Wednesday, November 27, 2019

December 12th, 2019

Today wasn’t too bad in the woods. It was overcast most of the day and about 30 degrees.  I’m still sicker than a dog. I’m still taking medicine, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. I probably just need hunting season to end so I can let my body recover. I can’t stop myself from having coughing fits in the woods, and some of them last for up to 10 minutes. These are definitely not helping my chances at seeing a good buck……..or any buck.

  My body wasn’t well enough to get to where I wanted to hunt this morning. I had to stop early and hunt another area. It’s tough when you have a plan and can’t make good on it. In the end, it wasn’t too bad. I saw a doe at 7:45 and a group of three adult does at 1:05. Unfortunately nothing followed. Dad didn’t see anything today. 

  Rain greeted us in the afternoon, and by the time we got out of the woods, we were drenched. They’re calling for 1-3 inches of snow by day’s end tomorrow. There is still some snow scattered throughout the Adirondacks. Some places are void of it, while other places still have a few inches.  Tomorrow will be the annual Thanksgiving Day hunt. It’s not what it used to be, but I still enjoy the tradition. We have killed our fair share of deer (and big deer) on Thanksgiving morning.  I’m not feeling it for tomorrow due to the weather, but a man never knows. My friend Donny will be hunting with us, too. We are going to spend the next few days together. He’s going through a divorce and just needed to get away from home. I’m glad to have him. He always makes me laugh, and he’s like a long-lost brother to me.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

December 12th, 2019

Today was a good morning to sit. Unfortunately, we learned this morning that my uncle Bob passed away yesterday morning My dad had service where he was hunting and received a message from my mom. Bob had been battling cancer for the last few years, and his body couldn’t continue the fight. We packed it in and headed home after hearing the news. Sometimes there’s more to life than pursuing deer, but I always return to the woods to find inner-peace.

Friday, November 22, 2019

December 12th, 2019

I listened to the rain pitter-patter off the roof this morning and knew I should stay in bed to give my body a chance to recover from this illness I’ve been battling. It has set me back to about 60% full capacity, which isn’t helping my chances of catching up to the buck I’m looking for.  

  I got out of bed and decided to hunt. Brian and I wanted to cover some ground to see what we could find, especially since the weather conditions were better for walking than they were for sitting.

  On our walk in the darkness to start the day, Brian dry-heaved and battled a fever, whereas I battled my ego to keep going. Neither one of us is feeling well, but we don’t know well enough to give it a break. Hunting season is fleeting, and I don’t want to miss any opportunity to hunt, especially when I’m on vacation. 

  When it got light out, we were both worn out, cold, wet and miserable. Since we didn’t have the ability to cover much ground we chose to sit for an hour or two to recover.  The rain and snow came down with fury. I took it on the chin but recalled many similar days on which I killed big bucks. 

  As my mind wandered, I glanced to the right and caught some movement. I got a quick look at a big buck going through a hole. I pulled up and couldn’t see him. He was gone quicker than he had appeared. It was a dandy of a buck, and I was highly disappointed that I never caught up to him the rest of the day. I chased him around but his testosterone got the best of me. He went from one doe group to the next, and I never got another look at him. Brian only saw one doe today. Neither one of us is in good shape. I missed a golden opportunity today, one that I definitely should have capitalized on. It was a dandy buck that I saw. I should’ve been able to catch up to him. Brian and I weren’t familiar with the area, and that is what prevented us from knowing what the deer was going to do when it was walking from one place to the next. The knowledge of the landscape in front of you can do wonders for your chance of being successful.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

December 12th, 2019

The weather broke a little today. It was warmer than it has been. The day started off well when I saw a doe and fawn make their way past me shortly after daylight. After that, it slowed to a crawl. Around 11:30, I could hear something coming. The snow was crunchy, and there was no mistaking the noise: it was a deer. Upon seeing it, I quickly identified it as a buck. I put the crosshairs on him and let him walk to me. I never considered nudging the safety into the firing position. It was another 7-pointer. He never stopped and continued his journey. Nose on the ground and with a purpose in mind, he didn’t have a clue that he had just walked within 10-yards of a hunter. Today was that buck’s lucky day. I enjoy watching deer. You can learn a lot when you get to watch deer, especially bucks. I’ve always noticed that when we decide to shoot deer, we usually rush the process. 

  I’m still not feeling well. I just can’t get away from this cold, although I really shouldn’t be getting up at 4 a.m. every day. I’m sure the long days in the less-than-perfect weather conditions haven’t been helping matters. I’m thinking of taking tomorrow off. The weather forecast is calling for wet snow/rain and heavy winds. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

December 12th, 2019

This cold is kicking my ass. My lung capacity is shot, and it’s hard to breathe if I walk any distance. I decided to take a break today and sit near the road. Well, kind of near the road. I call it near the road because I didn’t put in much effort to get there and could easily get back to the truck if I needed to. Dad decided to wander all over the place to see what he could find. 

  My day started off on a good note. Shortly after it got light, I saw three does make their way up the ridge past me. They were a little hesitant due to the wind blowing over their heads. My scent was definitely in their airstream. Although it seemed to alert them, they continued on their way. 

  As the morning moved on, I saw two does being chased by something but couldn’t figure out what was chasing them. A small knoll blocked my vision. At first, I thought they had winded me but later determined that a buck had been chasing them. 

 At 10:30, a small doe and even smaller fawn trotted past me. I couldn’t figure out why they were trotting, but they never stopped. I found it kind of odd. I was hoping a buck would follow them, but it didn’t happen. 

  At 11:45, I heard the leaves crunching behind me. Turning to look, I saw a buck coming toward me. He looked like a good one, but he was moving along quickly and was behind some brush. When he came out the other side, I realized he was a small buck. I took my camera out and tried to video him, but the battery went dead after about a minute. That was the end of my day. I sat for the rest of the day and didn’t see a thing. Dad jumped two deer this morning and didn’t see anything the rest of the day. I must attract 7-pointers because the buck was another 7-pointer. I guess I’m winning the battle of picking the right spot to sit. I picked the right spot the last two days. Now, I just need a big buck to stroll by. The video didn’t come out that well due to the quality of the battery, otherwise I’d post it for you to see.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

December 12th, 2019

  It was pouring rain this morning when we headed down the road. Knowing it wasn’t the wisest choice I’ve made, I considered sleeping in. I can barely function, and my head feels like it’s going to explode. My sinuses are clogged. I have a minor fever, and my sore throat and cough prevented me from getting much sleep. Dad has also been battling sickness. In all likelihood, he’s the one who passed it on to me when he was coughing and hacking all over in the tent last week. Brian has also come down with the illness, so none of us are in any shape to be tramping through the mountains. Brian’s been dealing with Encon the last few days while attempting to press charges against a trespasser that he caught on his land

  By the time Dad and I got to the place I found yesterday, we were drenched. We split up and tried cutting off a flat, figuring if the doe went by one of us, she might have a buck behind her. 

  As it turned light, the heavy rain turned to heavy, wet snow. It definitely wasn’t getting any better. Within minutes the trees were covered with snow, and it was impossible to see more than 30 yards in any direction. We decided to wait it out. 

  Around 10:30, it stopped snowing and became warmer out. The warmth led to the snow melting off the branches, creating a mess. It was hard to see well, and the noise made it difficult to hear anything. 

  Suddenly, I saw two does running toward me, and I knew something was chasing them. I shouldered the gun and got ready. They stopped 10 yards from me and turned in the direction that they had come from. I heard a few grunts, and could see a buck coming. I clicked the safety off and readied myself to take him. I figured I ‘d wait until he got right up next to me. He was fairly wide and was carrying a rack. 

  As he got closer, I eased my finger off the trigger and decided to let him walk. I just killed a big 11-pointer in another state less than a week ago and had no need to take this deer. Instead, I enjoyed the moment. He stopped directly in front of me, stuck his neck out and let out a long guttural grunt. Blood stains soaked his ear and the side of his face. A competitor had surely just stuck him in the face with tines, but the buck had one thing on his mind, and it wasn’t his sore face and head. 

  As I watched him walk away, I felt good about it. He was a mature deer, but he just didn’t have great headgear. He was a 7-pointer, the second Adirondack 7-pointer I’ve passed this year. With the way Dad and I are feeling right now, I’m not sure how much hunting, especially hard-core hunting we will do this week. I probably should have taken him  and called it a season, but  I chose to do what most Adirondackers would never think of doing, probably simply because I don’t feel well at all, and I just killed a beautiful 11-pointer. I could care less at this stage in my life I I shoot a deer. I just enjoy each and every moment of every second I get in the woods. Every day, I hope I can learn something and improve upon my skills. Today was a good day. I found where there was a hot doe last night, and she led a nice buck right into my lap, a buck that most people would die to shoot. I’ll probably regret it, but I’ll always have the memory.

  I barely made it out of the woods tonight. I stayed until dark in the same area in hopes of the doe attracting another buck, but it didn’t happen. My blood sugar levels were high all day. I changed my infusion set, which could have been part of the problem. I ate one Oreo cookie today. On my way out, I realized I was weak from not eating or drinking and from being sick. I’m not sure if I’ll have the strength or will power to go out tomorrow. If I do go out, I’ll probably sit close to the road somewhere so I don’t have to expend much energy. As sick as I am, I loved being in the woods today and seeing deer.

Monday, November 18, 2019

December 12th, 2019

The drive home from the Midwest was grueling. On the way, I learned that I was extremely sick. I’m not sure if I had ignored it before that point or if that’s when it struck me. When I got home, I could barely function. Unfortunately, I’m at far less than full capacity. 

  I decided to attempt to hunt in the afternoon today. Once I got in the woods, I felt better than I had anticipated feeling. That’s when I made the choice to cover some ground to find a place to sit tomorrow. With the snow on the ground, I wanted to keep walking until I found an area where a doe was in heat. Luckily, I found a place where a doe was spotting.  I didn’t see a deer today, but I did accomplish the mission I set out to accomplish. Sometimes, the work behind the scenes is what everyone misses. This day is surely one of those days. Dad covered a lot of ground today too. We have decided to head to the area I found to see if we can intercept a buck or two chasing the doe around. Hopefully, the doe is still in the near vicinity. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

December 11th, 2019

  I got up at 3:30 this morning to make sure I got to the new place without any problems. I figured I could remember how to get there, but being in the dark and having only been there one time, I was unsure.  Jeff decided to go with me, and we go to the spot in plenty of time.  Amazingly, a truck was parked in the pull-off. Looking at the snow, I could see that he had walked in the opposite direction of  where I was headed., which made me glad. 

  I got to the tree where I left my stand last night, cut a few limbs with my Hooyman’s saw and climbed in. As I waited for daylight, I imagined what might transpire for everyone over the course of the next few hours, with three of us in incredible spots with a lot of recent sign. 

  At 7:25, I heard a stick crack on the hill behind me. Glancing over my shoulder, I could see a big-racked buck making its way down the hill toward me. Reaching for my bow, I didn’t know which way to turn, but the decision was quickly made for me.  He was going to come on my left side, where it was wide-open hardwoods. I quickly drew my bow, and he stopped next to a tree. I knew I was going to have to thread the needle and decided to give it a whirl. I had made shots like that a zillion times and figured this time was no different.

  I started executing and the release fired, surprising me when the arrow went into flight. I saw the red lighted nock hit the deer at the top of the lungs. He bolted down the hill and across the hardwoods, crossing a stream and turning to go down another ridge. Within seconds, he went into a stream bed and had a difficult time getting out. It was the first time since the arrow struck him that I knew he was hit hard. He barely made it up the stream bank, then began doing the circular weeble walk. He looked like he was going to go down but disappeared behind a group of four trees.  The last look I got at him, he looked like he was walking with a pole jammed up his butt. I knew he was going to die but didn’t know where or when. I kept my binoculars pinned on the group of four trees and never saw him come out the other side. I quickly got Jeff on the radio and told him to text Brian or my Dad. He did that, and then went to get Brian to help us. 

  When Brian got there, we started following the deer’s tracks in the snow, but we couldn’t find a drop of blood, so I went to the spot I last saw him behind the trees. Still, we couldn’t find any blood. Looking in the direction where I last saw him, I spotted him on the ground. He had tipped over and expired in the last place I saw him. I was ecstatic. 

  I also learned that Dad killed a dandy in the place where I had told him to sit. We got that deer on camera three times in the daylight since I put the camera there less than 24 hours earlier. This was a fantastic day in the woods. In 40 years, it was the first time that Dad and I killed deer on the same day. He ended up with a 12-pointer. It was a basic 10 with two flyers. Mine was an 11-pointer, a main-frame 10 with a forked G-3.

  We are headed home to give it a whirl in the Adirondacks. This will be the first time since 2006 that I’ve hunted in the Adirondacks during the week before Thanksgiving.  I used to always save that week as a vacation week, but after going to the Midwest, I began using my time doing that instead. I’m looking forward to the time in the mountains. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

December 11th, 2019

Today I went to the tree where I shot the buck last year. I haven’t been there this year because Dad and Brian told me there wasn’t much sign in there when they checked it out. It was 7 degrees when I got out of the truck, and it felt even colder than that.

  I found a bunch of incredible sign. I put a camera on a scrape line and told Dad that he could kill a good buck in the spot if he moved his tree stand a few hundred yards. Although I’d like to sit there in the morning, Dad is committed to that place, and I’m headed to a new area. 

  The morning was uneventful. I didn’t see a deer while hunting. I saw one take off running when I was almost back to the truck. I decided to come out early and go check a place out where we put a camera a few days ago. It was a 45-minute ride. When we pulled the card, there were a number of bucks on it, but nothing great. There’s a small 10-pointer that I might be tempted to shoot if I see him. He was in the scrape three times today and a few times yesterday. There are also a lot of does in the area. 

  I decided to sit there for the evening. About 3:15, one of the bucks that was on camera showed up. He didn’t have a clue I was in the tree 25 yards from the scrape. He was a nice 7-pointer. Although it’s an hour ride on really shitty roads from where we are camped, I’m going back in the morning. The place has a lot of potential and that 10-pointer has been in the scrape regularly. 

  Doug saw 10 deer today, two bucks. He’s in one of the best places I’ve ever seen in  any state I’ve ever hunted. I’m certain he will get a look at a good one tomorrow. Dad saw three bucks today, one big one. Jeff didn’t see anything. Brian has been doing some scouting and gaining good intel for future use. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

December 11th, 2019

This morning was brutally cold. When I headed out of the tent, the temperature was hovering around 12 degrees. After walking for about 35 minutes and getting to my stand, I prepared myself for the sit. I tried the pull-over boot warmers today, and they are worth their weight in gold. My feed stayed warm for the duration of my sit. I got up around noon and began searching for the whereabouts of the big buck. I wanted to find where he is living but came up empty-handed.  This evening, Doug showed me some impressive pictures that he took while in the same area I’ve been hunting. Unfortunately, I didn’t go onto one ridge of all the ridges in the area, and that buck has been working that ridge. Doug set his stand up there for morning. I’d say he has a good shot at seeing the deer. 

  In the afternoon, I went to the area where I killed the buck last year. There were tracks all over in the snow, and I jumped four deer that were bedded down next to the tree I climbed.  I didn’t see anything tonight, but I think I’m going back in there tomorrow morning. I’m tempted to go back to where I’ve been going since Doug is going to be in there mucking around. 

  Dad missed a good buck twice this morning. He left his release at the base of the tree and had to use a backup release. The trigger was set too light, and it fired before he was ready. It happened twice. The deer just wandered off without knowing it had been shot at. It was a nice 10 pointer. Overall, the deer didn’t move a lot today. We will see what tomorrow brings. I haven’t had any overly optimistic feelings yet. I’ve seen far less deer than everyone, too.