Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nice buck but no cell service in NY

This is not a bow buck but I'll tell the story anyway.   I scored a nice farm to hunt with a friend in Central NY finally after years of trying.  Gotta love it when the offer to come and hunt the farm comes from right of the blue. The property was a mid-sized beef farm Southeast of Syracuse that sat atop a large hill.  On the side slopes were the corn fields with a pasture below.  Beyond the pasture was a hardwood/apple deer haven that was ridiculous with deer sign.  Exactly what you expect to see in rural NY with runs about 12" wide and rubs and scrapes all over the place.
Anyway I hunted 11/15 with the bow with my buddy who has been hunting and scouting this property for five years and needed a partner.  So I obliged.  I ended up seeing 14 deer that day while moving my climber around a couple of times. Two nice bucks but all I had shots at were does which I already had gotten one back in MA.  But one of the bucks looked to be a decent 8 point that I watched chase 7 does around for about an hour from 3:30 to 4:30pm.  But never got close enough for a shot.  The most interesting thing was to watch what was happening during this full moon period.  Almost all of the deer I saw were moving between 11am and 4:30pm.   Crazy but a great day!
The following day was the opener of rifle which I was only semi-excited about.  But when in Rome....   So I hunted on the ground for the morning and saw 7 more deer by 11am and could have taken each one including a spike.  But with a couple of days to burn, it was still early.  So at lunch, my partner asks if I want to go up to the farm house for a big lunch with the family which was nice of them to offer.  But it was a full moon after all and I was up here to hunt, not eat.  So I graciously declined and decided to sit in the area where I watch the 8 pointer from the night before.
I had found a nice blow-down area on a side hill where I could see the bottom of the draw as well as the back ridge of the pasture.  At 1PM, I was looking up the hill into the sun and could see just antlers walking on top of that ridge only about 75 yards away but coming across to me.  I set my 30-06 on part of the blow-down for a perfect rest and waited for the buck to step out and show his body.  He stopped at the top of the hill while trying to decide which trail he was going to take down into the draw.  Unfortunately for him, he never got to make that decision, I made it for him in a big way.  But unfortunately for me, he got enough momentum after the shoulder hit to start moving down into a deep ravine.   And instead of him running down the hill, he just rolled and tumbled down about 150' into a 10' gorge.  It was ugly.  Thank God for the winch on the ATV to get him out which still took almost 2 hrs.
Also unfortunate was the fact that my cell phone/camera was dead.  And being NY with the CWD issue, I just skun and de-boned him to bring him back to MA.  So without taking any decent field pics, all I have is the head picture.  But fortunately we have a trail cam pic of him from on 9/30 which gives a little more perspective of his body size.  Should be good for a European mount.  Thanks for the instructions Brian!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Nov. 16th Doe Party

    Yesterday the weather channels all predicted a very light south wind for the morning of the 16th. I decided that I would go out to the stand where my big 9 pointer lives. I haven't been out there in while, and I haven't hunted it on any mornings. Typically I have been hunting this stand on a north wind in the evenings, but decided to try and hunt a south wind in the morning. This is very close to bedding area and was going to attempt to catch the deer on his way back from breeding does all night (hopefully). I have had a camera in this location for a while now and continuously get the large 9 pointer, and for a while I was getting a big bodied 6 pointer, but he seems to have disappeared lately. I have had very few doe photos in this location.
     This morning was very calm, and cool but not cold 35 degrees.  At about 7:20 I heard the sound of footsteps heading my way. A yearling doe stepped out of the hemlocks at about 10 yds and walked directly across in front of me. I heard more footsteps coming, and a short time after an adult doe followed in the yearlings tracks. I was almost going to try and shoot her when she was in front of me, but decided to pass. My brother had a doe tag which he had stated I could fill if I had the chance. The shot the doe presented was almost straight down and I assumed she was going to walk through to a lane on my left that the yearling had passed through that would have been a better shot (but of course she didn't). The yearling began to feed broadside to me at 20 yds, while the adult doe stayed about 40 yds out in some hemlocks feeding. As I sat and watched I wondered why there was no buck around, and hoped that they may bring one in.
   After about 10 minutes I heard footsteps coming up the hill from my left. I thought "here comes the buck", I hoped he would come sniff around and present a shot. As the footsteps got closer I saw the deer, another adult doe. A minute later I heard another deer coming...another doe. There were now 4 decoys inside of 40 yds. I again heard another deer approaching, I thought "this has to be a buck", instead two more does came in. I have never seen this many does together. There were 3 adult does and 3 yearlings, where were the bucks. The 6 deer fed for another 10 minutes while I listened, hoping for yet another deer, a buck.
     After that time had passed one of the adult does worked her way into the lane at 20 yds. This time I couldn't resist, I decided to try and take her. Getting a bow drawn on a perfectly calm morning, with 12 sets of eyes inside of 40yds can be challenging, but I was able to get it done undetected. I settled the pin and released. The shot was a little back but the doe immediately snow plowed into a pile of brush 35yds away and stopped.
    I watched and listened as the other 5 deer blew at me and the wounded doe for about 20 minutes. I snuck out of the stand about 1 hour later and met my brother. When I left the deer was still alive but could barely lift her head. We waited another hour or so before going back, she was dead when we returned. A check of the camera showed the big buck had been there the evening before at 4pm as well as a couple times in the previous days. I am going to have to get back in there. The doe was 105lbs and estimated at 3 yrs old.

Nov. 11th (Veterans Day)

Apparently Veterans Day this year was a good day to be in a stand, not necessarily the stand I was in, but in general deer seemed to be moving. The morning wind on the 11th was primarily west but was supposed to switch to the south around lunch time. I decided to hunt the same stand I hunted the previous day where I encountered The Mutant. The day was pretty breezy but tolerable. At 10:30am I had a fork horn come through, the wind had him pretty jumpy and he worked himself inside of 15yds, but it was almost behind me and he never presented a shot. At around noon time the wind began to switch to the south. This blows my scent directly into the swamp that most of the deer come out of, so I decided to move. Wouldn't you know that the Mutant came back out of the swamp the same way he had on the previous day, this time at 2:30pm. After checking numerous cameras after the last few days, there seems to have been a good amount of activity all around from the 7th through the 12th, here are a few vids.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tagged out

On Nov. 7, I went to a stand I had only hunted for a few hours one morning.  It was almost noon and I was there to check my camera.  As I walked up the bank a deer took off near my treestand.  I looked at the camera and I had pictures of a three point.  I changed up and climbed into the stand and the rain came.  Showers only and it was supposed to clear before evening.

Shortly before 3:00 it stopped and I texted Brian to get ready that they would be on the move.  At about 3:25 I caught movement on my left and it was the three point working his way along the top of the bank.  He walked in and he was so close and straight down that I wouldn't take the shot.  As he turned to walk under a tree that was hung up I drew.  He heard me and took a couple of bounds and stopped.

This actually gave me a better shot as he was only about 15 yards but quartering away.  I hit him back toward the last few ribs and the arrow exited just behind the front leg on the opposite side.  He is not a monster as he only weighed 111 pounds but the last time I tagged out in MA was 1999 so I'll take it as I have two tags in NH to try an fill.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nov. 9th (The Mutant)

       On Nov. 9th (Saturday) the wind finally changed to the west. On the 8th my brother ran into a decent 8 point cruising at about 7:30am. Hopefully this meant the deer were starting to move.  The west winds meant I could finally get into some of my better stands. When I woke up I decide that I would hunt the stand that I hit my buck out of last year. I was seated by 5:30 and it was a cold crisp morning. I sat until 10 and hadn't seen or heard a thing. I could see deer tracks under my stand and decided to hop down and check my camera which was just 10 yds away. I took my bow and went over to the camera. I use a bow sling on my bow and I slung it, and put my release in my pocket. I opened the camera and began to check out the activity. Just then I heard footsteps that I immediately knew was a deer.
        I ducked down and immediately began to try and get my bow un-slung and my release on. I couldn't get it all done fast enough. Within seconds I could see the back of a deer at less than 30yds coming my way through the laurel. Then it lifted its head, it was the buck we call "the mutant". It's a large bodied buck that we think may be the buck I hit last year. This year he grew 4 points on the right (a double brow and then a beam with 2 points), and a big spike on the other side (which he managed to break off).
     The wind was in my favor as we stared in a short face off. He knew I didn't belong there as he sniffed the air looking for more clues. After a short minute he must have decided it was safe, and began to walk as if he would pass me just 10yds to my left. As he walked, he continued behind a large amount of mountain laurel where he was briefly out of sight. I was able to get my release on and get an arrow on the rest, but as I did my arrow hit my riser making a soft click, he stopped. He was very close but I could only see a bits of brown through the leaves. In 10 more feet he was going to be in an open lane. That didn't happen, he turned back and made a complete half circle at about 30yds until he was now down wind of me. Once he reached that point he did not spook, he calmly turned again, and went back into the swamp he had come from.
     Just my luck, I finally see a deer and it happens in the short time I am not in my stand...ugh. There were 20 pictures on that camera and none were of that buck. I did have another 8 point that is probably about 110 inches and a spike horn, both during daylight. Hopefully that won't be the last buck I see, and hopefully if another decides to show up...I'll be in my stand.The video below is of the mutant from the beginning of the season.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Zone

After spending much more time scouting than hunting, I finally scored a decent spot in Zone 7 last week which is completely foreign to me.  I have hunted the same private property in Zone 4N until the owner sold the property last year.  So now I was on to greener and unfamiliar pastures. 
This left a lot of question marks and access issues. But it was only a matter of time before getting back into a groove spot.
So I landed a spot in Hampden out of the blue last week.  It was a tiny 5 acre piece but surrounded by hundreds of other acres and the landowner saw deer almost every day.  A good sign.  So I scouted it Sunday and it didn't take long to find a couple of intersecting runs.  I was a little nervous after hearing about the issues in this town with private property, the police and fish cops, I didn't feel comfortable to put up a hang on stand.  So I cleared a tree where I could use my climber.
On Tuesday, I got up in the stand at about 3:45 and an hour later, four does came in.  Since I had a doe tag for this zone, I had already made up my mind that I would take a mature doe for the freezer if the opportunity presented itself.   The first three scooted by me at 15 yards presenting poor shots.  But the fourth followed in their footsteps and I was ready to stop her at the right location.  She came through just like the previous three and I gave a quick mouth grunt just before getting behind a brush pile.  Fatal mistake.  I made the shot, a little farther back than I wanted but it was the only place I could sneak one through.  It turned out to be a liver shot and a complete pass through. Thank god for the Nok-Turnal as it was easy to find the arrow after dark and the blood trail.  She went about 100 yards and a pretty easy tracking with the rage three blade.  Although it is always a sucky feeling when you start the drag and the damn 'yotes start yipping behind you.
But we made it back to the truck no problem and it's good to get one out of the way with the best time yet to come.  Nice two and a half year old doe.

November Week 1

So week one is under way. It's Nov. 6th today. This week has been very cold with most mornings starting in the 20's. The tough part is winds have been primarily south. The south winds keep me out of my best stands. Cameras are showing some decent bucks at scrapes, mostly in the eves just before dark. Lots of friends are in the woods with minimal sightings and cruising activity. Winds are supposed to turn westerly starting the 8th, hopefully that will trigger some movement, at the very least i will get into some better stands. I have not seen a deer yet in about a half dozen sits. I was able to kill a coyote yesterday morn as he came in to a lip squeek at 20yds.