Archive for December, 2010

The 2010 Season in Review

Monday, December 27th, 2010

In some ways it’s really hard to believe that the season is over. I can remember all those days when I was a kid when I sat in the picture window and waited for my dad to get home from hunting. I couldn’t wait to see if he had a deer. Hunting season seemed like it would never end. Now, it seems like it’s here and gone in the snap of a finger. I never understood the saying, “the older you get the quicker the time goes.” Now, it’s perfectly clear.

This hunting season was one of my best. For the first time in a long time I found my drive to hunt in the Adirondacks again. I was on a mission to kill a buck that I found sign from at the end of last season. That dream didn’t last too terribly long since I didn’t find any link to him still being in the area. I’m not sure if he died of old age, a hard winter or if he just relocated for a season.  When I got a few trail-cam pictures of the buck I named “Tank” I began to think that the buck from last year probably died and “Tank” moved into the area as the dominant buck.

Before this year I had limited experience with trail cameras. While I didn’t use mine in very many places this year I put it in a variety of spots on a flat that I’ve been very successful over the years. I was surprised at how many bucks I got on film, but I was also highly disappointed that I never got a picture of what I would consider a dandy. While “Tank” was a big, mature Adirondack buck, he didn’t have a rack to correspond with his age.

I hunted the southern Adirondacks a lot this season. I had a few opportunities that I messed up and a few where I chose to let the bucks walk.

I’ve realized over the last couple of years how hard it is to kill a good Adirondack buck if you’re not in the woods during the middle weeks of November. I would like to to full force again, but the time isn’t now. I’m really enjoying my trips to other states. I enjoy pursuing giant whitetails and I’ve learned a lot about deer in different habitats which will only help me in the future. I’m certain of one thing……….anyone who can consistently kill a mature Adirondack whitetail on a one-on-one basis can kill a mature buck no matter where they choose to hunt.

That thought brings me to my next topic. I could have killed quite a few mature deer on my trips to other states, but I’ve been looking for something larger than anything I’ve taken.  The buck from Ohio was a good one, but he still wasn’t what I would define as a real eye-opener.

I’ve been lucky enough to hunt a lot of places in the last 20 years. My heart has always been in the Adirondacks. I love hearing the gun shot echo of the surrounding mountains after I pull the trigger on a big buck. I love the small of the freshly burnt gun powder. I also love knowing that I’m in the middle of nowhere and it will be an all day job to get the deer back to the tent……………….and from there it will be another full day to get him back to the road where the vehicle awaits. I really miss those days.

Now, my heart is in Kansas. I’ve seen a couple of beautiful bucks out there. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hunt there. You never know what turns your life will take, but I know I would like to have the opportunity to hunt out there for a few more years.  I learned a little last year, but I learned an awful lot this year. They say that the third year is usually the year that everything c0mes together when you’re hunting a new area. I can only hope that I will have the opportunity to go back again next year.

I’m not sure how many bucks I’ve passed over the last few years, but I know that it’s well over a hundred. Twenty years ago I never would have imagined that I could do that. Now, it seems so easy that I don’t even care if I shoot a deer. When I look at my collection of deer heads I’m completely satisfied as a deer hunter, especially and Adirondack deer hunter. It’s something that nobody could truly understand unless they’ve logged multiple seasons hunting in the Adirondack mountains.

I’ll leave you with a picture of mine and dad’s collection. Most of these deer come from a lot of hard work. Many of these deer were taken in the middle of God’s country………..miles from nowhere. I’m glad I was introduced to hunting that type of country because it makes me appreciate everything else so much more. Good luck until next year. I feel another book coming on and I hope to start it shortly. We’ll see how long it takes to finish.

Our Adirondack Home for Hunting Season

Maybe you will learn about a few more of these deer in the next book.

Saturday December 11, 2010

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

I wasn’t able to hunt during the week due to work obligations. I decided to give it one last try for late muzzleloading today. It was a beautiful morning to sit. Shortly after first light I saw 3 deer down below me. They were all running and I never got a good look at them.  Dad didn’t see any deer this morning.

I picked up the two trail cameras that I had left in the woods. I was disappointed when I saw that one of the SD cards didn’t work which left me without any pictures on the camera for the week. The other camera had a few does on it and the flock of turkeys that has been in the area most of the season.

This season was a great one. I’ll post something in the coming weeks which will go over my season and the things that stuck out.

Sunday December 5, 2010

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

It was bitter once again this morning. The temperature hovered around 20 and the wind continued. I hunted down near the old rockwall that I wrote about in my book. Last week I found an area where the deer had been feeding so I decided to give it a whirl. For as cold as it was I stayed quite warm. It was the first time this season that I broke out my Lacrosse Ice King boots. They’re a pain in the ass to walk in, but they keep my feet warm.

Dad sat down near the big brook at the base of the mountain. He saw some good sign in that area yesterday. His feet didn’t stay quite as warm as mine. When he was crossing the brook his feet got wet.

Shortly after daylight he could hear a deer coming. As the deer crunched through the leaves he got some glimpses of it, but never saw enough of the deer to determine if it was a buck or a doe. The wind didn’t cooperate and the deer changed it’s travel route.

That was all we saw today. It was a nice day to end the northern zone rifle season in New York. We now have a week of primitive weapons hunting. I’m so busy at work with vacation coverage that I won’t have time to get out until the weekend. I’ll hunt with my muzzleloader and call it a year at the end of the weekend.

I was going to write a summary for the year tonight, but I’ve decided to wait until next weekend when it will officially be over for the year.

Today brought back a lot of memories. As I sat there in the bitter cold I thought back to when I was 12 years old. I lost my grandfather in September of that year. It was a few days before hunting season opened. Although hunting wasn’t a big part of my life at that point it was a big part of my dad’s life.

I can’t remember how many years in a row my dad had killed a buck, but it was quite a few. The year his father passed away was tough in more ways than one. No matter what he did that hunting season nothing seemed to work out. On the final day of the season he ended up taking a beautiful 6 pointer. By today’s standards it wasn’t a big buck, but at that time he was a beauty. We were hunting in that same piece of woods today. It seems like it was a long, long time ago to me. I’m sure it seems like it was yesterday to my dad.

I also thought of the year that I killed a nice buck on the last day of the season right at last light. When I wrote my first book I specifically saved the story of this one in case I decided to write another one. We didn’t have a camera with us and I ended up in the hospital that night. We never got a good picture of that deer except for dad posing with him in the yard. I’ll attach the picture so you can have a look. I’ll also attach a few from my new trail camera. The does fed like crazy in front of it during the last week, but the bucks were camera shy.

One last note. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t see a good buck today. When I got back to the truck I dropped the latch on my gun and the bullets fell into my hand. Then, I pulled the bolt to eject the bullet from the barrel…………………………I never loaded the gun. That pretty much sums up the year. Only a few more trips into the woods for the 2010 deer season.

I killed this buck the last few minutes of daylight on the last day of the season.

I killed this buck on the last day of the season a few years ago in an area I had never hunted. It was brutally cold.

A few mountain turkeys getting a bite to eat

A doe and her little one in the background

A squirrel hanging out on the rock.

Saturday December 4, 2010

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

It was 27 degrees when I headed into the woods this morning. The wind was whipping in all directions so I’m sure the wind-chill temps were in the single digits.

At first light I could hear a deer crunching through the leaves. I couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from with the wind. I finally spotted it below me. It went through a hole and stopped. When I pulled my binoculars up I could see the hind quarters of the deer. In the second that it took me to drop my binoculars and raise my gun the deer started to trot down the hill. Although I couldn’t see its head I knew that it had cut a track and was on its way. It appeared to me that it was a buck on the prowl, but I can’t be certain. That was the only action I had for the day.

I hunted with my dad this morning. At 9:45 he had four does trot off the hill in front of him. They kept looking behind them but nothing followed within sight. Then, 15 minutes later a buck slowly made his way down the hill. From a distance dad said it looked like it had a good rack. It was really wide. By the time the deer made it to 40 yards from dad he determined that he would give it a free pass. After talking about the deer we’re pretty sure it was the last buck I have on my trail camera from 11/21. It’s a really wide 5 pointer. I think he has bad genes. Hopefully we will be able to see if I’m right next year if we get him on camera again.

I checked one of my cameras while I was in the woods. I had 200 images in the last week. After I scanned through the images I determined that this new camera is starting to irritate me. I have a lot of blank pictures. It appears that the camera is taking pictures before the subject is in the field of view. I did get a lot of photos, but I couldn’t see them that good when I put the card in my camera. I’ll have to take them home and view them on the computer. One of the first photos looked like the hind quarter of a bear. It’s really hard to tell but I think it’s a possibility. I have a lot of  pictures of does and a few that I can’t tell what they are. For some reason I have a lot of pictures in the dark. Most of my pictures in this area have been in the daylight until these.

The picture below is a buck dad killed a few years ago in the same place where he let the buck go this morning. This buck was chasing a doe when he met his demise.

Dad killed this buck in the same spot he passed the buck this morning.