Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Friday, Nov. 11, 2022

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Traditionally, this date has treated me well over the years. In out-of-state hunts, I believe it’s my most successful date, so when I headed out this morning, I had a good feeling. 

  At the last minute, I decided to hunt with Brian in one of his spots. Shortly after daylight, I didn’t like where I was set up, so I climbed out of the tree and began searching for a better place. 

  The search didn’t last long, as I found a dynamite spot about 200 yards from where I had originally set up. I stayed there until it was time to meet Brian. I learned that he had a few guys out in front of him this morning.  We just can’t get away from people this year. He shined his light at them, but they never left and climbed trees in front of him. I just don’t get the total lack of respect for someone who beat you to a spot. There’s a lot of land. Go find another spot for the morning rather than blow up someone else’s hunt. You know exactly what you’re doing. It’s not increasing your odds either.

  I didn’t see a deer and Brian saw a spike. I decided to bring a hang-on stand back to the area I found. I’ll probably sit there the remainder of the time. It looks like a great cruising spot, and I’m almost sure a big buck will go by the stand. This is one of the best places I’ve found in the Midwest. It’s a rim along a valley that has about six fingers going down into it. The deer cruise the rim of the valley, and I’m set up right at the top of one finger where the runway turns the corner and goes onto a long oak flat. The stand is about 40 yards from an edge that consists of plantation pines. There’s a small creek a little way to the right of the stand, and there are large primary scrapes all over in front of the stand. Multiple giant rubs are scattered all over in the hardwoods too.

  This evening Brian saw a doe and two fawns, and I didn’t see anything. The temperature finally dropped, and snow is predicted for tomorrow. Big bucks finally started moving, and we got a few that showed up in some of our good spots. We will have to figure out where to hunt in the morning. We have a giant in on spot that is pushing the B&C minimum, and we have a huge, forked G-2 buck in another spot. There are some other good deer moving, but those two will probably be the ones we will focus on. Everyone else is headed home tomorrow, but Brian and I are staying a few more days. 

  Doug saw six bucks today in a new spot he tried out. Jeff has seen some really nice bucks the last few days but hasn’t been able to get a shot. It’s too bad the weather was so bad all week for the guys. It’s hard to enjoy hunting when it’s in the low to mid 80s every day.  We will see what tomorrow brings. I don’t have my hopes up. I’m just not seeing any deer this year. It’s bound to happen. I’ve had a lot of great years, so I can’t complain about it. 

Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

I felt like today was going to be the day. We got going early, but the temperature was just shy of 70 when we got out of the vehicle. I was sitting for an hour before daylight. 

  Sitting next to a water hole in some plantation pines, a few deer made their way to it before daylight. I couldn’t see them, but I could hear them drinking. A few minutes later, a buck came down the old road in front of me, but he never made it to the water. He caught my wind and headed back to where he came from. 

  The rest of the day was uneventful. I sat the entire day and didn’t see a thing. Brian missed a big buck in the same piece of woods. He ricocheted of some branches that he never saw when he released the arrow.  It was a dandy of a buck, too. He’s pretty disappointed, but there’s not much you can do when you don’t see the brush in your sight picture when you hit full draw.

  The temperature topped out at 76 degrees today. It just won’t let up. Originally, it was supposed to drop tomorrow, but the forecast doesn’t seem to agree. Hopefully, the heat subsides. This has not been one of my better trips. I haven’t seen hardly any deer, and I haven’t seen a racked buck yet.  I have a feeling someone will connect tomorrow. Everyone except Dad and I has been doing well and seeing a lot of deer. He and I have had all of our hunts disturbed my other people. I’ve been in my tree well before daylight multiple days and had to shine my light at people as they approached in the darkness. Unfortunately, it didn’t phase any of them, with two of them climbing trees within 40 yards of me and staying there for the first few hours of daylight. It’s getting pretty discouraging. There isn’t much you can do about incidents like that when you encounter them at daybreak and your hunting partner is in the same piece of woods. It’s not like I could’ve picked up and went someplace else. Instead, I sit there and take it on the chin. It hasn’t been fun. That’s the pitfall of hunting on public land. Between OnX Maps and Social Media, public land hunting has increasingly gone downhill at a rapid pace.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

  I missed a few days, but there wasn’t much to report on.  The heat has been repulsive, with the temperatures hovering in the mid to low 80s. The deer have not moved at all, but Jim has been having some good luck. Last night he drew on a really nice 10-pointer but was never able to pull the trigger. The deer sensed something being wrong and stopped before Jim had a good shot at him. It’s amazing how the big ones have that sixth sense that saves their lives.

  Today he hit a giant 10-pointer, but we never caught up to it. He hit it a little too far toward the back end. The tracking job came up uneventful. He’s pretty disappointed, but he’s also optimistic that he will get another chance.  I hope he does. He’s a good kid, and he’s motivated. It warms my heart to watch a young guy who enjoys hunting so much. 

Although I was slightly older than him when I began my adventures in the Midwest, I’m glad he had a chance to go this year and experience something different in the whitetail world. I think he’s enjoying himself and is thankful for the opportunity to try different things. He’s a gamer. I’ve learned my lessons over the years from giving people opportunities to experience different things. It has come back to haunt me in many instances. I know that will never be the case with Jim. He was brought up like me. His dad showed him the way, and he was brought up in the Adirondacks. I think it’s a lot different when you’re brought up in areas where there are many deer. You learn to value things in a different light than most, and you learn to respect the game you pursue and the other people doing the pursuing.

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

The time changed last night, so it took a bit to get going this morning. We ended up a tad late to where we hunted, but we were still in the tree before daylight. I went in blind and climbed a tree in an area Brian had found a few days earlier. 

  At daybreak, I spotted a small buck making its way up the hill past me.   A short time later,  I saw a man park his vehicle on the side of the road and carry his climber and crossbow to a nearby tree. I coughed at him so he would see me, which he did. Then, he proceeded to climb the tree and set up. He faced directly at me at about 50 yards, so he would be shooting at me if anything went between us. 

  I wanted to get out of the tree and move, but there were limited places I could go, and I had never been to the place in my life, so I stayed put. An hour later, a doe and fawn made their way past me, and another doe with two fawns trotted by the stand. 

  Eventually, the guy climbed down and made his way back to his truck. He left his stand latched to the tree and left after sitting for two hours. Shortly after he left, another deer crossed the main road and trotted by me. Every deer I saw came across the road from the private property. 

  We spent the afternoon scouting a new area. In the beginning, I thought it was going to be a dud as we walked along a streambed. There was absolutely no sign. Then, we decided to venture to the top of some big ridges. When we got up there, I started seeing sign instantly.  We found a double scrape, and I marked it for Jim. I think he can kill a good one there.

  As we continued on our journey, I began seeing a lot of scrapes and rubs. Then, out of nowhere, I spotted an oasis in the forest. A big waterhole was in some pines, and it was loaded with deer tracks. I found an abundance of sign around it and marked a tree to sit in. 

Open photo

  The temps are still in the mid 70s. It hasn’t been much fun so far due to the high heat. We will see what tomorrow brings. 

Sat. Nov. 5, 2022

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Today was my first day hunting in the Midwest for the year. We arrived last night and set camp up around dark. It made for a short night’s sleep, and I didn’t feel rested when I woke up. 

  Throughout the night, we got pounded with severe thunderstorms and monsoon-like rains. The chaos started about midnight and lasted until around 7. When it began letting up, Dad, Jim and I went to hang a stand for Dad. 

  We saw eight deer on our walk in, but we couldn’t identify any of them as bucks. It felt good to see some deer. After getting done hanging the stand, we heard a noise and saw a truck driving through the woods on the old haul road that we had walked in on. In all the years I’ve hunted in this area, I’ve never seen a vehicle on it because it’s illegal to have any motorized vehicles on it. However, two clowns from Wisconsin decided they would drive down the road and park right next to the stand. According to the GPS, we had walked a little over a mile, and these lazy individuals basically ruined the hunting and disobeyed the laws. The things I’ve seen people do in the woods on public land has amazed me in recent years. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the old days before it was “cool” to hunt on public land.  Now, with the mass influx of social media influencers, everyone has decided to hunt on public land. As I was aging, many public land hunters were looked down on because they didn’t have private land to hunt on. Public-land hunters were always seen as the paupers of the deer-hunting world. It’s amazing how things change.

  I spent the second half of the day scouting with Brian as the temperatures climbed into the mid 80s, topping out at 85. We found a pretty good area, and we will return to hunt it in a few days. 

  On our way out, a woman with a flashlight chased us through the woods and tried telling us we were on private land and her father in-law owned it. However, she was wrong.  Our OnX maps clearly showed we were not on private land. Instead, we were about 20 yards from the border. Although I believed OnX was the best thing ever when it first came out, I’ve learned to dislike it. I believe it’s another item that has led to the influx of public land hunters all over the country. The program made it so people are no longer afraid of the woods. They rely on their phones and have no fear whatsoever. Although they don’t have woodsmanship skills, they have a computer in their hands. Maybe I’m spewing negativity and shouldn’t be, but I don’t like what I’ve seen social media do to hunting — or the country.

  We will see what tomorrow brings. It’s supposed to be another scorcher tomorrow. As I write this at 8 p.m., it’s still in the mid to high 60s. It definitely doesn’t feel like November. 

Monday, Oct. 31, 2022

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

I can remember waiting next to the telephone on Halloween night when I was a kid. I always wanted to find out if my dad had had any luck while bowhunting in the Southern Zone of New York. He would always go to Oneonta with our neighbor Don Wood, and they would hunt for about four days before returning home. I loved listening to my father’s stories. The stories began when he was hunting with a recurve and continued after he switched to a compound. One year he was having bad luck until he met a man at Dandee Donut Shop on Main Street, and the man invited him to come hunt near his home in Stamford, N.Y. Don and Dad took him up on his offer and couldn’t believe the sign. Those were the days. I was a starry-eyed kid and had no idea which direction my life would take when I became a teenager.

Looking back on it, I must’ve known I wanted to be like my dad and share the same adventures. Eventually, we began having our own Halloween adventures in the woods, and we took some dandies on 10/31 of different years. Halloween was and always will be a magic day in the woods. The statistics I’ve compiled proof this to be true. I killed a 180-plus pounder a few years back on Halloween, and I felt proud to know I had finally outsmarted the mountain monarch.

Well, today’s Halloween hunt didn’t end the same as that one, but I still had a good time. Brian and I hunted together, and we waited on the edge of our seats. We both figured today was the day. I had 80% confidence that one of us — or maybe both of us — would put a good one on the ground. As the minutes crept into hours, my hopes faded away with the daylight. It just didn’t happen this year. I guess we will have to use it and learn from it. Statistics don’t always play out in our favor.

I’m headed to the Midwest at the end of the week. The forecast is calling for solid 75-85 degree temps the entire time. The low temps forecasted are for 71 on Wednesday. I’m not looking forward to this trip, but I’ll go enjoy my time in the woods, even if I’ll be a sweaty mess the entire time. We only get so many seasons to hunt. We have to make the most of the weather. We can’t change it, so we have to accept it and move forward. Maybe we’ll get lucky and a few will on their feet and moving in the high heat.

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

I hunted with my buddy Jim today. We had a plan from the get go and stuck to it. I had a lot of data in my favor and used it in hopes of connecting on something. It was 27 degrees when we got into the truck and began driving down the road. Once again, there was minimal movement throughout the day in the area we hunted. Jim saw a nice buck in the thick cover, but things didn’t pan out the way he would’ve liked. Once again, the temps rose quickly and reached the 70-degree mark. The mornings have been fantastic, but the afternoons are taking the fun out of it. Forty-five degree temperature swings every day don’t make for very much fun. It’s hard to figure out how to dress.

At the end of the day, Brian, Dad and I notched a zero for deer sightings once again. Jim was the only one lucky enough to see anything. There must’ve been some deer moving today, though. I did hear five shots throughout the day. I heard a single shots and two bursts of two shots each. It always makes me wonder what the people were shooting at and if they got what they shot at. It’s a mystery that very rarely gets solved. It’s fun to imagine.

I’m off again tomorrow, so I’ll give it once last whirl before calling it good until I return from the Midwest.

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

This morning was ideal for sitting. I hopped in the truck and looked at the thermometer. I was content when I saw 25 degrees staring at me from the dashboard. I felt like today could be the day. I didn’t waste any time getting to where I wanted to sit. Instead of loafing through the woods, I put the hammer down and got there as quickly as I could.

Arriving about 40 minutes before daylight, I rested my head against a tree and closed my eyes. The leaves were dry enough and frost covered to give me notice of any approaching animal. However, I didn’t doze very long. I was alert and ready for action when the woods became gray. Five hours later, I called it a day. I hadn’t seen or heard one living creature, not even a bird. I’m still stumped why nothing moved in the area I chose to hunt. Highly disappointed, I still-hunted a loop and sat in another area until dark.

When the sun finally set, I joined Brian and Dad at camp. Nobody had seen a deer. The afternoon temps climbed to 70 degrees. Tomorrow morning is supposed to be similar to today, so I’m hoping that will get some deer moving. Only time will tell. It has been slow.

Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

Friday, October 28th, 2022

When I woke up, I couldn’t wait to get in the woods. Everything inside me told me today was going to be a good day with lots of deer movement. It was 25 degrees when I got out of the truck, and the stars sparkled brightly in the dark sky. I never passed another vehicle on the road this morning, and I felt alive. The cool air in my lungs reminded me that it was finally my time.

As the light from my headlamp lit up the woods in front of me, I could see that the low beech leaves were gone. While a few were dangling onto trees here and there, the majority of them were gone. This excited me and made me turn it up a notch while walking. I knew I would be able to see a lot farther than we’ve been able to see the last few weeks.

I was settled against a big yellow birch tree when the sun came up. The woods were quiet, and I anxiously waited for something to show up. Unfortunately, I waited until noon for something to show up, and animals just weren’t moving. It blew my mind that nothing moved. As I sit here tonight, I still can’t figure it out. The conditions were ideal.

I wandered around during the afternoon hours to look for any new sign that might have been laid down in the last few days, but I didn’t come across anything. Actually, the woods looked void of sign. I saw a few tracks here and there, but the normal amount of sign just didn’t seem to be there.

As the afternoon headed toward evening, I sat for a little bit. Around 4:00 p.m., I saw a deer’s tail wag. I never saw it again. The deer got by me without giving me a look at it. It was in some really thick stuff, and it was a long way away from me.

When I got back to the truck, the thermometer was at 40 degrees. Dad hunted this afternoon. He didn’t see anything.

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

Friday, October 28th, 2022

I scurried around to allow myself a few minutes to get into the woods after work. Although I didn’t have much time, I know it only takes a few seconds for something to happen. I’ve seen it occur enough times over the years to realize no available minute should be wasted when the weather is right. Since it has been in the 70s all week, I figured the deer would be on their feet with the temperature drop.

I made my way to a spot near the road that gave me confidence. I”ve seen a few good deer in this area in the past, and I know things are probably getting ready to pop. I decided to sit on a scrape that gets a lot of activity every year around Halloween. When I got near the scrape, I was disappointed to see that there were still a lot of low-hanging beech leaves on, so it would make it very difficult to find a good place to sit.

When darkness rolled in, I packed my stuff and headed out of the woods. It felt good to be in the woods, and I realized I’m ready. It’s finally go-time. All of my concentration will be centered on hunting for the next month. I’ve found myself lagging this year when it comes to getting ready. I had too many things going on to focus the way I need to focus.

My bow contract ran out at the end of the competitive archery season, and I encountered some stress while trying to figure out where I would land for next year. After I made the deal, it lifted a weight off my shoulders, and I look forward to what the next few years have to offer. I”m happy with the decision I made, and I will be representing Darton Archery. I was given and opportunity to get on board on the ground floor as far as their marketing entry into competitive archery. It’s always good to feel valued, and the owner of the company makes me feel valued.

Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 20s. I think the deer should move, but you never know. If I were in the Midwest, I know I would have some action tomorrow, but mountain hunting is nothing like the Midwest.