Archive for October, 2013

Tuesday 10/29/2013

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

It was cold today when I got up and headed to work. I had to warm my truck up so get the frost off the windshield. I wished I was hunting. I’m sure the deer would have been on the move this morning. I’m coming down with a cold. I think it’s from being overtired and not getting enough sleep. I need to fix that problem soon.

I headed to the woods tonight to put a camera on a scrape that got opened sometime this week. It’s the second time the buck has pawed the ground there and I’ve seen scrapes there in the past, so I want to see what’s making it. I don’t expect it to be a big buck, but nothing would really surprise me. After setting the camera up I sat there until dark. I didn’t see anything. I’m going to have to take a day off from hunting tomorrow. I’m just not feeling well enough and I can use the rest.

Monday 10/28/2013

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

I had today off, so I made the most of it and headed to one of my old haunts. The temperature hovered around 35 for most of the morning. It was a little windy, but still a great morning to be in a tree. Shortly after daylight I could hear a buck chasing a doe down below me, but I couldn’t see them. I’ve heard the noise enough over the years so it was easy to identify. When they stopped for a moment I turned over the can call in my pocket. My heart accelerated when I could hear the leaves crunching. It sounded like the deer was headed right toward me. Seconds later the commotion began again and within minutes the woods were quiet as the deer went down the hill. I’ll always be guessing what they were, but I’ll never know. That’s all a part of hunting. I was close, but no cigar.

About 8 o’clock I could hear something below me walking through the leaves. A doe and a fawn appeared in front of me a few minutes later as they headed up the mountain. It was cool to have them within 10 yards and never know I was there. There’s nothing quite like that feeling. An hour later I caught some movement in the brush on the hill above me. I could see antlers shining in the sun. Not sure what it had for a rack I rested my gun on a branch and waited. When he stepped out from behind the tree I could see it was a really nice 6-pointer with great potential. I eased my finger of the trigger and decided to let him pass. He wasn’t something I wanted to put my tag on. If it was 20 years ago I probably would have pulled the trigger.

I spent the morning on the same watch where I killed my first buck almost 30 years ago……………where does time go? Although it seems like a lifetime ago, it also seems like yesterday. It’s hard to grasp how many things have happened since that day and how time got away from me so fast. I’d like to stop the minute hand on the clock, but that’s impossible, so I take it day by day. It felt awesome to be in that place again. I can’t complain because there’s a lot of sign and some good buck sign. It’s also a place that I know has absolutely no human interference. What a great day to be in the woods. I jumped a deer this evening and I checked a camera. I was surprised to find the deer I passed in the morning on my camera. It’s the first picture I got of him and the picture was taken 1.2 miles from where I passed him. Here he is.


Sunday 10/27/2013

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

As I headed into the woods about an hour before daylight the snow pelted me in the face. With my head lamp brightening the forest in front of me I continued  up the hill for a while and the distance between me and road gradually increased. Before long I felt like something was wrong and before I knew it I was aimlessly wandering through the woods. It’s amazing how you can’t make sense out of anything when it’s completely dark. It’s hard to get your bearings when you can’t see anything. Although my GPS and compass pointed me in one direction I still felt like they were lying to me, so I decided to sit tight until daylight. I was irritated to say the least.  Very rarely do I get messed up in the woods, but on this morning I just wasn’t paying attention. My mind was in a place where it shouldn’t have been and I simply lost my focus.

By the time I got to where I wanted to sit I felt like I had wasted part of the day. I ended up sitting until 11 o’clock before getting up and moving on. Since I sat right next to one of my cameras I decided to check it even though I had checked it the day before. I doctored up a scrape before I left yesterday morning, so I figured maybe something stopped by during the night. To my surprise a little spikehorn did come to the scrape.

I still hunted the rest of the day and before I knew it I was in the truck and headed south. I could call the first weekend of the season a success. It felt really good to be in the woods and I was pleased with the amount of sign I found in different places. I’ll have to wait and see what next weekend brings. Hopefully I’ll get some good weather for hunting. I’m up for anything except torrential rain or high wind.

Here’s a photo fo the little spike visiting the scrape.


Saturday October 26, 2013

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Well, today was opening day of the Northern Zone rifle season in New York. When I parked the truck the temperature was 29 degrees and a fresh coating of snow was cast across the forest floor. I was plenty early enough, so I knew I’d get to where I wanted to go before daybreak. As I made my way through the woods in the dark I saw a lot of tracks in the snow. It’s amazing how many tracks we sometimes see in the Adirondacks as compared to the amount of deer we see. Although one deer can make a lot of tracks a lot of deer make a lot of tracks all over the woods.

As I settled in behind a blowdown the sky began lightening up and soon enough I could see through the trees in front of me. A half hour later I glanced to my right for a few seconds then back to my left. My eyes instantly focused on a brown patch of fur, which was no more than 30 yards from me. As I continued staring at the spot a small buck quickly materialized from behind a big yellow birch. It was a wanna be spikehorn. He surely wasn’t something I wanted to shoot, but he would have been a nice deer for most people. I watched him slowly meander through the woods in front of me and head toward the long finger that tapers out of a nearby swamp. Since deer are so hard to see in the big woods I was already satisfied for the day. Anything else would be a bonus.

I sat until around 11 o’clock. At that time I decided to check some of my cameras. By the time I got done checking them I was ecstatic about being in the woods. I could clearly identify a few nice bucks and the big ones probably haven’t started moving too far yet. I’m still hoping to get a smasher on film before the end of the year. Hopefully that becomes a reality when I return at the end of the year.

When I met up with my dad on the other side of the mountain he told me he had seen seven deer. He couldn’t identify any of them as bucks. Shortly after we met up we walked toward a swamp, so he could show me something. When we got to a steep ridge that overlooked the swamp I saw a big deer take off running. I clicked the safety off and looked for an opening. I just needed him to turn right or left, so I waited. Within a few seconds it was gone. If I had to guess I’d say it was a buck just because the body was so big, but I could be wrong.

After getting out of the woods today I have a lot of optimism. The day really made me miss the week long vacation I used to take every year to hunt in the Adirondacks. I love that king of hunting and I do miss it. I like targeting specific deer and going after them. I’m pretty sure I could do quite well right now. Maybe I’ll do it again at some point in the future, but for now I’ll take what I can get and hunt places I never dreamed of hunting when I was younger.

Here are a few trail-cam pictures I got from the last week.










Thursday 10/24, 2013

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

The wind was howling here today. There’s snow on the ground a little north of here and it looks like it might be staying for a few days. That won’t be bad because most of the leaves are gone up there. I can’t wait to get in the woods for the entire day. It seems like these nights after work just don’t give me what I need. Sign is starting to pop up. I finally found where some bucks are hanging out and I’ll do my best to spend some time there before I leave for the Midwest. I’d like to catch up to one of these bucks. Although I don’t have anything big on camera yet I know there are a few lurking. The big one I got on video at the end of the year last year hasn’t shown up, but I have a feeling he will in the next few weeks.

I pulled my card from a camera I had on a mock scrape I made a few weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of does in the scrape and a few bucks, too. I’m hoping this is where the big boy shows up. Although it’s a long and rigorous walk to get there I think it might be worth it when the late season rolls around. It’s steep terrain and very close to where I killed my first buck. I haven’t hunted the area since I was a kid and tonight I was able to glance back in time. It seems like a lifetime ago, yet it also seems like it was yesterday. I was a much different person then. Life has brought me some incredible things since that time and my father has given me more than any one person could have ever asked for. I will be forever thankful for that. He showed me everything I know about hunting. I can’t take much credit at all. He led and I followed. Together, as a team, we have done quite well over the years.

We’re  headed north Saturday morning. I’m not sure what we will be doing for the entire weekend, but we’ll figure something out. Here are the pictures of the bucks that visited the mock scrape. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.

Mock scrape


Leaving the mock scrape

Leaving the mock scrape

Wednesday October 23, 2013

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

The deer were moving today, but not where I was. I saw about 7-8 of them while driving on the road back and forth to my hunting spot. The temperature dropped 12 degrees between 2:30pm and 6:30pm. I caught got in a heavy downpour that turned to sleet. Since I didn’t have any rain gear with me I got soaked. To keep warm I decided to walk a little and pull a camera that I haven’t had any action on at all. Upon retrieving it and setting it up in a new place the red battery light began blinking at me. I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have gotten a bad batch of batteries last time I bought them at Walmart. In the last week I’ve had a lot of dead batteries in different cameras and last year I never had one camera that drained the batteries. The camera I checked tonight as only been in the woods about three weeks, so I’m highly disappointed that I didn’t get more life out of these batteries. Hopefully the next go around turns out better and the cameras stay working through the end of the season.

I expected to see some deer while sitting tonight. I sat for about an hour before I couldn’t handle the rain. I was damp and the dampness started giving me chills. I knew I had to get up and move, but I wanted to stay in the woods. From what I can see it looks like deer activity has picked up the last few days. There seems to be a lot more tracks and general sign where the deer have been traveling through the woods. I have a pretty good feeling about this weekend. I miss hunting the Adirondacks for extended periods of time. The last time I spent more than three days in a row in the Adirondacks was back in 2006. That was the year I killed “The Ghost,” which you can read about in “Backcountry Bucks.” He was a pretty memorable deer.

Although I have extremely limited time to hunt in the big woods this year I’m hoping to get lucky and catch up to one of those Adirondack wall-hangers again. It’s been a while since I’ve put one of them on the ground. Every time I’m away on November 13th I always think about all of the big ones I’ve been lucky enough to kill on that day in the Adirondacks. That was always my best day of hunting over the years. It has been the same out of state, but the experience is a little different. There’s something about hunting days on end without seeing a deer and suddenly having one appear in front of you our of nowhere. It’s hard to explain to people who hunt where there are a lot of deer and sightings are common with every sit. I’m not sure if I’ll get out tomorrow. I’m headed north on Friday night and will hunt for the weekend. Lately I tend to remember my dad telling me how hard it is to kill big bucks in the Adirondacks when you don’t dedicate at least one week during early to mid-November to hunt there. I’ve never realized how accurate that statement was until the last few years. We’ll see what happens this week. We’ve been learning this new area and I’m pretty sure we have it narrowed down to increase our odds.

Tuesday October 22, 2013

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

With the front coming in and the temperature dropping I got into the woods as fast as I could after work. Right before I nestled under a big pine tree where I’ve killed a lot of deer in the past I checked a camera overlooking some oaks that have been dropping nuts. After filtering through 148 pictures I realized the deer have been feeding heavily in that particular place. Although I didn’t get any bucks there seems to be a lot of doe activity, which should bring a curious buck in sometime during the next week. I will be really surprised if I don’t have a buck on film by the end of next week when I go back.

The woods got pretty quiet right before dark. On the way out I jumped a deer, but couldn’t tell what it was. It was near a scrape that had been opened up last week, so it could have been the buck cruising by it at last light. I’ll never know, but I can imagine for now. On my way home I saw a few deer cross the road. We’re very close to go time and when it arrives I want to make sure I’m in the woods. It’s coming soon.

Monday October 21, 2013

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Today is my brother’s 48th birthday. Where the hell does time go? It’s scary how fast the days, months and years pass. It seems like it was just a few years ago that we shared a room and had bunk beds. Time doesn’t slow down for anyone, so you have to take advantage of every minute you get.

I got out of work late today, so I ran out behind the house. I saw a doe and a fawn and jumped another deer out of some brush that I couldn’t identify. I’m exhausted tonight. I should have stayed in and rested, but I’m addicted to being in the woods. I’ll head to the mountain tomorrow afternoon if I get out of work in time. A cold front is coming in from the west. I’m assuming tomorrow will be a good day.

Sunday October 20, 2013

Monday, October 21st, 2013
The buck I was hunting this morning.

The buck I was hunting this morning.

Since I was worn out from yesterday I slept a little later than normal. I decided to head out back to see if I could get a look at the buck I’ve gotten on camera all summer. I carried my bow instead of my muzzleloader. I’d like to shoot a deer on our own land with a bow. I think that would be cool since we never really hunt our land. Just as I had the buck patterned on camera he showed up like clock work. At 6am he came down a little roadway to my left. Before he got in front of me the wind shifted and he caught my scent. After blowing a few times he went on his merry way. I wouldn’t have been able to see him even if he did go by me, but it was nice to see that he was still on his regular pattern.

In the evening I headed up the road to the old trusty mountain. I wandered around for most of the afternoon. I made it my goal to find someplace where a buck had started working and it didn’t take me long to find it. After locating a rub line I was quite satisfied. I surveyed the land and tried figuring out how I’m going to hunt this deer over the next few weeks. I think I’m going to set up on the bottom of a big ridge instead of the top where the rubs start. With the wind currents and access I just believe it’s better for me to be on the bottom. Hopefully I get a look at this one. I finally got a little motivation after seeing the sign. We’ll see what happens later in the week.

This could be the buck making the rubs.

This could be the buck making the rubs.




Saturday October 19, 2013

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Today was opening day of muzzleloader. I headed into the woods with about three hours of sleep. It was 32 degrees when I got out of the truck. I couldn’t believe the number of campers and tents along the road. Dad and I made good time getting to where we wanted to go. I was sitting before daylight, which surprised me considering the length of the hike and the terrain we had to cross without a trail. The morning passed quickly and before I knew it I was checking cameras. I was disappointed to find that most of my cameras were not operating at all. It was a really bad camera day. The only pictures I had were of three different women in the middle of God’s country without any trail nearby on different days during the middle of the week. I have to admit that the pictures gave me the creeps. I’m not sure why, but it was unsettling when I saw them on my viewfinder.

I didn’t find any rubs or scrapes, so I made two scrapes of my own. I don’t know if anything will hit them, but I decided to give it a whirl. To my amazement almost all of the leaves were gone, even the low stuff. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never seen all the underbrush without leaves this early in the season. It makes me really look forward to next weekend. I’m expecting to see a little more sign with the cold weather coming in. We hunted until dark and headed south for the night. Overall it was a great day to be in the woods.