Thursday, December 31, 2009

First deer

It was Christmas eve 2009 primitive firearms season and the first chance I've had to get out and hunt. I used a Thompson Center Renegade that has a Green Mountain .50caliber rifled barrel. Ammo was T/C 372gr. maxiball with 90 gr. of Pyrodex Select fired by CCI #11 caps.
There was a small group of us and I was unfamiliar with the area I was directed up a steep slope to the top of a ridge. I found an intersecting North South/East West trail with fresh scat on one corner. I set up in the crook of two trees some 15 yards away and settled into a padded seat after clearing away leaves and twigs (noisemakers).
The plan was to sit until around 11:30am and then slowly work our way back to a meeting point. After about two hours into it the constant mild breeze and frigid temperatures had me standing and wiggling my toes to get wam. The long climb to the ridge had made me sweat a little and I was paying the price for that. I was just noting how I had seen nothing. Usually I see squirrels, birds other critters when still hunting and I had seen nothing at all. Just as that thought crossed my mind I caught a slight movement on my peripheral vision.
I slowly turned my head and was startled by two deer 12 to 15 yards away. They had appeared like ghosts despite the crunchy ice layer on the snow, OK I admit I am hard of hearing also. The lead deer had a compact six point rack and the other deer had two oddball spikes, both were the same body size. One spike, on the second deer, was about 12" and the other about 8". I later learned the name he was given from the trail cam pictures was "Crazy Horn". I cocked the hammer back on the renegade. The six pointer lowered his head and stared hard at me. I do not believe he actually heard it, the wind was too brisk and it was moving from him toward me. I believe the movement caught his eye and he was trying to interpret it.
The six pointer turned and walked away slowly with the spike following behind. They picked up speed as they neared a drop off that ended in a flat landing about five feet down. By this time I had the rifle shouldered and the front sight firmly fixed just behind the left rib cage of the rear deer (the spike). I shoot with both eyes open and saw the lead deer drop to it's belly and slide over the edge, the second deer lept forward off the ground. I assume he did not want to land on his buddy but I am not sure how deer think. I kept the front sight behind his ribcage as he quartered away and even as he lept but as I pulled the trigger I saw a round white target. I was a little confused as to wether it was the cloud of smoke from the rifle or the deers white hindquarters. I felt pretty confident about the shot only because I do a fair amount of waterfowl and trap shooting so I walked a short distance toward where they went over the ledge in order to see if I could spot in what direction they headed. I know that waiting a few minutes is best but the drop off is so steep I could get a really wide view of the area and thought it would help.
As I approached the drop off point I observed the back of a deer rise and wobble back and forth a bit, right where I saw him leap. He had landed on the small flat below the drop off. I immediately stopped, took a breath and reloaded. I took my time deliberately to slow things up. A short time later, ? two minutes, I could see the deer in a clearing below about 75-80 yards away in some thin laurels. He lay down, then almost immediately got up, sat down and then stood weaving from side to side. He walked around the laurels and dissapeared. I knew he had fallen as the laurels were pretty open.
I had kept my sights on him after I reloaded until he disappeared using a tree as a rest but a second shot was not neccesary. I walked back to my sitting spot, strapped on my small pack and walked slowly down the hill after the deer and after calling my companions to assist me. I found the deer about 10-15 feet from where he disappeared, he had fallen and slid down a slight decline to his final resting spot. On examination I found the bullet entered the left side of the belly between the penis and belly button and went upward and destroyed the left lung and must have severed several arteries as bright red blood came out in large amounts when he was field dressed.
My first deer and on Christmas Eve. Wow what a gift. I have to thank my companions who assited me in the field dressing and dragging part of the hunt.

Friday, December 18, 2009


This morning i went out, it was by far the coldest morning I've been out this year. It was very noisy, and crunchy snow. I Sat in the spot i sat in during bow season just 30 yards lower from where i got my 10 pointer. At about 8:15 I heard this loud noise to my left and it was coming closer and closer. I Heard the noise from a long ways away. Crunch, Crunch, i looked to my left and there's one deer...two deer...three deer... four deer...five deer...six deer...eight deer, i lost track, there were between 8- 12 deer all together they sounded like a heard of elephants coming. They were forty yards from me, but not a single horn, all baldies. They had no clue i was there. I think they ended up bedding on a side hill near me. Then at about 8:40 I heard another noise to my left, and it was one single deer all by itself. She came near me and started stomping her feet, then she takes off blowing at me. It was another baldy by the way, no horns. NO DOE PERMIT. So I sat there wondering, did these deer already start losing there horns. I really think the second deer that came to me (the one by itself) was a buck but with no horns. In this spot I have seen so many deer this year. A honey hole and a natural travel corridor. Guess where I'll be tomorrow, this same spot. But let me tell it was one cold sit I was chattering like a chipmunk. But it was worth it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Simpler Days

Do you remember the simpler days and alot of you won't because you were just pups. The ones I’m thinking about were in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They were the days when the only thing you carried into the woods for an afternoon hunt were the clothes you drove to your hunting spot in and the bow you grabbed off the backseat just before heading into the woods. You might stick a bottle of soda or water in your pocket along with a handful of candy bars but that was about it.

There were no modern treestands to pack in and many afternoons I would construct some type of ground blind or sit next to some stone wall or up against a large tree near some well worn deer trail. Of course this was all last minute and there was no such thing as scent blocker to keep your odor under control. You broke branches with your bare hands and scratched the leaves where you would sit away with your leather boots. About the only thing you were worried about was the wind direction.

I remember one such hunt in southern Vermont in the 1982 when I was in college. It was Columbus Day weekend and it was a beautiful early October day. The leaves were changing color, the afternoon was mild and I knew you would feel the temperature drop as the sun dipped behind the mountain in the evening. It was about 3:00 PM and I decided I would finish studying in the woods. I dressed, grabbed my bow and my backpack with some boring economic book and drove to Vermont.

Deer were plentiful then and it was common to see 10-15 deer in a field just before dark. I decided to try an area I had recently found that bordered the edge of a small swamp. A large stone wall that stood at least four feet tall ran along the edge of the swamp and a cluster of huge oak trees were scattered along the stone wall. An old wood road ran along one side of the wall and the deer traveled this section feasting on the acorns that littered the area. The oak trees were enormous and I could spread my arms as wide as possible and still not even get half way around the tree. It was this particular spot that I decided I would wait in ambush for a whitetail deer.

I cleared the leaves away between two large oak trees that were tucked right up against the stone wall and sat down. I moved a couple of small stones so I could peak out and see if there was any activity in the grown up road. The trees were so big I figured if I saw a deer I could easily stand and draw my bow undetected.

I threw my backpack on the ground, grabbed my economic book and proceeded to bore myself to death. As the afternoon wore on my eyes grew heavy and I closed them for a few minutes. I was quickly jarred back to reality when I heard the unmistakable crunching of acorns. I didn’t dare move as the sound was coming from the other side of the stone wall and it sounded like it was right next to me. I remained motionless and listened. The crunching continued uninterrupted so I leaned forward and glanced through one of my peak holes in the stone wall. As I glanced out into the grown up road way a deer on the other side of the wall caught my movement through the peak hole and ran back a short distance.

I knew it couldn’t see me as I was hidden behind the huge oak tree. I waited to see if I could hear where the deer was. A few seconds passed and I could hear the deer stomping its front hoof into the ground. From the sound of it I knew it was only a few yards away on the other side of the stone wall. I felt the deer had no idea I was a human or it would be in the next county by now.

I decided I would stand up behind the enormous oak tree and draw my bow as quietly as possible. I slowly stood up and drew. I didn’t hear the deer run off so I assumed it must still be there. The stomping had stopped and I wasn’t sure if the deer had walked away or if it was back to feeding. I decided I would lean out from behind the big oak while I was at full draw to see if I could locate the whitetail.

As I leaned out with the nock of the arrow tucked in to the corner of my mouth I saw her. A fat doe stood less than ten yards away stareing at this foreign object that appeared to be sticking out of the side of the tree. Before she could react I picked a spot behind her front shoulder and left the aluminum arrow fly at about 190 feet per second. The arrow struck right where I was aiming and as the doe bolted out of sight I could see close to half of my arrow protruding from her rib cage. She ran into the swamp and I heard her crash about 75 yards away.

Today, looking back I wonder how that was even possible. I hadn’t washed my clothes and left them hanging on the clothes line for days to rid them of human scent. I hadn’t stored them in an air tight container to keep them scent free nor had I backpacked my clothes in and dressed when I was close to my hunting spot. I wasn’t wearing knee high rubber boots. I didn’t have everything but the kitchen sink in my backpack. I wasn’t perched over a deer trail 20 feet up in the air in a modern tree stand. I hadn’t hung a stand weeks before I hunted the spot. Were the deer just stupid back then, I don’t think so. So how did any of us ever manage to be successful back then? It’s simple really; the only thing that matters is being in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Coming up empty

The MA bow season started with such promise as I had taken a 3 PT before the rut had even started and I was going to be off for the first three weeks in November. November is my favorite time to bow hunt because of the chance to see a monster buck that you normally won't lay eyes on the entire year.

It was the first week in November and I had located an oak grove that had a dozen rubbings in it and the ground was covered with acorns. There was sign everywhere and I knew it would only be a matter of time before I would see a buck if I hunted this spot long enough. I located a tree and threw a stand up on Thursday Nov. 5. On Friday morning I was in it well before day light. About an hour after day light I saw a large 4 PT with at least 6 inch forks work his way across the far edge of the oak grove and out of sight. The wind changed directions later that morning and I moved to another location but I knew I would be back on Saturday morning November 7 th.

I was and shortly after 7:30 another 3 PT came crashing down through the oak grove passing just out of range. Things were looking good, 2 bucks in 2 sittings in this new stand. That afternoon as that magic hour approached I heard the unmistakable sound of a deer walking behind me. I glanced back and saw a deer coming up the ravine behind my stand. It was a doe and she stopped and looked up at me. I didn't move and I couldn't believe she was looking up as I had to be 30 feet above her. She stomped her foot once and I stayed motionless. Content I was nothing more than a squirrel she put her head down and began feasting on acorns.

As she fed she worked her way right under my stand. I heard another deer walking and looked back. I could see a large body coming through the hemlocks and I knew this had to be a buck. As the deer came into the opening I could see it was an absolute monster. The rack was heavy and wide with G2's close to 12 inches long and G3's at about 10 inches. I would have guessed him at close to 20 inches wide. I immediately knew he was Pope & Young material and he was over 200 lbs easily.

He approached the spot where the doe had stomped her foot and stopped. I don't know why. I'm not sure if she gave off some type of scent or what when she did that but he stopped and remained there motionless.

My heart was pounding and my knees started to shake. I didn't move and looked away so I could get control of myself. It was 3:50 PM and I had over an hour till dark. The doe continued to feed around my tree stand. I had made two mock scrapes and they were about 12 yards in front of my tree stand. The doe worked her way around the tree I was in and walked into the scrapes. I had placed some tinks gel #69 in them and she sniffed around and walked through them. I knew she must be ready to breed or she would not have gone near the scrapes.

The buck remained motionless behind me. He raised his head and licked his noses every few minutes but he didn't move. The doe finally fed up the ravine in front of me and continued to feast on the acorns. She was now about 50 yards in front of him and he must have decided she was getting too far out in front.

He made his move. He started up the ravine but at his pace. He would take a couple of steps, stop, test the air, lick his nose and look around. Everything he did was in slow motion and at his pace. His chest was huge and his gut sagged and I knew he was at least 5-6 years old.

On Nov. 7, 1994 at 3:50 PM I had shot my biggest buck a 229 LB 10 PT less than 400 yards from this tree stand. He was coming and I knew I was going to get a shot, could history repeat itself 15 years later? He was less than 20 yards and the direction he was heading he would pass by my stand broadside at no more than 14-15 yards.

Two, three steps stop look around lick his nose. It was painful. When he paused it was for 2-3 minutes at a time. He was in control even though his dick was trying to think for him. He knew she was going no where and he would not be chased off by any other buck in the area. Finally he was right beside me just to me left. The top of a large oak tree had broke off years ago and he was working his way around it. When he cleared it I would have the shot. He stopped and paused just before the fallen top. I told myself when he starts to walk I'll draw, he'll have cleared the tree top and be broadside at 14 yards.

I had watched this deer for over 45 minutes and I had regained control, no shaking, heart was pounding but that's something we as bowhunters live for. He started, draw I told myself. I came to full draw and he stopped, SHIT.. he didn't clear the top completely. His body looked huge as I looked down my site pin. I could see branches from the tree top sticking up and blocking parts of his vitals.

You CAN get an arrow by that I told myself, DON'T be an idiot my other half screamed, he doesn't know you're here, let down he'll take another step in a couple of minutes. He's right there shoot, you can DO it, DON'T take the shoot he'll step out, SHOOT, DON'T be an idiot, DO it, DON'T and it was off. I watched in horror as the arrow sailed just over his back and slammed into the ground. The buck bounded toward the doe that was now bounding up the ravine and out of the oak grove. What the hell just happened. How could I have blown such an easy shot, why didn't I let down and draw when he cleared the tree top. I don't have the answer. I think subconsciously I was in another zone and I didn't even realize I had touched off the trigger on my release until it was too late. I looked at my watch it was 4:45. I felt drained and I wanted to throw up. In 36 years of deer hunting I have seen 4 deer that I knew without a doubt were Pope & Young material and over 200 lbs. Those opportunities are far and few between and to actually get one that close and blow it was devastating. I was beyond pissed off at myself for screwing up such a chance.

In years past I would have lost sleep, been sick to my stomach for days, allowed doubt to creep in and really questioned whether I could every hit another deer with a bow and arrow again. I didn't do that this time. I sat for 11 hours on Monday Nov. 9 and analyzed that situation over and over. I had to learn from it, what had I done that caused that miss. I sat in the same stand and stared at the spot he was standing. I could clearly see how my tunnel vision had blocked my thinking clearly. The deer was not in the clear, his size had greatly mislead me in to thinking there was an opening large enough. I had drawn and been at full draw at least 2-3 minutes prior to releasing the shot. I never practice holding this long. I should have let down, better yet I should not have drawn until he was in the clear. I should have know this because he wasn't in a rush to go anywhere, he did not know I was there. If I had drawn when he was in the clear everything would have been automatic, draw, locate, aim, release, dead deer running. Some of life's lesson's in the bowhunting world are the most painful. There isn't a day that goes by that I can't see that buck standing there broadside at 14 yards and I'm telling myself to wait and some nights I have nightmares about it. I'm trying to take the shot back and just wait but it's not happening. I don't think I'll every make that mistake again but it may have been most painful lesson I have ever learned in my deer hunting career.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NH Bow Season

I've been bow hunting NH since 2006. I hunted all state land in the town of Winchester, NH. The park is called Pisgah and it is 21 square miles all big woods. I like hunting NH bow because the season lasts from Sept. 15 - Dec. 15. The hunting pressure is so light that rarely do I see a hunter anytime of the year that I go up.

The season started out promising as I actually saw part of a deer the first day. It passed behind me about an hour before dark but all I saw was the front shoulders back so I don't know what it was. I would spend the next 3 months trying to see another one and as of right now I haven't. I walked miles and miles scouting, had trail cameras out and sat over 200 hours in my stands.

I found very little sign and when I scouted during the rut I found only two scrapes. I think the area got hit really hard last winter and the herd took a heavy loss. I've hunted that state for 3 years and have gotten a deer every year and have always seen at least one buck during the bow season, not this year. I do have several bucks on camera one 8 and a nice 6. The 8 was taken the next morning and afternoon just after I hung a stand. I hunted that area for two weeks after that on and off morning and night and never saw a deer or got another picture. The six was a regular during the week of Thanksgiving and then he disappeared. But he returned on Dec. 4 so I know he is still alive. With this snow I'm sure the gate to the park is closed and my chance of getting back up there is about zero.

MA Bow Season

My MA bow season was certainly an interesting one. It started very slow due to the thousands of acorns in the woods. I can't remember a year where there were so many. After the first week of the season I had seen two black bear and no deer.

I checked one of my trail cameras on Sunday Oct 18 and had a picture of a 3 Pt. I decided I would hunt that stand on Monday morning Oct. 19. It was mild and no wind. The area is just north of a beaver pond/swamp that was logged off two years ago. Its a ravine that runs north from the pond and gradually becomes flat with scattered oaks still remaining.

At 9:15 I caught movement to my right and noticed the 3 pt working his way across the top of the ridge. He was browsing on these huge ass yellow leaves. He was only about 40 yards away. He started to head in my direction when he stopped and bedded down. I ranged him at 32 yards. He was on the bank just to my right but just slightly behind my stand. I was in a double pine tree and luckily I was on the left side of the tree and I used the right side section as cover to block him from seeing me.

I watched him as he licked his ass, chewed on his sides like a dog does and then fall asleep. He lowered his head and placed it on top of his crossed front legs, just like a dog and slept. Since the rut was only a couple of weeks away I know he was dreaming about his first taste of doe ass. His eyes fluttered and his ears twitched. He slept off and on until 11:25. He then stood up and stretched and slowly starting walking south down the ridge away from me. He jumped a stone wall and was about 60 yards away when I turned my bleat can over twice. He snapped his head around, remembering his recent dream of doe ass and jumped back over the wall. He didn't run or walk fast he just slowly started in my direction.

He continued to browse but he was coming. After about 5 minutes he was directly under my tree stand and he stopped to once again lick his ass. I was looking straight down on him but I hate that kind of shot. He had no idea I was around so I waited for him to walk out. He walked out quartering away. At about 5 yards I drew and settled the pin at the rear of his ribs and sent the arrow on its way. I saw the arrow sink in deep near the last ribs angling forward. I knew immediately that deer was dead on his feet. He kicked his high legs and bolted running a 100 mph. I waited about 30 minutes even though I knew he was dead. My father and son came up and we followed the blood about 150 yards and found him piled up. The thunderhead went right through the middle of his heart and came out between his front legs. The deer weighed 120 lbs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Week of Shotgun/European Mount

The first week of shotgun season is over. I have not seen a single deer in (4) half day hunts (mornings). There are still a few scrapes being made but activity is much slower and there were quite a few hunters in the woods through the opening days. Its going to take a lot of luck to run into a good deer after a full week of hard pressure.
On a different note I have pretty much finished the European mount of my deer, and have added the pictures. The how-to portion goes like this:
1. I skinned the entire skull and cut off any meat that I could with a sharp knife, be careful to not cut any of the bone. Remove the eyes (not easy) and with a coat hanger remove as much brain tissue you can. I also carefully separated the lower jaw at this time.
2. I then brought a pot full of water (not the wifes cooking pot), and small amount of dish detergant (2 tblsp as a degreaser) to a simmer(not a full boil). Place the skull in the water for 15 or 20 minutes, remove/pull/cut off any loose meat. Repeat this several times until the skull is clean. It will take a lot of work, there are a lot of tendons and muscles that do not come off easily.
3. I then let the skull sit in a large bucket of water for a couple weeks to loosen up and remaining bits of meat. I then used an exacto knife to cut the small pieces off. Once this is complete scrape and wash any little pieces that remain and allow the skull to dry.
4. To whiten the skull I used 40% peroxide (not the stuff used for cleaning scrapes) this stuff I order from a taxidermy website (it was $8 for a quart). I mixed the peroxide with powdered bleach to make a paste. I brushed the paste onto the skull and let it sit overnight. Be careful not to get the paste on the horns or they will turn white ( I did read that you can use wood stain to color them if you do get bleach on them by accident). I only did it once and it came out pretty white, but the process can be repeated.
It probably took a total of 24 hours of work. I think it looks good and is cheaper than a full mount ($8 for peroxide + $10 for a pot+ $3 for powdered bleach). I think its a better option for a good deer that doesn't quite reach the mark of getting full mount, but yet is too big to just cut the horns off of. If anyone wants to give it try and needs any help, let me know.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

VT buck & fresh sign

Hunted Vernon, VT today with Austin and Chris Bruneau. Bruneau shot a nice 8pt 130lb buck at 7:30 this morning. He was in the woods only 1/2 hour! Buck walked by him at 100 yds on a run. Heart shot took him. I found a few scrapes that had been reopened since last Monday. Their movin again! This afternoon, Austin and I set up a ladder stand for him for shotgun. On the way up, I checked my camera set over a scrape that hadn't been freshened in a couple of weeks. I had pics of does and a spike and small six checking the scrape. At 1pm, there were 15 pics on the camera, no fresh sign at the scrape. On the way back at 2:30pm, I pulled the chip and the scrape had been freshened! A check showed a nice 4pt with a broken main beam on the 21st at 10:30am and a nice six (no brows) at 1:34 pm! The buck had been there while we were up on the mountain scouting! I know where Austin will be set up on Monday. Happy turkey day. Shoot straight.

Getting ready for Shotgun

I got out for a few hours this morning to move a treestand and have one last look around before opening day of shotgun and thanksgiving. It would have been a great morning to be out hunting. There was a light drizzle, and it was mild, it was quiet walking in the woods, lets hope we can get some of that come Monday.
I was able to find a couple of fresh scrapes up on the ridge where I was moving my stand, and it looked like the deer were starting to feed pretty heavy in the acorns. On my way out I stopped to take my camera out of the woods. The scrape my camera was on had been hit lightly and there was another scrape about 50 yds up the run that was fairly fresh. After checking the camera I found that I should have been in that stand on Friday the 20th. A nice 6 point that I have never got a picture of showed up.
That morning I did not go out because it was supposed to poor all day according to the weather the night before. I woke that morning to a pretty heavy rain that ended by about 8:30 or 9:00am. I remember thinking It would have been a great morning to be sitting on a scrape, assuming that bucks would want to freshen them after the hard rain. If I only listened to myself.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Awesome bow season

My bow season started out with two does during the first week. I was hunting an oak flat north of a saddle where I'd seen deer in the past. A NW wind blew my first hunt and I was unable to fill my 4N doe tag. The next night Oct 16th, I set up in a stand south east of the saddle and at 5:20pm I heard that unmistakable sound of deer moving. Two does (I assume the same two from the night before) came in from my left. A NW wind was perfect. Both does looked mature, probably 110-120 lbs. As they fed in the oaks towards me, I heard a branch break in the direction from where they came and they both snapped to. Suddenly, all hell broke loose and they went running under my stand just as I saw another deer coming down the run. I thought "monster buck". Not quite. A small basket racked six comes running in on their trail, grunted once. I could tell he was smaller than the does, but I had never shot a deer with my new bow. As a matter of fact, I had never shot a deer with a bow in MA in all of the years I had been hunting so this was his unlucky night. As he walked up the run, I came to full draw and stopped him broadside at 15 yards with a bleat. The release of the arrow seemed like it was in slow motion as I watched the arrow pass through right behind the front shoulder. I watched him do the death run an pile up 50 yds away! My first MA bow kill. 100lb 6pt.
After a few uneventful sits, I was in my stand on Nov 9th well before daylight. At 8:00 am I caught a coyote jumping a stonewall to my left at 75 yds. A couple of bleats and he was working his way to me. At 35 yds I released and watch him scramble. Thought I missed. At 8:30 am, I was day dreaming when I caught a glimpse of a deer working along a ridge 80 yds to my left. Once it was out of sight, I gave a couple of grunts. A minute later I saw a decent buck appear above me in the oaks a t 100yds walking away. When he stopped, I gave 2 grunts and he almost turned inside out, spinning around in my direction. He immediately pawed the ground and pissed on his hocks. He then started heading in my direction! When he was about 45 yds out, he pawed the ground again and racked a tree branch. At 30 yds, he caught wind of the arrow I shot at the coyote and stopped broadside dead in his tracks. I released and he took 3-4 bounds and stopped. I immediately knew I had made a marginal shot. Low and farther back possibly a gut shot. He walked off. After waiting a few hours, my dad brother and I picked up the trail. Good blood for the first 150 yds. He bedded several times and then the blood trail dried up, One drop every 10 yds. We left him in the afternoon when he started heading up hill. The next morning I went in and resumed the trail. After a couple of hours and 150 tedious yds, I found him dead! 148 lb 7pt. Now it's just a doe tag in MA. First time I every tagged out with two bucks. Lucky year for me. I forgot to add in that I did hit the coyote. Found a big pool of blood but no dirty dog.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

End of Bowseason Review

I didn't see too much to end the season. The deer really seemed to be locked down from the 12th through the 17th or so. I went out on the 19th to move a treestand to get ready for the shotgun season and came across at least a dozen fresh scrapes. Some of the scrapes were reopened scrapes and some were brand new. I have not been back to my scrape camera to check on its activity, but I did refill the dripper on that scrape back on the 17th, and at that time it only had a couple pics of does on it.

While setting my stand on the 19th I did find a leg (still hair covered) of a small deer. It must have been killed by coyotes. The leg was small, I took a picture of it next to my GPS so everyone can see how small it was. Makes me feel better about laying the smack on the coyote on the 11th.

Now I'll have to wait until shotgun season to see if I can tag out for the first time ever. I have also started the process of cleaning my deer skull to make a european mount. I will post photos and an update on how the process went when I am done.

My bow season

This is my third year hunting this area(my first year with a bow). There are plenty of deer but the terrain is tough. I spent a lot of time out in the woods Pre-season checking for sign and setting my trail cameras. I was excited to see the number of pictures I got.

Once the season was underway I primarily sat two stands. One on the east side of the mountain and one on the west side of the mountain(About 1.5 miles apart).

On the morning of Nov 2, I had a close encounter with a spike we named crazy(he has one straight spike and one that twisted like a unicorn). I had trail cam pics of him on the west side of the mountain during pre-season, almost 1 1/2 miles away. He caught me off guard as he came in over my left shoulder, and came right to my tree with his nose in the air. He went directly under my stand and got away without a shot.

Later that evening before dark, I, for an unknown reason, stood up in my stand looking up the hillside. A short time later I saw a big bodied buck with a nice rack travelling south (about 70 yds above me). I attempted a couple of bleats and grunts without success. About ten Minutes later another big bodied buck with a nice rack crossed in the same spot. I was determined to make sure he heard my grunts, so I gave it a little umph. Which resulted in a horrifying sound. The buck stopped momentarily but never came my way. The kicker is I have a stand on the run they were travelling but chose to go to the lower stand.

The next morning I sat the same stand. At daylight I had three does come over my left shoulder going on a 45% angle away from me. No chance for a shot.

Though I didn't get a kill I had a great season so far.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It has been very warm with a southerly wind for the last few days. I haven't seen much the last few days and I have had no pics at the scrape where I have had so many over the last few weeks. Last night the warm front moved out and the wind switched to the north, so this morning I went back to the stand where I missed the other day. I was about 15 minutes later than I wanted to be, i was in the stand by a bit after 6am ( I could already see). At 6:15 I could hear see something running up the run toward me. I could just see enough to shoot, as 3 coyotes came running up the run. One of them made the mistake of stopping for a lip squeak at 10 yds. I let the arrow go and I knew it found its mark and he ran off. At 6:20 I could hear something else coming up the run, I assumed it was another coyote, I was wrong. A big bodied deer was approaching, I readied myself as he slowly walked up the run. He walked past my stand at 15 yds, I gave him a soft "errp", and he stopped, THWACK!! This time I didn't miss, a double lung shot, and I knew he wasn't going far. He ran about 50 yds behind the stand and I heard the great sound of a deer falling down. The real fun was getting him out. I was a long way from a road, and had some rough terrain between me and civilization. Thankfully I had a willing friend who wanted to help, I could have never done it without his help, thank you Kevin. The buck which I thought was an 8pt turned out to be a 7pt, he had never grown a brow tine on his left side. The buck weighed in at 180lbs dressed. We found the coyote about 50 yds further than the deer. The coyote had only 3 legs. The right front leg only had about a 3 inch stump, it was well healed and covered in fur. It must have been caught in a trap at a young age.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Big Old Deer

Later in the day today I got a call from my brother saying that he had shot a large buck. He was hunting off the ground, on a hard wood ridge where he had seen two decent bucks yesterday. He had made a mock scrape, and filled it with some Tinks69. At 10:30 he heard a deer approaching. As it came into view he saw it was a large buck. The buck was very cautious as he made his way in, at one point causing my brother to have to draw, and then let it back down. Eventually the buck stepped into the scrape at 30yds..THWACK!! My brother thought he had made a gut shot. 4 hours later and about 250yds, what he thought was a gut shot was a liver and off lung shot resulted in a 6 1/2 or more year old, 10pt, that tipped the scales at 205lbs. And I thought I had a good morning..Congrats Mike you deserve it!!

Strike One

During the spring/summer I found a new stand location. It is way up on a ridge on a growth line between mature oaks and hemlocks. There is also a deep cut ravine that runs through ridge which pinches deer through the area. There is a good run leading around the ravine, and when I found it in the spring a line of about 8 good scrapes ran up the run. The catch is that, in the dark it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to, and it is at the top of a large ridge. I have been saving the spot for the rut, and a good north wind (today was going to be the first day to give it a try, Fri Nov. 6). I left my truck at 4:30 (that's AM), I was in the stand at 5:45. At 7:00 I heard deer coming up the run toward me from the ravine crossing. Two small fawns with no mother came right down the run just like they are supposed to, as they worked past the stand they kept looking, and turning ears toward the north. As they got to 15 yds they continued to look north (which is away from me), and then they turned around and went back the way they came. At 7:15 out of nowhere a decent 8pt came running up the run, I quickly picked up my bow, drew, and now hes passing at less than 15 yds. I give him the standard mouth "errp", nothing, again a louder "errp!!", nothing, now a "HEY!!", he stops, maybe 15 yds......swing and a MISS!! Man do I suck! He trotted a bit north and stopped and I tried to grunt him back to no avail. At 7:30 I hear another deer coming from the north. As it approaches I see its a button buck, he walked by at about 25yds and hung around for a bit before walking all the way around me and walking down the ridge behind me. At 7:45 I look to my right to see another deer working its way toward me...It stops in the hemlocks and I couldn't see if it had horns. The wind was quartering towards it a little, and I think it may have caught my wind, because it turned around and walked away. As it walked away I could see that it was a spike horn with about 8 or 9 inch spikes. That was all for the morn but that was far better than my average morning.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Close but no cigar

On my way out yesterday I swung past my camera over the scrape and found it had several new pics. I decided to hunt that stand in the morning today. At 7:15am I heard a deer approaching from out and to my left. It was the steady cadence of a buck on the prowl. I readied expecting the deer to hopefully come into the scrape. As the deer came into view I could see It was a decent 8pt. The deer was quartering in my direction but was online to move past out of range. As he reached the shelf I was on I gave him a couple soft grunts. He stopped and stared for about 30 seconds. He then began to walk on the same route. I tried again, he again stopped and stared but would not come. He dipped into the ravine behind me and out of sight. After a minute or two went by I heard a grunt from that direction and I grunted back. Immediately a deer began running in my direction, i readied myself again. Instead of the buck coming to me a doe came running up the hill to about 35yds (again I have no doe permit). She began to feed and worked away from me down the run. It became obvious that the buck wouldn't come to me because he wanted her instead. I checked my camera when I got down and found it had numerous pics from the night before, one of which I believe was the buck I saw this morning.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Does without fawns

November is here, It is time to start hunting some of my better stands. This morning I hunted a stand along a small oak ridge hoping to find a buck cruising, looking for a doe. On my way in I laid a scent trail of Tinks69 with boot pads. At 7:00am A lone doe followed the trail to 30 yds right in front of me. She looked to be a 1 1/2 doe, maybe 100-110lbs (of course I have no doe permit). She worked her way over the hill and out of sight. At 7:15 I heard a deer coming from the same direction the doe had gone. I could see what I thought was the same doe coming back, the deer basically backtracked where the doe had come down. As the deer got in front of me I realized that it was a small spike horn that I have pics of. Not exactly the deer I want to shoot.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Starting to move

It was supposed to rain hard tonight. I thought that the deer may move a little earlier so I had my wife's mother pick up Kasey and I went hunting. I sat in the stand near the scrape I have been getting pics at. At about 5 pm I heard two soft grunts behind me. I turned to see a decent 8pt in the small ravine behind me (not where I expected a deer to come from). I grunted back softly with no response. He worked through behind me from my left to right. After It got dark, several deer ran circles under my stand. I could barely see anything but knew that buck must have been chasing a doe around. The buck was not a buck I have had any pics of, he was smaller racked 8 point. The rut is getting close!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Looking Good so Far

I have had a camera out at few scrapes as the rut approaches and I am getting quite a few pics. A few different bucks, although at this point many of them are younger bucks. This spot is a tree that always has scrapes under it, but none had been made yet. I made a mock scrape myself but did not use any scent, I just scraped out the dirt.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Something New

I have wanted to find a way to share hunting stories, accounts, and info with the people I know. I have been doing this by email, and by text messaging when I am actually out hunting. I created this blog so that we can all come to a common place and read each others stories. I will update this blog whenever I can, and will include info from my hunts, as well as comment on any equipment I may be using and I hope everyone will do the same.