So far there's been some good action but after the first day-and-a-half the biggest buck was a low 130's that sauntered by Kyle today. Yesterday I had 6 does and 2 bucks (best was a 2 1/2 year old 8pt that maybe just scraped over 100" of antler) and today was a repeat with 9 does and 1 younger 8pt.
Tomorrow and Wednesday look to be ideal; lows around 30 and highs only in the mid-40's. I plan on being on stand all day both days, not sure on Kyle's plans at the moment.
We'll do our best to come through for the CF crew (though Kyle did tag a high 150's buck last year so the bar is higher for him). Updates to follow and all encouraging words, advice are welcome!
Play nice in the CF sandbox in the interim........
For starters, he plays one heck of a guitar and has a nice voice as well.
Lucky for us, he brought his gee-tar with him and has been providing background music for us during the cocktail hour.
With all the does around it has to get a bucks attention soon.
Why does that statement bring to mind a couple of lounge lizards in leisure suits. ;)
All kidding aside, I would love to share a whitetail camp with Kyle and Mike.
Best of Luck, Jeff
Save me some backstrap.
But they should start soon. Last year I tagged a 165" buck less than :30 into the hunt.
We're in Cole County which is east-central IL
Curious why you chose this week, instead of closer to the rut? Scheduling thing, or.....?
When we were here last year, we had the second week of Nov. While we were here, we asked about booking for next week but it was already booked, so we came a week earlier this year.
There were three guys here the week before we were here last week and two of them tagged out on terrific bucks on the first day of their hunt. I took mine on Nov. 5
I gotya....outfitter schedules are what they are.
If I had to pick just one week for whitetails in the midwest it would Nov 8-15. Around Thanksgiving for mulies. But, as we both know, it's all good.
Any action this morning? My cousin in Kansas says he's seeing a few decent bucks on their feet during daylight, but the big boys are still nocturnal.
Matt's seen more deer than I have and several does but no bucks over 130." The theory is that the big bucks have locked down mature does and aren't moving yet.
Good luck, brother. If the big boys are with girls now, they'll be looking for a new girl in a day to two.
Heating up today; had a low 130,a 9pt behind me at 9:15 and had a good 8pt. chase a doe out in front of me. Holding out for 150 or better; no complaints about the action! Sitting all day so I'll check back in around 7:30 or so.
Thanks to all for the encouragement!!
Those two big bucks that were taken last year before we got here were taken on Oct. 31.
Today is Oct. 31 and we're thinking, "Show Time!"
It's just a matter of time. Numerous studies, and my own observations, show that a hot doe stays in estrus for 24-48 hours. That's about the maximum time a buck will ever spend with one doe before moving on to the next.
The "lull" that guys experience is when multiple does in a buck's range go into estrus all at once, so he doesn't have to look far for the next hot doe. That's why I like the beginning and latter parts of the peak rut. The bucks have to spend more time looking than breeding.
Keep us posted,
I got down to Pike County, but it was early and weather didn't cooperate. No complaint. Beggars can't be choosers. Unfortunately, four dead bucks were found around the ponds. Two eights, a ten and an eleven.
I think Mike and Kyle are going to be coming into some pretty good deer movement and will have potential opportunity at a few sizable deer.
That, and a cup of coffee'll buy you a good deer story... at least, that's what I'm hoping.
I live about an hour from where you are hunting. Bucks are cruising, but I haven't seen a big one yet. That is based on limited time afield though.
Mike sat all day and didn't see a deer after 2:00.
I went back out a bit after 2:00 and didn't see anything other than some squirrels and a flock of ducks.
Me personally I don’t think many does are in heat right now. It’s too early. A lack of big buck sightings right now is due to them knowing it’s not time yet.
My all time best day has been Nov 7th. It sounds like you guys will be done with your hunt by then.
Full moon is the 4th I think bucks move better on the back side of the full moon. Once again it sounds like you guys will be leaving if you only have a week.
People kill them on the front side but, you can bet your last dollar they are going to be around the does on the front side and, during the heart of the actual breeding. So, unless you are around one of those hot does, it can get lonely. But, when they are cleaning up the few remaining, they are very vulnerable due to the distance they cover and their willingness to do it during daylight. God Bless
If it's any consolation, I saw minimal action tonight, as did my Cuz in Kansas. 3 days ago there were deer everywhere.
That's why I love this sh*t. Just when you think you have mother nature figured out, she reminds you of how little you actually know.
Hoping you both break the level Nva set last year!!
~ 7:00, I heard bucks fighting very close by.
VERY close by.
It was too dark to see them, esp. given most of the leaves are still on the trees, which would have blocked my view even if it had been light enough.
But that was it. I never saw a deer.
Mike texted me he saw two shooters right off the bat, but that's all I know. He'll be back at the house here in :30 or so and I'll let him tell the story on that.
When's your last day, Kyle?
We can hunt through Friday evening.
I've been doing some rattling, but it's not paid off.........yet.
I have had ok luck with that. It has to be really sparingly though. It’s seems like the more I rattle from the same stand the less I see. It might even be spread out over a week as well. Here lately I have only blind rattled on cold, high pressure mornings. Seems like better results then.
I do like calling to bucks once I see them. I prefer a grunt but sometimes there too far or too windy and I will switch to rattling.
I guess we all have our techniques, and there's no right or wrong way. It's all about being in the right place at the right time, with the right animal.
I tried blind rattling once but kept hitting myself in the face.......ok, bad one.....
Had an absolute hog go right under me about 30 minutes before sunrise; picture a chest freezer with legs; too dark to shoot so I just bit my lip until the blood started flowing (that's my excuse for the tears that started flowing).
About 7:35 I had a 145-150" 10pt with some nice little stickers and a split brow tine. I got to full draw but he managed to keep just enough brush/branches in the way. At 26 yards I had a "thread the needle" opening but the wind was moving the branches around up and down so I wasn't comfortable and let down.
Back out in about an hour and we'll do our best. Thanks for all the support; wish to God I could spend a hunt with every one of you; in all sincerity I truly do. I couldn't ask for a finer group of people to share a hunt with!
Except for Sybil, that is. :^)
Like Matt said we all have our own style of calling. Interesting I have had better luck calling in bucks with a rattle bag. Then you will have guys that swear by real antlers. Just like I have had better luck with less is more when it comes to calling. I always liked a new tree that hadn’t been hunted out of yet with a cold high pressure morning. Seemed like I called more in that way. Even then I would only call once maybe twice the whole day. Grunting on the other hand. I have always liked grunting at a buck once I seen him.
Good luck this afternoon gentlemen!
So it was Friday morning and we hadn't seen a thing all morning. We decided we would try rattling to see if we could shake anything out of the trees. Dad rattles the antlers while I blew the grunt call and stomped on the ground. I kid you not, in a matter of seconds we were surrounded by at LEAST a dozen deer that came RUNNING in. All within 30 yards of us! We were stuck out in the open with our shotguns laying on the ground beside us. They all stared at us for 5-10 seconds then blew out of the valley. We didn't even get off one shot! We just set back shaking our heads and laughing. That is one of the coolest things we've had happen while hunting.
We met early and headed in to the woods. Once we got a few hundred yards into the hardwoods, he pulled out his rattling horns and smashed them together while grunting on his tube. Then he took off on a dead sprint. I thought, WTF, and I chased after him. After about 50 yards, he stopped and repeated the routine.
After the 3rd rattling/grunting/wind sprint, he stopped and starting looking around intently. Damned if 3 bucks didn't come running in all from different directions. One was a shooter, but he never presented a shot. My buddy looked at me, smiled, and said, "lesson over."
It's going to be warmer tomorrow so I'm thinking of getting up on an oak ridge again as the bucks seem to be running the ridges near or overlooking the fields.
Enjoyed the stories about rattling; I've had some very good results in what I consider an optimal setting; a thicket between me and where I knew the deer would come from. They'd have to circle around the thicket to try and get downwind of me and that worked out very well more than a few times.
We'll split the day so I'll post an update around lunchtime. Keep the positive vibes flowing!!
That's three trips in a row to the tree stands where I've seen NOTHING!
What's with that?
What's with that? "
Kyle. I'm sorry. There are no more deer in IL. Everybody should give CT a try.
I didn’t hunt tonight but I did drive around till dark. Seen 2 bucks I would have shot. One was in a picked corn field checking out the does. The other was cruising across an open field.
Man, I'm getting a helluva appetite for backstrap.
Gotta love it!
I'm working on those back straps Matt!!
That 7pt would have looked the same in the freezer as a 160. Just sayin'
He has 36 stands set up and he'll recommend spots but we can opt for our own choice. I pushed for a stand further in the timber today as I felt the does that weren't hitting the fields were in the timber hitting the oaks-turned out to be a good call.
Heading in at noon and I have a spot in mind for this afternoon.
He's got ~30 stands and he does ask us where we'd like to go. I defer to his judgement as he knows it far better than I do.
That said, both of us prefer to sit on the ridges in the hardwoods rather than on the edge of small food plots.
Mike was planning to stay out this morning until 11:00, but he's pushed it back to 12:00, so he must be seeing some movement.
If I had my choice, I'd be sitting as close to a known bedroom as possible before light tomorrow.
Mike saw a 'likely' buck based on body size and a doe.
I saw two squirrels and a walking stick and that's it!
Again, this is why I love this sh*t. Money can buy the best opportunities, but Mother Nature decides who cashes in.
My money is on Mother Nature will shine on Mike, tomorrow. She spoiled Kyle last year, so he isn't due. Mike risked the embarrassment of playing his gee-tar and singing this year, so I think he will be rewarded.
I could be wrong, in which case never mind. ;-)
What’s the game plan for tomorrow? What’s the forecast like?
Good luck to you guys Tomorrow (Fri)
My 2 week hunt starts tomorrow. I will start off in SD and hunt till the 10th then head to NW Kansas and hunt till the 19th. Kansas will be with an outfitter and SD will be on public land I have hunted for coyotes. I just happened to see some really good bucks while calling coyotes.
Good luck tomorrow Kyle and Mike!
I've hunted five mornings and five afternoons and saw exactly seven deer total! On fully half of my times in a stand on this hunt, I saw nothing!
Overall in 10 sits I saw 51 deer with 3 shooter (130" or better) bucks, just none in the 150+ range I was holding out for. No regrets at all; another great hunt and I'm starting to get a better feel for the property (the day I saw 2 shooter bucks I declined the offered stand location and opted for a stand as far back in the hardwoods as they had.)
With the lack of chasing I had the feeling the does were avoiding the bucks and would find better feeding conditions in the hardwoods than in open fields where the bucks could run them ragged. That sit I had 16 deer (3 bucks, 2 shooters) in 3 hours on stand; not a bad call.
The place is prime whitetail habitat, well-managed and they will consistently produce quality bucks. The owners, Bob & Marsha Blair as as fine a pair of people as you could hope to meet; you couldn't be better taken care of if you were home with mom & dad!
If I'm disappointed in anything it's in not being able to post a "hero picture" for you guys; the encouragement and support are much appreciated, though having gotten to know most of you over the years the level of class and camaraderie shown came as no surprise; I am humbled and it means more to me than I could possibly put into words.
When I look back on my life I'll look to the friendships forged on this site and know that for all the screw-ups I've managed to make I certainly got this right-from the bottom of my heart, thanks so much and I'll have to skip 2018 (daughter's wedding) but will be back in IL in 2019 for another go.
God bless and keep all of you and yours.
Mike, sounds like you had a great time and if was easy it wouldn't be any fun. The challenge is what is important. Some days you get the bear and some days.............
You guys are boring! 8^)
Glad you all had a good time!
Shuteye, family has a store in Morris! I have hunted near there!
Thanks for allowing us to virtually tag along on your hunt.
Since you saw 51 deer, and Kyle only 7, you might politely suggest he stop wearing that ol' man cologne. Last year, the deer were curious about that awful smell. This year, they knew to avoid it. ;-)
Seriously though, it's refreshing to see someone who is humble and gracious in victory as well as defeat. I expected no less from you, and I wasn't disappointed. My only regret is I didn't get to hear/see your gee-tar performance. ;-)
Spike-I'm posting this "mug shot" as my daughter is light years better to look at than her dad.......
One of the things I have always liked about a hunt(adventure) is the highs and lows along the way.
Congrats Mike on the your daughters future wedding.
Thank you guys for taking us along on your adventure. I know I was checking in regularly for updates.
Vacation # 2 starts next Friday ... Buck time !!
to bad Mike and NVA didnt connect ....sounds like Mike saw quite a bit more than NVA .... NVA does better in the mountains ...lol ...
Don't be greedy with the backstrap, brother. ;-)
I took this pic while in town, yesterday. These ol' boys had nothing on their minds but staying cool in the shade. They're laying smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
I hope Mike and Kyle enjoy seeing examples of what we're chasing in our respective 'hoods.
BTW, I know of a couple Coues deer hunters who may argue your "hardest hunt" claim. A few sheep and mountain goat hunters may chime in on that topic, as well. But that's for another thread, don't you think?
I hunted a stand yesterday AM and again saw nothing.
As planned, as soon as I got back to the bunkhouse I changed clothes and took off for home.
I drove 650 miles to Kearney, NE in 9:50 where I had dinner and went to bed.
Got up a little before 3:00 AM this morning and drove 1,284 miles home in 16:30 flat.
Only you seem to care what the "hardest hunt" is. And how does that discussion relate to Mike and Kyle's hunt, anyway?
As always I'm very interested in "the other game in town", i.e. any hunting adventure. Each of us has an inner passion (or passions) and sometimes when others discuss theirs it sparks something in me (always room on the "bucket list" lol).
I think what constitutes "hard" can be related to a number of factors, certainly the wariness of the game in question plays a role. Additionally, some hunts are just flat-out more physically demanding; high altitude hunts whether for goat, sheep, mulies or elk come immediately to mind. I think the physical demands, if one is not up for them erode the mental ability to be razor-sharp when the moment of truth comes.
I think when these passions are shared we all gain from a window into the soul, if you will, of our fellow outdoorsmen. To me it only deepens the bond already shared and when some have related whats involved (especially the physically demanding hunts) it's only deepened my respect for those individuals. I've often questioned myself and asked "could I match that level of commitment?"
So to all who have related their own personal stories/histories I thank you. All may have differing opinions but to all I offer this; find your passion in life, commit to it without reservation, offer no excuses for failure nor expect accolades for success; failure means you have risked and presents the opportunity to overcome adversity (shows, not develops character) and how we handle success defines us (in my humble opinion) in terms of our humanity.
Ultimately, we are our greatest challenge; know thyself and to thine own self be true. Know your passion and live that passion and when your journey ends it will have been a life well-lived.
God bless and keep you and yours always and thanks for being along for this ride.
As usual, wise words from a wise man.
It's true, "hardest hunt" is a purely subjective matter. I recall Chuck Adams giving that distinction to the Coues deer. Since I haven't hunted every species in North America, I tend to trust the words of someone who has.
Regardless, I apologize for the side-track. I hope that "chest freezer" buck survives and gives you an easy chip shot in 2019. You deserve it, IMO.
It's a great piece of property with great bucks and the couple who owns it are the nicest people you could ever hope to have as your hosts.
" Additionally, some hunts are just flat-out more physically demanding; high altitude hunts whether for goat, sheep, mulies or elk come immediately to mind. I think the physical demands, if one is not up for them erode the mental ability to be razor-sharp when the moment of truth comes."
Exactly, my friend.
Mental toughness is critical, esp. on hunts which are physically challenging.
The better your physical condition, the less likely it is you're mental toughness will lessen.