Archive for October, 2021

Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

I knew I had to get in the woods today because it was the coolest day of the hunting season so far. However, the wind was howling at a pretty good clip. I hunted with Kentucky today, and we went into an area with a lot of oaks in the southern Adirondacks. I knew a good place to send him where I’ve had a lot of action in the past, so he headed in that direction. I hunted on the back side of the mountain from him in hopes of walking up on a feeding deer in the oaks or a bedded one due to the wind.

After a few hours of still-hunting, I packed it in and began my journey back to the truck. I had the “feeling” tonight. I was almost certain that I was going to walk up on an unsuspecting buck, especially in the areas that I traversed. I purposely set my route ahead of time, so I could hunt across many oak flats and through other oak groves. In all reality, I didn’t see much sign. I did find a few rubs here and there, and I saw where a few guys had sat in recent times.

I most likely won’t get out much the rest of the week. It won’t bother me, as the weather is headed back into the high 70s. I just can’t get into it when it’s that hot out. I’m sure the deer still roam the hills, but I don’t like to be all sweated up when I’m trying to be stealthy.

Here are a few pictures from today’s adventure.

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

I went with my gut today and headed to a different area than where I hunted yesterday. It was the best morning we’ve had, and it still wasn’t even close to a frost. For some reason, I felt chilly after climbing into the stand and getting settled. It’s probably because the temps have been in the 70s and 80s almost every day.

The birds went crazy for a bit, and it alerted me that something was going on in the near vicinity. That’s when I leaned forward to get a better look, and something startled me — or I startled it — in the brush behind me. Then, I saw a deer darting through the heavy brush, but it stopped and stood motionless. It tried figuring out what had spooked it but couldn’t place the origin of the problem. Then, I realized that it must’ve gotten spooked when I leaned forward.

After she became relaxed, she began feeding and continued eating in front of my stand for almost three hours. Eventually, she wagged her tail and wandered over the hill out in front of me.

The rest of the day was uneventful, and in the afternoon. the skies opened up and dumped rain in buckets. I got drenched to the bone, so I packed it in about an hour before it got dark and headed for the truck. Overall, it was a good weekend. I put on 15 miles total in the three days. I did see where a few bucks have begun working, so that was the positive point to take home. Hopefully, the cooler weather will stick around for a bit.

Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

It rained cats and dogs last night. This weather just doesn’t want to give in. It feels as if we are in a tropical jungle. When I walked outside today, I couldn’t see more than 50 yards. As I began my trek into the woods, the light cast from the headlamp made me dizzy due to the dense fog. If I hadn’t followed the terrain features, I probably could’ve ended up in a mess.

I couldn’t make myself sit down for the better part of the morning. With all of the low leaves still on, it made it difficult to find somewhere to sit. Instead, I poked through the wet leaves in hopes of catching a deer lying down. It never happened.

Nobody in the bunch saw a deer today. It was incredibly muggy. Although there were severe T-storm warnings, we never experienced one. I guess we got lucky in that regard. The forecast is calling for temperatures to finally drop into the mid 50s tomorrow. Currently, I can’t believe that, but we will see what the day brings.

Friday, Oct. 15, 2021

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Amazingly, the heat dropped like a rock today!! It got down to 72 degrees from the 80s yesterday… almost into the 60s. The deer are not moving in the areas I’ve been hunting. The leaves are also falling at a pace that makes it almost impossible to see sign unless it was just made.

I went on a 7 1/2 mile jaunt today after getting out of work at 1:00 p.m. I got drenched to the bone. I’m not sure if I got more wet from the sweat or from the moisture that was still on the trees and underbrush from the earlier rain.

Halfway into my journey, my GPS decided it no longer wanted to work. I guess it has finally run its course. While climbing a mountain, my signal got weak, and the unit lost its ability to communicate with any satellites. I figured it was just a momentary thing, but after trying to get it to reboot, I realized that is probably on its way to GPS heaven. I will probably have to upgrade to a newer version. It’s somewhat disheartening, because I’ve never used it much, and I have taken good care of it.

It seems that bears are all over this year. I’m not sure if that is what has slowed down the typical deer movement or if the extended summer weather is the issue. I did find one place where a deer had scraped in the last 24 hours, and it was in one of my typically good areas. Hopefully, that’s a sign that things are going to improve, but I’m not counting on it at this point in time. Tomorrow is the first day of Northern Zone NY muzzleloader season, then we will have seven consecutive weeks of hunting with firearms. Here are a few pictures of my day. There’s nothing like following a dirt road into fall.

A dirt road has a splendor all its own… something only a hunter can understand.

Most of the high leaves are gone. Still a lot of underbrush, though.
I’ve seen a few places where bucks have begun their annual rituals.

Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Although it was 81 degrees when I got out of my truck this afternoon, I still headed into the woods. I didn’t have hunting on my my mind, but I did want to go for a walk in an area to see if I could find any type of sign.

As I wandered across ridges and the sweat seeped down the crease of my back where my spinal cord resides, it didn’t bother me. I continued walking and somewhat enjoyed the process. As warm as it was outside, it didn’t feel overbearing to me.

As the minutes began bringing me toward sunset, I knew I had to turn around and head back to the road. I had been aimlessly wandering for the better part of three hours at that point. Looking at my watch, I didn’t know if I could get back to the road before it got dark, but I knew I was going to attempt it.

When I arrived at my truck, there was still a hint of daylight that could be seen in the skyline, but it would be gone by the time I packed my gear in the backseat and started the truck.

My trip today was somewhat useless. The weather just won’t let up. We haven’t had one day that I can remember the daily high being under 67 degrees. The movement has been minimal to nonexistent in the areas I’ve hunted, and it makes the desire to go out decrease with every new day of high heat. I’m ready for fall.

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

I didn’t go out yesterday. I couldn’t force myself to give in to the heat. The 82 degree reading on the thermometer told me all I needed to know: I would be staying home.

I forgot to mention that Brian and I covered a lot of miles on Saturday afternoon to check some cameras Brian put out back in the summer. The trip wasn’t what we expected. Someone found one of the cameras and deleted all of the pictures of the card. Then, to top it off, he walked away from the camera so we could only see his back. It’s hard to say why he deleted all of the pictures, but I would be willing to guess. The picture of him was taken on 9/26 at 10:30 a.m. I’m guessing he was bowhunting the day before the season opened, and he probably walked in front of the camera with his bow. So he chose to delete all of the pictures that appeared before he showed up on it. Then, he left the few with him walking away from the camera because he thought he could get past it before it started taking pictures again, or he was pretending he was just walking through the woods.

How may times do I have to say it… why do people feel the need to mess with other people’s stuff. I just don’t get it. People can’t help themselves. Whenever I see other cameras, I wave at them to let the person know he/she got me on camera, or I walk around them so my presence is unknown. I’ve never felt the urge to open someone’s camera. I’ve also never felt the urge to help myself to it. I hope the guy who messed with the camera doesn’t see Brian in the woods. I’m thinking it won’t be a good thing. I’ll tell people again because they just don’t seem to understand it. You can’t delete videos from the cards when you take them out. You can delete all of the photos, but the videos stay behind the scenes. I have some good videos of people. The videos can tell you a lot of things about people, especially the ones with sound.

So tonight I made my way around the back of a mountain I grew up on. I make the journey every year. It’s a place that has my heart and always will. I killed my first deer there, and I’ve spent many hours among the trees on that mountain. I learned about life, love and loss on that hill. I also learned how to become and adult, and I learned that my father and I were on our way to becoming best friends when I entered adulthood.

When my insulin pump beeped on the way out of the woods tonight, I sat on a log and felt a tear form in the corner of my eye. A few seconds later, it started its journey down my cheek and ended up in the corner of my mouth. Looking across the horizon, I suddenly realized 40 years have passed in the blink of an eye.

Gazing into the darkening sky, I saw myself following Dad down the same hill where I currently sat. I had on my little orange coat and my winter hat. My pack boots from Joy store were hunter brown with bright yellow laces. I would wear them for many years. Then, I saw the two does make their way up the hill as I whispered, “Dad, Dad, can I shoot one.”

“Yeah bud, you can shoot one.”

I leveled that single pump BB gun on the front shoulder of the lead doe and squeezed the trigger. The deer were basically unfazed as they made their way out of sight. And that was the beginning of my deer hunting journey that has brought be halfway across the country and back. I always come back to this place, though. It’s in my heart. It is my soul. This mountain is who I am.

I gathered myself and enjoyed the hike out of the woods. I fell asleep with my back against this rock many times. Although I have become gray with age, my youth is still found in the chair-like rock. The rock hasn’t aged a day, yet my body is on the backside of the mountain and headed into the valley below.

Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

We headed back into the same piece of woods that we hunted yesterday. There’s just too much sign in there to ignore it. I forgot to mention it yesterday, but I must add that the area where I found the big scrape is loaded with white oaks, and they were raining acorns. It’s only a matter of time before the deer make themselves known. They can’t resist white oaks for very long, and I could see where they had already rummaged through the leaves in search of the delicacy.

During my sit, I spotted a fisher in a small creek. It played for a short time before racing up the hill and out of sight. The rest of the morning passed without much activity. Kentucky didn’t see anything either.

When we got out of the stands to come home around 11, the temperature had already climbed to 70 degrees. It just doesn’t want to let up. If anyone has followed this journal for a number of years, you will know that I can’t stand hunting in high heat. It doesn’t usually add up to a successful recipe. On the news, I saw where it was the sixth hottest September on record, and where we stand right now for October, we are on course to break the all-time record. That’s just not conducive to good hunting.

Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

It always makes it easier when you have a plan the night before you’re headed into the woods under the cover of darkness. Kentucky and I made a plan and decided to be on the road at 4:30 a.m. I would hunt an area he found a few days ago, and he would hunt over a scrape that has had a lot of activity recently.

In my experience, I was pretty sure one of us would get a look at one of the bucks he had on camera. There had been too much activity to think differently. Although the heat won’t let up, it was fairly cool for the morning sit. When we left the house, it was overcast and the temperature hung in the high 50s.

After getting in the tree, I sat back and waited for it to get light. Kentucky had sat in the same tree a few days earlier, so I knew I was in a good spot. When it got light, I felt confident about my chances. However, as the morning dragged on, my confidence waned with the leaves falling from the trees.

Neither one of us saw a deer, but I did get out of the stand and wandered around to see if I could find anything in the area that would warrant more attention. In my search, I found a giant scrape that had recently been opened, and the licking branch had also been torn apart. As soon as I saw the scrape, I knew it was a no-doubter. It was on the top of a finger where a few runways came together. The runways merged into one patch along the top edge of a bowl, and the deer would be forced to walk a thin line if they committed to the runway after being in the scrape. It would put them 10 yards from the base of a tree I glanced at while taking it all in. If I were a betting man, which I’m not, I would guess a decent buck will be in that scrape in the daylight next Monday or Tuesday when the summer-like weather finally breaks. It will be the first true cold front, and I’m almost certain that area will attract a few bucks. Time will tell. Here are a few pictures of our find. We found the fresher scrape on our way out. It was about 100 yards from the primary scrape.

Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Every year, it seems like the temperatures get hotter and hotter deeper into fall. It’s beginning to feel like we live down south somewhere in the beginning of every hunting season. Looking at the extended forecast, I don’t see the daytime temperatures getting under 70. While it’s not blazing hot, it’s probably a little sticky for a deer that’s wearing its winter coat. I can’t imagine they are moving too terribly much yet.

I made the trek to some big oaks for the evening. Something in my gut told me to do it… so I did. When I got to my stand and prepared to climb into it, I realized I had forgotten my arrows. In my rush to get into the woods, I must’ve not been paying attention when I got out of the truck. I had my bow that doesn’t have a quiver attached to it, and I had slid the arrows under the seat to keep them protected.

I found solace in the fact that my walk to the truck and back to my stand took a total of 16 minutes. It makes me laugh when people say there aren’t any big bucks next to the road. I found where this deer had been feeding in some oaks, and I think this one place gets overlooked because it’s crappy-looking land. It’s definitely not appealing to the eye.

Although the afternoon bled into the evening without anything happening around me, I was excited to see the buck had made his presence known earlier in the day. He tore up three scrapes within sight of my stand, and it appeared that I just took the wrong guess. I should’ve hunted in the morning instead of the afternoon. Something in my gut told me he was probably in there this morning, as the fog stayed thick for a while and the temperatures didn’t rise as fast as predicted.

It felt good to be in the woods today. It was the first time this year, I could feel it in my soul. I’m ready for the journey to begin. I’m not sure where it will take me this year or if I’ll find any success. I guess I just need a break or two along the way. I’m always excited to experience things I’ve never experienced in the past. I’ve never had a season in which something I’ve never seen before didn’t present itself before my eyes. I can’t wait to experience a new adventure this year.

As I’ve said in the past, your hunting partners will play a big part in your success, so choose them wisely. If you find a guy who is willing to help you at the expense of losing his own time in the field, and he is always there for you when you need something, he’s a guy to spend a lot of hunting time with. My buddy Kentucky helped one of his hunting partners get a deer out of the woods yesterday. The deer was a dandy suburban buck and still had velvet on the antlers. Here is Kentucky carrying the deer out of the woods.

Monday, Oct. 4, 2021

Monday, October 4th, 2021

Although I had no intentions of hunting today, I knew it would be a perfect opportunity to set a stand in the place I found yesterday. Although it’s about an hour and twenty-five minutes from they house, I knew I had to take advantage of the pouring rain and do it while I could not leave any scent behind, especially with the forecasted 70 degree temps over the next two weeks.

I started work early and go into the woods by 3:00 p.m. I made quick work of putting the stand up and felt confident about it. I have it in between three trees, offering great cover. On one side there is a double scrape, and it has been hit a little bit already this year. On the other side is a four-trunked oak tree. I’ve always had great luck around trees like this. I’m not sure if it’s because the trees produce more nuts, or maybe the nuts just taste better from those types of trees. It’s not often that you find them, but if you do, I’d recommend looking closely to see if there’s a lot of deer sign around them.

Here are the oaks and the scrapes. This is my sight to the left and the right of the stand. After getting it up, I was pretty happy with out it turned out. First picture is of the scrape.

Close up of the scrape.

The scrape from the stand. There are actually two of them.

The acorns all over the ground