Archive for December, 2011

Sunday December 11, 2011

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

It’s hard to believe that it was only a month ago when dad killed the 11-pointer on 11/11/11. In some ways it seems like it was three months ago. It’s probably from all of the stressful things going on lately that makes it seem that way.

I planned on going out both days this weekend to hunt the last two days of late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone, but it didn’t work out as I had planned. Both mornings when I woke up I was in too much pain to head to the woods. My shoulders have been a mess for the last three months. Actually the only time they didn’t hurt like hell was the two weeks I was on vacation. I guess in some ways I have to be thankful for that. After I get this upcoming surgery out of the way I will need to see an orthopedic surgeon to have my right shoulder examined. I know I have some serious problems with my rotator cuff area. Hopefully I can get some insight on it.

With all of that being said I decided come hell or high water I was going to go out this afternoon since it was the last day of the season and sadly I will have to wait another 10 months before I can hunt deer.

When I got to camp in the early afternoon I met my buddies Doug and Steve. Doug looked like hell as he’s coming down with a nasty cold. He headed home and Steve and I headed up the mountain to sit for a few hours.

Before Doug left he told me once of the best stories I’ve ever heard and I’ve heard a lot of them while working at different shows and being around a lot of hunters. Last night on his way out of the woods he bent over to crawl under a fallen tree. When he was on all fours he felt a heavy weight strike him on the back and he fell forward. Shocked, he didn’t know what to do as he saw a full grown fisher jump off his back and head down the hill without missing a beat. We’re still not sure if Doug filled his pants after the incident. When he got home and took his shirt off his wife couldn’t believe it when she saw the fisher’s claw marks on Doug’s back.

I feel pretty confident when I say that I don’t believe I will ever meet another hunter who has had a Fisher pounce of their back like it was jumping on a rock and race down the hill as if nothing unusual ever happened. I’m stillĀ  amazed as I sit here thinking about it. Oh, and I’m a little thankful it wasn’t me. I like all the cool things in the woods and stuff, but that is one event I’m glad I’ve never experienced.

I didn’t see any deer tonight. Actually I didn’t see many tracks either, but it felt kind of neat when I was walking out of the woods with Steve. We all had a good season with some great memories. There were a few disappointing days here and there but that comes with hunting. It’s always good to share your hunting experiences, success and failure with people who appreciate it.

I’ll try to do a season recap in the next few days before my surgery on Thursday 12/15. I’ll be laid up for a while after that. My book should be available by Friday 12/16. Since I will be out of commission for a while it will be available by mail or at John’s Outdoor Sports in Queensbury until I get recuperated.

I shot this buck on the last day of the season. His story is in the new book.

Sunday November 27, 2011

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Yesterday got me pumped up about being in the Adirondacks. It’s amazing how a simple walk in the backcountry can get you fired up. It makes me look forward to doing more of it next year.

This morning dad wanted me to accompany him to our old stomping grounds. While he was going to hunt the top of the mountain I decided to wander around in the area around the “rock” which you might be familiar with if you read my first book. It’s just a place I like to go even all these years later.

Shortly after the sun came up I heard some shooting come from the area where my father was headed. I clicked the radio on and waited. When he came on he told me thatĀ  a few bucks were chasing four does around on the hill in front of him. With the freshly fallen snow it’s easy to see well over a hundred yards in this area.

He said one of the bucks was a really good one and the other ones were too far away to identify what they were wearing for headgear. After he started shooting deer scattered everywhere, which is pretty amazing for the Northern Zone of New York since there are so few deer to begin with. He asked if I could come give him a hand because he wasn’t sure if he hit the buck or not.

About an hour later I got to where he told me he was. I stood on top of a little rise and heard him whistle. When I walked over to him he had a disgusted look on his face. I said, “What’ up?”

He pointed up the hill and said, “Can you look up there about 150 yards next to that patch without snow and tell me what that deer is that’s laying there.”

I pulled my binoculars up and quickly located the deer. As it turned it’s head and looked at me it was quite easy to see that it was a doe and I told my dad it was a doe.

He said, “Gosh darn it. I’m almost sure I hit one of the bucks when I started shooting but when they all started running I think I might have hit that deer when it was on the side of the hill.”

After a short conversation back and forth we decided to go see what we had on our hands. I went up one side of the hill and waited. Dad went up the other to go to the deer. About fifteen minutes later I heard a thunderous bang on the front of the mountain. Dad came on the radio and told me he jumped the buck he had wounded, but he only had one bullet left.

It turns out the doe we saw with the binoculars was lying down in front of the wounded buck so we couldn’t see the buck. It was a tense situation for a few minutes, but it all worked out in the end. It just goes to show you that mistakes can and sometimes do happen.

When I caught up to dad we started tracking the deer. After a couple of hundred yards we jumped it again. I got a good bead on it and fired, then fired again. The deer plunged forward to the edge of a steep cliff and expired there. I was a little disappointed to see that it was only a 3-pointer. We made quick work of gutting the deer and started dragging it so our buddies Doug, Steve and his son Jason could help us get it out of the woods. This closed out a good year in the Adirondacks for a very limited amount of time hunting. Although the big buck escaped unscathed this morning he’ll probably be wandering around the same area next year unless one of us gets a crack at him during late muzzleloader. I guess that’s the good thing (or we could say bad thing) about hunting in New York. It seems like we have an unlimited amount of tags.


There's nothing like being in the mountains with your friends.

A view from where the deer fell.

Saturday November 26, 2011

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

My cousin Kyle called last night and said he was heading to camp in Minerva. He asked if I wanted to join him so I decided to go along and check out a few different places.

It was a little stressful on the way down the road to get to the place we hunted in the morning. My buddy Brian was driving and we were on a seasonal road. Since we had a decent amount of snowfall a few days ago and the road had frozen below the snow it was a nervous ride for a few miles.

When we finally got to where we wanted to go we looked over a few maps and split up. I saw a place that I wanted to check out near the end of a bunch of beaver flows. From what I could see it looked like it would be a good place because it was a transition area with a few ridges that dumped right into a bowl where a stream ran out of the ponds and down through the woods.

When I got there I was right. There were a lot of tracks in the snow. When I examined things a little more closely I was pretty impressed. It was one of those places that I know I can shoot a good buck if I spend enough time there. It made me want to return next year.

We spent the majority of the day wandering around and checking things out. By the time I was done hunting I was ready to head home. I put on a few miles and the new snow made it difficult to walk. I felt tired and worn out. I probably chewed off more than I could handle but it felt incredibly good to be in the Adirondacks in the middle of God’s country. There’s nothing quite like it.

I’ve attached a picture of a tree a bear climbed. You can see the claw marks in the tree.


It looks like a bear might have gotten a tasty treat after climbing this beech tree.

I killed this buck while scouting this same general mountain range a few years ago.

Thursday November 24, 2011

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

I had every intention of heading out this morning for the annual Thanksgiving Day hunt, but I just didn’t feel up to it. After all of my tests at the doctor yesterday I couldn’t muster up enough strength to get out there and get at it. It was a nice morning and I was somewhat disappointed to be at home.

Since we had an early dinner (actually lunch) I headed to the woods to get a camera that I had put out in October. As I headed up the mountain I realized that I just didn’t have it in me. I had to sit on a rock and rest for a while. Between the mental stress of dealing with everything that has transpired and being exhausted from almost three weeks of non-stop hunting I’m just worn down.

I figured I would see more tracks with the fresh snow and was somewhat disappointed when I only cut a few sets of them. When I got to my camera I unlatched it only to find out the batteries had quit working at some point in time. After looking a little more closely I saw that it was only a few days since it last worked.

To my surprise I had only one deer in the pictures. It was a huge doe which I had pictures from earlier in the year. She must make her home right in that general area.

It seemed like the longest walk I’ve had in years today. Unfortunately that’s just the way I feel right now.

My good buddy Jeff Smith got to experience something today that he will never experience again. He’s on top of the world and I’m sure he’ll remember it as long as he lives. His daughter Braydin killed her first buck today. Being on Thanksgiving Day I’m sure the actual day will never be forgotten. I’m sure it was an amazing event to be a part of. There’s nothing more special than sharing a moment like that with your child or with your parent. It’s something that only hunters can relate to. Oh, I must say that I’m really impressed because Braydin must be able to shoot a gun a little more accurately than her father. He has led us on some adventures over the year from his erratic gunfire but that’s why we love him.

Here’s a picture of Braydin’s first buck and a few we have killed on Thanksgiving Day over the years.

Braydin's first buck. Way to go girl!!!

I killed him on Thanksgiving Day when I was 17. He was on a dead run.

Rob and Dad with dad's Thanksiving buck. The Blizzard Buck.

Smitty (Braydin's dad) making us proud.

Monday November 21, 2011

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

It was chilly this morning. We decided to sit until 10 so we could get on the road by noon. It was a great trip. Just as it was getting light I had a shooter 8-pointer come right to me. I drew my bow as he walked toward me. Unfortunately it just wasn’t light enough. Although I could see the outline of his body I couldn’t see one pin in my housing and I couldn’t see through the peep. If it was fifteen minutes later we would have a nice buck going home with us. I could see him as clear as day through my binoculars. It’s too bad our eyes aren’t like the high dollar class in European binoculars. Any way you look at it, it was an awesome experience. When you’re that close to big bucks and they don’t have a clue you’re there it’s an unbelievable feeling. While I really enjoy my gun hunting I also love bow hunting. Dad didn’t see any deer this morning. It was sad to pack up and head out. I really do wish I lived in country like this so I could chase big bucks around every day during the hunting season every single year. I can’t imagine how much fun it must be. I feel very fortunate to be able to do it for a week every year now. I wish I started earlier, but I’m not complaining because I’m lucky to have ever been given a chance to do it. I’ll be forever thankful for that.

I’ll leave you with some pictures from the land we hunted and camp. I can’t wait to come back to see my friends and chase a few of these big boys around again next year. I don’t want to wish my life away but I also love it out here.

One of the chunks of woods we hunted.

This is the Knob. Buck Alley is where you see the break in the trees.

The field right below the bowl and looking in the general direction of the tube stand.

An old barn across the field from camp.

Another shot of the barn.

Camp. Jody and Kevin are thinking of putting a food plot here next year. Camp will be moving.

Sunday November 20, 2011

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Today was chilly. It was 28 degrees this morning and never got above 40 degrees during the day. I sat near the tube. I saw a coyote without a tail. He actually hopped onto a fallen log which went across a small ditch and ran from one end of it to the other. When I told dad and Kevin about it we decided to name him Bobyote for a mixture of a bobcat and coyote. I thought the name was fitting. I’ve never seen a coyote without a tail nor have I ever seen one run down a log. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

This morning dad saw a nice 8-pointer and a spikehorn. The spike bedded in front of him for about an hour. Tonight he sat in the bottom and saw four does, but no bucks followed them. I sat in the north bowl and saw about 50 turkeys in the soybean field behind me. I passed a good 8-pointer at 4:30pm. I thought he was going to be a shooter at first. After that I saw a doe and two fawns. We are going to hunt for three hours in the morning before we begin our trek back across the country. These last two weeks have been incredible. Nothing like spending quality time with my dad who’s my best friend and being in places where you never know what might walk out in front of you. It has been awesome. No matter where you go on vacation though it’s always nice to go home. I miss my friends and family.

The nice 8-pointer I saw.

Saturday November 19, 2011

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Our vacation is fading away quickly now. All I can say is that it has been a wonderful few weeks. It got my mind off my health problems for a few minutes here and there and helped me to relax. Although we haven’t scored in Kansas we have memories, videos and pictures to last a lifetime. It’s truly amazing out here. I enjoyed all of those backbreaking years in the Adirondacks but there’s something about this kind of hunting that any serious hunter should experience at least once.

I sat in the Big Timber this morning. It went dead up there. I didn’t see a deer. It was 70 degrees today with heavy wind. This afternoon I hunted in the bowl. I jumped two deer on the way in and saw a big doe, a spikehorn and a dandy 6-pointer that resembled a mule deer.The temperature plummeted from the time I left the tent to when I got in the tree. I was unprepared and started shivering like crazy by the time it got dark. I was glad to get out of the tree and walk back to camp.

Dad had five deer wind him this morning as it swirled in every direction. It’s pretty hard to hunt in those conditions. He saw 3 bucks cruising the edge of the corn field and bean field shortly after daylight. Tonight he sat in the Grunt Stand and saw what he thought was two shooters and a small buck with seven does.

Who knows maybe we’ll get an opportunity tomorrow morning. You never know.


A nice little buck posing for the camera.

Although they're only spikes it appears to be two main beams.

He definitely has a funky looking rack.

Friday November 18, 2011

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Today was incredibly windy. A steady wind of about 35 mph with gusts up to 50mph. It was 35 degrees this morning and warmed up to 60. I hunted on the far side of the big timber. I saw a small 7-pointer at 9am. It was so windy I had to get out of the tree because I was scared. This evening I sat in the Locust Draw stand. I saw two does and two fawns as well as a small raccoon. Dad saw a small 6-pointer this morning. Tonight he hunted buck alley. He saw a small buck and 5 does. Today wasn’t a very good day for deer movement. It was just too windy.

My friends Steve Sawn and Doug Coons scored on another Adirondack buck today. Steve got a nice little 3-pointer in what he calls the best piece of hunting land in an area called Hogtown. I think I have to agree with him on that statement. I was raised hunting on that same mountain. That’s where I learned a lot of the tricks of the trade. I couldn’t be more thankful to share that spot with Doug and Steve. We all have very fond memories of our family and friends sharing some great times in that area. Steve’s 3-pointer might not sound like much after reading about all of the deer in this journal, but the Adirondacks are a far cry from this. If you see a deer, let alone a buck it’s a great day in the Adirondacks. It’s hard to explain to people who have never experienced hunting there.

Another nice buck goes past the trail-camera.

Seems to be a lot of bucks moving at night with the full moon.



Thursday November 17, 2011

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

It was 18 degrees this morning. I thought today was going to be the day and it almost was. I hunted the big timber again on the inside corner of the same meadow where I saw the good 9-pointer. Although I couldn’t tell how many points it had I saw a shooter buck chase a doe across the meadow at first light. Then I saw a doe sneak down the fence-line as it was getting light. Around 8 o’clock I had a doe come down the main runway behind me that runs through some big oaks. She fed along the way but didn’t stay in one place for very long. Shortly after a shooter 9-pointer (different one than the night before) hit her trail but for some reason he followed it in the wrong direction. I laughed to myself when I saw him go the wrong way. I think he might be a little disappointed to know his lady went the other way.

About a half hour after that happened I could hear a few deer coming out of the bottom. I got a glimpse of a very large buck following a doe. Unfortunately they winded me and got the hell out of there in a hurry.

Around 9:30am a small 8-pointer chased three does past my stand. After the does went by he stopped about 20 yards in front of me. It appeared that he was really nervous, but I couldn’t understand why. Then I saw a shooter buck coming. As it got closer I could see that it had one really good side with four points on it. Unfortunately the other side had only one six inch spike. There was no doubt that he was a mature deer. As he stood broadside to me at 15 yards I decided I didn’t want to take him. It was awesome to watch him walk past me. When he got behind a bush ten yards to my left I changed my mind. I decided I wanted him because he was so unique and it’s near the end of the week. I drew my bow and waited for him to come out the other side. For some unknown reason he stopped and never came out the other side. Instead, he turned directly away from me and walked straight toward the fence. When he got to the fence he hopped it and went on his way. I saw two more does after that but nothing this evening.

Dad sat below the grunt stand this morning. He saw five bucks, two of which he thought could have been shooters, but they never came close enough to be sure. He didn’t know where to go tonight so he sat in the tube stand. He saw 3 bucks, one of which was the buck we named Ol’ Captain Hook. He has a giant forked tine on one side and a really heavy set of five long tines on the other side. He also has a small hook coming out of the base of his antler. Dad drew the bow on him, but never had a clear shot.

Today was good. We both drew our bows on a couple of truly unique bucks. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Another picture of the broken G-2 buck.

This buck's hard to see. He's in the top of the photo a hair to the right of center. There's a doe to his left.

Wednesday November 16, 2011

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

It seems like every day gets better. I never imagined anything quite like this when my dad took me bow hunting for long weekends in Oneonta, NY when I was 14. I can remember how excited I was to be able to skip a day of school just to go hunting. We would camp out in the back of his mustang. We brought sleeping bags and slept in the back of the car with the backseat down. We would stand on the side of the road and shoot at apples for practice with our practice arrows. Amazingly we did quite well when we shot at them considering neither one of us used any sights and did it instinctively. I spent a lot of time down there hunting until I graduated from college when I was 21. Since then I’ve only been back once. Many times I’ve thought of going back just to experience a weekend like we used to almost 30 years ago. How time flies………

I sat down near the tube again this morning. It was calm and I kicked a few deer out on my way in. I watched two coyotes chase a small rack buck past me shortly after daylight. After it calmed down a nice little 7-pointer came in from behind me. He had his nose on the ground and was looking for a little love. A spike made his way past me an hour after that. Then Mr. Big showed up at 11:45. He appeared behind me out of nowhere. As he stood about eight yards from the base of the tree I knew he was mature but he wasn’t a buck I wanted to take. He was a really good 7-pointer. I passed this same buck five times last year. It doesn’t look like he will ever be anything more than a 7-pointer.

Tonight I hunted the big timber on an inside corner where I had a lot of luck a couple of years ago. I don’t know why but it’s one of my favorite places. I had a shooter 9-pointer coming right to me about 4pm. He was all by himself. At ten yards he stopped and looked right up the tree at me. I still can’t figure out what possessed him to look up because I hadn’t moved a muscle. When he got fidgety he finally turned around and went back the way he came from. A little while later he returned as he followed four does through the field out in front of me. He marched around like he owned the place. He ran off a small 8-point and made sure it was known that the does were his. Dad saw four bucks this morning down below the Grunt Stand. Two looked to be like good ones, but no shots where offered. Tonight he hunted the north plot and saw a doe and a lot of cows. If the area wasn’t being used as pasture I’m sure it would be phenomenal. In case you don’t know you can click on any of the picture posted throughout my journal to enlarge them.

Another nice buck on trailcam.

A doe goes by the trailcam.

This buck was right behind the doe.


The Little Spikehorn I saw in the morning.

One of the small bucks I saw.

The good one I saw at 11:45am.

Anotther picture of the good one.