Archive for September, 2018

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

The last day of September gave us another good hunting day. Today was a little warmer than the last few days, but it still wasn’t too terribly bad. I spent the day with Dad in the woods. We went for a walk, cleared some trails, and moved his tree stand. He  had been wanting to move this stand since last year. It took us a while to get to it, and it took even longer to move it. By the time we go done, we both felt pretty good about the location of it.

I’m sure that we won’t hunt the area too much this year, but he really wanted it to be ready for the late season when we have more time around home. When we went exploring, I did find a few places that the deer have been using regularly. We put out two cameras, and I marked a tree to sit in next weekend if I return there to hunt. I’ll have to see what the week brings and what the weather decides to do next weekend.

Although Dad wanted to set cameras out, I don’t have much ambition to do that this year. I’ve realized that I’ve killed a lot of bucks over the years before anyone even knew what a trail camera was or how to use one. I think I’ve devoted far too much time to cameras over the last few years that it has taken away from my hunting. I’m definitely going to cut back on cameras this year. While I’ll still be running a few, I will not be running so many that I can’t afford batteries and cards for them this year. I’m looking more forward to just hunting and letting the sign I find talk to me.

I’m not sure how much I’ll get out this week. I have a lot of chores to take care of before I get overly involved in hunting season. I’d prefer to do them now before the hunting gets really good, but it is hard to stay out of the woods with the weather we’ve been experiencing. I guess I’ll have to play it by ear and see what happens.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

I can’t believe that the good hunting weather continues to hang around. It sure seems like we are ready to experience some of those 80 and 90 degree days like we normally get this time of year. I’m sure it’s coming, it’s just a matter of when it gets here.

I headed into one of my favorite areas this morning. I decided to walk around to see if I could find some sign to set up on in the coming days and weeks. I was really disappointed with what I found. I covered a lot of ground and couldn’t find any trees that were dropping nuts. It looks like it’s going to be one of those years in which I listen to everyone else talk about all of the acorns where they’re hunting, but I won’t be able to find any where I hunt. Every three to four years that seems to happen.

By the end of the day, I was frustrated. I’ll try covering more ground in the next week to see if I can find something more appetizing. I’d like to call today a waste, but I can’t do that since I found some areas to avoid, even though these areas have been great producers in the past. Unlike other people, I won’t continue to sit there because I’ve had luck there in the past. I know when to hold’m and when to fold’m. It’s definitely a fold’m hand. It’s time to find the area where the deer are living this year. Hopefully, I can find some good sign on Sunday.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

The woods called me again today, and I answered the call. Once again, we had some really good weather to go out and give it a shot. We headed back into the piece of woods where Brian wounded the deer last night. We gave it a good overview to see if we could find anything but came up empty-handed. It really sucks, and I know it bothers Brian quite a bit. He just can’t seem to win. He’s a great shot but can’t buy a break.

The time went by quickly and didn’t amount to too terribly much besides a doe and a fawn feeding past me around 5:00 p.m. I saw quite a few turkeys, too.

Brian had a small 3-pointer walk directly under his stand. The deer didn’t have a clue that a person was in the near vicinity.

Tonight we hunted with Brian’s friend Jim. Jim took a big doe, and she fell within 50 yards of where he shot her.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to transfer any of my pictures onto this computer. You’ll have to bear with me as I get back into the groove of things. It has been difficult while trying to work with three different computers. I’m hoping to get those issues fixed in the near future. I’m not a fan of writing entries that don’t have pictures to tell some of the story.

I’m headed to one of my old stomping grounds in the morning. It’s supposed to be a good day.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

It has been a busy week between getting home from Colorado and getting ready for opening day of bow season here in New York. When today rolled in, I wasn’t nearly ready to head to the woods, but I couldn’t resist it, especially with the seasonal temperatures recently.

Over the past few years, the temps in the beginning of the season were well above average, sometimes reaching 90 degrees.Tonight it was 60 degrees when I headed into the woods, and I knew it would drop into the low 50s by the time I returned to the truck.

Brian and I chatted back and forth about what we wanted to do. Finally, we decided to go to an area where we have been seeing a couple of nice bucks throughout the summer. Amazingly, this area actually has a few alfalfa fields, and the deer have been feeding in them regularly.

Shortly after getting set up in the tree, I could see deer coming. A nice doe came up the hill out of the brush and headed into the field about 25 yards from my stand, and her buck fawn followed her. Before the end of the night, I saw three buck fawns and three does. I guess the buck fawns is a good sign for the future. I wish I could have seen one of the rackers, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be tonight.

Shortly before it got dark, Brian texted me and told me that he had shot at a big doe. By the time I got to him, his friend Jim was there to help us track the deer. With flashlights, we headed into the thick stuff where she headed. The blood was spotty at best. As we followed it, I began to get a little bit of hope when we could see where it was bleeding out both sides.

Jim got a little bit ahead of us and gave us a shout to come see what he had found. Excited, we both scurried through the brush to get to him. That’s when he tossed me a set of dentures. They looked quite old, and they had probably been there for some time. We imagined how someone could have lost them and not known it, but then I thought about my dad and how many times he has misplaced his own teeth. Anyhow, it made for a couple of great laughs among us.

We were in the woods until around 10:00 p.m. before finally giving up. It got to the point where we couldn’t find any blood at all, and a few of our flashlights were all but dead.

I guess it’s a part of bowhunting, even if we don’t like it. Brian has had some hard luck in recent years with his bow. Hopefully, he can get on the right track in the next month or so.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Well, today was our last day of elk hunting for 2018. It poured the entire night, sometimes raining so hard that I couldn’t hear myself think. As it started winding down toward morning, I thought about getting up to give it a whirl. When I poked my head out of the tent it was so foggy, I couldn’t see far enough to walk 20 yards. Figuring that would affect a lot of different things, I decided to sleep in and try to get some rest for the trip home.

We all headed out in the evening and decided to go on the mountain behind the tent, where dad missed the bull earlier in the week. Alex got some awesome footage on this hunt, especially during the climb to the summit when we had to reach out in front of us and feel our way to the top.

With an hour of daylight left, I stood on top of the mountain and felt incredibly small. I never heard a bugle on the final night. There was something fitting about that, even though I’m not sure what caused that feeling. I climbed this mountain for the first time over 25 years ago, but I’m not sure I felt so small at that time of my life. Life’s experiences has a tendency to do that to people. It makes us realize our place in life.

We jumped a few elk on the way down the mountain, but darkness had already taken over, and we had no chance at getting close to them.

This trip was an eye-opening experience for me. I never expected Alex to be able to keep up to me and Brian. He surpassed all of my expectations. I also can’t believe how passionate he is about his work and actually working. He put everything he had into his work. It was a pleasure to watch his passion unfold in front of me every day. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

Although he started the project four years ago to make an art exhibition, the project has unfolded into a film documentary and will make its debut at an outdoor film festival, hopefully sometime next year. The film will be about an hour and a half long and feature five subjects, me being one of them. I look forward to seeing the film, but I really have no idea what to expect. We have done so many things, and I’ve participated in more interviews than one can imagine, that it makes it hard to imagine that everything could be smashed into an hour and thirty minutes, especially since Alex probably spent the same amount of time with the four other subjects. I do know that the videography and still photos will be second to none, and I look forward to admiring his work, especially the work he did on this trip.

One day while I was walking up the mountain, everything got put into perspective when I asked him if he thought what we were doing every day was a little obsessive, like crazy. He laughed for a few minutes and responded, “I’m beginning to think so. I probably wouldn’t be doing anything like this. It’s pushing yourself beyond the limits of a normal person.”

I gazed at him and thought, “Mmmm, how am I any different than you? You’re doing the same exact thing, except your end goal is finishing your documentary.”

I’m pretty sure he didn’t think about it that way. It’s amazing how we look at the things that other people do and how we rate them or compare them compared to what we do ourselves.

I had a great trip this year. I wish I didn’t get sick, but I battle through it and made the best of it. I made some great new friends and expect those relationships to grow and form a solid foundation for the future. It’s awesome meeting people and sharing experiences with them when they share the same passions. I haven’t killed an elk in 12 years, but that’s okay with me. I still love seeing elk, and I love hearing them bugle. The bugle echoing off the canyon walls is what makes it all worth it for me. I live for that noise and the excitement that comes along with it. I’m beginning to realize how fortunate I was to have killed so many elk when I started elk hunting. It seemed like I was able to arrow one every year……………..and it seemed so damn easy. I’m finally realizing how difficult the task can be to even get close enough to one to draw my bow. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get a shot again, but I do know that every day I can see the arrows I shot early on when I research my memory bank.

Deer hunting season opens in New York this week. I haven’t done nearly enough homework, but I’ll go out and learn on the fly. Since I’ve slacked off so much this year, I don’t have much of a plan for the beginning stages of the season besides finding food and rubs and sitting close to both of them.

I’m researching places to go in Illinois in November. I almost have it narrowed down to a few places. It’s a shot in the dark once again, so I’m not sure what to expect. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find a gold mine. Only time will tell. Shoot straight and enjoy your time in the woods.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

We expected the woods to catch fire today, but it just didn’t happen.  Four or five bulls bugled right out of the gate, but that was about it. We heard some random bugles throughout the day and had some cloud cover. Unfortunately, the cloud cover didn’t kick them in the ass. When we headed out of the woods, nobody had spotted an elk for the day. We have one day left. I’ll probably hunt in the morning and start cleaning things up in the afternoon.

The heat is hanging on like humidity in the jungle.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

We all went in early today and went way back in. We also all split up and went in different directions, Alex going with me. After dropping Dad off in an area where I have had heard bulls bugling the last few days, we headed toward a saddle that is often used in the late morning by a lot of bulls. It was pretty quiet for the better part of the morning, but when we crested the top of the mountain, all hell broke loose. Bulls were bugling all over on the backside of the mountain. After listening for a bit, I realized the bulls were bedded. That’s when I decided to wait them out to see if they would come back across the mountain later in the day.

Looking back at it, I should’ve made the move and gone after the big bull that bugled all day. The big bull laid in his bed and bugled from 8:30 until 2:30 pm. That’s when he shut up and didn’t make another noise.

We headed out of the woods a little disappointed, but we still have a few days left.

It’s still hot as hell. We can’t escape it this year.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

This morning, we decided to head to my favorite spot. Although there have been people all around it, we decided to give it a whirl. Brian had a feeling about it, and I know that you should trust those feelings when they arise in a seasoned veteran.

We made quick time getting to where we wanted to sit for a few hours. There’s a saddle between two mountains, and I have always had good luck sitting there for the first few hours of the day. Most people don’t know the significance of the place, so they overlook it and don’t realize that it acts as a natural funnel. Any elk on either mountain will usually walk through the area if it’s moving from one mountain to the next. It took years to figure it out, but after doing so, we have had incredible luck in the spot.

After splitting up, it didn’t take long for the action to start. I could hear a bull bugling in the distance, but it was quickly on top of us. The last time I heard it bugle, I thought it was within 100 yards of where I was sitting. Suddenly, I heard crashing timber all around me. The crashing started right after I heard what I though was an arrow striking an animal.

A few minutes after that, I spoke to Brian on the radio. He had shot at a big 5×5. Although the shot was taken from 35 yards, the angle wasn’t that great. The bull had his own herd of cows with it, including about 10 cows and calves.

We quickly found the arrow and realized that it had struck the elk but didn’t penetrate at all. It appeared to have hit the elk directly on the shoulder bone. The elk was definitely fine. It was really disappointing, and we all felt Brian’s pain. It’s such hard work to get a shot, and when you get one, you definitely don’t want to mess it up. Brian can’t seem to break the ice in the elk hunting arena.

After that episode, Brian and I headed back to the area where we hunted the first day of the trip. Everything was pretty quiet until the last few minutes of daylight. Bulls started teeing off, and we had to choose one of them to go after. When we chose the one in front of us, I thought we had him dead to rights.

Unfortunately, the bull came to within 40 yards of me as Brian was calling, but it wouldn’t step out of the timber and into the meadow. When it finally stepped into the meadow, I couldn’t believe the size of the animal. The bugle sounded like it was coming from an immature animal, but the 6×6 was one of the best bulls I’ve ever seen. It was a giant, both high and wide. It was surely a sight I will never forget………simply awesome.

As we walked down the hill in darkness, the bulls wouldn’t stop bugling. When we got to the trail to head out, bulls chased us through the woods and crashed timber all around us. We’re not sure if the lights were the cause of this or if it was because they thought we were one of the cows that was in heat. Either way, it was a little scary to have big bulls so close to us in the dark and not being able to see them. Instead, we had to listen to them breathing and huffing and puffing. The experience was exhilarating.

Dad hunted on the mountain behind camp tonight. He listened to one bugle, but the bull didn’t want to play any games with him. Today felt like a good day. It’s still hot as hell, so I’m unsure if the activity will increase or decrease tomorrow. The rut is in full swing. We can smell cows that are in heat.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

It’s still hot as hell. It’s hovering in the mid 80s with no signs of letting up. It has been almost impossible to get any good sleep. Dad has been hacking up a lung and the heat has been so bad I can’t even sleep through the night.

We all went to our old stomping grounds today and did some exploring on a mountain that we haven’t hunted yet this year. In the early morning, we heard a bull bugling in the distance, but the bugling didn’t last very long. When we got to the top of the mountain, we jumped about 15 mule deer but didn’t see any elk.

After doing a series of interview questions with Alex, I noticed he was smiling. Sure enough, Dad walked up behind us, and we spent the rest of the day bullshitting on top of the mountain. We explored a few new areas in the immediate area but didn’t venture too far.

In the evening, we split up and still-hunted down the face of the mountain. At the top, we jumped a few elk, and they crashed timber as they disappeared. When we all reached the bottom of the mountain, a bull started bugling.  He didn’t have much interest in coming to us, and before long, it was dark.

I’m not feeling overly confident, but things can change on a dime in the hunting world. We will see what happens tomorrow………..another day, another opportunity to enjoy what it has to offer.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Today was a slow day. It’s still in the 80s during the day. This morning, Alex and I hunted together, and Dad and Brian went out on their own. Alex and I didn’t see anything in the morning. We went into a saddle area in the evening, and I had an encounter with a really nice 6×6 but couldn’t get a shot. He bugled like crazy, and I almost cow called him in, but a few cows in the area got a little excited and they left and angled down the mountain, bugling as they went. Brian had a crazy morning with bulls bugling all over the place, but he forgot to bring water with him, so he had to go back to camp. He went behind camp this evening and didn’t see anything. Dad had a slow day today and didn’t see anything.