Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30: My chance at a MA Public Land Pope and Young

Today was my day, I jumped a deer halfway down the cart rd to my stand, so I picked up my pace as walking was quiet and I wanted to scoot away from him to not spook him too hard knowing it was still dark and I had a bank to hide me only 10 yards away...I heard only two bounds then silence and it was headed towards my stand. I got settled by 6:30 am and started grilling the brook crossing I expected that deer to come from at some point. At 7 am, surprise, there's a dark body moving through the young hemlocks across the brook and I stood up and grabbed my bow knowing this was all going to happen quickly. Big woods bucks are incredible, you can honestly never underestimate the strength and will power of these bastards. At 7 am I shot a minimum 130" buck (could easily be in the 140's) with my bow at 30 yards. He was at least an 8 pt but honestly I saw rack for 2 seconds before I decided he was a shooter and had to range the tree ahead of him and prep for the shot, it all happened in less than a minute between spotting him at 45 yds and shooting him at 30 yds as he was about to walk out of my last shooting lane headed to the community scrape my camera is overlooking and has been catching some serious bucks at since Nov 1st. After the shot the buck bounded twice back towards the brook, looked at his body (which I immediately registered in my head as possibly assessing his wound) and then he walked off just like he came in, sneaking away at a slow pace, definitely no signs of injury but he was in the thick stuff quick and even in my binos I only got a couple small glimpses of him sneaking away. As luck would have it the nock didn't go off, first time for my Nocturnals, so I have no clue where I hit it and didn't even know at first if I hit it other than that sound I know so well of punching the rib cage. I waited 30 minutes before getting down to find out what happened. When I got to the spot I saw the fletched half of my arrow with some blood, fat and hair all over it up to my 4" wrap. 10 ft away was the broad head half of my arrow, also covered in similar blood, fat and hair. Now I know I hit him, and I saw no blood or hair in that first 10 ft. As I carefully and quietly started tracking back to the brook where he first bounded to, my mood changed instantly. As I picked my head up looking ahead of the fresh tracks, I spotted a huge pool of blood. I jumped over to it and saw blood everywhere, an easy 12" wide blood trail heading off where he snuck away. I immediately felt a sense of relief. Despite not knowing where I hit the buck you only see blood trails like this when you heart shot or double lung a deer... Right? I walked down the blood highway with no effort for 50 yds, was satisfied I nailed him, and then decided to back out both to get some help dragging him out and to play it extra safe, he's a big buck, its early, no need to press on. I arrived with my buddy at 9:30 am, plenty of time I thought for a deer that was spilling blood like a stuck pig and that brought me confidence that we were going to walk up on him very quickly. Nope. We tracked him about .4 miles from 9:30 am to 11:00 am, losing blood about 4 times due to drops getting smaller in size, the ground being crazy saturated and barely showing tracks, never mind the fact that every drop of blood that hit the ground hit a puddle in the leaves and was immediately watered down, and low and behold, we jumped him. I can't blame the conditions really, but they didn't help at all, the ground was soaked, saturated and fresh tracks looked 3 days old and fresh blood was either pink water or a sliver of red on the outside of a small puddle of blood on a leaf. He never bedded down, only walked steadily as if he never knew he was hit, but at 11:00 am, we approached a super thick laurel patch and despite him taking the easy path the whole way, he had no choice but to dive into the laurel. Apparently he thought that was a perfect spot to watch his back trail as we got only 30 ft away from him and jumped him out of the laurel thicket. Now I knew we were in trouble. We never found a bed in the thicket, and the bound marks and fresh tracks in the mud on the other side of the thick laurel had us thinking it wasn't even him we jumped. I stayed on his tracks and found a leaf with a pink puddle of water on it, it was him, and we were still on him. We regrouped and decided we had to press this deer. Not the normal approach I'd take, I'm a patient hunter and I always back out if it looks sketchy, but we've followed him this far, he showed signs of being hit real hard, and the rain was only going to get worse today so why would we back out now? I was able to get back on his tracks, find some small wet spots of blood to assure us we were on the right path, but the blood was getting thinner, less consistent and all I could do is hope and pray inside my head for him to go down. About 100 yds after jumping him and .6 miles overall, I found 5 drops of blood where he went up a small slope following a run, continuing to take the easy path onto a small oak flat 40 yds across, and then we lost him in the sea of tracks and feed sign. I followed the main run that crossed the oak flat, we back tracked over and over following every run and every set of tracks that left that flat, but there was no more blood. If it were dry the tracks and scuffs and specs of blood would have given us a chance, but the wet landscape had us washed up. All I have left for hope is that he is headed into more open woods that narrow down between the steep hillside to the east and the swamp to the left, neither of which he attempted to venture into, taking the easy path along the landscape the whole .6 miles we tracked him. Tomorrow I venture out with my father and 2 of our friends to grid and body search the narrow corridor he was headed for which spans another 1/2 mile north to south before the road and only about 300 yards between the swamp and steep hillside. I am confident he is dead by now and I'm hoping the steady rain held him down tonight so he can die in his bed. The question will be whether he is truly mortally wounded and lies within that last 1/2 mile stretch, but I have not lost hope that we can still stumble on him tomorrow. Wish us luck. Our chances are as slim as can be but I feel like I will be rewarded for the stupid amount of time I've spent hunting this season dedicating my time to the chase that consumes my life and daily thoughts. If I don't find him tomorrow I'll dedicate Friday, and probably Saturday to searching for this buck. I owe to him, I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my family whom I've left at home (despite their constant support) for hours on end since September as I've pursued my passion for Massachusetts mature bucks.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 11th was the day, the rut should be peaking this week.

Friday the 11th was a big day for me and numerous rut reports flooded in from some friends too.  Driving to my area in the morning I encountered a giant 160 class 10 point in the road that was frantically trying to find his way into the woods as he was pinned outside a fence.  My driving up to him only made him freak out more, but he found a way out of the road finally, awesome buck cruising alone.  My hopes were high, what a sight to see, now if I could only encounter a deer like that in the woods that'd be great.  As I sat in my tree stand Friday morning in anticipation of a deer crunching in through the extra dry and crunchy leaves, my buddy was blowing up my phone about an encounter he had with 5 bucks chasing a doe by him in the morning and he missed a shot at one of the bucks.  Minutes later he had another doe come by and another buck come in from behind him.  "Finally, its on" I thought, now when are my deer going to get moving?  Suddenly at around 8:30 am I heard the unmistakable sound of deer crashing through the woods in front of me in the clear cut.  I stood up and grabbed my bow immediately not know if they were coming at me or by me or where they'd pop out in the thick cut.  With so many roads crossing near my stand, they could fly down any of them and be on me in a hurry.  As I heard the crashing moving right to left in the thicket, out popped the doe in a full sprint across a long logging road lane in front of me at about 80 yards.  I starred at that exact spot as I heard the buck grunt and come crashing behind, out jumps Bullwinkle in a full sprint only 20 yards behind her, here we go.  The doe took him on a long run along the soft ridge in front of me zig-zagging through the thick cut.  Its amazing how gracefully a 200+ lb wide racked buck can easily keep up with a doe darting around even in the thick woods.  As they raced around in the thicket I was flipping my can call over and over again trying to pull the doe to me while she ran scared and suddenly they went up the hill and out of sight.  I could still hear the faint sounds of crashing but my heart began to sink as I thought they were gone.  Then the doe cam crashing back over the hill right down a cart road that leads right to my stand, but then she turned off, no buck in sight though.  I pulled up my binoculars to check her out, maybe the chasing kicked up another doe?  I saw her tail at half mast, a sign she's in heat, so where is Bullwinkle?  As I scanned left only 20 yards behind the doe there he was, standing there, nose in the air starring right in my direction where the bleats came from.  The doe was now calm and so was he and he began tending her, keeping a safe 20 yards between them but he'd move up every time she took a step or two.  I watched both of them in my binoculars for over 15 minutes as they barely made it 10 yards in that time.  While the doe began feeding, Bullwinkle starred in my direction looking for the source of the grunts and bleats the whole time, but he wasn't leaving her and she wasn't even interested in the calls one bit.  They worked left to right, slightly angling my way, there was a chance they'd end up in my shooting lane 40-50 yards out, a shot I'm prepared to take if the situation is right.  I practice all year at long distances not only to make the short shots easier, but in the event a big buck comes by at a distance and I have a clear shot, I don't want to waste that rare MA encounter, I want to be able to make the shot confidently.  They eventually got behind some white pines blocking my view of the hillside they were slowly working along, and they never came out.  I was hoping they bedded there as I know doe's have come off that hillside and down by my stand per my trail camera, but I think at the end of the day, the crazy high winds that picked up not 30 minutes after I lost sight of them strapped them down for the day.  I sat all day in the cold 20 mph winds and 30-40 mph gusts blew me around in my tree, just in case they popped out again.  They either bedded there or made a 90 degree turn and went further back in the clear cut where I know Bullwinkle spends most of his time.  I went back in there  Saturday morning with hopes he'd still be tending her or that other bucks discovered his catch and would be moving her around giving me a crack at Bullwinkle, but the bedding area was quiet.  I watched a bob cat hunt mice and squirrels for about an hour, he struck out multiple times on both, was cool to watch.  At around 8:15 am I heard fast foot steps coming at me and as I stood up a 4 point on a half trot came cruising by me through two shooting lanes at 30 yards, he was on a mission.  Later that afternoon in the same stand I had a deer cruise out of the bedding area on a good pace but it was 5 pm and too dark to see what it was.  It didn't come down by my stand like my camera has showed so often, instead it stayed up on the hillside about 60 yards out.  Not a bad two days in the big woods considering I saw ZERO deer Tuesday through Thursday, I'm hoping this is the week as the rut should be in full swing the next few days.  Hopefully the mild weather doesn't strap them down too much.  On another note, I checked a few cameras today while I was unable to hunt (I hate Sunday's in MA) and got a couple new big bucks on a community scrape that's in a natural terrain funnel that connects two huge pieces of woods.  One of the bucks on Friday 11/11 when all hell broke loose, was a nice 10 point at 10:38 am!  I also discovered an awesome 8 pt with super mass and long tines with a real right rack and gnarley bases.  Looks like I have some new bucks in some new woods to track back to their home range and start planning to hunt them.  I also marked a couple climber trees, this spot is too good to ignore the rest of this season, I'll have to try it a couple days at least.  Good luck the next two weeks to those who will out for what I think is the best two weeks of the MA bow season!  I'll be out there almost every day, here we go, it could happen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November 8: Time to peak

So here we are, November 8th, and I've heard of about 2 or 3 mature bucks being seen, and only one was chasing.  The weather has been solid, not as cold as it could be, but comfortable enough for these deer to be moving, so what's going on?  This is actually normal for zone 6 based on my last 8 years of intel in that area, things don't seem to really pick up until November 9th-ish.  So I hope that is true because otherwise I'm at a loss for ideas why I haven't even been seeing young bucks wandering around.  My target bucks area has been cold for sign since the flurry of scrapes happened the last week of October.  Other than 6 pack, who showed up on one of my cams on 10/27 the day of the afternoon snow, I have not seen any of the 7 bucks on my cams that resided in Bullwinkle's territory all summer, including his bachelor mates.  My theory is this:  Bullwinkle has pushed his younger competitors out of his territory.  Is this 100% accurate?  Probably not, but given that I run 7 cameras and 6 tree stands in his core area, all I've got on camera in the last 3 weeks is Bullwinkle and some doe's.  On Friday 11/4 around 8:30 am I saw 3 doe's scootin' up the mountain with no buck in tow, they weren't looking over their shoulder but they also weren't being cautious and feeding.  The next morning at 5:30 am my wifi cam sent me pics of a doe and fawn feeding alone heading back to bed and on Sunday morning I had two doe's on another nearby camera heading back to bed before light and coming out the same way after dark.  This provides evidence of two important points in my opinion: 1.  They are being sneaky and stealth and trying to avoid being chased around (even though they are not being chased and the young bucks in the area are no where to be seen by me or my cams) and 2. They are clearly not in heat yet being grouped up still and still hanging with their fawns, but they are definitely restless because I haven't seen doe's or got pics of doe's in a couple weeks, hopefully this means things are about to heat up.  As for my boy, my latest updates are two close calls, as close as it gets in the big woods without actually seeing or shooting my buck.  On Friday 11/4 I checked one of my cams mid day to find out Bullwinkle had gone back to bed a couple hours before it got light and I quickly went back to my Jeep to gear up and get in the stand for the remainder of the afternoon having a perfect wind for the afternoon with hopes he'd retrace his steps that evening or come down like 6 Pack did opening week (pic below).  He never showed, probably as expected, but it left me with some confidence that he was still using his core area and still going by my stand that has great entry and is near flawless with the right wind.  However, things remained slow overall for me not having seen deer with my own eyes since opening week other than the three doe's that morning.  Today I sat that stand in the morning, saw nothing and then decided (since the wind finally switched south) to go to the north end of his territory to a stand I have only been to the morning of opening day.  While there was little sign to speak of on the way in per usual with my recent hunts, Bullwinkle was the only picture on my camera, and boy did it get my emotions mixed up.  On Halloween night, while I was sitting only 200 yards away, Bullwinkle went the other way and visited one of my stands an hour before dark!  While I am somewhat heart broken, I am also totally rejuvenated.  My only two pics of him at this stand (and the cam only tells part of the story as usual) have been with plenty of shooting light and he looks cool as a cucumber moping around eating acorns with full confidence that he owns the area and the doe's aren't worth chasing yet.  I'm going back to that stand the next couple days with high hopes.  Its thick, 300 degrees of laurel around me, acorns everywhere, still falling today actually, and I know he beds close when he's in there, it's only a matter of time before we cross paths, hopefully it plays out just like Halloween night but with me in my stand at full draw.  More to come on this game of cat and mouse...

Going back to bed nice and early on the south end of his territory, too bad he didn't come out that night!!

Trick or treating at my stand while I was only 200 yards away at another stand.  Cat and mouse...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nov. 3rd first sighting

So I was supposed to be working today, but.... I saw that a weather front was moving in and that the day was calling for rain starting around 10am. With that info in mind I added a day to my hunting vacation. Night time lows were only going to be around 50 degrees but I hoped that the weather would keep them moving. I got into a stand that I have hunted a little already, its a big Laurel patch that I have had numerous bucks visiting. There are a lot of acorns in the piece which I think is holding some does (although I have had zero pics of does on my cameras lately). Regardless, the winds were predicted to be almost nothing out of the southeast which sets up nice for this spot.
   I got into the stand at about 6am, it was warm but comfortable as I waited for daylight. Winds early on were light and steady, but as daylight approached it really died down and they were almost nonexistent except for a few moments here and there where it might have picked up to 2 or 3mph. I was worried with the low pressure and light winds that my scent might be an issue so I took out a can of Buck Bomb "Doe P" and sprayed the branches and brush around me. I wasn't trying to use it as an attractant but more as a cover in the event a deer showed up and the wind swirled.
    At about 7:20am I heard the sound of approaching footsteps, the problem was they were approaching from almost directly behind me. An even bigger problem is that behind me is a sea of Mountain Laurel that is so thick that there is no way I could shoot through it. At about 20 yds I picked up movement, it was a big 7 pointer that I have had pictures of. He was walking steadily with his nose up in the air. He appeared to have caught the smell of the buck bomb and was checking it out. At 10 yds he cut my track and stopped (as i mentioned there is absolutely no way to shoot into this stuff). He stuck his nose in the air and I could hear him sniffing the wind. Moments later he bounded a few yards further into the thick stuff and began to blow at me like it was his job. I am not sure if he caught my wind or picked up my boot track (either is possible), either way he didn't like it. He proceeded to make a 50 yd circle around me, blowing almost every step of the way. Without exaggeration he probably blew 100 times before he was finally gone. At one point he was probably 200yds away and still blowing at me.
    Well, at least it wasn't a wasted day and I really couldn't have got much closer to a deer without killing it. I knew the buck well and knew that he was a likely target in that area. So its always good to know that I had a plan and in some ways that plan came together. Luckily for me that buck wasn't even on the list of bucks I "really" wanted to kill...but I would have been happy to if he gave me the opportunity.

Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31: Young bucks on the move

I have very little personal experiences to share about this MA season so far because I continue to see little to no deer movement.  Things really heated up with my weekend, on Friday I had a doe come by at 6:20 am in the dark and set off my flash camera, and on Saturday I saw two doe's crossing a power line while I was driving out.  Its an October slump, but tomorrow is November so my hopes are still with each passing day.  Today I decided to get out of my bucks main bedding area which has been super cold and started moving into the doe areas he likes to visit.  After another beautiful morning, I adjusted a couple cameras, opened the scrapes, added a little scent and snuck off, I'm going to leave the bedding area alone for a week or so I've decided.  After dropping my gear at my Jeep I took off to the top of what I call "Moosebuck Mountain," where I started getting regular pictures of Bullwinkle (originally Moosebuck) last year.  I hung my new Bushnell Wifi camera (courtesy of the best girlfriend in the world) at the top of the ridge on an intersection with a big community scrape as I've caught Bullwinkle here mostly at night but quite frequently the last two years.  Thanks to trail cameras placed all over last years rut sign as I expanded my scouting for Bullwinkle, I discovered his second favorite thicket to bed in on the north end of his territory.  This "mountain" is in the center of his range, smack in the middle of his two favorite areas to bed and spend his time, making this ridge top is an ideal spot for him to cross over while traveling between them.  My plan is that if I can catch him checking this scrape in the next couple weeks it will give me some sort of useful information, leading me to either his southern or northern bedding to hunt, regardless of what time he passes by.  I've failed to make use of this camera to date as I seem to be a step behind every time I hang it somewhere new and the spots have been cold cold cold.  This scrape has had plenty of activity the last couple weeks so my hopes are high, would be cool to get a text to wake up to in the morning showing me which direction he's headed, all intel is good intel on big woods bucks.  This afternoon I took a chance in a new tree stand on an open hardwood hillside that I haven't hunted yet.  Its a stand for a dead North wind or a NE and until I got in there to learn the thermals, I didn't want to risk anything else.  But today I was yearning to see a deer after a slow two weeks, and this spot is perfect for cruising bucks, as evidence by the video below of 6 Pack from last Thursday when I snuck in to check the cam in the snow.  A NNW wind turned out to perfect, so I'm excited to have a new NNW stand given how much we've already seen that wind direction this year.  I got news of a 1 1/2 yr old buck chasing doe's that died by the bow this morning, and another 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 yr old buck that died by the bow cruising for doe's this afternoon.  Another buddy of mine saw a nice buck in a field with his nose down going back to the woods, later 5 doe's came running by him, but the buck never followed, must have just got the girls up and checked them out.  My area is still very slow for scrapes, but others are reporting fresh scrapes the last couple times in, some areas are heating up, get in the woods as much as you can, any day the big buck in your area could get up and move, it could be yours next!

6 Pack came by Thursday 4 hours after I checked the camera, cool snowy video.

Bullwinkle cruising by like he did on 10/16, 10/18 and 10/21.  Just need to pick the right day.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 27th: Things are heating up, right?

Another slow day for me, but not for others as the friend report has been heating up all week.  This cold front has paid off great for most hunters I've been exchanging information with.  Fresh scrapes are showing up, aggressive rubs, and I've heard two reports of grunting and chasing.  My area remains quiet, I sat my bucks core bedding area for 4 straight days in 3 different stands, not a deer in sight not a picture on the cameras.  My attitude is still very positive after a mid day scouting mission today to make my rounds and check the cameras and stands I haven't seen in two weeks since before the season began.  The sign is still light in my area overall, only a few satellite scrapes, barely any community scrapes opened up yet, but some good rubs continue to pile up in some areas around the thickets where I know doe's like to hang.  The intel continues to pile up for me, I've never known so much about a buck I've been after.  I got a surprise last night while I was clearing some memory cards I pulled last week, a picture I couldn't see clearly enough on my card reader while in the field last week, but my target buck "Bullwinkle" walked right by my camera only 3 days after I moved it, he walked right down the cart road at around 8:00 pm,15 yards from the stand I sat the last 2 days.  I began wondering if he'd gone nocturnal, which was hard to digest considering I had so many day time pics of him in his core area, I'm talking like 80% of the pics of him in his core area were day time from June to early October.  But it all makes sense now that I've thought it through, this is what bucks are supposed to do, rest up and save their energy for peak breeding activity.  After checking my cameras today, its exactly what I had hoped to confirm after sitting 4 days without him or another deer in sight.  I got pictures of Bullwinkle at two other stand locations out of the 4 spots I checked, all night time pictures checking his doe areas.  3 confirming his departure from his core bedding area at night, one from his north most bedding area, and another of him bedding smack in the middle of his territory by my climber spot and coming out at exactly 6:30 pm last week, probably too dark to shoot of course.  I'm confident he's in trouble this season with my current set up, it seems like wherever I put a camera he shows up on it.  My last stand location I hadn't got a picture of him he visited 3 times last week, I just knew by the terrain and last years sign this was a regular spot to check, especially with all the mature oaks around.  While I may not be getting many pictures of him in his core bedding area lately (last pic was opening day at 6:08 pm) he is still checking his doe areas at night either coming from or going to his favorite bedding areas.  Don't give up on big old bucks, while there is certainly a chance to kill them this early in the season, they know its time to relax during the day and conserve energy for marking their territory and visiting the ladies at night.  It brings me additional confidence and patience to know that despite mostly nocturnal pictures, that I did get him moving in shooting light 3 times in October and all of these dates he's showed up at a tree stand location confirmed by trail camera just since the start of the month:  October 2, 10 (at two cameras), 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23.  Some pictures below of the recent action...

Never got him in this cam and he shows up 3 times in 5 days!

Mock scrape in the snow, looks real doesn't it?  Still gets ya pumped!!

These two rubs were right on my trail to my stand.  I could smell the birch tree on the second one it was so fresh.  The last 3 times I went to that stand there was a new rub on my trail in, and now there's 3 rubs and 3 scrapes... Guess they like the path I cut.

Coming out of bedding the week before the season opened, I couldn't tell it was him on my card reader, so I guess I was sitting in the right place the last couple days, just need him to do this with a light left, quartering away 20 yds isn't bad!

And so it begins...

    ...Actually it began a couple weeks ago, but for me it began yesterday (Oct 25th). I was waiting for some cold weather, and yesterday morning it was 30 degrees and windy. I hunted a spot that recently has had a lot of smaller bucks. I was hoping to fill the freezer and also keep my better stands fresh. I didn't see anything, morning or evening. I am in the same place again this morning. The temps are a cool 30 again but with a light wind, it's nice but no deer as of yet.
   As far as bucks on the list for the season there are a few. 1st is the drop tine, he's been around a couple years. I saw him once last year and we found a shed from him this spring. The 2nd is the split brow tine buck. He has been around a couple years as well. I set 2 new stands for him and already have numerous pics of him. I'd like to think if the temps and wind cooperate I might have a shot at that buck. 3rd is a buck nicknamed by a friend as "Juice" because he went from a skinny framed 9-point to a big 10 this year. We really don't have his core nailed down, last year he was everywhere, but he was young. In the last few days I got his pic in the area I'm sitting now, but I never got him in this area last year. Time will tell if he sticks around. The last deer is a buck I got pics of twice last year. He was a big 8 with a sticker on his g2 last year. He is the same again this year, just bigger. That buck I only got pics of a couple times last year in late October then he disappeared, maybe he'll stick around this year. There are numerous small to decent bucks but these 4 seem to be the dominant bucks in the area....but ya never what might show up in November.



"Sticker 8"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 25: Cold fronts, Cold Hunts!!

Anticipation was super high, deer movement has been super slow, for me anyway.  The cold front had me excited Monday (33L, 50H) so I sat all day in the prime conditions.  It was a SW that switched to WNW cold breezy wind that brought a lot of noise to the woods and quieted the bird and squirrel activity in my area, but the deer movement was also quiet, no deer Monday at Bullwinkle's Back Door.  I call it the backdoor because my stand overlooks an opening on the edge of the clear cut that leads to a dark hemlock and laurel thicket creating an edge that is dark on one side and wide open on the other.  Last year, there were 8 rubs and 2 big scrapes within 30 yards of where my stand is currently set showing the clear entry and exit in and out of the clear cut, Bullwinkle's core area.  On Tuesday I sat Bullwinkle's Front Door where I passed the 4 yr old 6 point "6 Pack" last week.  My tree is surrounded by thick laurel and trees that were sparred during the cut.  Behind me is a single logging road fed by 2 different roads and a couple other runs that come out of the clear cut and funnel down where the deer head to and come from the power lines which has 2 different scrapes on it on each side of my stand.  In front of my stand is a big clearing that is fed by 3 cart roads that all funnel to one and a big community scrape.  I can see at least 100 yards into the clear cut from both stands, and am right on top of big scrapes that were opened and hit multiple times since September, but despite the excitement of October 25th, no deer for two days in either stand!  Tomorrow the cold windy front continues with a projected NNW wind and more cold temps.  Instead of changing it up like I want to in order to seek some better action, I'm going right back to the same stand where I was today.  There's just too many ways he could travel by me where I can shoot him and too many of his scrapes near me within range and a W or NW or NNW wind is too perfect for him to swing around the slope in front of me cutting into the wind as he scent checks the bedding area, its a great set up, I can't give up after one day of seeing nothing.  After all, I got patience for days and one of my favorite sayings for hunting and fishing is, "If it sucks, make sure it sucks."  Also, I should note that the scrapes in my area haven't been hit and nothing has shown up on my cameras since last week so I'm being stubborn hunting a seemingly cold spot this week, but its my bucks core area, I'm not leaving yet.  Not to fear the October lull though, I saw doe's on the way to and from hunting off the side of the road, along with a few reports of young bucks being seen Monday evening.  Tuesday morning I heard about a lot of doe movement in the cool breeze, and I heard about a nice buck being taken as well.  Get out there, tomorrow is October 26, I'll be there, it could happen.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

10/21 Hunt

Hunted 10/21 despite warm temps, and light rain. About 5PM I had a single deer come down and the old cart rd 35 yards west of me. Not sure if it was a small buck or doe. It was my first sighting from a stand for 2016. Temps dropping overnight. Hoping they're on their feet tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 19th: I saw a deer!

Finally got a slight improvement in the weather and it paid off this afternoon, but not after a hot nerve wrenching.  It was a very warm morning, 63 degrees for the walk in and morning hunt, calm with a SSW that was supposed to switch to WNW by 9:00 am.  I couldn't avoid sweating slightly despite wearing light camo today, which added to my already diminished expectations for the morning, and then it got worse.  The first hiker of the day arrived at 7:45 am, walking his two dogs down the cart road I come in on, only 70 yards from my stand.  I know the road gets used a little by horse back riders, but I'm hoping this guy isn't a frequent flyer as his dogs were running freely through the woods, luckily they were down wind and weren't too loud.  I bailed early because I couldn't keep my eyes open this morning, the weakness of a daily hunter, something I'm sure you've all experienced before if you've woke up at 3:30 am for multiple days in a row.  I parked my jeep on the shady side of the powerlines I drive into and embarked on a mid day recharge nap in the drivers seat.  In my 3 and half hour slumber (and trust me it was worth it!) I heard a woman and her dog walk by, roughly an hour in between her passing both ways by my jeep, the nerve she had to wake me up, "another yuppy?" I thought.  When I woke up around 2:00 pm I decided it was time to shake off the cobwebs and get going, the wind was supposed to die down and the low for tonight is freakin 45, deer might actually move!  I got settled into my stand by 3:00 pm with the WNW wind blowing steady in my face, the perfect set up today.  At 3:15 pm I heard something walking right behind my stand that made me turn slowly to look, I'd be astonished if a deer was on its feet now, its still above 70 degrees, and then... The 3rd yuppy of the day.  This guy walking by himself down the cart road I enter on, which its important to note my camera has been watching for over a month with zero human activity, walks right by me.  I yelled to him to stop him from going into the bedding area I'm waiting for my buck to walk out of, and he waves and keeps walking.  Then I asked him "where you headed?" so he points forward and keeps walking.  I actually got lucky that he was down wind of the bedding area and did in fact turn down wind of me instead of walking up into the bedding area.  I was so close to getting down, but I figured with the sound being covered by the wind and his scent staying down wind of everything, I may be ok.  The wind died by 5:30 pm, but was softly and quietly blowing out of the WNW still, then I heard something making noise on the slope out in front of me above the cut clearing I'm over looking.  As I starred in that direction, my heart jumped as I watch a branch start flying around, BUCK.  I raised my binoculars and could see the body and legs standing behind the flailing branch, he took a few steps forward and I could see a nice rack as wide as his ears.  Likely not my buck I thought, but with the fading light my heart was pounding because I didn't know for sure.  When he stepped out into the clear cut, I could finally recognize the familiar buck, I named 6 Pack.  He slowly worked down into the open cut, staging there and feeding on acorns until it got dark when I packed up and slipped out, likely within 50 yards of him, but I stayed down wind and he didn't take off.  He must have thought he won, fortunately for him I'm after something bigger because I let 6 Pack walk at 35 yards broadside while he was eating. Everything worked out in my favor to end the day, and to end the warm front as tomorrow brings a 45 degree morning, finally some weather that will bring more deer movement and higher hopes, on to tomorrow.