Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nov. 17th.

Well it finally got cold and the wind is finally out of the Northwest. I hiked over a mile to what has been one of my most active stands (on camera) yesterday and sat all day. I think I bumped every deer in the woods on my way out in the morning. That seems to be the story of that stand, it's very active and there are a lot of deer but my entry sucks sucks and I have bumped deer almost every time I have gone up there, im going to have to rethink the stand location on that one.
   Today I didn't want to make that long hike again so i decided to hunt a funnel that we believed one of our biggest bucks uses during the rut to cross a road. Its a strip of woods with a swamp on one side and a super thick overgrown clearcut on the other. The strip of woods is about 100yds wide and we got numerous pictures of a big buck with a drop tine using the funnel last season. The buck did not develop a drop tine this season but hes still big. I have had a camera in this area since late august and in that time I had only got the bucks picture once, but was confident that once the rut kicked in he would be using it. I need a west or northwest wind to hunt the stand (which we have not had).
   I climbed in the stand early and as I was unpacking my things in the dark I heard a deer walk up the hill from the bottom of the funnel. The deer was close, im guessing 20 yds, I could hear it feeding and I heard it defecate in the crunchy leaves. After about 10 minutes it fed its way down the hill. during this time I was just standing in the stand waiting until I felt like I could move without spooking the deer. Once it walked away I turned around and sat down and nocked an arrow as it was just barely starting to get light.
    About 5 minutes after the deer (that I suspected was a doe) walked down into the funnel I could hear more deer walking, the walking quickly turned into running and grunting and I knew deer were chasing just 60 yds away, but it was still to dark to see. As the next few minutes passed I could start to see a little bit and I decided to roll a bleat can and grunt a few times in an attempt to keep the deer near me for just a few more minutes until I could get shooting light. I rolled the can about 3 times and gave a few short grunts. Rather than a deer coming from the bottom I instead heard a deer coming down from above. The deer was close but I couldn't see it in the gray light, it walked behind my stand from above me and walked down at a steady pace toward the chasing below which was still going on. After a few minutes I repeated the same calling sequence, this time I heard a deer coming up from the bottom on the same path that the deer had just walked down. behind my tree stand it is very thick with whips and brush (I can see, but I have no shooting lanes, and would only be able to shoot if the deer was less than 15 yds away). The deer came up and stopped behind a hemlock just 30yds away. The deer stood in that spot for what seemes like 5 minutes but was probably just a couple. at that point it let out a deep grunt and I knew it was a buck. The deer continued up the hill on the path the previous deer had come down and finally passed me at just 25yds, at that point I saw nothing but a huge body and horns. that deer walked back intot he funnel above me grunting the whole way.
   A few minutes later I again repeated the calling this time I could hear a deer coming from directly behind me, this turned out to be small buck. It never offered me a shot but I wouldnt have shot it anyway knowing that the large buck was just above me. The small buck proceeded down the hill toward the chasing below that was still going on. Once more I called and another deer came up from the bottom, I could see a deer through the brush at 45yds but didn't get a very good look. These deer all eventually chased out of hearing range. About 20 minutes later a lone doe walked up out of the funnel about 45 yds in front of me. I thought that this doe might bring me a parade of deer (or at least I hoped), that never happened.
   After I got down I checked a camera that was about 100yds away above me in the funnel in the same area where the mornings deer came down from, and where the big buck exited. The camera had been active including the drop tine buck. He had been in the area numerous times since the 7th of November. He had been captured 3 times in the morning hours on this day and once after I had seen him. All in all I would have loved to have got a crack at this buck, but I had a great morning and the stand location guess had panned out, so I couldn't complain. Below are a couple vids including the buck running by after I saw him on this morning.


Nov. 12

Nov. 12 was another warm day and it had rained a little on the 11th. I decided to go back to the stand I killed by buck out of earlier in the season as the area still seemed to be active with scrapes and buck sign. The ground was wet and the trees were still dripping from the rain during the night. The wind was calm and out of the south. At about 8:30 out of the laurel just 30yds away a coyote appeared. I had never heard it coming and never saw it due to the thick brush. The coyote walked straight in to me and at about 7 yds I drew my bow and made a lip squeak. The dog stopped and looked up and I released. The coyote only went about 10 feet before expiring. I continued to sit in the stand and about 1/2 hour later I looked up to see another coyote coming, as that one approached I noticed a second one not too far behind. I attempted to get shots at these two but I just couldn't get them to stop in the open. I have now seen 6 coyotes this year...that's probably more than every other season combined...maybe I need to do a little late season calling once the deer season is over.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nov. 5th

So back on the Nov. 1st I noticed that an area I have had a stand in the past appeared to be pretty active. This is an area where a large buck lives and there were a lot of scrapes in the area and a lot of tracks. I decided that day to move a stand back into the tree where one had been previously.This particular spot is a tough place to hunt, its in a bottom along the base of a steep section of ridge, sandwiched between a swamp at the bottom of the ridge and a large clearcut surrounded by thick mountain-laurel on the other side. Between these two places is a section of white pine and scrub brush about 100yds wide (this is where the scrapes were showing up). The wind in this bottom is usually a nightmare and is the primary reason I didn't leave a stand in that tree.
  With that being said the morning of Nov 5th was supposed to be a balmy 45 at day break with an almost non-existent wind out of the ssw, high temps were supposed to reach 70. In a perfect world I would hunt this stand on a southeast wind. I decided this morning that with the wind being so calm that I could try this stand even though the wind direction was not perfect.
   At about 7am I heard footsteps approaching from out of the swamp to my right. A short time later I spotted a doe heading right for me. She came up the hill and walked directly under me to a scrape on my left. She stopped and hit the licking branch and urinated in the scrape. She then proceeded to bed down directly under me. This would normally be ok, except on this morning it was so calm that even the slightest move seemed loud. After a little while I was able to sit down and hang my bow up without spooking the deer, After about 20 minutes the doe got up and fed off behind me. A short time later I could hear more footsteps coming up from the swamp,and this time they were coming quick. I grabbed my bow and stood up, but before I could turn my body I looked down to see and 8 point closing the distance quickly on the path the doe took. At 15 yds the deer entered a lane and I drew my bow. The problem was my feet were not turn toward the deer, I attempted to turn just my upper torso which resulted in an awful feeling in my shoulder and a clunk that felt like a dislocation. My draw came down, as the deer now was about to walk under me. I quietly tried to turn my feet into position, I managed to turn them a bit but not to where I needed them. The buck was about to walk under my tree to my back side. I tried to pull the bow back, but my shoulder did not let that happen. Just then the buck cut the track where I entered and stopped in the brush. He then slowly turned and began to head back the way he came. As he started to head back I heard more footsteps coming, and quickly noticed a nice 6 point coming up on the same path. Now the 8point and 6point were face to face, I thought I was going to witness a fight, but rather than push into the 6point, the 8 turned to his left and walked into the wide open. This time I had no problem with the draw and made a prefect shot at 28yds. It was a complete pass through and the deer only ran a short distance when I heard the loud crash of the deer going down.
    Now the 6 point was still standing 30yds away, I quickly nocked another arrow. The 6 continued up the trail the doe was on but ended up cutting my track in the brush at 20 yds, he slowly turned back the way he came and never offered a shot. I am not sure I wanted to end my season with a buck smaller than the one I had just shot, but to maybe take 2 deer in the same morning I would have done it. The 8 point dressed at 154 lbs and I have what I believe is a video of the same back from the 24th. Below is the video I shot of the doe from the stand on my phone and the trail cam video of the buck back on October 24th at 7am.

October 30-November 4

So as usual we always start hunting at the end of October and if you go back through the blog into the years past you will see that it is very rare that we see much activity and even rarer that we get a decent buck. This year was not much different...I saw zero deer in this time frame, and others have only seen a few sporadic sighting to match. I have seen a few coyotes and I had some neat wildlife sightings but that was about it. The 2nd and 3rd were both chilly (35ish lows in the morn and 60 highs in the afternoon). The 4th was even warmer with a low in the morn of about 42 and an afternoon high of about 65 and winds have been primarily out of the south and southwest...not exactly deer weather. There is a front moving in on Friday night (Nov 6th), that is going to cool things off and bring some northwest winds for Saturday and Sunday (too bad we can't hunt on Sunday). Then next week looks cooler with primarily sw winds...things should start to heat up...I hope.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

One Down

It was Oct. 27, 2015 and I was hunting a new stand I had found this year in Orange.  I had numerous big bucks on camera and video through out the summer and on Saturday I had found 5 fresh scrapes.

I went in around 2 PM and it was mild and the leaves were very loud.  The area where my stand is has mountain laurel all around and I can see about 50 yards straight in front of me.  The entire area is thick and some places you can't even walk through.

About 5:15 I heard a deer walking in the leaves.  I knew it was close so I stood up and grabbed my bow.  I looked to my left and I could see the body of a deer walking through the mountain laurel.  I couldn't tell what it was but as it got closer I could see a fork on the left side.  I wasn't certain but I didn't think he had one on the right side.

I had some James Valley scrape gel out in a near by scrape and he could smell it.  He walked right into an opening and stopped about ten yards away broad side.  I drew and released.  The lumen nock never lit up and I couldn't see the arrow go.

 I use a string tracker and it seemed that it had gone out but when the deer took off the string was not moving.

The deer ran about 100 mph straight ahead for 40 yards and stopped.  When it stopped it just stood there and then slowly walked off.  It looked like he went down into the ravine filled with mountain laurel.  I was certain I had drilled this deer but I have never seen one run like that and then stop.

I couldn't see my arrow sticking out of the ground and I couldn't see any blood.  I waited half an hour and got down.  There was no blood or arrow where he was standing.  The string was broke and hanging in the mountain laurel.  Not knowing where I hit it I left it till morning.

In the morning my father and my wife went in with me.  I went to where I last saw it and found a few tiny specks of blood.  We spread out and within minutes Lisa yelled she found it.  The buck had been shot through the rib cage and the arrow passed through it going right through the liver.  It didn't go 75 yards.  It's not a monster but I don't care.  It's a 2 pt and it weighed in at 132 LBs at Grr gear.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

and it begins...

It's now October 28th and the archery season opened on October 19th. I have only been out once and that was on opening day. I saw nothing but a coyote in the morning and had a doe walk in at 5:30pm. She came into the scrapes I was sitting on and gave me multiple easy 15yd shot opportunities, but I don't have a doe tag (of course).
    Within the last few days a few friends were able to connect on some smaller bucks and a couple were able to connect on nice bucks yesterday evening and this morning. A weather front bringing rain moved in this afternoon, so i think the deer were moving a bit prior to the front. Its supposed to rain hard tonight and tomorrow before giving way to a couple days of cold weather. I was supposed to start my time off on Saturday (Halloween) but the idea of this cold weather following the rain forced me to take Friday off and start a day more day of work and then game-on.
  I was able to get out and check my cams on Sunday and it seems that October 22nd-24th seems to have been the trigger dates for deer to start moving more and hitting scrapes a bit. I was able to get a few bucks on scrapes. Below I have included some videos, the first is the doe walking into the scrape on opening day as I was in the stand 15 yards away. The others are some bucks I would love to see during the season.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

First Post of 2015

Things have been pretty busy and I haven't been checking cameras like I normally would be, but a few people have been asking for a post so I guess now is as good a time as any.

To start: I think my brother was able to capture the buck I hit in the shoulder 2 years ago on video. If you look back you'll see that I saw the buck the year after I hit him but his rack was a mess. Last year I was not able to capture him on video and wondered if he may have died at the hands of another hunter, coyote, or just the rough winter. Turns out none of the above may be true, this could be him, He had 5 on the left and the side that I hit him on (the same side he was screwed up on the year following the hit seems to have 2 (maybe 3) points on it. Here the video...

Thesceond buck on the list is a buck that we only got pics of last year during the rut, he was a big 9 with a 8" drop tine. This year it doesnt look like he's going to have the drop tine, if he does it wont be as big as last year. We seem to have figured out where this buck likes to spend some time, but only time will tell if we are going to see more of him during the rut. Heres a video of him from late July, I have some more recent vids of him but they aren't as clear....yes he's even bigger than this video.
I have one other big buck that I have been watching this summer. Its a wide frame 8 point that I located late last season. I have the bucks summer home really pinned down, I have about 100 videos of him coming out of one particular thick patch of mountain laurel. There are several does living in the same patch so hopefully he will stay nearby and rut in this area...if he does this may be the buck I spend the most time on. He is way out in the woods and should see zero pressure. I also have some very huntable stands in his area (although I'm not going to enjoy the long morning walks). 

I have some smaller bucks as well, the smaller bucks seem to be starting to feel a little frisky and are starting to check into some scrape areas. I'll probably start to check cameras every couple weeks now leading into the season so that I can figure out which bucks are moving in which areas. There are a ton of acorns in the woods, which should make for some fat deer, but could also lead to difficult hunting due to food being everywhere. Time will tell!