I know some of you have already been sitting, stalking and pursuing your buck, but quite frankly, I haven't. I've had too much on my plate.... but that sucker has been licked clean. I start my hunts tomorrow morning.
I hunt a very small farm near (less than one mile from) Mendon Ponds Park...... a large County park owned by Monroe County. They do not allow hunting so the deer herd is relatively relaxed. Once the rutkicks in, we are fortunate to have many mature bucks seeking does on the adjoining properties.
I think this is my sixth season hunting this farm and I've done pretty fair, harvesting three decent bucks in this time frame. I could have killed a buck every year but I also have a self imposed standard of nothing less than an eight pointer from here on out.
I have some target bucks on property that are not bragging size, but just solid whitetail bucks that I will harvest if they make a mistake. But the real fun starts when the really mature bucks are seeking. That's why I chose NOT to hunt until now.
I'm not a professional hunter by any means, but I promise you will be entertained and maybe educated if you follow along with my hunts. You know.... some of what to do..... and some of what NOT to do.
Please feel free to comment and/or criticize. I've got thick skin.
I'll post some trail cam pictures of some of our resident bucks.
When I arrived at my ladder stand, I was shocked to see several tree limbs were broken on a nearby maple tree and they fell against the oaks my stand leans against. It didn't damage my stand but it limits my sight on one trail coming from the wheat. And sure enough...... that's the trail the first three deer came down. First was a doe at 7:30am..... then her fawn..... and then the small 8 point pictured above. They came into my shooting lane are 22 yards. The buck gave me eight to ten easy shots from 25 to 5 yards. He stayed in front of me for ever offering slam dunk shot placements.
I passed up the shot opportunities because this yearling buck (maybe two year old) has a lot of potential.
About a half hour later the 8 point found a friend. Another, slightly bigger 8 point started butting heads with him and they sparred about 40 yards away for 15 to 20 minutes. I sat and enjoyed the show! They finally headed towards the bedding area towards the south.
About 15 minutes later two small bucks came walking through the oaks. A spike and a 3 point. They were about 40 yards away also. Suddenly, they stopped and became alert. A couple of minutes later two does were seen coming from the wheat field heading towards the bedding area to the south. But the two little bucks started chasing one of the does around. He was in hot pursuit. I was amazed but I think they were just going through the motions. Soon the 8 point appeared with them and he didn't join in the chase. He just watched. The does and junior bucks finally headed towards the bedding area.
About a half hour later, I spotted a small 4 point making his way north and was going to pass me behind my back. I figured he was going to wind me, but he never flinched. He was joined by a spike and they continued towards the north end of the oaks and disappeared.
I sat until around 10:30am enjoying my cookies and coffee but decided to get down and check trail cameras on the way out. Both cameras have been out for about three weeks so I had high hopes. I had about 96 photos but only one decent buck.
I've got my camo in the washer as I type getting them ready for my next hunt on Wednesday. I golf on Tuesday, plus the wind isn't going to be in my favor until Wednesday.
I'd say I had a great first day up a tree....... what do you think?
I wish that the wind was in favor this morning. I would have given up a day at the golf course if so. It's cool and frosty this morning. But after looking at my Scoutlook app this morning, I definitely made the right choice.
It's better to NOT hunt if the wind favors the deer.
Tomorrow morning should be the perfect morning in the oaks. The forecasted wind direction is absolutely perfect for fooling the deer. When they come off the fields to the north and northeast, they should have the wind quartering towards them but my scent would be just off to the side of their trail.
I've ALWAYS seen a lot of deer when this has happened in the past. Here's hopping for another her great hunt tomorrow morning.
The wind was absolutely perfect for this stand back in the oaks. I've ALWAYS seen plenty of deer with this WSW wind...... but not today. Why? I can only guess.
When I started walking in this morning, it was only 52 degrees. When I walked out to my truck is was 64 degrees. I'm sure it had something to do with the lack of movement.
The only deer I saw today was at about 8:30am......... I noticed some movement about 20 yards away in the direction that the blow down was blocking my view of the trail that I was expecting to see them on with this wind. It was a real fat crotch horn. And I mean a rolly polly 4 point. I killed a few of them but nothing as fat as this guy. I'd bet he would dress out over 130 pounds.
And here's where it got interesting. He was leaving the trail on the other side of the blow down and was going to be directly down wind of my stand, no further than 20 yards away. I was sure he would smell me and run ...... but he didn't. He acted like he knew something wasn't right but he eventually continued to walk behind my tree at about 15 yards giving me ample opportunities to shoot him.
Then I realized why he walked past me. A doe had already walked behind me undetected by me. She was only 22 yards quartering away from me. I thought of harvesting her but didn't
As they both walked towards the bedding area to the south...... I sat back down and got comfortable once again. I waited about a half hour and then decided to try my black rack rattling horns for the first time this year. I started soft with a series of ticking for about a minute. I stopped for about two minutes. Then I got aggressive for about three minutes. I hung them up and waited. Nothing was responding to the rattling.
I continued to sit and watch for a while longer. I decided it was time for my coffee and cookies as watched.
I tried another series with my black rack and sat some more. Ithe was to no avail. Time to climb out and head home. I walked towards the bedding area to the south but stopped short of entering. There is a traditional rub line that comes from the bedding area and extends about 40 yards towards my stand. There are about 7 to 8 trees, about 6 to 8 inches in diameter that are usually freshly rubbed by now but not yet this year. I only saw a couple of small trees that showed any rubs at all and there were not many.
I find it interesting that a little bucks are relating to the does yet the bigger bucks haven't shown an intent of the rut.
But..... I also remember that as a teenager, I was always ready to pursue the girls and as I got older I toned it down to when my lady was more ready..... if you know what I mean.
The walk out was uneventful as I enjoyed the sunshine on my face. It won't be long before the weather turns for the worst although the extended forecast doesn't show any signs of it yet. I am looking forward to some cooler weather to get these bigger bucks on their feet.
I'm not sure when my next hunt will be..... I'll be back when I do.
Thank you all for the kind words........ I enjoy writing about my adventures.
FWIW, #s are way down on my block, but for the first time in years I saw several deer. all activity was 8:30 - 9:15. Driving to 18 mile trip to work the next day (18th) there was a remarkable number of deer up and out in the fields in the morning (6:20 - 6:50) light. Last two slivers before the new moon.
I've checked my hunting logs and the rub line has always been worked by this time of year, every year but nothing so far. It's got to happen soon.
I'm hoping to see more deer and bigger bucks in the morning!
My walk in was pretty uneventful as usual and once I got to my ladder stand I was able to climb up and settle in. As the sun started to rise, I could see two decent sized deer walking past my stand and heading to the bedding area to the south. I have no idea if they were does or bucks but they were both decent sized.
At about 7:40 in walks the little 8 point. He stops by the blow down and starts working a branch and then makes a scrape and hunches up and hock urinates in it. He was just 22 yards away.
He turned and walked towards my ladder stand and stops at five yards. I swear..... he stuck his tongue out in my direction...... or maybe I imagined that. But he just stood there, broadside for like two minutes....... just looking around, very relaxed. Then he walked towards the south bedding area and was gone.
I relaxed and bit and enjoyed watching the baby squirrels coming out of the hole in the tree next to me. All three jumped down and we're looking for food. It was quite comical to watch.
At around 9:30am four doe came trotting through the oaks coming from the bedding area to the south and we're making their way to the swamp bedding area to the west. I don't know why they were moving but they were. I wonder if somebody was hunting up past the brush lot and might have climbed out and walked into the bedding area.
I stayed in my stand until 10:45 and then climbed down. I went and checked my trail cameras and had some photos of does and little bucks. On my licking branch camera, there was one decent 8 point that I haven't seen before. The time stamp showed him at 7:05am this morning. There was also a new scrape about 5 feet away of my mock scrape. I decided it was time to set up my pop up blind so I left, went home to get it and set it up about 30 yards down the trail from the scrapes.
I was pretty tired for all this and headed home. My camo is in the washer and I finally had lunch. All is well in my world!
My next hunt is not until next Wednesday.
And..... he's really a 7 point. His left side guard tine is missing.
I hadn't gone four feet when I saw the backside of a big deer running away through the oaks. I'm not sure how this deer saw me. I had the wind in my face and was moving extremely slow as I looked through the oaks in case deer were already there. I also thought I saw a flash of horns too.
I paused for a couple of minutes and glassed the oaks with my binoculars but didn't see any more so I hunted my way to my stand, climbed up and got settled. I wasn't in my stand 5 minutes when I saw a deer...... 45 yards away...... eating some acorns. Then I saw his rack. It was my number two buck.... a wide 8 pointer. I watched him for a few minutes before I realized he was with a doe and she was walking towards the bedding area to the south. He soon followed.
Right at sundown I saw two more doe hanging out in the Southeast corner of the oaks getting their fill. No other deer were seen but I checked the trail camera in front of my stand and noticed a different 8 point working the scrape that the little 7 point started.
The weather should be perfect for another hunt in the morning so we might get a chance at a good buck. Temps are supposed to be in the upper 30s and I think the rut is starting to kick in. It's time for some of the neighborhood bucks to be seeking. That's when the action really heats up!
I was in my stand sitting and waiting by 6:30am and enjoying my little discussion I was having with my maker. The sun came up and the squirrels became active and nothing else destroyed my peace and quiet! I've been seeing deer by about 7:30am almost every time I've hunted the oaks....... but today....... nothing....... until a little after 8:00.
I was standing and leaning against the tree watching towards the southwest when I heard some commotion from my downwind side. Those squirrels were sure enjoying the chase.
Out of the corner of my eye...... suddenly appeared a deer running at a pretty good clip about 30 yards behind my tree. It was a doe..... which I could finally identify after she stopped about 60 yards past my tree. She turned her head..... looked back...... and so did I. I searched through the leaves and finally saw an ear flick. Then a tail. He had a pretty large shoulder. I watched with great expectations of seeing the massive rack.
He stood still for what seemed like forever. Not moving!
He finally made his move walking slowly with his nose to the ground. My heart started to pound as I grabbed my bow of the hook and hooked up my release. A couple more steps and this big boy was going to be tagged. I still hadn't seen his head but I knew it was a shooter just the way he was acting....... and he was going to walk into a clear shooting lane at less than 30 yards.
Out he stepped with his nose to the ground........ right into my shooting lane and stopped. I was already at full draw and setting the pin on his breadbasket. I looked hard at his head and couldn't believe what I saw. Spikes! Yes....... spikes! I was extremely disappointed as I let my bow down as quietly as I could. I watched in disbelief as he took off after the doe.
They hadn't been out of sight for more than a half hour when I saw movement coming from the Southeast corner of the oaks about 60 yards away. Two deer feeding on the acorns. I looked at them through my binoculars and saw horns on one. But they looked contented to eat and were not moving much. After a few minutes I decided to pull out my black rack and try some soft rattling. It got their attention. They finally started walking my way. When they were about 40 yards away I got a good look. One was a cow horned spike and the other was a 4 point. I stood and watched as they stood and looked for the other deer they heard. They finally gave up and walked away.
I sat down and decided to have some coffee. It was almost 10:00am and I've not seen many deer after that time, but don't you know...... right after pouring the coffee...... here comes a deer..... about 25 yards away. It was another spike and he was walking along like he wasn't worried about anything. I continued to sip as he walked away towards the south bedding area.
I stayed in my stand until 11:00 but never saw another deer. I climbed down...... checked trail cams and headed out. I'm sitting here at home now smiling. My morning didn't go as planned but it was a pretty good morning just the same. I'm glad I don't need to kill an animal to make it a good hunt. I just love sitting up there watching this beautiful world come to life.
I'm not sure when my next hunt will be but I think it will be Monday.
See you soon.
I am blessed to be able to hunt and area that has many deer. Now if the big boys would just cooperate.
This morning was cool and slightly windy so I went anyways. I hunted a different stand on the northeast side of the oaks because of wind direction. It was probably the worst day so far. I saw one doe at first light and a spike chasing another small doe at about 8:00am and that was it.
I think the wind might have had them laying up early. I know they do not like to travel when there's a lot of wind.
After I climbed down I made a walk checking trail cams. The one by the scrape near my ladder stand hadn't zero pictures. The one in the thick area on the northwest corner of the farm had five pictures showing three different bucks but all during darkness.
I'll try again tomorrow....... the wind should settle down a little. The wind direction looks favorable to hunt the pop up blind in the thick stuff near the licking branch scrape. I was planning on hunting the blind with my crossbow starting Saturday but I think I'll try it in the morning.
As I walked in I noticed more scrapes and rubs popping up everywhere. It is finally happening.
I was settled in by 3:00pm and comfy as it started to rain. It didn't rain hard but enough to be able to hear the constant sound of rain on the roof. If you have the mind of an old drummer...... you start recognizing certain beats to the drops.
The deer will only come from one of two directions...... at least in theory. The trails I'm set up on runs west to east..... or east to west. The wind was perfectly blowing gently but constant out of the south. It was 100% in my favor. That's why I put the blind in this location.
Once again........ the deer didn't follow the script. Not one of them chose to walk up either of the trails....... at 15 yards and 20 yards away.
As I sat there waiting...... watching......... my mind wandered to the first time I tried to put this blind up. Ithe must have taken me 15 minutes or more and I must have looked like a monkey humping a football..... if you know what I mean. Now I can pop it up in under two minutes and I have enjoyed hunting turkeys out of it on the field not to far away.
As it started to get dark...... I sat until I couldn't see my pins......... I closed up the windows and made my way out. The walk was uneventful except for the rain. And it was feeling colder that what it was supposed to be.
As I got closer to my truck, I saw Ed's truck parked behind mine. He's one of the three other hunters with permission to hunt the farm. I put my bow and pack away and started my truck to get it warmed up. Soon I could see him coming up the trail.
It's the first time I've seen him this season. He's a good hunter and an even better shot with his bow. He is not afraid to take a shot at a buck 40 yards away..... or more.
He asked where I was and what I saw....... and I lied....... kind of. I told him I was north of his stand (he always hunts the junk yard stand) in my ladder stand on the edge of the thick brush. He doesn't need to know about the blind just yet.
He claims to have seen a big 12 point headed towards the stand I told him I was in. But it is not the first time he has claimed that story. It has happened a couple of times followed by...... "I can't believe you didn't see it". He saw three..... one doe and two fawns. He said Craig...... another hunter on the farm....... heard me using the rattling horns. (I never took them out of my pack) and I was a quarter mile away. He also said Craig saw eight deer from his ladder stand on the west edge of the oaks.
It started to rain harder so we said our goodbyes and I made the drive home. I planned to hunt this morning but the weather was not looking good. More rain was forecasted with an increase in wind. But as I got ready for bed...... I thought I'd get up and try it.
When the alarm sounded at 5:30am I got up....... checked the weather app on my phone and went back to bed. I'm now sitting in my chair...... watching the news and enjoying my tree stand cookies with my coffee...... and I am warm and dry.
Maybe I will get a chance to hunt this afternoon. If not..... I'll be out there tomorrow morning if the weather is right. Now is the time to be in the stand.
With the way the wind was blowing and the wind direction, I decided I needed to be in the oaks. The walk in was routine as I had a decent pace all the way through the wheat field. I slowed down once I started into the woods.
Once in my ladder stand I settled in for the three hour hunt. I figured I wouldn't see much for the first hour or so and I was right.
A few minutes after 5:00pm the first deer of the evening came out from the bedding area to the south and started eating some acorns. It was a small doe. She was followed by a bigger doe and together they worked their way through the oaks and towards the wheat field.
I was starting to think about climbing down a couple of minutes after 6:00. Sunset today was right at 6:00 but I usually stay in the stand until I can't see my pins. Right when I figured it was time...... here comes another doe. She stopped...... snapped her head back and stood watching her trail intently. Out steps another doe. They finally decided to head towards the wheat field and take their sweet time. Needless to say..... I had to feel my way out in the dark.
I hope to hunt again in the morning. Stay tuned.
My bow season has officially come to an end.
Tomorrow morning starts my first ever crossbow hunt. Yep..... you read it right. This spring I started researching crossbows and I bought myself a centerpoint sniper 370. I've got her sighted in and I'm shooting 2 inch groups consistently at 40 yards. I'm shooting Pile Driver bolts and NAP Shockwave 100 grain mechanicals.
This old guy welcomes the use of the crossbow. It has opened up more possibilities while hunting. I can now take shots that I wouldn't because of not being able to pull a 70 pound bow any more. At 67 years old, I've had to buy a lighter pulling bow...... a Bear 50 pound bow now turned down to 43 pounds so I've limited my effective range to 25 yards.
I'm looking forward to starting this new chapter.
I got to enjoy looking at a nice sunrise seeing I was looking in the direction. I really didn't know what to expect. I've always seed deer while hunting this stand. They pass by at just 20 yards as they headed into the swamp but a major tree has been blown down across their trail. We've also had some much rain, I had to wade through a foot of water to get in my ladder stand. Would that keep them away?
As the sun broke over the horizon I was treated to a spectacular view. The sky was a beautiful orange color with hints of red. I thanked my father for giving me another day.
As I looked for any sign of movement, I thought back to time I sat in my climber not 20 yards away and had deer walking under me at first light. Not today though. It was 8:30 before I saw my first and it was 100 yards away working the edge of the thick brush where my pop up blind is set up. By the time I got my binoculars on him/her it was too late. It was gone into the brush.
I was texting my wife at about 9:30 when I heard some splashing coming from behind me. I couldn't move to look. As I looked down and slightly to my left, I knew it was a deer. He took a couple more steps and was standing between the ladder and the tree. It was a 6 point and he was directly below me. He stood there for a minute or two before finally feeling something was wrong. He turned around and left the sam way he came in.
A couple of minutes later I saw him come out of the thick stuff about 40 yards away and calmy walk across the open hardwood and into the thick brushy area on the other side.
I sat until later around 11:00 and climbed down and made the 3/4 mile walk out to my truck. I was happy with my first crossbow hunt.
My next hunt will be Tuesday.
When the alarm sounded at 5:00am I was so tempted to shut it off and go back to sleep but like a good boy, I got up and got ready.
As I walked down the lane past the horse barn my memory kicked in....... Hunt the "old man" stand. Are you kidding me?!? I AM an old man...... why didn't I think of that before. The wind this morning would work for that area and I just so happen to be have a ladder stand about 30 yards from the "old man" stand. The "old man" stand is a rotted stand that somebody built out of 2x4s about 20 years ago. But the other guys that hunt this farm refer to it often.
My walk in was easy and quick and I was climbing into my ladder stand getting comfortable in no time. This is the first hunt since the time change and my timing was pretty good. I was sitting about 50 yards from the licking branch scrape and I was downwind from it.
As it began to get light, I took time to range the area to refresh my memory. I don't hunt this stand too often. My longest shot from my stand is only 50 yards. I'm sure I could make a great killing shot with this crossbow if I had to. I'm grouping a 2 inch circle at 40 yards so I really might consider a longer shot at a decent buck.
I fully expect any deer to come from the east, behind me, and cross the open hardwood about 30 yards in front of me.
So it was 7:00am..... I'm sitting there looking over my right shoulder so I can see my first deer....... I am suddenly aware of noise coming from my left. Yep..... here comes a deer, walking through the foot deep water from the flooded cattail swamp. It's the same 7 pointer that I've already passed twice before. About 40 yards behind him is another deer. I was hoping it was the 7 pointers grandfather. It wasn't...... it was a spike. They both passed at 10 yards and never knew I was there. I watched them as they disappeared in the direction of the licking branch.
At about 9:30 I heard some splashing and looked to my left.... sure enough...... another deer was coming. I reached up and got my crossbow off the hanger and was ready. It was a 3 point walking really slow but he appeared to be entertaining himself by splashing the water every couple of steps. I practiced putting the crosshairs on him at 30 yards as he continued to play his way across the flooded woods.
I was thinking about doing an all day hunt but decided not to do it today. I'll hunt all day for the next two days and half a day on Friday if needed.
I climbed down and checked the trail cameras...... even moved two of them. As I started to walk out I noticed a deer in the wheat field. It was a doe at 105 yards away. She was feeding along towards the east. I stood still and she finally realized I was there. She stared intently trying to figure out what I was. She walked slowly in my direction..... head bobbing every now and then.
I had ranged her and some foliage along the edge of the field. I figured if she got to 50 yards I could have killed her. She kept coming. She finally walked into the woods at just 32 yards from me.
I smiled at another good hunt, headed home. I'm hunting every day this week except Saturday. I'll be in the Carrier Dome watching the Syracuse University football team play against Wake Forest.
See you tomorrow.
I had to scrape my windshield before I could move my truck and there was a hard killing frost. I was prepared for the weather..... I was excited for it...... I was anticipating it. We would finally have cold weather!
As I parked my truck and got ready for my walk to the oaks, I thought back to other seasons and how the first cold weather during the rut had the big bucks on their feet longer during the daylight hours.
I remembered the day two years ago..... identical situation....... I saw six different shooters from sunrise to about noon. I messed up on one but never had a shot opportunity on the others but it was still an exciting day! It actually made the walk in a little quicker.
I climbed up into the ladder stand and was ready. The wind was out of the southwest which is a great wind direction for this stand. The cards were stacked in my favor. I got a text from Ed...... one of the other hunters hunting the farm. He called in sick to work this morning so he could hunt. He was in his favorite stand about a quarter of a mile away.
As the sun came up, I was ready...... toasty warm...... waiting....... and waiting....... and waiting. Nothing was moving in the 15 acres I could see. Not even many squirrels were out and about.
The sun had been up two hours before I saw the first deer. It was a big mature doe to my north walking quickly. She would pass my scent line any time now. If I passed the test..... which I have all year...... I've not been scented...... she would be coming within 30 yards behind me as she headed to the bedding area to the south.
I watched behind her for a trailing buck. Surely she wouldn't be alone. But there wasn't a buck behind her. She was alone. She got about half way through and stopped. She started to get nervous. She was sniffing the air for all she was worth. She finally decided to change directions and made a big semi circle (about 75 yards) around me and proceeded to the south bedding area. It was the first time I've been detected all season but this doe was big and mature. She has a lot of experience behind her. I'll give her credit.
It was another hour before I saw another deer. Two little deer walked in...... almost in the same footsteps of the first doe...... but turned south a little sooner. They came within 10 yards without detecting me. They actually hung around for five minutes eating an acorn here..... and acorn there. I had a great show. I finally got a great look at the smaller of the two...... a Button buck. This must have been last year's doe fawn that was bread later in the season last year and her fawn. There really wasn't much difference in size...... maybe 30 pounds. I watched as they headed to the south bedding area.
That was at 11:30am so I figured I might have action all day. I decided to stay in my stand.
At around 2:00 the wind changed and I decided to change stands. I climbed out and moved to the north. I climbed up into the stand I saw the three little bucks from the other day. I had to walk by Ed's stand but I made a big circle so I wouldn't ruin it for him. As I was walking the edge of the wheat field, I glassed over to his stand. He was gone.
I climbed up in my ladder and the wind was perfectly for this stand. I sat until dark and never saw another deer. I got a text from Ed and he decided to go into work at 10:00am and heading was disappointed. He hadn't seen anything. Not even a squirrel.
When I got home I washed my camo and had dinner with my wife. I decided to not hunt this morning as I had some things that needed my attention. I will be in the stand tomorrow morning with this cold and snow moving in overnight.
I hope my expectations will be met with lots of activity. We'll see.
I wish I was in the woods today but we can't all be retired like you and KC. Hopefully they move tomorrow despite the wind. I have shot a few bucks on days just like tomorrow.
On the brite side...... I did see two turkeys. The first sighting of them this fall.
I'll be out in the morning once again going back to the north part of the farm.. I'm getting frustrated.
The wind here isn't going to be but 15 to 17 mph according to the Scoutlook weather app.
I crawled back into the warm bed and cuddled with my honey. No hunting until Monday.
He passed up shots at two different bucks chasing and saw our number one buck searching for love out of range.
This morning was supposed to be good but the wind direction was wrong for every stand I have in place except for the one by the cattail swamp...... and I've lost faith in that area. The deer used to come down a trail about 20 yards from it but a huge tree came down during a big wind storm about three weeks ago and the deer have changed their habits. The type no longer use that trail and I haven't figured out where they are traveling instead of the old trail.
But I did hunt this afternoon back in the oaks. I never saw a deer this evening. But I did see a mess of turkeys! I've never seen so many on this farm.
As I was walking past the horse barn and down the lane...... I approached the first wheat field and there were 12 to 15 turkeys out at the other end. I made it past the gate opening without being seen.
I walked the trail onto the edge of the big wheat field and walked into the oaks after using my binoculars from a safe spot to check for deer. There wasn't a single deer in the oaks so I still hunted to my stand. I was up and comfy by 2:00pm.
I tried some rattling and grunting to no avail. I can't remember ever rattling in a good buck after 12:00 noon but I tried it anyway. Nothing responded.
At about 4:00pm I noticed some turkeys in the field about 200 yards away. They stuck out like a sore thumb in the light green wheat! I couldn't believe my eyes...... I counted 15 and every single one of them were bearded Tom's with at least a 7 or 8 inch beard! They were feeding my way so I quit looking through my binoculars. It would be my luck to have a booner walk by while I was drooling over those Tom's!
They did come into the oaks and walked about 50 yards away to roost near the swamp. I was shocked as they kept coming by..... there was at least 25 turkeys and even though I didn't look at every one of them with binoculars, I believe every one was a Tom!
I sat until dark without any deer showing up.
I can't hunt in the morning...... my wife has a doctor appointment at 10:15 tomorrow morning and it is important for me to be with her. She may be in need of some surgery and I need to be by her side when we find out from her doctor.
But........ God willing...... I'll be in the stand tomorrow afternoon.
I'll be back to the farm in the morning.
At about 8:00am a big doe came from across the open hardwood walking quickly. I kept watching behind her both she didn't have anything in tow. She passed by at 20 yards and disappeared to my right into the thick stuff.
At 8:30...... here comes that 7 point...... walking her trail doing his best beagle impersonation. He disappeared into the thick stuff too. Nothing else happened until I saw the big buck and doe. I've never seen an actual breeding before...... at least not this close. I've seen it in videos before but....... it was fast.
She bedded down for just about a half hour as the big guy stayed very close nibbling on browse.
His rack was bone white.....high and wide..... and through the binoculars I could see at least four tines up on his left side but couldn't get a good look at his right. But he looked like something you'd see on TV. Very impressive big body too! He dwarfed the doe and she looked big time me.
She finally got up and lead him to the south away from me. I sat until 1:00pm and decided to take the long way out so I wouldn't spook them if they didn't move far. I headed to the northwest corner. It is incredibly thick but there are some open areas.
I want to say........... I had told myself to do this a week ago but I always had something else to do besides that.
As I crossed into the northwest corner I immediately started seeing buck sign....... everywhere! Scrapes....... rubs and well worn trails. I found an open area where three trails merged together and there was another scrape. I looked around and found a tree just north of the trails that would work with a ladder stand with very little cutting for shooting lanes. I was headed back to where I started to take down the ladder stand on the edge of the cattail swamp.
You know........ these ladder stands get heavier every day. But I finally got it down (that was the easy part) and hauled and installed in the new tree. I trimmed a couple of tops off some bushes to give me a decent shooting lane giving me a 30 yard shot.
I got out of there and decided to walk around the woods through the wheat field to the oaks. I climbed up and sat until after sunset, only seeing a lone doe.
So my day was good and bad! Remember that I said if you follow along you might learn what NOT to do? Here it is...... do not be stubborn and think you are going to easily beat these whitetails. Occasionally scout your property to see what has changed.
The deer are using an area that nobody else has hunted. They are bedding in an area that we don't have permission to hunt..... and I don't think anyone hunts. It's a perfect place for the deer.
I may not get a chance to hunt the new stand until Saturday with my 12 gauge. My wife has some pre-surgery testing tomorrow morning and I will be with her. Friday morning is looking horrible with the wind direction. But I'm looking forward to hunting this area.
I finally decided to climb my ladder stand and sit until dark. The action really started to pick up at about 3:30. Three does entered the oaks and began eating their way towards my stand. At four point came in and checked them out but didn't stay long. Soon they were all gone.
At around 4:30 two more deer came out of the bedding area to the south and began feeding. I had a hard time seeing them but I figured it was two doe. As they got closer, I saw it was two spikes. They fed past my stand before it was dark and were finally gone.
I climbed out in the dark and made the walk to my truck. I made it to my truck and little after 5:30. I was wet...... and I was cold. I'll try again in the morning.
My bow season ended at about noon today after a pretty good morning sitting in the old man stand with a brisk but steady west wind in my face.
At first light...... here he comes in all his glory....... the same seven point that I've passed five times come walking about 20 yards up wind of me. He stopped broadside and dares me to shoot. Hmmmmm........ it is the last day........ and I haven't filled a tag yet. As tempting as he was..... he got another pass.
At around 8:30am I noticed some movement coming from the south. Three does were coming slowly into the hardwood and would pass at about 50 yards downwind. I kept an eye on their back trail expecting a trailing buck. Nothing behind them.
I did not see another deer and sat until noon, shivering and thinking about my bow season. It was a very good season from start to finish even without tagging a good buck. I had many chances to kill yearlings and two year olds but the big bucks evaded me.
I will be in the new stand tomorrow morning for the shotgun opener hoping to see that smasher I saw on Wednesday morning breeding that doesn't. We have a south wind forecast for morning and I'm excited.
Our other guys hunting the farm did not see a deer.
I hunted this morning and saw no deer. One other guy hunted and didn't see a thing either. I'm not sure what is going on but it is slow on the farm.
Hunting again in the morning.
I sat in the old man stand and did not see a deer. I walked around a little and could not find a track that appeared anywhere near fresh.
As I drove home I saw several deer out feeding on a cut corn field about 3/4 of a mile away. As I thought might happen...... the deer have moved closer to the corn fields.
My wife is having surgery next Tuesday and I will be spending time getting her back on her feet. Hopefully she will feel okay by the late archery season. If so..... I might try again.
If not....... I feel like I've had a somewhat successful (?) season even though I did not fill a tag. I had plenty of opportunities at some yearlings and two year olds but I just couldn't put it together on a mature bucks..... and I've got a lot of "on stand" time behind me.
Hopefully........ I might be granted another season in 2018.
Good luck to your wife.
Thanks guys. Surgery is at 7:00am......... I'm more nervous about it than she is.
So..... I might be able to hunt in a few days..... at least during the late season. ??
We had a South wind blowing and with the snow on the ground, I decided to walk field edges looking for travel sign first. I started on the north line. As I walked it was apparent that the guys were right. Very few tracks in the five day old snow.
I walked towards the oaks along the field edge and still very few tracks. When I got down into the oaks there were a few more, but still nothing fresh. I decided to set up on the ground about 75 yards into the oaks. There is a downfall that sits where I can see all of the oaks..... and into the swamp for any movement. Once movement is spotted, i can make a move if needed to provide a shot.
Being back in this part of the farm brings back so many memories of the past 6 years hunting here. I just love this piece of woods. I made myself comfy and waited.
I saw absolutely nothing until a little before 4:00pm. I saw movement at the far end of the oaks and looked through my binoculars to see a lone deer heading in my direction. It was taking its time scrounging for acorns as it moved towards me. It seemed like it took forever.
When the deer was about 100 yards out I could see horns and finally became excited. It was coming directly at my downfall so there was no need to move. I rested my muzzleloader on a branch in front of me and waited. As the buck got closer my excitement started to fade. It was the seven point that I've passed up at least 6 or 7 times. He walked within 25 yards...... stopped..... looked at me trying to figure out what was there in the downfall. He stood..... bobbed his head...... sniffing the air and after what seemed like forever.
I tried to get my cell phone out of my pocket to get another picture of the buck but he became nervous at the movement, turned and bounded back the way he came. He stopped at about 50 yards..... turned broadside offering me yet another shot before walking out of sight. (Why do deer do this? )
I sat until I couldn't see my crosshairs and walked back to the farm. My friends had left me a note on my windshield to stop in before going home. I did and was rewarded with some Christmas cookies and a pointsettia for our home. I thanked them again..... got some hugs to go with the gifts and made my way home.
My season is now officially over and I'm looking forward to hunting next year..... God willing. I've been blessed to pursue these critters through my 67th year and maybe..... just maybe...... I'll be granted another year.
Merry Christmas my friends!
'But glad you were content to let him pass. Nothing wrong with being content, according to the Master. It is a goal sought by many, and attained by few.
"But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (I Tim 6:6,7)
Merry Christmas to you pogo!
Merry Merry & Happy Happy to you and yours!
By the way..... I went down to the farm this morning and began scouting for my 2018 season. I walked two farms which are adjoining. I do not have permission to hunt these but I do have permission to walk these in the winter and spring before turkey season.
What I learned today was exactly what I thought. The deer herd is about a quarter mile away from where I hunt and are feeding in the still standing corn field. I even found two active scrapes.
I am going back after Christmas and move a couple of trail cams over to the one farm and survey for survivors.
Merry Christmas my friends! ??
I went down to the farm this morning..... it warmed up to 9 at 10:00am so I felt I needed to go walk around and check trail cams.
I checked the camera by the North stand...... nothing. No pictures and no tracks in the snow within 50 yards. I took the camera out.
I walked towards the oaks..... very few tracks. I checked my 2nd camera...... nothing. No pictures. No tracks in the area. I moved the camera about 50 yards where there were a few old tracks.
I headed to a neighboring farm where the deer love to bed...... no tracks anyplace.
I walked east and checked the area that I found all the sign just after the season ended..... very few tracks in the snow.
Discouraged........ I walked back to the truck. All in all..... I walked about 3 or 4 miles today and saw very few tracks.
On the ride around the block....... I saw all kinds of tracks less than a mile from the farm. I saw about 30 deer feeding in one field.... on a southern sloping hill and around 30 turkeys on another cut corn field... both within a mile of the farm.
I know where they are...... and I know where they aren't. Time for a couple of beers! ??