Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

December 10th, 2020

I got out of work early today so I could meet Dad for an afternoon hunt. Since there was snow on the ground, I wanted to cover as much ground as possible to get some good scouting in. Although after-season and spring scouting can outweigh most other times of the year, there’s nothing better than scouting during the season.  That’s why I wanted to take advantage of today with the freshly fallen snow on the ground. 

  I went to an area that holds a lot of bears this time of year. They tend to go to this area to get ready for hibernation. They usually stock up for the winter before finding their way to their dens. Usually, there are bear runways instead of deer runways in the snow.

  Well, I covered a lot of ground this afternoon, and the blinding snow made it miserable. At times, it was snowing so hard I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of me. With the wind adding to the misery, I had about all I could take, but I pushed on. I held on to a tiny bit of hope that I might come across the sign I was looking for. 

  When I turned around and began heading back toward the truck, my headlamp light glistened off the snow. My tracks from a few hours earlier had been covered, and there was no sign that I had intruded the area just a short time ago.

  I was disappointed that I didn’t see any animal tracks. Usually, there is a variety of tracks to examine, but on this day, the animals must not have moved too far. 

  When I met Dad after dark, he gave a similar report. He never cut a track and didn’t see any animals. I’m not sure what’s going on this year, but things definitely seem a little out of whack. I’m no scientist, but I’m sure that something is probably causing the lack of movement across the board. I’ve spoken to people in many different places in the Adirondacks and across the Northeast, and I’ve been getting similar reports from everyone. 

Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020

December 10th, 2020

When I walked outside this morning, I figured the deer would be moving. It was calm, cool and the rain had finally stopped. It was ideal for deer movement, especially since deer haven’t moved in a week in the areas where we have been hunting. 

  I went with Brian to check out the place he found yesterday. I was impressed with it, but I think it’s a place that needs a lot of studying to figure out. There also seems to be a lot of hunting pressure, especially from a few different driving parties. I might give it  a serious look for bow hunting in the future, but I probably won’t spend much time in there with a gun. There seems to be too many people for my liking, even though the sign – big buck sign – is hard to ignore.

  Dad saw a really big spike today. The spikes were actually main beams without any points. The body of the deer was large, too. He enjoyed the encounter and let the deer have a free pass. 

  Josh saw five deer today but no bucks. Josh had someone mess with all of this stuff in an area he regularly hunts. The person tied this tree stand together and messed with a few of his trail cameras. I just can’t fathom why people feel the need to waste their time to mess with other people’s stuff that they find in the woods. The sad part is that we know exactly who did it. We have plenty of pictures and video of the person doing it from other cameras he didn’t spot. It’s unfathomable to me why people act this way.

  The season is winding down quickly. I’m continuing my scouting mission and still hold some hope that I might run into a wandering bear, I’ve hunted hard this year and wouldn’t want it to be any different.

Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020

December 10th, 2020

We woke up to a steady rain. I’ve always loved hunting in the rain during the middle to later part of the season. I’ve always thought that big bucks feel more at ease in the rain. I’m not sure if they think most predators are not moving, but I’ve had good luck in the rain, so I make it  a point to be in the woods on days that others tend to turn the alarm off and go back to bed. 

  I told Barry I would bring him to one of my favorite places, and he was up for the challenge. We walked for an hour before reaching the spot I wanted to bring him. 

  After dropping him off, I decided I would walk a little farther and wait for daylight. Once daylight came, I put my scouting hat on and began walking. It’s always good to practice different skills when you can. I used the wet conditions to practice my still-hunting technique and do some more scouting. 

  By the time the day ended, I had a great day in the woods. I just love the way I feel while hunting in the rain. I saw a doe and her two fawns around 7:45 a.m. but that was the last of any animal life I encountered for the day. Barry didn’t see anything, and the weather beat him to a pulp. His spirits were shot and his morale was low. He told me he was done. He wasn’t going to hunt in the morning. 

  When I look at what my dad is going through right now and see him going in and out of the woods every day, it amazes me to see the determination of some while witnessing the willingness to quit by others. 

  Brian went to a new area today and said it was really good. He wants me to look at it tomorrow and give my opinion on it.

Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

December 10th, 2020

It rained throughout most of the night, so we weren’t in a hurry to get going when we looked outside and the fog was so dense we could barely see through it.

  After a brief discussion, Donny and I decided to go back to the area we hunted yesterday. Barry arrived last night, so we figured we would spread out across a ridge where a few bucks had been working and give it our best shot. 

  Making our way through the darkness, the water seeped into my clothes from the overhanging branches that were sopping wet. When we got to the area where we were going to separate, Barry asked if I had any extra bullets. I told him I always carry extra bullets, but I didn’t carry any that would fit in his gun. 

  He insisted that I used a .308, but I had to tell him that he was incorrect. I’ve carried a .270 since I turned 16, a Manlicher Ruger M77 International with a custom Timney trigger in it. Since he didn’t have any bullets, I told him he could sit with me and use my gun. We would sit on opposite sides of a tree and I would look for approaching deer and warn him if I saw any coming. 

  About an hour into our sit, my head bobbed and I woke myself up snoring. Barry laughed at me, and I had to laugh at myself. I just haven’t slept well lately, and I didn’t get much sleep at all last night. There was just too much commotion in the camp. 

   It was a great morning to sit. It was damp, and I figured the deer would be moving after a full night of rain. I was highly disappointed when Donny called on the radio and wanted to meet at 10:30 to go to the local convenience store. That’s just not my style. It was a perfect day to stay in the woods. 

  As I was driving to the store, I realized that not all makes and models are the same. The single-most important reason for my success is my dogged determination to never give up. I get up every day and go to the woods because I think I’m going to get lucky. I believe that every day is the day I will shoot a buck. I guess other people aren’t built like me. Donny hadn’t been seeing any deer and decided to pack it in. 

  Barry and I did find a few places where bears had knocked limbs out of the trees while feeding earlier in the fall. We also found a few huge piles of bear droppings. With the warm weather, it gave me hope that I might get the job done, but I’d need Barry to bring bullets for his own gun next time so he wouldn’t have to borrow my gun.

  Later in the day, we all went in our own directions and explored different areas. Amazingly, we all found good sign. I was impressed with some of the things I found, and I think I might be able to kill a good buck next year in one of the places I checked out. I guess time will tell. 

  Brian and Josh came up tonight, so we have a full house for the weekend. Donny decided to pack it in and head home in the morning.  

Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

December 10th, 2020

Although today is Thanksgiving, the traditional Thanksgiving hunt that I’ve participated in since being able to hunt just isn’t the same anymore. Everyone has gotten older, and it doesn’t seem to carry the excitement with it that it used to. Now, it’s just another day in the woods.

  We used to finish our hunt and head to my grandmother’s house to eat dinner with my cousins, aunts and uncles. After my grandmother succumbed to dementia, Thanksgiving lost its luster. 

  Anyhow, I considered staying in this morning when the rain was pounding off the roof of the house. Gradually, Donny and Dad got out of bed, and we all decided to give it a whirl for a few hours. 

  Donny wanted me to bring him someplace new, so we headed into the unknown. As we made our way through the woods, the fog made it all but impossible to see. The only time I had been into this place was back during mid-summer.

  When it got light, it was still difficult to see very far. I found some impressive sign throughout the morning. It’s a place that is difficult to find anywhere to sit. While there are a lot of good areas, there aren’t any areas that make it easy to avoid deer and watch them if they’re just passing through. 

  The rain came down in buckets throughout the morning, and I could feel the water running off the back of my hat, into the crease of my back and settling in the rear-end of my pants. It wasn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world.

  Having to be back for Thanksgiving dinner, I packed it in around noon and headed out of the woods. I was happy with my exploration. I may hunt in that area in the future. I’ll have to see what happens. Here is some of the sign I found today.

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

December 10th, 2020

  Donny has been up the last few years, and he picked the place we went this morning. Since I’m just going through the motions, I didn’t care where he wanted to go. I joined him in case he needed a hand or in case a bear wandered by me. 

  Once again, not much happened. It appears that deer aren’t moving too much. At 9:30, I could hear a deer walking in the leaves but couldn’t locate it. When I finally located it, it was down the ridge from me. Instantly, I saw that it had a really nice rack. I’ve been having a dream year in the Adirondacks since I killed the deer last week. Any other year, it’s extremely difficult to see any bucks, especially a good one. Now, it seems like I see one everywhere I go. I need some of that luck to save itself for next year. 

  Shortly after the deer disappeared, I picked up its track to see where it came from and what it was doing. It was just cruising. It never stopped to feed. 

  I spent the rest of the day walking. I probably walked six miles and never cut another track in the fresh snow. The only track I saw for the day was the track from the deer I watched go by me …. right place, right time, I guess.

  I’m not sure what’s going on, but it’s kind of odd. There isn’t much deer sign anywhere I’ve been.  Dad and Donny didn’t see anything today. Actually, Dad saw two guys, and he heard one shot. There’s plenty of old sign but no new sign.

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

December 10th, 2020

I got into the woods this afternoon for a few hours. I tried rushing through some places in hopes of finding areas for Donny to see some deer. 

  I didn’t have any luck. Although I saw a few fresh tracks in the snow, the tracks were all within 200 yards of where I parked my truck. I saw some people tracks here and there, too. 

  For the amount of ground I covered, I was surprised I didn’t see any fresh sign. I put Dad in a place I found the other day that had a lot of good buck sign. He didn’t see anything. I felt really confident about the spot, too.

  Donny saw a few guys that he described as “sketchy” today. I found it interesting because he saw them in an area where his description kind of fit what I would expect in that spot. 

Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020

December 10th, 2020

Since everyone else headed into the woods today, I decided I needed to go too. I’ve been trying to figure out what deer do in a few different areas over the last few years, so I decided I would study them during the best possible time to study. Although spring is a great time, hunting season is even better, especially when you don’t have to worry about actually hunting. 

  I never knew where I would sit in one place, so I decided I would just sit next to a tree I picked and see what happened. 

  Shortly after it got light, I saw a doe running in my direction. Then, I heard a buck grunting. The doe went past me, and the buck was hot on her tail. He was grunting like crazy and wanted a piece of the doe. 

  When he got even with me, I must’ve made a noise because he stopped and looked in my direction. I tried to get my video camera out and record the sighting, but I had a hard time finding him in the lens. I was shaky while holding the camera, too. Overall, I wasn’t happy with what I got. I’m still unsure if I will even upload it. I wish I could’ve gotten better footage. 

  I didn’t see much the rest of the morning. I had to get home early today, so I explored until about 3 p.m.

Donny got here today. He’s staying for the week. Brian sat all day. He saw only one fawn shortly before it got dark. Dad didn’t see anything today. I had a great time today. I’ve seen three shooter bucks since Wednesday. Most people dream of seeing any buck during a season in the Adirondacks, let alone three in a few days that are all mature and carry good racks. I know how fortunate I am, and I always tell people I’d rather be lucky than good any day. Hopefully, my luck doesn’t run out over the years. I kinda like the way things happen for me in the woods. I think it’s actually more about putting the time in instead of being lucky.

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020

December 10th, 2020

Today, I went with Brian to a spot that he wanted help figuring out. I wasn’t sure I could do anything for him, but I figured I would give it a try since he asked. 

  I’ve never been to the place, and he wanted a second opinion about a few things. While I’m no expert, I know that sometimes things can seem much clearer when more sets of eyes are looking at them. 

  When he showed me what he was talking about, I concluded that his setup was perfect. I would have set up in the same spot where he likes to sit. The deer are funneled from a lot of different areas into a bottleneck. It’s the only way they can get to where they want to go. It’s an ideal spot. 

  He always asks why he never sees any bucks while sitting there. In reality, it’s simple: he just doesn’t sit there enough, and he’s never there when the timing is right. I think I could do some damage if I hunted it regularly. 

  We spent the rest of the day wandering around. He wanted to show me a bunch of things, so I took him up on the offer and followed him around. 

  I was exhausted when we got out of the woods. We put on a lot of miles, more than I had anticipated putting on. I’m not sure we accomplished anything, but it felt good to see some different country. It was a nice day, but it was a little breezy for my liking. 

Friday, Nov. 20, 2020

December 10th, 2020

Today, I went with Brian in case he shot anything. I figured I could return the favor. I also know there are piles of bears in the area where he hunted. I’m now going to be looking for a bear if I’m not helping my friends and my dad locate a deer. 

  Amazingly, I’ve never killed a bear in all of my years of hunting, and I would like to be able to put that statement to rest. That will be my main goal now, and I will also be scouting for next year in hopes of finding something that I may have overlooked. I look forward to the couple of weeks ahead of me. Hopefully, I can find a few puzzle pieces that will help me in the years to come.

  Brian and I didn’t see anything today. I tramped all over looking for bear sign and came up empty. I also didn’t see much deer sign, but it wasn’t a priority to look for it today.