Friday, October 5, 2018

October 7th, 2018

I had plans of getting out of work and getting into the woods early to allow me plenty of time to cover a lot of ground to see what I could find. After getting stuck in the office longer than I had originally anticipated, I was delayed further when I stopped at my parents’ place to get a few things.

When I finally got into the woods, I didn’t have the amount of time I needed to go to the places I wanted to go. I brought my stand with me and left it at the base of a tree for Saturday morning. Although I wanted to sit in it, I forget my safety rope, so I decided I better avoid it for the evening.

I didn’t see any deer, or animals for that matter, while I was wandering aimlessly through the woods. My trips to the woods this year haven’t left me with a very optimistic outlook for the days ahead. The weather has been pretty decent for the early season, but the heat is coming next week. The mid 70s that are predicted will probably be closer to 80.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

October 4th, 2018

I poured in the early afternoon before breaking and becoming calm. Although the sun never poked through the cloud cover, it felt good to know the rain had temporarily stopped. Brian and I headed to an area where I thought a big buck might be hiding.

Instead of setting up stands, we decided to cover some ground to see what we could find. During our journey, we discovered an area torn up with rubs. I’m sure that Brian could kill a nice buck there if he puts some time in when the leaves come down. Unfortunately, we haven’t had anything even remotely close to a frost, so the leaves won’t be coming down anytime soon.

When we came across the rubs, I thought I saw something in the distance. Suddenly, two deer began running over the knob in front of us, one of them carrying a nice rack on its head. If we had guns, we would have been able to get a few shots off before the deer disappeared.

I was impressed with the area we covered tonight. I’m not a big fan of hunting on steep mountains, but this place definitely had possibilities. It reminds me of the mountain where I killed Cliff, the buck I wrote about in my second book. The area was so similar I almost thought I had been bounced back in time.

We are supposed to have one cold day before the heat rolls in next week. The temperatures are supposed to hang in the low 70s all next week but dip into the 30s tomorrow. I wish I could hunt in the morning, but I’ll have to wait until I get out of work to give it a whirl. I’m going to head to my old stomping grounds and walk as far as it takes me to locate some good sign to sit on Saturday morning. I’m looking forward to see what I can find. Something in my gut gives me a good feeling.

I’m still not feeling all that “into” hunting season. I’d like to see at least a few leaves change colors. It might make me feel like fall was in the near future. Instead, I feel like cool weather is a million miles away. Things can happen quickly, so I guess I’ll take it as it comes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October 4th, 2018

The rain won’t let up. It seems like it has been raining since late spring. Although last weekend was nice, I haven’t seen the sun at all this week. When the rain briefly stopped in the afternoon, I decided to go hunting when I got out of work. Undecided about where to go, I called Brian and we decided to try an area we haven’t hunted yet this year.

When we got into the woods, we saw a few turkey vultures, a lot of crows, two bald eagles, and a few ravens. Although we know something was dead in the area, we couldn’t locate it. It didn’t take me very long to find a spot to sit. Since there has been so much rain, I found a spot that funneled the deer around a bunch of standing water. There were a lot of oaks in the area, but I couldn’t find any acorns on the ground.

Without any sunlight, it didn’t take long for the woods to become dark. A flock of turkeys decided to roost in the trees around my stand, so I sat there and welcomed them into my world. A big hen latched onto a branch of a tree that was about 30 yards from me. She danced around for a bit before settling in on her evening perch.

Brian saw a few turkeys early on and a spikehorn right before it got dark. Doug texted me tonight and had three spikes go by him tonight. It seems like a lot of the smaller bucks are up and moving around. Maybe we will get a look at a larger one in the days to come.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.