Archive for October, 2022

Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

Friday, October 28th, 2022

When I woke up, I couldn’t wait to get in the woods. Everything inside me told me today was going to be a good day with lots of deer movement. It was 25 degrees when I got out of the truck, and the stars sparkled brightly in the dark sky. I never passed another vehicle on the road this morning, and I felt alive. The cool air in my lungs reminded me that it was finally my time.

As the light from my headlamp lit up the woods in front of me, I could see that the low beech leaves were gone. While a few were dangling onto trees here and there, the majority of them were gone. This excited me and made me turn it up a notch while walking. I knew I would be able to see a lot farther than we’ve been able to see the last few weeks.

I was settled against a big yellow birch tree when the sun came up. The woods were quiet, and I anxiously waited for something to show up. Unfortunately, I waited until noon for something to show up, and animals just weren’t moving. It blew my mind that nothing moved. As I sit here tonight, I still can’t figure it out. The conditions were ideal.

I wandered around during the afternoon hours to look for any new sign that might have been laid down in the last few days, but I didn’t come across anything. Actually, the woods looked void of sign. I saw a few tracks here and there, but the normal amount of sign just didn’t seem to be there.

As the afternoon headed toward evening, I sat for a little bit. Around 4:00 p.m., I saw a deer’s tail wag. I never saw it again. The deer got by me without giving me a look at it. It was in some really thick stuff, and it was a long way away from me.

When I got back to the truck, the thermometer was at 40 degrees. Dad hunted this afternoon. He didn’t see anything.

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

Friday, October 28th, 2022

I scurried around to allow myself a few minutes to get into the woods after work. Although I didn’t have much time, I know it only takes a few seconds for something to happen. I’ve seen it occur enough times over the years to realize no available minute should be wasted when the weather is right. Since it has been in the 70s all week, I figured the deer would be on their feet with the temperature drop.

I made my way to a spot near the road that gave me confidence. I”ve seen a few good deer in this area in the past, and I know things are probably getting ready to pop. I decided to sit on a scrape that gets a lot of activity every year around Halloween. When I got near the scrape, I was disappointed to see that there were still a lot of low-hanging beech leaves on, so it would make it very difficult to find a good place to sit.

When darkness rolled in, I packed my stuff and headed out of the woods. It felt good to be in the woods, and I realized I’m ready. It’s finally go-time. All of my concentration will be centered on hunting for the next month. I’ve found myself lagging this year when it comes to getting ready. I had too many things going on to focus the way I need to focus.

My bow contract ran out at the end of the competitive archery season, and I encountered some stress while trying to figure out where I would land for next year. After I made the deal, it lifted a weight off my shoulders, and I look forward to what the next few years have to offer. I”m happy with the decision I made, and I will be representing Darton Archery. I was given and opportunity to get on board on the ground floor as far as their marketing entry into competitive archery. It’s always good to feel valued, and the owner of the company makes me feel valued.

Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 20s. I think the deer should move, but you never know. If I were in the Midwest, I know I would have some action tomorrow, but mountain hunting is nothing like the Midwest.

Sunday, Oct. 23, 2021

Sunday, October 23rd, 2022

There was a light frost again this morning when I headed out. Brian and I decided to head to another area to hunt today. There are just way too many people in the normal areas we usually hunt. I can’t handle being inundated with people and pressure. It’s sad that some individuals don’t even know what they’re doing to places when they’re in them nonstop. You can’t continue pounding the same places and expect the deer to stay there.

Last fall, a few guys began hunting in the area I spend a lot of time. I’ve always had a plan while hunting there and rotate around different places and do nothing but walk in and out. I stay put and don’t move. However, these people wandered all over the place nonstop. I knew something was going on because deer movement became nonexistent. Then, they stopped going in there for about a week, and the deer began filtering back in. It’s the little things that people overlook as to why they don’t find success with any type of regularity. You simply have to know how your presence affects the animals in different areas. That’s why I hunt in so many different spots and very rarely give the same spot more than two days of my pressure.

When I got to where I wanted to go this morning, I felt a great deal of confidence. Something in my gut told me I might get a look at something good. However, as the morning wore on, I realized I wasn’t going to get lucky on this day. After sitting until about 11 and wandering around for a bit, I decided to call it a day when the temperature climbed to about 70 degrees. With minimal deer movement, I did’t want to stir the area up.

None of us saw any deer today, and we didn’t see much sign either. I’m hoping things begin to change, but at this point, I don’t have a great deal of confidence as I look into the coming days. There don’t seem to be many deer in any of the areas I’ve gone up to this point. Maybe after the leaves come off, things will begin to change. I do know that the pressure needs to let up a little bit for anyone to see much. There are just too many other places for deer to go when an abundance of people hunt in the same area. I’m still not sure what possesses people to do that, but I won’t spend anymore time trying to figure it out. There are miles and miles and miles of public land to explore. That’s why I went elsewhere today. It’s not difficult to go to other places.

Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022

Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

Today was opening day of rifle season in the Adirondacks. Heading down the road, I knew I was early enough to beat the crowd — at least I thought I was early enough. When I slowed down to pull into the place I wanted to park, I saw three other trucks parked there. The guys were just getting up, as they had spent the night in their trucks. There was a light frost, and the thermometer on my truck read 32 degrees.

It was almost impossible to keep track of where I was going due to all of the leaves, and it looks even thicker in the darkness. Finally, around daylight, I got to where I wanted to sit. Amazingly, I wasn’t drenched in sweat. I’m thinking it was because I could never get going at a fast pace. At 9:00 a.m., I could hear a dear walking in the leaves. Staring into the maze of leaves, I finally saw legs moving. Suddenly, a spike appeared in front of me, and I watched it feed for about 15 minutes. It got so close to me at one point, I think I could have jammed the barrel of the gun into its ribs. It was neat to be so close to a buck and know it was clueless about my presence.

Josh, Dad and Brian all hunted today too. Nobody saw a deer except me. That seems to be a chance of pace. By the time I got done adding up the guys in the woods surrounding me, I came up with seven guys. It’s kind of hard to be successful when you have seven guys ramming and jamming through the woods. It doesn’t take deer very long to become aware of the intrusion and move on. Some people simply don’t understand that you can’t keep pounding the same area and expect good results. Deer, especially big bucks, will not withstand more than two days of intrusions in most places. At least, that’s what my experiences in the past have shown me.

I don’t have much of a plan for tomorrow. I’m going to go to bed tonight and figure it out in the morning when I wake up. It’s usually not good when I don’t have a plan, but I didn’t expect to have that may people in the same area as me. I’ll head to another area in the morning and see what happens.

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022

Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

This week has greeted me with a variety of obstacles that has prevented me from getting out to hunt. However, I decided to head into the woods today with dad. I wanted to go into my old haunt and wander around, so I picked Dad up after work. On my journey through the woods, I found myself going back in time to the first time I ever hunted the area with Dad during muzzleloader season.

I didn’t have a muzzleloader, so I went out with my bow, and Dad carried his muzzleloader. I remember a guy who was still-hunting, and he took a break under my stand and sat down on a rock. He never saw me and eventually moved on. After the morning made its way into the afternoon, Dad returned to pick me up.

A few years later, we tried our hand at it again, and I scored on a spike, but I had a muzzleloader at that point in time. When I pulled the hammer back and looked through the peep, I slowly pulled the trigger and watched everything become enveloped in smoke. Then, I saw the deer lying in the leaves, and I knew I had killed my first buck with a muzzleloader. It seems like that event took place a few years ago. It’s amazing how quickly time passes. I wish I could grab onto it and slow it down.

As the afternoon wore on, it felt good to be in this piece of woods today. The area has brought me something I’ve needed. It gave me a desire to get after it this year. My beginnings will never be forgotten. It was a time when I didn’t know how big a place hunting would take in my life. I never realized where hunting would take me or all of the adventures I would live while pursuing wild game. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

While walking back to the truck, I was disappointed I didn’t see more sign, but I did jump a deer out of some cliffs. I couldn’t get a good look at it, but I’m almost sure it was a doe, as I could hear it take a few bounds then begin walking.

I’m looking forward to opening day of rifle season this weekend. Hopefully, I can find more time to get out in the coming week.

Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022

Monday, October 17th, 2022

There was frost on the pumpkin again this morning. I was ticked off when I walked outside to start my day. I had wasted a lot of time goofing off and got a late start. When I got outside, I realized I should’ve been doing something else. I simply made the wrong choice and very rarely do wrong choices lead to good results. I’ve always been the most successful when I have a plan and stick to it. I went to bed without a plan due to the medical emergency I encountered last night.

After getting back from hunting, I took my clothes off. In the process of putting new clothes on, my pants hooked onto my infusion set and broke the catheter. Instantly, I knew I had to get home. I had to beat the rising blood sugars due to the inability to receive insulin from my insulin pump. I was exhausted but I drove home to change the infusion set and replace it with a new one.

By the time I got done taking care of the mess, I had to battle blood sugar the rest of the night and into the morning. I didn’t get any sleep for the second night in a row. When morning rolled in, I was still in a fog and decided to use the day to cover ground. I couldn’t see anything while sitting due to the leaf cover, so I decided to wander around in hopes of finding any type of new sign.

The day passed quickly, and I put on a lot of miles. I did find a really good spot — I think. There were a lot of older signpost rubs in the area, and a major runway near them along the edge of a swamp. I found a large scrape from last year, and the licking branch was torn apart. Something tells me you could shoot a big buck near there if you put the time in. Maybe I’ll find out in the coming weeks.

Brian shot at a nice buck this evening and is pretty sure he killed it. Unfortunately, the smoke created an impenetrable wall and he wasn’t able to see the deer’s reaction. It was 40 yards and broadside, but he never found any blood or hair. He thinks he heard it stumbling around afterward, but he never saw it. I shot a deer a few years ago with a rifle, and it never dropped a drop of blood in 200 yards, and there was only one sliver of hair where I hit him. He died in full stride and never bled. I only found him because I followed his tracks in the snow. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any snow today. The search continued for a few hours until darkness consumed the sky, and the search came up empty.

I will not have much time to hunt this week. I’m hoping some of the bad weather in the forecast will take care of some more leaves. It’s almost impossible to see in the woods right now and that takes much of the enjoyment out of it for me.

Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022

Monday, October 17th, 2022

Today was opening day of muzzleloader season, and the morning greeted us with a light frost. It felt good to walk out the door and get that fall feeling. I knew where I was headed and didn’t waste any time getting there. Unfortunately, I got a little later start than I would’ve liked, and I was behind the 8-ball from the get go. There were quite a few trucks along the road as I made my way to where I wanted to park. When I pulled off the road, there were three guys gathering their gear to head into the woods. I quickly asked them which direction they were headed in, and I made sure I could avoid them before entering the woods. We all made sure we would not interfere with each other and made quick work of our discussion. Although it’s public land, it’s good to check with guys and give them space when they’re hunting the same general area. I wish more people could be that respectful. Instead, people tend to think it’s always better hunting where someone hunts who has success. It cracks me up. It’s all about the hours upon hours that go into it that nobody sees. The success is not related to seeing someone’s vehicle in the same spot every weekend. Unfortunately, there are a few people who don’t understand that often overlooked fact.

When I got to where I wanted to go, I settled my back against a tree and waited to see what the morning hours would bring my way. Within a few minutes, I could hear deer walking toward me. Then, I spotted a huge doe and a fawn. They walked within five yards of me and never winded me or saw me. my heart beat fast while the mother ate some mushrooms off the log near the end of my legs. After a few minutes, she and her little one continued their journey and quickly disappeared.

An hour later, I spotted another deer, but I couldn’t get a good look at it. With all of the leaves on, all I could see where the legs and the belly of the deer. It never stopped walking and disappeared from my line of vision in a few seconds.

I spent the rest of the day still-hunting. I saw a few more does and that was about it. I never found an open scrape, but I did find a few fresh rubs here and there along the way. The leaves were coming down in bundles after the sun came up, but they stopped falling by late morning. I’m thinking the coming week should take care of most of the top leaves. The bottom ones still have a ways to go. They are mostly green.

I was the only one in our group who saw a deer today. Everyone else came back with nothing to report. None of us saw any type of promising sign, but the falling leaves quickly cover a lot of sign up, so it makes it almost impossible to discern anything at this time of year each fall.

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022

Sunday, October 9th, 2022

Brian and I used today to check out a few of our old haunts to see what they looked like. Between the rain and the wind, it was tough to see much sign in the five-mile loop we covered. However, we did come across a smoking-fresh rub, and we could smell the buck that had just made it.

Besides the rub, we didn’t see much of anything else due to the leaves falling fast enough to cover up our tracks within seconds. Although some of the old spots still looked good, some of the other places were void of sign due to a number of new blowdowns. We also found a few new places that we had somehow overlooked over the years. We haven’t found any type of mast crops this year, so I’m assuming that not may beechnuts found their way into the leaves.

I’m finally beginning to feel like hunting, even though the forest is inundated with low leaf cover, making it impossible to see anything useful. Looking at the forecast, I think the top leaves will probably be done when opening weekend of rifle season gets here, which is in two weeks. Muzzleloader season opens next weekend. The woods are usually overloaded with people because they can take bucks or does. I”m hoping to see a deer. I still haven’t seen a deer while hunting. It seems to be a trend for me the last few years. Hopefully, it picks up as the season progresses.

Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022

Sunday, October 9th, 2022

A text message woke me up at about 2:30 a.m. It was Jim telling me he was backing out on our plans. I had watched the weather all week and knew the morning would present a good opportunity to see deer moving. The pressure was rising and the temperature was falling. I quickly texted him back and told him that it wouldn’t be a problem. About an hour later, he called me and told me he changed his mind… he was going.

I’m never good when I don’t get enough sleep, and the three hours I got didn’t give me a very good feeling. When I got to the area I wanted to sit, I laid down on a fallen log and rested my tree on the stump. I quickly dozed off. There was still well over an hour left before the sky would begin to get gray. When I came to, it was still too dark to see anything, but I could begin seeing trees in the darkness.

Eventually, it got light out, and I felt good about my chances. I was on the edge of a swamp and at the base of a couple of steep fingers that ran off some high ridges. There were two large scrapes on both sides of me, but neither one of them had been pawed out yet this year. I’m not sure if the licking branches had been worked, but there was a lot of deer sign in the area.

After a long sit, I wandered up the ridge in front of me and did some exploring. Before long, I found a flat where some bucks had left their calling cards. Instantly, I knew it was a good place. I found a few really large scrapes, and there were rubs scattered around the area, including one pretty good one.

Shortly after finding the spot, I met with Jim, and we headed out of the woods. I grabbed some lunch and headed to another place further north to meet Brian.

Once there, I hung a stand for my dad and looked around for a few minutes before it got dark. I saw a lot of bear sign, which told me why the deer activity has slowed down during the last week. I also found this picture when I opened the camera and checked things out.

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

I’ve been chilled while working from home the last few days. It appears that summer clocked out right at the end of its shift and decided there would be no overtime worked this year. I wasn’t ready for this, as the last few years the blazing heat has followed us into November. I’m sure that the heat will be back, but the last week the weather has been ideal for early bowhunting opportunities.

With the low pressure system hanging on, I didn’t feel opportunistic about my chances today, but that didn’t stop me from heading into he woods. I went with my buddy Jim again, and we tried hunting along the base of a mountain that has some steep terrain. I hunted in one drainage, and he hunted in another. Shortly after settling in, the rain became pounding off the leaves, and before long, it turned into a steady stream. Fortunately, there was enough leaf cover to keep me relatively dry.

I used the quiet conditions to research the area to find the best place to sit. After a short search, I located the “spot.” A swamp ran along the base of the mountain and cut out at 90 degrees toward the mountain, forming an L in the timber. It was a perfect location. Any deer coming along the edge of the high side of the swamp would end up in the hardwood flat, and any deer crossing the narrow part of the swamp at the end of the base of the L would also end up in the same spot. I could cover the entire flat, which had a few big oaks scattered across it. Upon further examination, I found two monstrous scrapes where the swamp jutted out toward the mountain. I haven’t found many places like this one in my recent travels. I probably won’t hunt this area too much, but I made sure to tell Jim about it in case he wants to return. It was definitely a buck-killing spot. However, I’d say it would be more productive if there were some acorns on the forest floor this year. It’s still a good spot, though. I could see a lot of fresh tracks, but I knew it wasn’t like it would be if nuts were on. I could also tell that this place would be great for the rut due to the way the swamp and fingers coming off the mountain funnel everything to an area that is no larger than 100 yards across. It excited me to find this place. I look forward to seeing what happens there in the future.

It got dark quickly tonight due to the cloudy skies and rain. I was happy to get back to the truck and head home. It felt good to feel the rain against my skin. It came as a reminder that my time is here. It’s my time to enjoy everything the weather has to throw at me. I’ll smile and embrace whatever the day gives me. It’s good to be alive and chasing deer. I love putting the puzzle pieces together, and today I felt like I succeeded in getting all of the edge pieces in the right place.

I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, so I won’t be able to get out in the woods. Seventy-degree temperatures are predicted for Thursday, so I’ll probably skip that day too. Although the forecast looks good for the weekend with rising pressure and falling temps, there is high wind that is predicted too. The high winds probably won’t help too much.