Archive for November, 2020

Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

We drove through the night to meet up with Brian in the Midwest. Dad decided to make the trip and stretched out in the backseat and got as much rest as possible. Josh and I shared the driving duties. There were points during the night that I felt like packing it in, but I pushed forward and made the best of it. I’m thoroughly exhausted tonight.

  Brian has been seeing some deer. He passed a dandy in the spot that Dad usually hunts. He passed it because it’s so hard for Dad to get around and he wants to do his part to help him succeed. We both hope he gets an opportunity at that buck. 

  We headed into the woods for an afternoon hunt. I carried Dad’s stuff into the woods. He has to use a crossbow that Dan Ladd let him borrow. He can no longer draw his bow. He simply doesn’t have the strength to draw it, even at 40 pounds.

  As we walked along an overgrown road, tears formed in my eyes, and I felt that pang in my chest that only comes every now and then. It’s difficult to watch him shuffle his feet because he doesn’t have the strength to pick them up to walk. Instead of packing it in, he continues doing what he loves to do. It’s dedication, determination and pure will, and it’s incredible to watch. I wish I had half of the inner-strength that lives inside him. 

  I did a lot of walking near the road in hopes of finding another spot where he can hunt and not have to go too far. Although I saw a few deer, I came up empty-handed. I was disappointed. 

  As it began getting dark, I headed up the road to where I had left Dad. I waited for him to get to me, so we could head out of the woods together, just as he has waited so many times for me over the years. I grabbed the crossbow and slung it over my shoulder for the walk. Usually, he would insist that he could do it himself. Today, he just let me take it with no hassles. I was glad to lend a hand. I gotta do my part, too. 

  Dad saw six does tonight right at dark. No bucks came with them. He waited for them to clear out before heading out of the woods.

  Brian headed to a place we checked out one other time. He said it looks good and we should probably return. Josh went out behind the tent tonight. He saw a young kid from Ohio who was rattling up a storm and grunting every few minutes. People just don’t get it. It cracks me up and makes me want to politely tell them to stop. I’d like to know what they’re thinking when they’re doing stuff like that. In the end, Josh saw one doe and Brian had a deer blow at him when he stood up to come out of the woods. 

  We will see what tomorrow brings. It’s supposed to be in the high 70s. It was 65 when we headed into the woods today. The cloud cover kept the temperature down.

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

Although my heart wasn’t in it, I decided to go anyway. I had a feeling the big buck might hit the scrape today. Nothing moved while I was sitting, but I clearly saw where the big buck had walked through the area earlier in the day. I guess I just wasn’t there at the right time. It was pretty disappointing to see.

I bowed my head and headed out of the woods when it got dark. I was saddened that I wasn’t able to connect with the buck. was chasing. I probably won’t return to that spot until late muzzleloader season. With the heavy pressure the area gets, I would be really surprised if the big deer I messed up on doesn’t get killed. There are a few others in the area that are quite visible right now, too. I’m guessing the deer herd is going to take a good whacking in the next few weeks while I’m gone. Then, next year, everyone will wonder why they aren’t seeing any bucks. It’s all cyclical in heavily hunted areas. Fortunately, unlike fishing in trout ponds, deer tend to come back after a few years. The fish don’t usually come back to a pond once they’ve been fished out. If you keep all of the fish you catch in a small pond, eventually the pond runs out of fish. The same type of things happen in the woods but to a lesser extent. There are a few good bucks running around right now, but they don’t appear to be too smart to me, which leads me to believe they will get shot. They’re just walking around way too much in the daylight right now, and that doesn’t work in areas where a lot of people are toting around with rifles.

I’m headed to Illinois tomorrow with Dad and Josh. I’m not feeling it this year. The weather is supposed to be in the 70s and 80s for the next week or two. We’ve never had much luck when it’s like that. Dad can barely walk up the hill behind his house, so he’s going to have a tough time. I had to help him pull two crossbow bolts out of the target tonight because he wasn’t able to get them out. He has lost almost all of his strength. I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to be going, but he wants to go, and I want him to do what he wants to do. I just hope we stay safe and are able to have the best time we are able to have under the circumstances. As I walked out of the woods tonight feeling somewhat defeated, this was the sight I left in the Adirondacks as I thought of my journey to the Midwest. I will not be updating the journal until I have service when I return from the Midwest.

Monday, Nov. 2, 2020

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

My company decided they would give employees a mental break day off this year and said it would have to be on Nov. 2 for me. I couldn’t have been happier when I heard the news. How often do you get a paid day off to go hunting for no reason other than to have a mental break and use it to do something you enjoy? Well, that was me today.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best of days, with the wind blowing 25-35 mph along with a blinding snowstorm for about an hour.

On my way up the road, I almost hit a giant 10-pointer crossing the road. Being close to home, I couldn’t believe the size of the buck. When he hit the dirt road in front of me, I couldn’t believe it. He was hauling ass, too. Instantly, it brought hope to my thoughts about the day.

As I marched around the mountain and headed down the steep terrain on the back side, the snow pelted my face with a fury all its own. I couldn’t escape it, so I welcomed it and continue walking.

When I sat down and changed my clothes, I felt refreshed. The snow had stopped, and I patiently waited for the woods to come alive — and it didn’t take long.

I battle some bad things with my insulin pump all night, so I didn’t get any rest at all. The pump wasn’t hooked to the infusion set properly, and it stopped delivering insulin while I was sleeping. My blood glucose shot to over 500 by the time I figured it out. Stupidly, I headed into the woods anyway.

After sitting down, my blood began crashing. I had three arrows going down, and I needed something to eat as soon as possible. I looked down to find something in my backpack. When I chose to have a peanut butter cup, I was content. Then, I caught movement to my left and saw a really good wanna-be 10-pointer walking up the hill at a good clip. He was a dandy.

I quickly clicked the safety off and readied my ears for the explosion. Another second or two and the gun would fire. Walking at a fast pace, he stepped behind two huge trees. I waited patiently to shoot him when he came out the other side. He was 40 yards away.

Suddenly, does started running all over on the ridge above me and he bolted toward them, and I never saw his initial burst. It was still gray in the woods and hard to see. He quickly mixed in with the other deer, and they were gone in seconds. I was highly disappointed. The does blew as they ran way. I’m still not sure what happened.

I’m not sure if the buck smelled me and ran or if he was after the does that I never saw and bolted toward them. I’ll never know the answer, but I do know that I missed a prime opportunity. It feels like this year is just one of those years. I did everything I needed to do to take this buck, and a lack of concentration for a couple of seconds cost me a dandy. It’s all part of hunting but it seems to hurt this year more than it has hurt in many years. It’s probably because of everything going on. I just took it on the chin, got up and began still-hunting in the freshly fallen snow.

A few hours into my hunt, I spotted movement in the slash and instantly saw antlers. I clicked the safety off and got ready to let it rip. My excitement was still through the roof, which had me on edge. I saw three uprights on one side, but I quickly saw that it wasn’t a buck I wanted to take. Instead, I reached in my coat pocket and got my video camera out. I ended up taking some video, but it didn’t come out that well. When I return from Illinois, I might try to download some of it to share with you. I guess I’ve been lucky to have passed two 8-pointers in two weeks in the Adirondacks. If I look back 30 years ago, I don’t think I ever could have imagined me becoming the guy who would be able to do that. Now, I don’t mind one bit. It’s no longer about taking a buck to me. It’s more about pursuing specific animals and learning about them as I go. I like to outsmart deer that I’m actually hunting. It always feels much more rewarding doing it that way than lucking into it.

Brian is in Illinois. He has been seeing good bucks. I guess that’s exciting. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to be in the 80s when I arrive at the end of the week and stay that way for a solid week. I’m not looking forward to that.

Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

I got up a little later today than yesterday. I figured I didn’t need the head start I required the day before. My windshield was covered with frost when I started the truck at 4:45, and I welcomed it. I enjoy the cooler temperatures.

Since Barrry left last night, I drove myself this morning. On my way down the dark road, I saw some eyes on the bank where the pavement ends and the dirt starts. Suddenly, a big 10-pointer jumped into the road in front of me but quickly decided he didn’t want to cross the road. He turned and went back up the mountain. I felt good about my morning when I saw him. I figured it meant the deer were moving.

As I trudged through the forest, my body felt the aches and pains from the last week, and I had all I could do to pick one foot up after the other found its way to the ground. My back and shoulders begged for mercy, and my calves screamed for rest. I continued the slow but steady march.

I reached the place I wanted to sit well before it got light. The wind whipped around pretty good for most of the morning, and I sat as long as I could handle it. I never saw anything, and I decided to cut cross-lots and check some things out in places I haven’t gone in a while.

When I neared a scrape I used to hunt near, I found a fresh bed. Looking closer, I saw where the deer had pawed open the scrape. It had done it not long before I got there. My timing just doesn’t seem to be lining up this year.

My friend Gar sent me a message today to tell me that his son bagged his first ADK buck and accomplished the feat with his grandfather’s gun that had just been handed down by Gar’s father since he isn’t getting out any more. I made my day to hear the story. Gar also took out the time to ask how my dad was doing and said he would continue praying for him. I appreciate his kindness and well wishes.

Here’s a picture of the scrape I found today.

A little ice on the pond.