Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 19th, 2017

Today was a very long day, and I think I’m coming down with the cold that everyone else has right now. When we went out today, it was 30 degrees. I thought the deer would be on the move, but I guess I was wrong. I sat the entire day in my culvert stand. I saw a big deer go under me before daylight. I’m not sure if it was a buck.

After it got light, I saw a spikehorn going north. He never stopped near my stand. After he disappeared, the woods remained quiet until 1:30. I was hoping that a buck would visit the scrape in front of me like I had seen other deer doing to other scrapes on the cameras the last few days. Unfortunately, all that came through was a small 4-pointer that I saw the other day, too. I was highly disappointed with the deer movement today. I’m hoping that tomorrow gets better.

Jeff didn’t see anything today, and Brian and Shawn saw four bucks. One was a dandy, and it was bedded down on the side of a hardwood ridge. Hopefully, they get a better look at it in the coming days.

Headed to bed and hoping for better luck tomorrow. I’m hunting the creek crossing and pine tree tomorrow. We got some really good pictures there yesterday, and the wind is changing tonight and will be coming out of the south. I’m hoping the change will get them moving because it has been really slow for a few days.

Here are the couple of pictures we got on trail camera.

P14V2_FG=1000,FT=1787,NIR=1,GM=41,CT=160,EV=15,TY=92,PY=100,DY=40,GB=0x80,NY=0,AE(0,0,640,480,1),0

P14V2_FG=3250,FT=106708,NIR=0,GM=2,CT=128,EV=52,TY=92,PY=86,DY=37,GB=0xa0,NY=0,AE(160,80,160,320,1),0

Monday, November 6, 2017

November 19th, 2017

Today was a really slow day. I sat in a barway between two CRP fields. I thought it was going to be awesome until I saw a guy walking through the bedding ground with a flashlight at first light. He set up about 60 yards from me, which cut me off. Then, I had a guy in a truck drive through the private field on the other side of me and park his truck right next to the boundary. I’m not sure what he was doing, but all of the commotion dind’t lead to anything good. I saw two does right before daylight and that was it for the day.

Brian and Shawn, who is here trying to get a cover photo for my new book, saw one spikehorn today, and Jeff sat in the stand I set last night. He saw 13 deer, and a handful of them were bucks. Tonight, nobody saw anything. Hopefully, things pick up tomorrow. We met a game warden last night, and he gave me a pretty good tip. We might try the place tomorrow. It’s cold out. It’s hanging in the 20s at night and 30s during the day. It’s awesome hunting weather.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

November 18th, 2017

The second day in the stand was a great day. Brian and I headed back to the area where I killed a deer a few years ago. Not knowing what to expect, I headed into the woods just hoping to see a deer or two.

By the time the morning was over, I had seen three 10-pointers, two 8-pointers, a small buck and seven does. Shortly before I got out of the tree, a doe came screaming off the hill behind me. Turning that way to get a look, I saw a dandy of a 10-pointer coming down the hill after her. I got ready to get a shot, but one never materialized. The buck decided he didn’t want to continue down the hill, and he turned around and headed up the valley on the other side of the tree. I was disappointed that I didn’t get a good shot at him.

Brian had three bucks go by him first thing in the morning when another hunter started smashing his antlers together and wouldn’t stop. The guy also cut a swath through the forest for shooting lanes. He made a mess of the area.

This evening I set a stand, and I feel really good about it. In the process, I saw a really nice 8-pointer. I feel good about the stand. Brian and Shawn saw a couple of small bucks and two really good bucks.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings. We got some good trail camera photos today. I feel really good about it.

 

  

 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

November 18th, 2017

 

Today was my first day in the Midwest for the 2017 hunting season. I couldn’t ask for better weather for my first day in the woods. A gentle rain welcomed me this morning when I walked outside of the tent.

Since Dad and Brian have been here for a few days, I had a little insight on a few places that might be good, so I headed to one of my favorite places, which we call the Culvert. I settled in well before daylight and waited for the darkness to gradually turn into daylight.

Within minutes of being able to see well enough to shoot, I spotted a few deer running toward me. Then, on the other side of the logging road where I was sitting, I saw two more deer racing through the woods. Instantly, I knew that they had been kicked out of somewhere. I’d assume that someone on the nearby private property was making his way to his stand.

About and hour after daylight, I had a doe and fawn sneak past me and head onto a ridge out in front of my stand. They didn’t have a clue that I was in the tree. As soon as they got out of sight, I spotted a 4-pointer making its way across the far ridge. He passed by a public hunting sign, and when he did that, I thought in my head that I should consider moving my stand to that place. When I hunted here two years ago, a lot of deer passed by the same place. I definitely need to consider moving there.

Brian put camera on a big scrape in this place when he was in there earlier in the week. I checked the card, and there were a few bucks on it, with one being a shooter. The shooter has a forked G-2 and is pretty impressive looking. By the time I got out of my stand today, I saw seven deer, and one was a buck.

  

This afternoon, we headed south and set up in the area where Dad shot at the big buck a few years ago. When I got into the general area that I wanted to set up in, Brian chimed in on the radio. He told me that he had just seen an Asian guy who was carrying a rifle and had blood on his hands. The guy claimed he didn’t know English when Brian began asking him questions about the blood on his hands. A short time later, I heard a boat start and head down the river. It was definitely an odd experience.

I saw two does this evening, and Brian saw a small 8-pointer. Doug shot a nice 10-pointer today. His hunt this year lasted about two hours. He’s a little down about being done so soon, but he did shoot a really nice deer. Hunting public land is tough, and every opportunity you get should be cherished.

    

We will see what tomorrow brings. Brian got a picture of a shooter where we hunted tonight.

We are still undecided where we are going to go tomorrow morning. I guess we will figure it out soon enough. I’m not feeling overly confident, but that could all turn around in a few minutes.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017: The BlueJean Buck

November 18th, 2017

When I went to bed last night, my mind was set on what I wanted to do today. After being in the woods all day on Sunday in the pouring rain, I found a piece to the puzzle that I had been missing the last few years.

I gathered my stuff around to make sure I had everything I would need when I walked out the door from work. Throwing it into the backseat of my truck, I felt like I was ready for a good afternoon. It was chilly with a brisk north wind.

All day I sat at my desk and imagined where the buck would come from to freshen the scrapes that I had found on Sunday. After the all-night rain and windy conditions today, I had a feeling that the buck would be poking around in his territory to get ready for the upcoming breeding season.

After pulling into my parking spot, I started digging through my hunting clothes. Suddenly, I discovered that I had forgotten my hunting pants. Since it was chilly, I considered calling it a night. I had piles of work to do before leaving for the Midwest on Thursday afternoon. I hemmed and hawed about it for a few minutes before deciding to grin and bear it.

Although blue is a really bad color to wear while hunting, I didn’t have many options. Yes, the deer can see blue better than any other color, but having a rifle in my hands, I decided it would be too late for the deer if it had a chance to see what I was wearing.

Sliding my rifle out of the case, I realized that I had forgotten my bullets. I fumbled around through the side doors, the console and under the seat to find four bullets. The evening that I had been looking forward to since the season started was suddenly turning into a disaster. What else could go wrong?

My hike into the woods brought me back to when I was 14 years old when my dad and I would walk around the backside of the mountain to avoid kicking deer off from the top of it. Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten my roots and started doing things differently. Today I made sure to follow the example that had been set for me almost 35 years ago.

Although it would take me considerably longer to get to the place I wanted to go, I decided to go the long way to ensure I could put the final piece of the puzzle into the place that interlocked with the other pieces.

I made sure to walk slowly and cautiously when I neared my desired destination. I peaked over knobs, looked through blowdowns, peered through the leaves and strained to look down a few steep ridges along the way.

Finally, I found an old pal, the tree I sat under a number of times in the late ’90s. Since that time, I have only sat under it a handful of times, one being when I killed a nice 4-pointer there around the year 2000. After all, I hadn’t had much reason to sit there the last decade or so. There hadn’t been enough sign to warrant sitting there, but the sign I saw on Sunday beckoned me to return and give it a shot.

The wind was blowing in a perfect direction when I sat down. The couple of places I expected the deer to come from were free and clear from my scent. After taking a few sweaters out of my backpack and resting one over my legs to cover up my BlueJeans and keep my legs warm, I got ready to settle in and enjoy the things the woods has to offer. I would only be there for two hours, but that two hours is what I needed today.

An hour into my sit, I heard a stick crack in the bowl below me. Peering over a huge boulder, I could see a big buck feeding toward me. I quickly ducked down and rested my rifle on my knee.Waiting patiently for the buck to appear in front of me, I became anxious and tried looking over the pile of rocks. He was still coming, and he would be clear of any obstructions in the next few seconds.

When he became level with me, I applied pressure on the trigger until a deafening boom broom the silence in the big woods. He instantly fell to the ground, and the hunt was over. I had completed the puzzle that I set out to solve.

Although it felt unbelievably rewarding, I was saddened, too. When you catch up to a deer you have been pursuing, it’s a chess match that you want to win, but when you win it, you know you have taken an animal’s life that has gained all of your respect. It’s a feeling that can’t be explained to someone who doesn’t have the intimate connection to the animals he is pursuing.

My hunting season for deer in New York is now over until late muzzleloading season. When I return from the Midwest, I’m going to try my hardest to fill my bear tag since there are a lot of bears in the few areas where I hunt. I’ve gotten a lot of pictures of them in the past, and I even saw one this year. I’m hoping I can put it together and catch up to one of them.

Here are a few pictures from the hunt for this deer. His rack put on some inches in all areas between this year and last year. He even put on some weight. He dressed out at 185 lbs, which made it a chore getting him out of the woods.

My buddies Doug and Blair helped me with the chore. I didn’t get home until midnight, and it didn’t help that Doug locked my keys in the truck. When we were done dragging and loaded the buck into the back of the truck, I pulled the door handle to get into the vehicle. When it didn’t come up, I knew we were in trouble. Eventually, Doug and Blair found some stuff to pick the lock. Without any service in the area, I thought we were in serious trouble. I’m thankful for  good friends helping me out when I need it the most, especially tonight.

 

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1452:110316:45F:CAMERA 3 :1

1452:110316:45F:CAMERA 3 :1

Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30th, 2017

Although I promised myself that I would get some rest today, I couldn’t stay out of the woods. I didn’t go too far because I had a very limited amount of time when I got out of work. I’ll probably hunt tomorrow evening and hang it up on Wednesday to get ready for my trip to the Midwest. I won’t want to do that, but I don’t want to shoot a deer on the night before I’m leaving. That could create more problems than I’m willing to deal with, and I know the deer are moving, so the possibility would be very real.

By the time I got to where I wanted to sit, it was already 4 p.m. The wind was blowing about mach 9, so I figured it would be a relatively dead night. As I approached the spot, I saw four deer jump out of their beds and head into thick cover. Although I thought I saw antlers on one of them, I really couldn’t determine if that was the case.

I hadn’t been in this area in quite a while. I put a camera there last month since I never really hunt the area but have an interest in it for the coming years. I wanted to check the batteries and change them if necessary. The camera will remain there the rest of the season, so I wanted to make sure it would last with the colder temperatures that will probably arrive in the next few weeks.

When I popped the camera open, I didn’t expect much. There’s no sign in the area, but something tells me that deer would like it when the rut hits. That’s why I put the camera there.   I did a double take when I glanced at the fourth picture. A big buck had walked by it earlier in the morning. It’s funny how things work sometimes. This morning, I considered going there to sit for a few hours, then go to work. I figured the deer might be moving because the nasty weather had ended. I guess I was right. It seems like my theme for the year is a day late and a dollar short. Hopefully, things come together one of these days in the coming weeks.

A few of the deer I jumped filtered back in toward dark. They were a little cautious, which didn’t help matters.  Tomorrow will be my last day in New York until I return from the Midwest. I’m going to miss it this year. I feel like I’m onto a couple of really good deer, and I’m  pretty sure I might have been able to put a tag on one if I stayed home. I’ll take the trade-off, though. I live for chasing big bucks. It’s in my blood, and it all started in the Adirondacks when I was lucky enough to begin killing them regularly, which made me want some with even bigger racks.

A few hours late and a dollar short. I’ll keep on keeping on. Maybe I’ll catch up to one and maybe I won’t. No matter what happens, it’s an adventure.

M2E40L146-146R399B310

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October 30th, 2017

Although I never hit the snooze button during hunting season, I couldn’t resist doing it this morning. I could hear the rain pounding off the roof, and I knew that the forecast was calling for more than two inches of rain. I definitely didn’t want to get out of bed, but I know that the number of days I get to hunt is limited, and with every passing day, I’m running out of time.

When the alarm rang the second time, I got up and started moving around. I recalled all of the bucks I’ve killed in some really bad weather, and I figured maybe today would be another one of those days.

I decided to stay fairly local today and give it my best shot. My dad and Brian planned on leaving for the Midwest this morning, and my mom was headed to Maine with her cousin Bonnie and her husband, Harvey. I stopped in to their house to say goodbye before I headed into the woods.

After parking my truck, I began the journey to a place I’ve had a little bit of luck in the past. The walk was peaceful as the rain pounded off the hood on my rain jacket. It was refreshing in some sort of strange way. About 4o minutes into my walk, the rain subsided and it became calm.

When I got to where I wanted to go, it was just about light. I nestled my back against a beech tree that my dad had carved the years into for the last two years. With my back firmly pressing against the 15 and 16, I felt at ease.

About 25 minutes into my sit, I caught a glimpse of a deer. It was down the ridge from me, and another deer accompanied it. As I looked at them through my scope, they started running toward me. Trying to put an antler on one of them, I watched them get closer. Before I knew it, deer were running all over in front of me. Six does and fawns went past me in a few seconds, and I waited for the buck. I could hear him aggressively grunting a little farther down the hill. I saw the legs of two deer go through an opening, and the grunting deer followed them. Almost instantly, all was quiet again, and the rain began coming down in buckets from the grain sky.

I lasted about 25 minutes, until it became so bad that I couldn’t handle sitting there any longer. I decided to use the rest of the morning to still hunt and check some things out. Since I have cameras in various locations this year, I decided I would check the couple that I had in this piece of woods.

I was pleasantly surprised when I reached one that was about 1.2 miles from where I was sitting when I saw the deer. When I slid the SD card into my viewer, I saw a nice buck standing in the scrape. It was a dandy 8-pointer, and he visited the scrape yesterday morning. I also checked another camera and was surprised to see another nice buck. By the time I was done, I had collected some really nice images to keep my imagination running wild. I’m hoping the trend for bucks growing in size continues in the years to come.

I didn’t put a camera in any of my traditional places in this piece of woods. Instead, I put them in places that I’ve always been interested in sitting. The results so far tell me that I should spend time in these places in the early season next year or maybe in the late muzzleloader season.

On my hike through the woods, I decided to place a camera in a place that should act as a funnel. I’ve never seen much sign in the place, but something tells me that big bucks might use it to cruise during the rut. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I put the camera there. I’ll probably go get it after the season. It’s well beyond where I could hunt between now and the end of the year. As I was standing there and admiring my work, I heard something coming. Looking up, I could see a big doe barreling toward the funnel, and I could hear a buck grunting somewhere behind her. Since my gun was lying in the leaves in front of me, I reached for it, but she saw me and bolted. I never got a look at the buck. I should have kept my gun in my hands. He probably would have been right in my lap in another 10 seconds. It seems that the season is going to be like that. I guess I’ll accept it since I’ve had such good luck over the years.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do the rest of the week, if anything. I have to shore up a few things before I head out on Thursday. I wish I could spend every day in the woods. That would be a dream come true.

The rain never stopped today. It was still pouring when I headed out of the woods when it got dark. It was a very long day for me. I’m sure my body will feel it tomorrow. I never stopped walking.

Here are a few pictures that I gathered. It felt good to explore these new areas today, especially since they’re close to home.

MOULTRIE DIGITAL GAME CAMERA

 

 

 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October 29th, 2017

Although my nephew got married today, I headed north to look things over. I took my buddy Joe with me so he could experience a trip into the Adirondacks. He’s from Tunisia, and he really enjoys hunting. I’m trying to teach him a little about deer hunting because he loves hunting. He has already invited me to go hunting for wild boars in Tunisia if I ever want to experience it.

We had a great morning. We didn’t stay in the woods too terribly long because he had to be to work at 4 p.m., and I had to get home to make it to the wedding on time. I saw a doe and a fawn shortly after daylight. I expected a buck to filter through the area after they passed through, but it never happened.

When we headed into the woods this morning, it was 29 degrees, but it was 65 degrees when we headed home. They’re predicting three inches of rain for tomorrow, and a cold front is finally supposed to bring some cooler temperatures with it. The cooler temperatures are supposed to remain for the entire day instead of just letting us experience it in the morning hours. I’ll welcome it when it arrives.

Joe saw his first deer in the woods while deer hunting. He was pretty excited, which was great to see. I’m glad he enjoyed his day in the woods. Here’s a picture of the place I should have been sitting. I’m writing this on Sunday night, and I hunted in the Lake George Wild Forest on Sunday. This buck showed up at one of my stands yesterday while I was up north scouting some new stuff with Joe.

 

 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26th, 2017

Finally, a day that felt like hunting season welcomed me when I got out of work. Although I had originally planned on taking a day off to get organized for my trip to the Midwest, I couldn’t ignore the conditions.

Right as I headed down the road after work, the rain let up. Since it had rained all day, I figured the deer would be on the move. I stayed close to home and went to an area that my dad has been hunting.

As I poked throughout he oak trees with the gun in the ready position, I could feel deer around me but didn’t see any. The leaves had all been freshly turned over, and I came across four scrapes that had just been made  or reopened. New rubs littered the forest, and I got the feeling that this could be the night.

When I finally nestled in under a tree, the woods had a dark hue. No animals were making any noise, but then again, I wouldn’t have heard them if they were scurrying through the leaves. The rain had dampened the forest, allowing the critters to move without making noise. I was certain that a buck would show up at one of the scrapes to announce the ladies that he is on the prowl.

As darkness rolled in and ate up the light in the woods, I stood up and began my journey home. I saw a few deer in the distance and headed into a valley to avoid being seen. It’s not often that I hunt in that area, so I wanted to do everything I could to keep the deer from getting startled. I want them to feel safe and come back when they encounter danger in the surrounding areas. I hope that many of these deer live to see next year, but it’s not in my power to save them from other hunters. I’ll do my inventory check at the end of the season and cross my fingers that a few of them made their way through the gauntlet.

I need to finish packing for the Midwest. Although I’m just about done, I’m not sure if I should go north to hunt on Saturday morning before my nephew’s wedding or if I should just stay home and hunt near my old stomping grounds. I guess I’ll figure it out tomorrow night.

I can say that the bucks are on their feet and moving. Now is the time to be in the woods, and now is the time I love being in the woods. I’ll find it hard to miss any days in the coming weeks, but I  will have to miss some so I can get ready for my vacation. I guess that’s the only negative to going on vacation…………I have to miss some of the best days right here at home. I’m hoping to see one of these in the coming weeks.

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October 25th, 2017

I figured today would be a great day to hunt since the storm passed through last night. Unfortunately, the temperature is still hanging in the high 60s. Summer just won’t let go. When I walked out of the building at work today to head to the mountains, I expected it to be much cooler.

Since I had planned on going hunting, I didn’t change my plans. I had determined that I was going to return to a place that I only went to one time last year. When I was there, I found a gigantic scrape, so I wanted to return this year to see if the scrape is active. It took me a long time to cover the ground to get to the scrape, but when I got there, I was extremely happy to see that a buck had opened it sometime in the last 24 hours.

I’m not sure why, but I expect the primary owner of the scrape to be a really good buck. It’s in an area that funnels deer between two mountains and around a couple bodies of water. It’s an ideal location, but it’s hard to get to without kicking deer out of the area.

When I return from the Midwest, I’ll head back into this piece of land to see if anything showed up on the camera. I’m hoping that I find something that I don’t expect. Although I want to believe that a big, mature buck visits the scrape, I don’t really expect to see one. That’s why I love cameras……….and hunting. You never know what to expect, and when you see something coming, it might just be that once-in-a-lifetime buck.

There was a lot of deer sign on the surrounding ridges. I could see a number of places where the deer had been feeding.

It looks like tomorrow is going to be a great day. Josh is going to take the day off and go hunting. I wish I could take the day off, because I’m sure the bucks will be moving. We haven’t seen much in the way of cool weather, and tomorrow is supposed to bring some rain and lower temperatures.

I’m not sure if I’ll get out the rest of the week. I have a lot of things to get ready for Brian and Dad when they leave for the Midwest this weekend. They’re taking my gear with them, and I’m headed out at the end of next week.