Archive for October, 2010

Sunday October 31

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Well this was quite the way to say goodbye to October and hello to November. I sat on a funnel this morning hoping to catch a buck out cruising. It was a great morning to sit. The wind was relatively calm compared to the last few weeks. There wasn’t much sign where I sat, but I went with my gut and figured I would take a chance. Sometimes those chances pan out and sometimes they don’t. I did have a great morning. I didn’t say any living creatures. It spit snow for most of the morning. The temperature when I left the house was around 37 degrees and there was a SW wind where I was sitting.

My dad went with me this morning. He was feeling a little better today as compared to yesterday. He didn’t see anything either.

This afternoon  was calm until I got into the woods. When I headed to my stand the heavens let loose with a blinding snowstorm. The snow pelted my face and made it hard to walk. I contemplated turning around for a few minutes.

I continued on my way and by the time I got to my stand the sky opened up and I could see some patches of blue with a little sun mixed in. I checked the battery in my camera. It looks like it should make it until I get back around Thanksgiving time.

Around 4pm I could hear something above me. My friend Jason had seen a bear earlier in the morning, so when I saw something black moving it got my heart racing. Within seconds I could see that it was a small flock of turkeys. It surprised me because I hadn’t seen turkeys in there in quite a few years. As they fed down past me I started a coughing attack like last night. It didn’t alert them and they fed out of sight. I only saw 3 and they were all gobblers with the largest one having around an 8 1/2 inche beard.

Around 5pm I heard a really strange noise behind me. It was a noise that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard. I recall my father telling me about a noise the buck we call “The Bull” made right before he saw him. This sounded similar to that noise. It sounded like half of deer’s blow mixed with a grunt and a red squirrel squeal. That’s the closest I can come to describing it so you’ll have to bear with me.

As soon as I heard it I remembered the conversations about “The Bull.” When I scanned the woods I saw a tail flicker. I could barely see it so I kept my eyes fixed on the spot. I stared for about a minute. My concentration was broken by some leaves stirring off to my right. When I glanced that way I could see the entire flock of turkeys coming up the hill. I counted nine of them. When the got directly under me I caught a glimpse of a deer up on the hill. I saw it for a second or two. It appeared that the turkeys disturbed it and it was headed someplace else. I easily identified it as a buck although I could never tell you what it was. It could have been a spikehorn or a giant. The split second that I saw it I could see that there was white bone sticking quite high off the head, but that’s it.

As the turkeys continued feeding I saw a tail flicker in the same place that it flickered a few minutes earlier. I’m assuming it was the same deer. I could see nothing more than the legs as it walked up the hill. The deer didn’t appear very large.

It was a pretty exciting day in the woods. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Halloween. It brought back some great memories. I expect that my buddies will bag a buck or two in the time that we’re gone. I’m hoping that they get a look at Toad. I think it would be pretty cool to get one of the bucks that we have on trail camera. I’ll probably hunt tomorrow and then hang it up to get ready for my trip to the Midwest.

I’ve attached a picture of a buck that my buddy Jeff Jenkins killed on Halloween quite a few years ago. Jeff and I dragged this deer half the day after he shot it and all day the next day to get it back to camp. It was calm, clear and cold the morning he took him down. The buck was up and moving close to noon when he shot him.

Well, I couldn’t find a picture of The Bull so we’ll have to wait on him.

Halloween Buck

Saturday October 30

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

This morning didn’t start off very well. I had some issues with low blood sugar so I got a later start than I would have liked. Although I was in the woods before daylight I was disappointed that I wasn’t earlier. Dad accompanied me for the second time this year. At the end of the day he said it just wore him out. I think in some ways he was admitting to the fact that he’s getting older and the physical part is finally catching up to him.

We both ran into hunters this morning which wasn’t what we anticipated. I heard a lot of gun-fire in the first couple of hours. When the first shot was fired I clicked the radio on and asked if dad copied me. I didn’t get a response so I turned it off after about 5 minutes. I forgot my watch so I was trying to get in touch with him so he would know I didn’t have a time-keeper.

A short time later I saw him coming up the hill. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing. When we sat down together he told me that he thought the shot was from my gun since I got on the radio after it was fired. To make a long story short it kind of put a damper on our morning. It was one bad thing followed my another. I sat for another couple of hours as did dad in another place a little higher up the ridge. He saw a fisher and a coyote but he couldn’t get a shot at the coyote.

When we got back to the truck Doug and Daryl  were waiting for us. Some of the shooting was them. They shot a coyote and had a hard time putting it down after the initial hit.

The wind howled during the afternoon. It remained a steady SW wind as it was in the morning. I sat under some oaks for the evening. I saw a doe and two really small fawns. They came in at 5pm and were still feeding 75 yards from me when I got up to leave at 5:55. They continued feeding and never moved when I slowly walked away.

When I got back to the area where I shot the small buck on Thanksgiving when I was a kid I slowed down. Something inside me told me to be on the alert. I slowed my walk and a deer suddenly bounded across the hill in front of me. I pulled the gun up but couldn’t get a good look. The deer stopped and turned to look back my way. I pulled my binoculars up and identified the deer as a buck. He had a nice little rack. I’m not sure if he was a 6 or an 8. I pulled the gun up and debated inside my head. I chose not to pull the trigger and within seconds he was gone. I’m still not sure why I didn’t pull the trigger. It might be because I’m headed out of state for almost three weeks. I’m really not sure why I did what I did, but after he was gone I stood there wishing that I had pulled the trigger.

The last few days have been exciting. I’ve seen a few deer and a few nice ones at that. I’ve also realized that this is the first year in the last four years that I’ve really felt like myself in the woods again. My drive to succeed is back and my willingness to be in the woods every chance I get is also there.

I’m not sure if I lost that in the divorce process or if it was from hunting where the giants roam in the Midwest.  Whatever the reason is I’m glad I finally feel like the old me in the woods.

I’m unsure of where I’m headed in the morning. I might sit in a funnel area without much sign. For some reason something keeps telling me to sit there. Even without sign I’m still confident when I sit down under the tree. I could always go back to my oak flat, but I think I’ll give that a break until our next calm evening.

Hats off to my buddy Andy who killed his first buck ever tonight. He shot a small buck with his bow on his own land in Fort Edward. My other buddy TJ saw some small bucks chasing does tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Friday October 29

Friday, October 29th, 2010

When I woke up this morning I quickly went outside to see what the sky looked like. I saw a quite a few stars and a few passing clouds. The temperature was 40 degrees and it was relatively calm.

As I headed up the road I didn’t make it too far before the rain started coming down. The sky didn’t indicate any rain a half hour earlier so I figured it would pass.

When I started walking up the mountain I changed my orginal plans and decided to sit under a hemlock tree (which would keep me more protected from the rain) instead of on a knob out in the open.

The rain pitter-patted off the leaves until it became background noise. Around 8:30 a stick snapped behind me. I could see movement in my peripheral vision so I slowly turned my head. To my amazement it was a guy walking down the hill. After a closer look I realized that it was Miner.

I was sitting just above the rock and he was headed to one of his old haunts down below the rock. We talked for a few minutes and caught up on some old news. He had jumped three does a few minutes earlier.

After we got done talking he continued down the hill. I got up and decided to still-hunt for the rest of the morning since the woods were so wet. I found some good buck sign which has been the norm for this year up to this point.

Right before I got to my truck I jumped a deer. I couldn’t tell what it was.

In the afternoon I wanted to go back and sit near the buck sign that I found. When I drove down the road something inside of me changed at the last second. Since the wind was blowing so hard I figured I would go down and pull the card out of my camera and possible see some deer.

When I got to the camera I took the card out and put it in my pocket-camera. I moved the camera from where I got all of the pictures a few weeks ago. I only had six pictures this time. The good part was 3 were of the same doe and the other few were of a decent buck. I don’t think that this is Tank but you guys can guess just as I am.  This buck’s rack looks different to me, but the side shot might be the part that fools me. I also don’t think this deer’s body is as big.

After I looked at the pictures I once again decided to move the camera. I got it all set up and went on my way. I sat about a hundred yards from the camera in a spot that I could overlook a different area. The longer I sat there the more I thought about setting up the camera. I couldn’t remember turning it on after I set it up. With the rut coming and the deer on the move I didn’t want to leave it off. I quickly packed up my stuff and went back to turn it on.

I had it attached to a small tree on the to of a sloping rock. I couldn’t lean my gun against the rock while I took the cover off and turned the camera on because I figured it might fall and bang the scope up. Therefore I spotted a tree about two yards to my left. I took a few steps and leaned my gun on that tree. Something in my head told me to hang onto my gun, but I didn’t listen. The sad part is that  I heard the voice loud and clear and it was my own voice “Don’t leave your gun there.” I looked all over the woods and didn’t see anything. I knew that the ordeal with the camera would only take a few seconds.

I stepped back to the tree that the camera was hanging on. As I bent over and looked at the switch to ensure that it was on or off I quickly realized that I had left it off as I orginally thought. I clicked it on and picked my head up.

Right on the knob in front of me I saw a shooter standing under an overhanging branch while he was putting some scent on it. He was totally consumed with what he was doing, but I had a solid 2 steps to get back to my gun.  I couldn’t figure out where he came from or how he get there in the bat of an eye, but I was pretty sure he wasn’t going much further.

As I took the few step to get my gun he spotted me. While he was looking directly at me I grabbed the gun with my left hand and pulled the hammer back (I was using my Thompson Center Encore 30-06). Then, he took off. He didn’t bolt. Rather, he took a few bounds and walked away. I never got a shot.

I sat there and swore at myself  for a few minutes. It was the first opportunity I’ve had at a good Adirondack buck in the last few years. It has been tough to hunt the Adirondacks when I’m out of state hunting so much. When I saw him I instantly knew he was a shooter. After he was gone I was still shaking so I know he was a good one. The best thing about it was that I do not have this buck on film. This buck appeared to be an 8-pointer and his rack was really high unlike the bucks in the pictures.

When I went up closer to see what he was doing and where he came from I was amazed to find that he had been laying right there the whole time. It appears that he was getting up and stretching right when I saw him. I don’t think he ever saw me before he got up. Once he was up he was working a little scrape right next to his bed. It was a great experience. I’m hoping that I didn’t miss the only opportunity I might get this year at a good Adirondack buck. Time is the only thing that will have the answer for me.

I’ve attached a picture I took of myself while setting the camera up. The picture was taken exactly an hour before the events unfolded. If you look at the picture you’ll see a small hemlock tree in the background just above my head. That’s where the buck was when I saw him. He was putting scent on the hemlock branch. He was laying down right in front of it.

I’ve also attached a few pictures of the buck. You be the judge. Is it Tank or is it a buck that we have to give a name to? All I need now is a picture of the one that got away. It appears that he has been camera shy so far.

Buck was right here an hour later

Buck's on the Move

It Might Be Tank but I don't think so.

Thursday October 28

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Since I had today off I figured I would get into the woods early. When my alarm sounded I knew that I wasn’t going anyplace. This cold I have is hanging on and getting the best of me. I went back to bed and decided I would try to venture out in the afternoon.

I spent the early afternoon shooting my guns. It didn’t get me long to get my 30-06 shooting well, but my .270 wasn’t very cooperative. While it shot ok I really wasn’t satisfied with the big picture.

I headed out in the afternoon. The temperature was hovering around 70 degrees when I left the house. The wind was howling as a cold front is blowing in.

I went to sit in a place where I found a few scrapes and rubs last week. I took my time and finally arrived to the spot around 3pm. There were quite a few tracks and one fresh rub right next to the tree that I sat under. The wind swirled from the time I sat down until the time I got up to leave. I didn’t see any deer, but I left feeling a small bit of confidence.

On my way out I came down the front of the mountain instead of circling back around it the way I had come in. When I got down near the bottom I jumped a deer below a large outcropping of rocks. The deer have always traveled on the high and low sides of these rocks so it didn’t surprise me when it took off. I pulled my binoculars up and watched the deer dash away. It was a large deer, but I never saw the head.

My cold is kicking my ass so I’m not sure if I’ll feel well enough to head out in the morning. I have to get better before we head out of state a week from today.

I’ve heard of a few large deer being shot over the last few weeks. I believe a few good ones will get shot this weekend of the weather cooperates.

Sunday October 24

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Unfortunately I have a really bad cold settling in. My head has been pounding and my throat is extremely sore. I hardly ever get sick and of course it has to come when the hunting is starting to get better. A cold usually puts me under for a week or better so I’m expecting this will be about the same.

I didn’t hunt this morning due to the rain and damp conditions. This evening I headed south to an archery only zone. The wind was calm. I saw a doe and a fawn right before dark. I also saw a flock of turkeys shortly after settling into my stand. The temperature hung around 55 degrees. It was pleasant considering that a few days of 70 degree temperatures are supposed to be rolling in. Due to work and now this cold I probably won’t be in the woods until at least Thursday. Check back for an update at that time. Shoot straight ————————>

Saturday October 23

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

It was opening day of rifle season in the northern zone today. On my walk to the stand this morning everything was covered with snow. There wasn’t a whole lot of snow on the ground, but it was hanging on the branches.  The wind stayed out of the south most of the morning and it was 33 degrees. I sat until 11:30 and didn’t see anything. I don’t think the full moon is helping matters.

Tonight I sat in a funnel. There was no feed anywhere near where I sat. I was hoping to catch something coming through the funnel on it’s way someplace else. The wind was out of the north tonight and it was 55 degrees but the wind made it seem a little colder. I think the place I sat tonight will be really good during the rut. I’ll be out of state so I won’t be able to tell you. I’m exhausted tonight. If it’s raining too hard in the morning I’m going to stay in bed. I have a scratchy throat right now.

Friday October 22

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Today was the last day of early muzzleloader season. The weather hasn’t been very good the last couple of weeks. The wind was gusting up to 30mph tonight. I had planned on sitting in the area where I killed The Freezing Rain Buck, but the wind prevented me from doing so.

With the wind blowing as hard as it was I decided to do some more walking in hopes of learning a few things. I found a lot of sign in an area where my friend Sean killed his first deer with a bow many years ago. He was a young kid then and I was trying to show him the ropes. I set him in one of my favorite places and when I returned at dark he told me that he had arrowed a spikehorn.

I covered a lot of ground tonight. I found quite a few new scrapes. It appeared that they all popped up in the last two days. I got into an area where there were a lot of tracks and a few good runways. When I saw a really fresh scrape I had a feeling that the buck might be close by.

There was a rock outcropping in front of me and I knew that the woods opened up out in front of it. I figured I would sneak to the top of it and look across the opening. When I started to sneak around one of the large rocks a deer bolted down the hill. I identified it as a doe. As I was watching her something else caught my eye. All I could see was a deer’s ass and it was motoring. I’ve seen enough deer in the woods to be pretty sure that it was the buck that had just finished making the scrape that I was looking at. The back of the deer was extremely wide, but I never got a look at the head.

After the moment passed I stood there and swore at myself for a few minutes. I knew that I should have been paying a little closer attention to my surroundings. The wind was blowing so hard that the deer couldn’t have heard me. I’m pretty sure he spotted me.

When I got done cussing I continued on my journey. A few minutes later I jumped another deer. I quickly identified it as a doe. It appeared that she was bedded in some thick stuff.

The rest of the night was uneventful. I’m headed out in the morning for the opening day of our Northern Zone rifle season. Over the years I’ve killed a few bucks on opening day, but it’s pretty tough to do with all of the leaves on the trees. Here’s a picture of an opening day buck I took back in 1998.

Opening Day Buck

Thursday October 21

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I decided that I would climb the front of the mountain today and circle around the back of it on my way out. Since the light on and off rain would keep the woods quiet I figured I would sneak and peek for a few hours. My main goal was to find a few places that bucks were working and anything beyond that would be a plus.

When I reached the top of the mountain my lower legs were burning. I ignored the uncomfortable feeling and pushed forward. I wanted to check a flat where I’ve seen a lot of deer over the years. When I got down on the flat I saw the usual meandering tracks as well as the long-time runways that criss-cross on it. I didn’t find any fresh rubs or scrapes although there was plenty of deer sign.

As I wandered around I finally came across a few scrapes in an area that I’ve spent some time in. I think the scrapes might belong to the same buck that is doing some rubbing a little ways away from there. I’ll never know for sure, but I can assume for now.

Shortly before dark the rain came down in buckets. It was mixed with sleet which made it even more uncomfortable. I slowly picked my way around the mountain. With all of the leaves on it’s pretty hard to see very far. I came across two beds, one of which was pretty large.

When I finally decided the hunt was over I put my head down and picked up the pace. A few seconds later I was quickly reminded that the hunt is never over until you’re out of the woods. I let my guard down just in time to pick my head up to see a deer bounding down the hill. I’m not sure what the deer was but if I had to guess I think it was a small buck. I checked his tracks in a small patch of mud. With the rounded hooves I think it may have been a small buck.

The weather has been nasty. I’ve been waiting for good wind to hunt the oak flat where I killed the Grunter many years ago, but it’s just not cooperating so far. We’ll have to see what the coming days bring.

Tuesday October 19

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

It was 51 degrees with an ENE wind tonight where I was sitting. From the time I left the woods last night until I got out of work today I knew exactly where I would sit in the afternoon. The last few years I haven’t been decisive which has led to a few wasted trips to the woods.  So far this year I have planned ahead and vowed to stay on the path.

I was headed for an old hemlock tree that I’ve sat under a number of times through the years. I’m not sure why, but I had a feeling that something might wander by shortly before dark.

When I started up the mountain there was abundant sunshine and blue sky. There was a chill in the air that can only be associated with fall. The wind was calm most of the day which would make the evening’s sit more enjoyable for me.

Shortly after I settled in under the hemlock tree a black cloud rolled in and rain began to fall. The storm was brief and blew out as quickly as it came in.

Around 6pm a gunshot rang through the air. It wasn’t too terribly far from me. It was on the face of the mountain someplace and I assumed it was somewhere near the corn pile that I had found a few weeks ago.

I sat a few more minutes and headed out as darkness consumed the sky. On my way up the road in my truck I passed my buddy Doug. He thought the gunshot was me, but it wasn’t. I guess we’ll have to wait for another day so one of us can help the other. I have a feeling we might get into one in the next few weeks.

With the moon being close to full I don’t think there has been much activity in the afternoon hours. I’m guessing that most of the movement is late to mid-morning and throughout the night.

Tuesday October 18

Monday, October 18th, 2010

It was relatively calm today. The temperature hovered in the mid 50’s to 60 with clear skies. It was a perfect fall day to be in the woods.

I headed out after work. I wanted to exchange cards in my trail-cam so I could download the pictures. I sat in my stand until dark. It didn’t appear that much was moving tonight. I didn’t jump any deer on the way in or out and I didn’t see anything while sitting in my stand.

When I got home I was a little disappointed when I downloaded my pictures. Tank didn’t look quite as big on the computer screen as he did on my tiny camera. The two bucks that I thought were spikes were actually does. One of them had a piece of a branch on her head and the other one was standing directly between some small saplings which made it look like antlers on her head.

I’m going to try to stay out of the area until I get a few calm days. At the rate we’ve been going that could be a very long time from now.

I’ve attached a few pictures of Tank, Special K and Basket.



Special K

Button Horn and his sister