Archive for January, 2015

Saturday December 13, 2014

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

It snowed all night, heavy at times. When I climbed out of bed and peered out the frosty window I could see the snow was still hanging on the trees. All week I had waited for this morning and nothing was going to hold me back. This would be the last day of my 2014 hunting season and I wanted to enjoy it. Late muzzleloader season closes tomorrow at sunset. Due to other obligations I will be unable to get into the woods. I can’t complain because I was able to spend a lot of time doing what I love to do the last few months.

My dad and I got a late start due to the weather. The roads weren’t good at all, which slowed us down. This morning reminded me of the day I killed the Ice Buck that I wrote about in my first book.

As I made my way up the front of the mountain the trees sagged under the weight of the snow. Shortly after the snow stopped the rain pounded down from the sky and left the woods full of ice coated trees and bushes. The beauty was mesmerizing with the sun glistening through the ice and reflecting off from the blanket of crusty snow on the forest floor.

One foot followed the other and my journey required all the strength my legs had in them. I can usually walk long distances without sweating, but not on this day. The physical work to get through the snow and around the ice covered trees and branches was a lot more than I expected.

When I arrived in the area where I wanted to pull a camera I couldn’t find it. Nothing looked the same as it did when I strapped the camera to a tree a few months ago. I aimlessly wandered around for a few minutes before deciding to sit down and study the situation. While sliding the backpack off my shoulders I noticed the camera a few feet off to my left. I guess I was closer to it than I thought.

After pulling the three cameras out of the woods I began the long journey back to the truck. Since I was accompanied by my father we slowly trudged down the mountain and enjoyed the walk. We’ve been through a lot together and every season we both get older. I guess it makes you appreciate the present and long for the past at the same time. I’m not sure why, but I still feel like a 16 year old kid on my first hunt when I walk next to my dad in the woods.  He will always be my hero and I’ll always be his little boy. There’s something really special about that to both of us and inside we know we’re well beyond the halfway point of a 12 inch ruler.

I encourage all of you to enjoy every single moment you get in the woods whether it’s with your best friend or a few family members. Tomorrow is never a guarantee and too often we don’t recognize that until it’s too late.

Here are a few pictures from my last day in the woods. This was a fantastic season for me. I like hunting all over the country, but every year I love the Midwest and the Adirondacks more and more. Both places now have a place in my memory that I will return to many times in the next nine months.

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Sunday December 7, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

The rifle season has come to a close. Today was pretty uneventful. I did a lot of walking without much luck. I expected to see something. I actually expected to put a big buck on the ground. For the amount of land that I traversed I was highly disappointed in the number of tracks I cut.

This was the day I was trying to cut a track and go. Sometimes you can feel it in your gut that you’re going to get lucky and I felt that when I woke up. Unfortunately it didn’t happen and I slowly walked out of the woods with a sense of gratification. I learned a lot this year in this chunk of woods.

Although I spent a lot of time in different places this hunting season I learned a lot in my limited time in this small area. I explored some new areas. I became buddies with a few resident deer and enjoyed watching them throughout the year. I saw a few hunters in action, some of which highly disappointed me and others which impressed me. My buddy Josh celebrated the taking of a great Adirondack buck, which was a tribute to his father who passed away far too young in October. He was only in his early 50s.

As with any hunting season it went too quickly. We wait for it all year and once it gets here you can’t stop the clock and the minutes tick by faster than you can count them. I enjoy every single day in the woods whether it’s pouring rain or bright sun because no tomorrow is ever guaranteed.

Here are two photos of the same spot to show the change of seasons in the Adirondacks. One is the early season and one was from today. I only have next weekend left for late muzzleloader. It isn’t open at my camp so the options of hunting places are limited.


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Saturday December 6, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Only one day left. Today was probably the most miserable day of the hunting season. It started off with a light rain on my walk in and before long it was pouring. Once the rain let up a little it started snowing and then turned to freezing rain.

I didn’t stick to my original plan because of the weather. Along the way I climbed into a blowdown for cover and hid out there in hopes of the weather turning the corner. Unfortunately that never happened. Nestled in the blowdown I didn’t expect to see any type of living critter, but I got lucky.

A pine marten dashed down the hill past me and kept on going. I fumbled through my pockets to get my camera out, but he was gone before I found it. His behavior seemed odd to me. I couldn’t figure out why he would be running that fast. He also kept stopping and looking back up the hill like a doe does when she’s being pursued by a buck.

After it disappeared I found the source of the excitement. Another hunter was slowly making his way across the hill above me. Since it caught me off guard I quietly sat in the make-shift blind and let him walk by. Normally I would have said something, but my spirits had been dampened and I surely wasn’t in a talkative mood for a number of reasons.

I was in no hurry to move, so I decided to sit there for a while. I was well protected by the cover the blowdown  offered and found no need to get out of it to expose myself to the elements. A few hours later I could see the hunter making his way back across the hill following his own tracks. Once again I didn’t say a word or make my presence known.

I know I’ve walked by a lot of people in the woods and sometimes it’s scary if you think about it. If you’re not looking for something there’s not much chance of seeing it when it’s really well camouflaged and that was the situation here.

If I know someone is in an area that I’m hunting I will usually find a new place to explore. I never want to infringe on someone whether they’re there or not. I respect each hunter’s personal space, even in the big woods. Some people are comfortable in places and I don’t like to disturb the place or the people.

Overall I just feel better when I’m in my own little world and I like it that way. Everyone is different I guess. When I finally got up I found an old signpost rub on my way back to the road. It was in a place I didn’t expect to find a signpost, but all the same it was there and it was old. It hasn’t been used in a few years. Here’s a photo.


Friday December 5, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

I had today off. Dad and I headed up to camp last night. Brian and Kyle are coming up for the weekend, too.

Dad saw a handful of deer today. The conditions were really good to walk, so that’s what he did. I did the same. I was surprised when the sun faded behind the mountain that I hadn’t spotted a deer the entire day. The woods look fairly barren of sign. You never know what will happen so I’ll keep giving it my all until Sunday night.

Here’s a nice rub I found today while walking around.


Tuesday December 2, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

I had today off and decided to drive up to our camp and hunt out of there for the day. I was interested to see what the woods looked like since the last time I ventured into the area. It was a beautiful morning, but very cold. The leaves were loud and crunchy. I enjoyed the morning, especially when the sun came up and warmed me up.

I sat until noon so I could get down home and run into the woods to check a couple of my cameras in the area I hunt. I needed to get them out of the woods and I accomplished that before sunset. Overall it was just a good day to be in the woods even though I didn’t have much action.

Before the weekend started I felt pretty good about my odds, but with the last weekend fast approaching I’m not sure if I’ll get it done in the big woods this year. I’m off on Friday and I’ll give it my best shot for the last three days of the northern zone NY rifle season.


Sunday November 30, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

It was a chilly morning. A little snow lightly fell as I walked into one of the places I hadn’t visited since early October. I’m sure we all have that one place that is dynamite, but we can never find a way to get there without disturbing everything within hearing distance. Over the years I’ve killed some big bucks along the edge of swamps and a few years back I found a swamp that couldn’t be rivaled. Since the walk to get there is beyond ridiculous I usually still-hunt my way in and around the area during the middle of the day. This morning I had a different idea. I decided I would try to get there before daylight to sit. Since I always put cameras there and the results are good I wanted to give it an honest effort. In addition to that I needed to pick up the camera I had left there a few months ago.

I didn’t make it to the place before daylight, but that enabled me to still-hunt through some great areas. The snow was different than yesterday. It was loud and crunchy, so I planned on walking like a deer for the better part of the day.

I ended up sitting until around 1pm at which time I knew I had better start my trek out of the woods. I had a couple of mountains to go over as well as a few nasty swamps to navigate around.

When I got up I went to check my old reliable camera that always gives me some sort of empty hope. I guess I just enjoy seeing pictures on it because I know the likelihood of these deer ever getting killed is very slim.  Here are a couple of photos I retrieved from this particular camera.

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Saturday November 29, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

The season is winding down quickly now and I’m limited with the amount of time I’ll be able to spend in the woods. The last time I was in the Adirondacks before vacation I moved cameras all over the place and now I have the chore of rounding them up in a variety of places across the region.

Today I chose to go to a place I put a camera about a month ago. I got a late start, which irritated me a little bit so I decided to sneak and peak with the snow on in hopes of catching something moving from one ridge to the next.

When I finally found my way to the camera I was excited to see what might be on it since it was in a new location about five miles from where I normally hunt. When I popped the lid and started flicking through pictures I was disappointed to see that I had never set the time and date. Since it just took my picture I could easily figure out the difference, but in the future it might be a little confusing when I’m organizing the pictures.

The morning passed slowly. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the big woods. Occasionally a blue jay would caw in the distance or a raven might cackle as it flew overhead, but besides that nothing much happened. I was lucky enough to spot a doe and a fawn around 10:30.

With all of the new snow on I expected to see more sign. Tomorrow will be another day to explore some more new territory. That’s what I use this time of year to do. I can cover a lot of ground and still be hunting while I’m doing it. I’ve found some fantastic spots doing this.

Here are a few photos from the trail camera I picked up today. I will be going back here in the future or sending one of my buddies to sit in the general area.

My buddy Josh killed a nice buck this morning around 8:30am. The buck came down a runway about an hour after a few does came down it. Josh was hunting a few miles from where I was hunting, so I missed the chance to help him drag it out. He and my buddy Brian are young strapping guys, so they took care of it without a hitch.

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Thursday November 27, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Well, today was Thanksgiving. We got pounded with a nasty snowstorm that dumped all sorts of snow on our region. Since I was still worn out from the trip out west and the mountain of work I came back to I didn’t get out of bed. Although the day was horrible I regretted it because of all of the memories I have from Thanksgiving hunts of the past. Here’s  a picture from a past Thanksgiving hunt. I’ll live through this until I head back into the woods next year for the annual Thanksgiving hunt if I’m fortunate enough to do so.

Dad and Rob Miner with the Blizzard Buck on Thanksgiving Day many years ago.

    Dad and Rob Miner with the Blizzard Buck on Thanksgiving Day many years ago.

Saturday November 22, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

This was our last day in Kansas for 2014. This year was the slowest it has been since we started coming out six years ago. I’m not sure what factors led to the slow week because according to my buddies the few weeks before we arrived things were hopping. I guess we missed the boat with that.

I dropped dad off this morning so he could go to the cedar stand for his last sit. He felt pretty good about his chances. When I headed back toward camp a few does crossed the road with a buck in hot pursuit. It was the first deer we saw on the road this week. Since I was going to get a stand he had left in the woods I had to park in a small cornfield a little ways up the road. When I pulled into the field a shooter buck was chasing a doe around in it. He was a solid 8-pointer with a big and burly body. Since fog had encompassed the surrounding area they both mysteriously disappeared into nowhere as if a magic spell had been cast upon them.

I found dad’s stand and climbed into it. The fog made it all but impossible to see more than 50 yards in any direction. Before long I had a deer blowing at me, but then again I’m not so sure of that because the wind wasn’t blowing in that direction. No matter what caused the deer to start blowing it stopped a few seconds later and the woods became eerily quiet once again.

When the phone buzzed in my pocket I ignored it and figured I would look at it in a little while. By the time I pulled it out of my pocket I was ecstatic to see that dad had seen a few bucks chasing does. Although he hadn’t seen a good one yet he was optimistic about his chances.

After reading the message I answered him to see what he was going to do and how long he was going to sit. A few seconds after I answered, my phone began to ring and it was him. He informed me that he had shot a nice buck. The rack wasn’t very large, but it was a big mature buck. He said he wasn’t going to shoot it at first, but the deer was acting strange. A really nice 11-pointer was standing next to the buck, but he could tell that deer had a lot of potential if he had the ability to mature.

I told him to sit tight and I would come get him so we could take some pictures and get the deer out of the woods. That topped the trip off. I was glad to see him arrow a nice buck, but I still can’t figure out why he has never killed a giant. Every night when I go to sleep I pray that one day he’s able to shoot a deer larger than either one of us could ever imagine. He deserves it more than anyone I know, so until he stops hunting I’ll continue wishing upon falling stars for the same thing to happen. Here are some photos of dad’s last minute buck. This is the second time we’ve been lucky enough to kill a deer on our last sit of the year in Kansas.


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Friday November 21, 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

It was 19 degrees this morning when I headed into the woods with a stiff East wind. At first light I saw a deer moving across the field above me. Although I couldn’t see it clearly if I had to guess I’d say it was a buck heading back to his bedding ground since the direction he was going is loaded with thick cover.

Shortly after he disappeared I had four does wind me. They also galloped across the field toward the bedding ground.

At 7:30 I had a small buck appear out of nowhere down in front of my stand. His ears rotated from left to right then back to front as he tried to identify anything unordinary in the area. As he stood motionless I could see his breath rise into the air every time he exhaled. I captured over four minutes of video before he lazily made his way up the hill and disappeared behind a small knob.

About 20 minutes later at 7:50 a doe quickly made her way out of the bottom and continued past me like she had someplace to get to. She passed within 10 yards of the tree I was in and didn’t have a clue I was there, which was somewhat surprising considering the way the wind was swirling around in the treetops.

At 8:20 my belly began to growl, so I reached inside my coat and pulled out the glucose monitor to check my blood. On this vacation I had given up on the Instant Glucose Monitor because it wouldn’t stay attached long enough to make it worth wearing. When the monitor beeped I glanced down and was pleased to see 88. I decided to get a pack of crackers out of my backpack, which was hanging on the back of the tree. When I was crinkling the package to retrieve a cracker something caught my eye on the other side of the tree where the doe had passed through earlier in the morning.

Without hesitation I stuffed the cracker in my mouth and dumped the rest of the package into my inside coat pocket. Looking at his extremely high, tight rack combined with some really long G-3s I decided I would shoot him if I got an opportunity.

Suddenly he put his nose on the ground and began following the doe’s tracks in the wrong direction. I drew the bow and  made a quick grunting noise to stop him, which worked perfectly. I settled the 40 yard pin onto the lower part of his chest and seconds later the arrow was on it’s way.

As soon as the arrow hit I could see pink blood spraying all over the leaves. I knew I had double lunged him. He crashed about 40 yards from where I hit him. I enjoyed the moment and took it all in while reflecting on the trip, the hunt and life.

While doing that two more does came by me feeding. When they hit the track of the fleeing buck they followed it. After they left I climbed down to see my deer. When I got to him I realized I had killed the buck we named Joe Jr. after the big buck my buddy Joe shot last year. That buck scored 175 and this buck was a scaled down version of him.

Dad sat in the cedar stand this morning. He saw two does and two bucks as well as three other deer he couldn’t identify. Tonight he sat in the South Plot and nothing showed up. After discussing a variety of things this evening dad decided he’s going out in the morning before we head home. He’s going to sit in the cedar stand because he has a good feeling about it.

I’m not sure what will happen tomorrow, but I can easily and undoubtedly tell you this has been an unforgettable trip. Hopefully my dad goes to the doctor for the chronic coughing when we get home. It makes me worry and unless you could see him in action he could easily fool you into thinking nothing is wrong with him. Here are a few pictures from today. The buck was a main-frame 10-pointer with a couple of stickers. The trail camera pictures of him were captured about a month before I got him.


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