before I stopped hunting the area.

When Dad and I headed up the hill after getting out of the truck, I had a lot of memories racing through my mind. I spent an awful lot of time on the mountain, and all of the memories of it are fantastic.

After splitting up, I made my way to a knob that I had sat on when I was 16 years old. On the day I sat there, Dad and I split up just like we did tonight. Shortly after resting my back against a tree that night, I saw a monstrous buck charging through the saplings in front of me. I found an opening and started pulling the trigger. Before I knew it, I had missed the biggest buck I had ever seen in New York. Looking back on it, I never imagined that the buck would still be the largest one I’ve ever seen in New York, but I still haven’t seen one that could rival it.

As I continued on my journey, I found where a good buck has been working. I wish I had checked the area out before tonight. All of the calmness will be gone on Saturday morning when muzzleloader season opens. I might try to hunt there a few times during the week after work next week. The buck sign was impressive, and it’s the first good sign I’ve found.

I’m unsure what I will be doing this weekend. I think I will go up north one day and wander around in the woods. I will probably stay close to home on the other day. I’ll have to play it by ear and see what everyone else wants to do.

It felt good to finally find some good sign tonight. The rain won’t let up. It’s still raining, and the woods have been extremely dark, making it very hard to see. The next two days are supposed to be in the mid 70s, so I’m going to take the days off and try to catch up on a bunch of stuff I need to do.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

October 7th, 2018

I picked my dad up, and we headed out for the morning. Since we didn’t have much time, we decided to stay fairly close to home. I went back to the stand I left at the base of the tree last night. I’m not sure why, but I expected to see deer today. Once again, I didn’t see anything. Dad didn’t see anything, either. We had a great morning to hunt. It was cool, overcast, and we both figured the deer would be on the move. Although they may have been on the move, they weren’t moving where we happened to be hunting. On our way out, we heard a few deer blowing at us, but we didn’t see them. The area appeared to have a lot of sign in and around it, but it’s so hard to tell how much sign there really is because of the amount of rain we’ve had in recent weeks.

Brian took his girlfriend’s son out today for the youth weekend. They were lucky enough to get a little spike. Derek was really excited and couldn’t believe the amount of adrenaline he had coursing through his veins afterward. It’s always good to get kids started when they’re young. If you introduce them to hunting, they can make the choice when they’re older if they want hunting to be a part of their lives.