It should be well below freezing with some snow, but again this season, it’s not. Last year was a great year for feed and the winter was good for the deer. We’ve never seen all classes of deer so fat going into the winter and maybe a repeat this year.
So far this morning I’ve had several does and fawns go through. There is a young 4X4 that followed a doe into the steep ravine in front of me, she came out on my side , but he just stayed in there watching and waiting. There is a stocky 3X3 fifty yards above him on the steep hillside, looking for love but not trouble, so he’s keeping he’s distance. Whether they will come over for a picture , we’ll see. The more mature bucks sight check from the high side, then circle around to scent check for hot does and danger. These guys are just Fluffers for the real breeding bucks.
If you’re lucky enough to be out hunting, good luck. If not then hopefully you can get some entertainment from those that are. I’ll up date as things happen.
Enjoy your day!!
Just to clarify for our eastern whitetail friends, we don’t count the brow times on mule deer. So a 4X4 has four points up top on each side excluding brows if there are any.
Good luck Lou, kill a big one! Putting the decoy and Nosejammer into action?
I pulled out mid afternoon during the lull. No more bucks seen since mid morning which is kind of the pattern for this lead up to breeding.
I’ve got a doe with a crippled hip and knee for the last month now. She’s limping less but looks in poor shape. Too bad as she has two big fawns this year. Coyotes or cat will probably get her and I know nature is nature, but I always feel bad for the pain they have to go through.
I’m booked up for tomorrow, but Wednesday will be morning till dark or death!
Good luck! Hopefully a big one slips in!
Hope you have one of your heavy, knarly horned bucks on the ground before the week is out...one that matches up or beats your '23 elk (big!)!
I have the hat, a half dozen different kinds of decoys, mobile blinds, and a brand new spot.
Looking forward to a great story from up there in BC!
The little piece my blind sits on, I planted clover and rye later in the year on the advice of a few pros on here. The rye got to about eight inches and was thick with the clover struggling for light underneath. Then the friggin bears got busy on it in late August as well as the deer and kept the rye mowed. Now the clover is short and so is the rye, but the weather keeps it growing. There’s a few does in it most of the time. So it’s not my usual total failure. I might just do it all in clover and rye next year.
Haha- looking forward to your updates and wishing you luck this season!
Ron N. I hope you have the best day today that a person could possibly have! A lot of prayers are with you and your family.
I have three criteria for killing a buck. He should be big, old or ugly. Any combination of those two and he’s dead for sure. If he’s all three, I’d likely pass out or freak out and miss! That being said, sometimes an urgency to shoot something will override everything. I guess that’s a way of saying “ I’ll know it when I see it.”
A couple friends have had some luck with their archery deer in the last few days.
The moon is waning and should be about perfect timing for peak rut.
Good luck to all those lucky enough to be out with the sun coming up and high expectations for the day. We are a fortunate people!
I’ve seen two lone fawns so far. That means Mom is busy.
So at 3:30 the Ugly3 came back following the same crippled doe. He then perked up and headed southwest behind me. Several minutes later a doe came running down from there with a pretty decent 4X4 chasing her. He ran her in circles in front of me for about five minutes. But his shoulders are tore up some, so I’m thinking something bigger is around. .
Today is just freezing and overcast with little wind. Because of the long ravine and steep bank that runs uphill for a few hundred yards , the wind is either east or west. Either one is the same for me, just determines where most of the scent checking will be done from. The mature bucks often side hill past, sight checking then hook around to scent check.
Anyway, all we can do is wait to see what the day brings. Good luck to all on this special part of the deer season.
I’ve seen one deer so far this morning. A 2 1/2 year old, 4X4 that was slowly pacing in the brush on the edge of the ravine. He looked a bit crestfallen. He had a look like he was expecting something good, but also knew it was’t likely to happen. He eventually took a straight line up the hill to hopefully find that elusive magic.
That’s left me alone to deeply contemplate why my one boot was dustier than the other.
Something up the hill got his attention and with binoculars, I could get glimpses of what looked like a decent buck, side hilling and with somewhere to go. The 3 decided it was worthwhile going along, so he left on a line to intercept behind the bigger buck.
I’m assuming the buck was on the trail of a hot doe and I can only hope that the doe takes one of the several trails that bisect in front of my stand!
Zbone, yes. A few does come in early and a few late, but the bulk of the breeding will get done this coming week. It’s after that the mature bucks will roam, far, fast and wide to catch the leftovers. The last week of November can be very exciting or very frustrating.
I just had a 4x4 here that I had on cam last year as a scrawny yearling with a broken right front ankle. I didn’t think he’d make the winter. But he’s a robust buck now with a thick, fused ankle and doing just fine. It’s amazing what they can turn into sometimes!
Agreed, it is incredible how resilient these animals can be with regards to injuries.
It’s getting better!
I drowned a good camera a couple years ago. I could take good pics and Bluetooth them to my phone right in the blind. The camera I have now has no Bluetooth, which I didn’t know when I bought it. And cell pics past ten yards are just shitty.
Seeing bucks all day now. Getting exciting!
The Humper came down the hill and into the ravine to round up the crippled doe and pushed her up toward me. He’s putting on the miles and the does have to be constantly on the move to stay ahead of all the bucks chasing.
Really enjoying the play by play, Rod.
The wind picked up throughout the afternoon as did the rain. Just before dark and time to jump out, Humper decided to lay down twenty yards from the blind, while he watched the ladies. I had no choice but to spook them all off, but they don’t seem to get near as jacked up when it’s dark.
All in all it was a good day! I saw several bucks and some of them multiple times. Two were new to me and that means they are on the move. The mature bucks are likely guarding a lady some where private, but they too will be. out looking again. The does still have to eat and sometimes a buck will just follow dutifully along behind like a hen pecked husband in the mall.
There are still two bucks I haven’t laid eye on yet that were on cams recently. Either one may be a shooter. One is a nice clean 4X4 and the other is the Runt. He may fit both the ugly and old criteria.
I have to take family to the airport in the morning but hope to get the last four hours of the day in the blind.
It often only takes a minute when it does happen!!
I think I’m going to rename Humper either Alice after Alice Cooper or Kiss. He’s got some funky black streaks by his eyes on that very white face. I see he’s also sporting some more streaks, this time on his haunches so he ran from someone. Co’mon someone!!
And I can see my fourth buck slowly making his way down the hill. Looks like a light framed young 4X4 , that will likely push his weight around a bit when he gets to the yearling.
In the end the runt yearling wandered off on his own and the 4X4 never came out of the ravine. He must have went east or west in his quest for the Holy Tail. Or is that Grail?
Another heavier, darker 4X4 side hilled diagonal across the hill about a hundred yards out and just faded into the trees. Not a shooter either. But that was five different bucks in one afternoon and three of which I hadn't seen in person yet. So not a bad half day.
Tomorrow is all day until dark or death do us part.
Winds are supposed to gust up to 25 mph later today and that’s bad for deer movement.
I also realized sitting here in the dark that I hadn’t posted the obligatory boot and four direction pics yet. I’ll do that later if it ever gets light enough.
Seems it’s been tough slugging for lots of hunters with the heat wave, but it still beats the heck out of lots of other stuff we might be doing instead. Enjoy the day!!
The good part about the reluctant does is the younger bucks push them all over the place, leaving scents trails far and wide. A mature buck may take up the trail and follow it right by me. Downside is they are walking and the window for a shot can be narrow, so no naps for me!
The runt yearling came in with two fawns this time! He may be young and little, but in his mind he’s definitely a Player. They are twin buck and doe fawns. He divided his time between bullying the one and cozying up to the other.
I often sprinkle birdseed along the brush edge near my blind so I can watch the grouse.
After the little runt left eventually the twin buck and doe fawns came back. The button buck may have kicked runty’s ass because now he was acting like the king. He was constantly ramming his nose in his sisters business. She may have the misfortune of coming into estrous.
About 11:00 I got a jolt of excitement when I looked out my east peephole and saw a doe and buck trotting towards me. From seventy yards, I could see some height to his rack and grabbed my bow! In a few seconds and they were at thirty yards then I recognized him as the 3X4 from early this morning. They kept right on trucking. I wouldn’t have had time to pull a Paul@theFort pic, but I did get a couple poor ones just before he disappeared. I hope she runs another big circle and trolls a big buck by next time.
Just a few minutes ago, a bigger yearling fork followed a doe in then chased her off on one of the clover leaf trails.
I have a thick stand of dog hair poplar on either side of and behind me. When a non-receptive doe has a buck of a bigger size, she’ll often thread her way quickly through there and it takes the buck with his bigger body and antlers longer to maneuver through it. Then the doe has a bit time to put some distance between them, catching a bit of rest.
There was a dribble of the same little bucks harassing fawns mostly. About 2:00 the 3X4 came from the same direction again chasing a doe hard that was running hard. They must have made about a two hour loop through the trails in the area. Just as they passed I heard hooves pounding to my left and here comes Alice (the buck formerly know as Humper) just storming in after them! He was so puffed up and so pissed I didn't recognize him at first. I could see he had a new, long gouge on his lower shoulder so he's still finding bucks to fight. He's very aggressive and likely punches above his considerable weight. But it wasn't the 3X4 because he did a super fast hook away from the doe and Alice who charged the doe and run her out of my sight to the west. The 3X4 quickly followed but at a respectful distance. That was fun!
Just as shooting light was running out a doe popped up out of the ravine and she brought a buck that made me jump! I got the binos on him while he circled her around and around a spruce tree at twenty five yards. He was very nice, but I wasn't sure HOW nice! He was tall, quite tall, with decent width but I thought his 3's and 4's were maybe weak. But while I was glued to the binos, deliberating and palpitating, he made the decision for me and herded his Delilah doe off to safer places. I guess I had time to shoot him but I used that time look and waver. I think I should have, but I'd rather be sorry for not shooting than sorry I did. Hopefully I will see him again if even just to put the wonder to rest. He may be a one and done appearance, but maybe not. That's the way of these Wildcards.
I'll be lucky to hunt half a day each on Sunday and Monday due to other commitments, but hopefully the action stays strong and even picks up. They're chasing hard now!!
I know Canadian deer are known for dark antlers but since the beginning of this thread, noticed how stocky these BC deer look including the does... The almost look like a different subspecies than those in the U.S., curious is this near the coast as our Blacktails?
Zbone, I'm about 450 miles from the coast. Our coastal blacktail are smaller but very stocky when mature. We also have Sitka blacktail on the Queen Charlotte Island. They are tiny and super tasty. Best eating deer ever by a long long stretch! Alice probably weighs over 250 but under 300. After they get about 4 1/2 years old they start getting really thick and under that they are a bit more mule like. The deer here have to have bigger bodies to withstand the prolonged, sometimes severe winters. The farther north you go in BC the bigger the bodies get, whether whitetails, muley's or moose. They also look fat because they often are and they got their winter coats on now. They need fat now to burn later in the late winter.
Kurt lives about six hours drive south of me in a totally different terrain. Like the difference between east and west Washington state. There are some giant mule deer in his area too!
Yesterdays forecast of snow overnight caused a change in my plans, but I still got in the blind at 1:00. Does and fawns filtered through for most of the afternoon. The runt fork and a 3X3 spent time chasing whoever would stand for a minute. The signal to start the race was always a snout in the butt. About 4:00, with an hour of shooting light left Alice (the buck formerly known as Humper) showed up and quickly took over. He is bad tempered and just will not tolerate any other bucks near him. Often the bigger bucks will ignore the wieners and even let them spar a bit. There is no humour in Alice.
It snowed an inch of sloppy stuff over night and is still slowly coming down. The only deer so far is a small 3X3 that popped up from the ravine and paced around on the lookout 35 yards from the blind. He looked kinda listless and dejected like the kid that even got turned down by the ugly chicks for the prom. His head and ears suddenly perked up like there was still hope and he made his way into the ravine then headed up the big hill.
And now I have the runty fork here to keep me company.
I have one permanent blind now. I had several treestands spread around but after several years of intel narrowed it down to this one spot. I shot a couple nice bucks out of a tree stand right on the edge of the ravine, but I was getting picked off by most of the mature bucks. I tried pop ups but the bears savaged them every time. And I did get tired of the eleven hour grinds in a treestand in sub zero temps.
Most of my hunting, scouting and prep is pretty physical and at seventy years old now I admit to being a bit ground down by the end of October. This is a place I can come for quiet and relaxing. I’ve grubbed out a small food plot over the years. I usually end up feeding the deer for six to ten weeks depending on snow depth and temps, often starting about now till mid January when they head off to the big fir ridges. I also put out alfalfa in several of their preferred bedding areas. That’s getting to be a bit more work than I’m up for this year too . Winters can be brutal here and they still haven’t recovered totally from die off a few years ago. I like to be preemptive because when it’s too late it’s too late.
I got five hours in yesterday’ morning before I had to bail. Can’t remember if I saw two or three bucks, so obviously none were memorable. Before I left I but two bales on their favourite lookout and by this morning they had kicked them into a nice fluffy mattress. Lots of tracks in the snow and one real toe dragger walked up my trail during the night. He may be close by or five miles away and still walking. This morning I saw two does, a fawn and two of the regular little bucks.
It does feel like a great day to kill a buck!
I had an unusual occurrence two days ago. I cut off a spruce bough that had been annoying me for the last eight years and chucked it on the bush edge. It’s a thick bough with a lot of little branch’s and twigs and it landed with the butt wedged in a double poplar base. Later in the afternoon Alice went to it and for three solid minutes rubbed his face in it. Not raking, just rubbing. An hour later another little buck came and did the same thing. Mule deer make lots of rubs but I’ve never seen this before. Twenty feet away I have a lick branch, built to T-roy’s specs, that I put a cam on for eight months. Nothing! They walk within two feet of it all the time without the slightest bit of interest. I dunno.
Ahh, now it makes sense Troy. Or maybe just send me a couple of breeding pairs of trophy whitetail to use the lick branch I already have. Probably the simplest.
I had a lot of does coming through pretty much all day, but no mature bucks. The Three MuskeDeers seemed to be hiding close by and tagged teamed any doe silly enough to stand still for two seconds. Their show got old by the end of the day.
It may be slow for a few days, but pretty quick new bucks should start passing through hoping to find a doe others missed. That's when a Wildcard could show up and make my season! Hopefully I don't have to do the full eleven hours tomorrow.
It’s snowing and a pleasant 27 degrees (for you fellas still stuck on the pre independence scale). Shooting light will come late and slow this morning. Hopefully a big buck doesn’t ghost me and wreck my day.
Good luck hunters!!
Everybody seems a little listless today. Like the homeowner who threw a great party the night before but is now stuck with the clean up and a hangover.
There’s been a fairly steady trickle of does and fawns. Alice just showed up again after a day’s absence. He looks like he hasn’t slept in two weeks. He left then cane back five minutes later pushing a doe. Not a lot of zip in his step but he’s still plugging away at his job.
The day ended with lots of does seen. Five different bucks total, but all ones I’ve seen before.
Alice came again half hour before dark and he was just standing still by a dark spruce tree. The poor little three point with the stickers, whom we’ll just call Stickers, came casually in to check some does and he didn’t notice Alice. Alice suddenly made a fast bluff lunge at Stickers and he pretty near turned inside out getting out of there. About five minutes later Stickers tried a test run by very casually trying to saunter past, kinda hands in his pockets whistling a light tune, but that just seemed to really aggravate Alice. A short, very decisive chased ensued!
I’ve had two other bucks over the years with the absolute meanest personalities and both were relentless and merciless fighters. The first two were definitely related and I’m wondering if Alice is too. I killed one of them, wanted to kill the other and might up end killing Alice if he keeps acting like a 3D target.
Adam, are you saddled and swinging for a monster? I think we have to change “run’n and gun’n” to “go’n and bow’n”.
Pretty much a cookie cutter morning, overcast and intermittent snow, and no light from the sky on the walk in. It’s 26F and will struggle to get above freezing today.
But this is a good sign that the Nomads are on the move!!
I might cave and shoot if he gives me a perfect shot!
And you guys are not helping my resolve with all the “choot it! do it!” hooting. lol
There’s fourteen days left in the season and I can probably hunt ten to twelve of them. But I still might cave :)
Still remember that great buck you got a few years back… The potential for a mule deer like that would have me stuck in a box for as many days as possible when they could possibly be moving! What’s the potential for another giant like that one?
I got some company. The crippled doe and a dink.
About 1:30 the Limper 4X4 came in casually hanging with a couple does. He showed just enough interest to be polite, but not enough to be rude. A gentleman buck. Fifteen minutes later I saw antlers bobbing above the brush! Now I got a problem! I had just started eating my peanut butter/honey and bacon sandwich and I couldn’t set it down because it would stick to everything. It was still too big to shove all in my mouth and besides the squirrel cheeks would throw my anchor off. Should I just keep eating and hope he stalls. If it’s meant to be, it will happen? I was sure it was the mystery buck from this morning!
I was frozen in time, a chunk of honey drenched bread that had fallen out of my gaping mouth stuck to my chin. Now, sandwich in one hand and binos in the other, I confirm it is him. The crabs claws are unmistakable as he rises, one deliberate step at a time, out of the ravine and into full view.
“Well shit” I mumble through a wad of bread, “That’s not much of a buck at all!” I wish I’d never seen him again to save the disappointment!
We’ll call him Crabs.
Crabs and Limper kept a respectful fifteen feet apart and showed no real malice to each other. Now if Alice had been here, he would have started a fight at first sight.
And now there is another new buck just showed up. A heavy goofy looking 2X3 with one thick brow tine sticking out front. We'll call him Goofy
Oh well, still fourteen days left.
It’s 36F this morning and it looks like we’re in for a stretch of freezing at night and thaws during the day, plus some rain. That’s basically worst case scenario for the deer and grouse. Temps are the only thing on their side as they don’t use much energy staying warm.
runty!! The forking little fawn sniffer!
And Goofy is in for a close second! Goofy is such a little dickhead, I hope Alice shows up and kicks his ass.
I have two cripples here at once right now. And a week ago I had a small doe on a cam vid with what looked like a broken lower hind leg.
Mostly, I'm just curious about your level of optimism. But for the record, I'm not only rooting for you, I'm thinking your odds are quite good: 79% you see a shooter and 53% you kill it.
John, I’m in my blind by 6:30. I can usually shoot about 7:15 to close to 5:00. I’m losing a few minutes on both ends per day right now.
Tomorrow morning might bring the one for you. Believe!
Hey Rock! You must be chasing something right now too?!
My yesterday ended with only four different bucks, all seen before and none of any note. With the snow and shorter days I can see the feeding pattern is changing. They ‘re coming through a bit later in the morning and earlier in the afternoon which means they’re feeding longer. I have a lot of edge with good natural feed around the plot and they are taking their time snacking as they go.
On the up side I got sent a cam pic of a big mainframe 3X3 with a short G4 on one side making him legal. About four miles from me and he’s a for sure target if he shows up here.
After reading all the pros to the Fanatic clothes in that thread, I brought my vest for good luck. I should have it done up in the next forty five minutes, or so.
Good luck today everybody!!
There is a PBS (I think) video I seen of a mule deer migration of like a 150 miles... Once they started nothing stopped them, fences, highways, housing developments and roads, nor rivers they just kept moving on a mission...
This morning well before shooting light, with binos, I could just make out Limper bedded on the lookout in front of and to the right of me. A few more minutes passed and three flattops came through and as if prearranged he got up and left with them. I haven’t seen a deer since! I now know the pain of being in a Connecticut Live Hunt.
I put on my Sitka Fanatic vest this morning for good luck but it didn’t work. Now, all the thumping, bumping and muffled curses while trying to get the zipper engaged may have had an affect on anything within earshot.
I think maybe my spirits need a Lift from Mathews. :)
Zbone, these bucks are not migrating. They are just on extended forays looking for leftover does. About mid January, depending on snow depth, the deer will move to the big fir ridges but stay “local”. Just a different biosphere. My area doesn’t have corn, bean, pea or other crops. No mast trees or orchards. They have to browse what grows.
I think a size 7 1/8” and a 12” should do it. Thanks man!!
Is there one certain type of browse that they feed on in the winter, more so than anything else?
I totally get and respect that you have this spot you’ve developed and stick with day after long day, believing that a giant will stroll in, make a move on the gimpy doe and you’ll kill him and wear the size 12-1/2 hat. Your persistence is amazing. But, are you ever tempted to look at new country for a day, even if it’s the same country with different scenery?
See you in the am…..
Hoping you kill a toad, but I’m happy you’re taking your time. Love the story
Today was kind of painful though. The initial couple of early morning deer, then literally nothing until 12:30. Then over about twenty minutes it was a parade of does and fawns, with a little fork as Parade Master giving everyone a good butt sniff to keep them in tune. From about 1:00 till dark just a few stragglers. Three bucks all day, two forks and Limper. Pretty sad.
Not sure how much I can hunt in the next three days with family stuff, grandkids on Monday and pick up my wife at the airport on Tuesday. She'll have been gone for week weeks by then and will likely expect me to spend most of the day with her. Maybe not though, because I think I may have gotten scurvy from no fruits or veggies since she left. Or could just be a rash from wearing the same clothes for three weeks straight. So I'm pretty happy that JohnMC is going to send me a couple hats from Odor Eaters (or something like that) and the Sooner the better.
Thanks for taking us along,
Mulies are definitely nomadic. Just when I was starting to think there were no shooters around, I killed a dandy yesterday that I had never seen before. I think that's why I love mule deer hunting so much. You just never know what may show up.
Are you out chasing deer?
The feeble sun gave way to clouds and then the wind kicked up some strong gusts. I heard a few trees snap off up on the high ridges. The deer will be on them like the fat kid on his brother’s Halloween candy.
I’m going to have to thin out about a thousand pecker pole poplars around the plot because I’ve noticed the deer don’t browse in there anymore. The really tight stems and canopy has suppressed the understory. I cut a dozen after dark tonight and piled them on the bush edge to supplement the herds food supply.
The good friend that owns the property I hunt on is hinting strongly that I’m being a bit fussy. He said, “ I grew a lot of potatoes this year and I need a lot of gravy. And you can’t make gravy from patience and hope!”
Alice better hope something turns up before the last couple days.
I had one set of grandkids today so we went and sat in the blind for about an hour. Two 9 year old's and a 6 year old. We saw one doe and she didn't stay much past the three blonde heads all thrusting out the window at once and yelling, "There's one!!" After another half hour of the little apes running around the plot kicking deer turd filled snow at each other, not sure what tomorrow will bring.
Tomorrow is dark till dark or death.
It’s 39F and a bit breezy out of the south. Hopefully it dries the ground a bit before the deep freeze sets in.
Grunter, I just have one permanent box blind. Because of the topography the wind nearly always shears along high ridge in front of me (south). If deer come from behind me they have to pass to my left or right because I’m perched on the slope of a high knob. There are clover leafs of trails to my north and east and tons of trails in the ridges and ravines on the other sides. Many of them connect close to me. Between natural funnels and old skid trails kept open by animals, moving deer regularly pass by me. When winter hits, I feed them. Generations of deer know they can come here to pack on a few pounds from early December to about mid January. The alfalfa bedding sites are used by the local does and fawns. Often rutted out bucks show up mid December to rest and refuel. Most of those will be bucks that were born here and lived here till they got dispersed in their third fall. It’s imprinted on their brains. I have a pic somewhere of four good 4X4’s and a couple smaller ones all bedded together in a hay nest. Thermal protection is one of the best things you can do for deer in severely cold climates.
We’ll see what the day brings!!
This sucks! Thats about it.
What started as a decent day quickly deteriorated to rain, then snow, the wet snow and rain and now just rain again with a fog that rolled in. I’m in a blind so I can take all that, but the not having seen a deer yet is grating on me.
It was very windy last night and that probably interfered with their feeding, so maybe they got a real late start and are making up for lost time. At any rate, non have made the normal to and fro yet.
When I was here yesterday with the grandkids, I turned the timed feeder on to drop over night. Not much, so it should have been all gone. Tough to say for sure but looking with binoculars from here, it looks unmolested. I’m going to pull a couple cards tonight and I can look then.
I really hope the afternoon picks up.
From the blind I can see the tree that I sat in for so many days for quite a few years and I’m really happy I’m not sitting there today! Yuck!!
So, very little movement today. I'm not sure if they just bedded closer to the feeding areas because of the weather or my grandkids scared them all just that bad. They did sound a bit like a pack of starving coyotes.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a better day, with a dip below freezing and the clouds clearing off by mid afternoon. I need to draw a Wildcard!!
So much fun following along. Good luck on the last day. ;)
I have a crib that holds one bale, under a good water shedding spruce tree and I put a bale in it early September. Over three or four weeks they will pick all the alfalfa out of it and about 90% of it ends up on the ground. I cleaned that out at the beginning of November and replaced it with a fresh bale. They're still pretty picky, but less so. I put three bales (one per week) in the one bedding site and they just kick it all apart and spread it around. I kick it back up into a pile around the tree. In this weather they're kinda like me when I'm hunting and not really hungry but feel like eating something so I pick just the red smarties out of my trial mix. I can gauge their need pretty well from watching how they treat the bale in the crib. They can't kick it around in the crib as much, although I had cam pics of a fawn that hopped up in it for a sleep several times.
When it gets real cold, they may eat 30% of it. We had a really cold long winter one year that they probably ate 60% of it over the winter. This year it's too wet to put it out yet or it loses it loft, just like a wet sleeping bag. I've had some success going in mid to late December after its colder and drier and fluffing it up with a pitch fork but that's less than ideal. And a bunch of work! The future is all about fawn survival and healthy, pregnant does.
It froze just hard enough over night to turn the schluck in the snow to a crunch. Should be a drier day with maybe even a bit of sun late afternoon. And against Brad’s wishes, I think I’ll kill a buck today.
I will pick my wife up at the airport at midnight tonight after a three week trip. That means I will not be hunting tomorrow. All the older guys know this, but for any young hunters out there, here is some vital information for your survival. I’m a forty three year survivor, so listen.
Tonight my wife will ask if I’m going hunting in the morning. I’ll kinda muse out loud about whether I should. She’ll say “well if you think you should , that’s fine”. That is one of those women speak phrases for “do it and you’ll be sorry!”
The worst case scenario is when your wife seems a bit edgy and you innocently, sincerely and stupidly ask “Is something wrong honey?” The responses will always be “No”. This is your first hint you are in trouble. But you persist a bit and ask again. “Are you sure nothing is wrong?” You will get a slightly exaggerated “Everything is fine!” Now you have just pulled the pin from a grenade and you have only two options! RUN! Which is the smart option in the short term. Or do your damnedest to defuse and suffer some minor injuries.
So, I will voluntarily stay home tomorrow and earn valuable marriage points, redeemable for prizes later. I see a new bow in my future. :)
Hopefully I just kill a buck today and avoid all the above.
Are you back Lou?
I'm going to show my wife that post later and ask if that sounds about right. ;-)
Well it’s noon and although my DPH (deer per hour) meter isn’t exactly pinned in the red, it’s hovering way higher than yesterday at this time. Seven deer but not an inch of bone. I did see yesterday that the cripple doe was definitely peeing on her hocks and rubbing them together in that pre estrous posture. Maybe just a bit late for her but just in time for me. Well not “me” specifically, but a buck for me.
Monday afternoon I kicked all the alfalfa back up into a doughnut ring around the spruce tree. It was pretty spread out again. I just watched a doe start near the trunk and paw while backing up. She would root around and pick out a delicacy here and there. Tonight I’ll go kick it back against the tree. I’m not sure who is playing who here.
The weather is perfect to kill a deer. Let’s see if a big buck knows that.
So I went home and we went fishing. And it was good, and my wife is happy. We have a full freezer and I still have a Sonora hunt coming up in early February. Happy wife, happy life!
My afternoon went about the same as the morning, several does but not a single buck. First buckless day I think. Not even Alice showed up! I wonder if he's getting some ominous vibe from the blind as the season winds down. -##----------------->
It’s 23F and the wet snow is now frozen and super crunchy and for the first time the sky is full of stars. Might even have an actual sunrise this morning and it may just jump over to the other side of the freezing mark. All in all, it’s looking like a great day.
Hopefully me and the deer are ready to get at it after the day off for both of us. Should have shooting light in forty five minutes, then let the games begin!
Good luck to everyone that’s waiting to release an arrow this morning!
To be a shooter a buck has to have age, size or character and he lacked all three. He has nice long G2’s, but that’s about it.
November 25 and also 25F with an overcast sky and slight breeze. Temps will just kiss the bottom side of freezing. With all the dark hours now the deer can feed extra and still have the cover of night. But they also get up and feed a little longer at mid day because they know winter is coming.
Tomorrow will be a family day for the most part. But I’ll probably also do a quick scout in another area. I may set a pop up blind just below a saddle on the bedding side of it if the amount of tracks warrants. With the wet snow freezing hard a few nights ago any big tracks will be preserved as clues. I’ll pull a couple of cards from here and depending on what I see on them and during the recon to the saddle I’ll make a decision about where to finish up the last four days of the season.
Of course, the smart and efficient thing to do would be just shoot a buck today :)
Today was just a grind. I saw a few does in the predawn moving back to the bedding areas. Another single doe just before noon. Then about ten more between 3:00 and 5:00. Another buckless and luckless day. Gone is the excitement of the pre rut and rut with all the deer running helter skelter to stay ahead or to catch up. The cam cards I pulled tonight didn't provide any encouragement either. By tomorrow night I'll have to make plan where to throw my chips for the final deal.
At least once a day I just head over the Mule Deer Meatpole and get pumped up again!!
Good luck, Robb
I've got close to nine hours of shooting light each day, which leaves about fifteen hours of darkness for the deer to avoid me. They got me beat there. But I've got four days left, so that's a total of thirty six hours. That's two thousand, one hundred and sixty minutes. Now, since it usually only takes about two minutes when it does happen, that sounds like I got tons of time. Pretty sure I got it all over the deer on this one!
That Wildcard could walk by in the first two minutes or the last two minutes, or any of two minutes in between.
Now if Alice shows up to rock the stage, then maybe he'll get some heavy metal back from me. Although the proper time to shoot him would have been before he bred a bunch of does. Might just have to go with the "better late than never" attitude.
I did see something unusual today though. There was a weasel slinking along just inside the brush. I was watching him through the binos when he got about two feet from a red squirrel that was sitting on a root. I thought, alright that little hunter is going to hammer that squirrel, this should be fun! They squirrel saw the weasel a second before the weasel saw him and he just charged that little white streak! The weasel ran and looped and turned and circled logs and brush with the squirrel hot on him. The chase lasted over a distance of about fifty yards, with the weasel finally making a break across an open lane, after which the squirrel gave up. I know weasels are pretty fearless, but apparently red squirrels are more than a match. A couple of times I've been able to watch pine martens chasing red squirrels through the trees and that is very cool to see the speed and agility they both have.
Anyway, three days to go! And I hope something more exciting than a weasel and squirrel race happens!
I’m going to rely on statistics for my hope now. Since I haven’t even seen antlers during the last three full day sits, statistically I’m due to see a cranker. Right?
Just now a beautiful blue/black fox was five feet from my blind. When I tried to hold my phone out for a pic, he caught me and literally exploded out of there. There’s a little circle laying on the ground where he was standing and I’m pretty sure that’s his butt hole.
Good luck, last minute bucks or bulls are sweet!
Today was only slightly more painful than yesterday with there being just a few less deer. Fourth consecutive day with no antlers. Odds are stacking in my favor now!
Two interesting things this afternoon, well interesting if your bored near to comatose .
Yesterday I watched a red squirrel put the run on that weasel. Today that weasel came along the brush edge on my side and I was watching as he came to about ten feet. Then I noticed that he didn't have a black tip on his tail. That's weird. And he's very fat and stocky. He got a few feet closer then turned away and he has a rather bushy tail. Huh!? It was a white phase red squirrel! Not albino though because there was just a tinge of red on the top of his tail. I didn't get a pic this time but I'll keep an eye out for him. And that's why the other squirrel was able to run him like he did. Didn't make much sense that a real weasel would back out of that confrontation or that the squirrel would start it.
An hour before dark there was a group of does and fawns milling around. A big doe walked towards a button buck and expected him to move and when he didn't she gave him a couple of the customary light kicks. Well he turned with his ears back and got right in her face! A bit surprised she gave him a couple shots to the chest and he responded right back. Before you know it they are both on hind legs and the hoofs are just flying, but the big doe has quite a height advantage. He's mostly kicking air while she's landing them on his head and back and as she pushed forward he lost his footing and went right over on his back. She kept raining down the blows as he squirmed and wiggled to get his feet under him and get the heck out of there! He squirted out and ran about thirty feet where he stopped and tried to regain his composure and salvage some pride. He dusted himself off while looking around to see how many of the other fawns had seen his humiliation at the hands of a woman. If they both lived another two years, he'd show her a thing or two, he muttered. Then he promptly went and bullied another fawn.
Tomorrow is another day, but the "lots of time" has turned into "time is running low". I better make the best of it.
When I was a kid we had a white phase squirrel and a white phase robin in our neighborhood. They were always fun to see.
That is crazy about that white squirrel!
I could just make out a body in the pre-dawn, sixty yards to my right (west) at the narrow end of the plot. He stood there for about five minutes and I could eventually make out decent antlers and couldn’t identify him as a known buck. He eventually moved into the ravine. The ravine is at it’s shallowest right there where it splits into two, divided by a long ridge that’s slopes up to some bedding areas. Once in there the deer have several choices and one is to take the trail to me. After another several minutes, he did just that! He popped up on the edge of the lookout knob which is now also the alfalfa bedding knob. He spent a good five minutes in there sniffing the beds and lip curling. He sweetened his hocks in his urges. I could see just well enough through the binos to decide that given the chance, I’d shoot him. But I needed him to take his time and the light to hurry up.
He eventually moved forward to stand under another spruce tree, but on my side of it. That tree is twenty seven yards, putting him at twenty six.
I’ve got my bow in my hands and I draw on him, knowing that I still need a bit more light or for him to step out from under the tree. Everything is grey, brown and blended together. I let down and wait a minute. I draw again and put my thirty pin on the back of his leg and follow that lighter hair up. I’m thinking that if I stop my pin just on the brisket and a bit up, I should be good.
The pin disappears in the dark hair.
Most of us have been there, where we want to take a shot, but our heads know it’s more desperate wishful thinking than a solid plan. And most of us have suffered the consequences of allowing our emotions to make the decision. Often resulting in a long difficult recovery or no recovery at all. I let down again. As I’ve said before, I’d rather be sorry for not taking a shot than kicking myself for taking a shot.
A couple minutes later the buck turned 180 and walked back into the ravine. Will he be back? Is he a one and done? That’s the nature of these Wildcards, only time will tell.
Now I wait, but with a renewed hope!!
Solid choice on holding off in that situation. Takes a lot of discipline to keep from pushing a marginal shot and turning it into an all day/night rodeo… Well done!
He will be back…
I woulda bet a case of beer you were going to tag out!
Thanks for sharing your hunt. I was starting to wonder if a new big boy was going to show up for you.
Congratulations on a well earned great buck!
Luv the mass and the look of that rack...
(But now it's time to be Paul Harvey and give us the rest of the story). :D
Besides the crusher buck, my favorite is the feet out the window!
This has truly been one of (if not THE) best live hunts ever posted on Bowsite. So nice to see everyone pulling for your success. Your descriptive writing style and hints of humor made this thread a daily read....and your well-earned success has made it EPIC.
There are a few great posters on Bowsite, you sir, are one of them! Jeff
Like others have said- I really enjoyed this thread. Very fun to read and it was fun rooting for you from the bleachers. Also fun to see a bunch of others cheering you on. The happy ending makes it that much better! WTG!!! Scott
First off, I just want to say how amazing the Bowsite community is! For all the kind comments, the encouragement, the well wishes and just for even being patient enough to follow along. Even I got bored of me on occasion. It's quite something that an ordinary guy like me can come here and "walk" among legends! Too many to name and legends for different reasons. It's kinda like being a kid again and sitting quietly around the camp fire past your bedtime, listening to the men talk, a bit in awe yet feeling part of it. This campfire is a great place to feel welcomed to. And thanks to all the hunters throwing another stick on the fire so we can stay up a bit longer.
So after the early morning encounter that got me excited, let me down, but left me hopeful, it was slow. Twenty minutes after the buck poked the stick in my eye, two does and a fawn came and left following the same directions as the buck. Finally about noon a yearling fork came by, looking about as lonely as me and if he drank at his tender age, we may have gone for a beer together. He eventually tired of the gloom hanging in the air and trudged off.
Now from the shooter bucks earlier actions and his still pretty active rut urges, I had fairly high expectations that he would be back to check again, just hopefully before dark. And about 3:45 he lived up to that hope! I first saw antlers floating just above the brush angling up from the ravine to my right. A quick check with the binos confirmed his ID. Now it was time to get ready, wait and hope. He walked steady this time with no hesitation and went straight to the hay bed on the lookout. As I've watched other bucks do over the years, he circled slowly around the spruce tree, getting snootfulls of doe scent in the hay nests. I can't shoot there and I was confident he'd move across in front of me, so I just sat quietly, bow in hand letting it happen. I'd been waiting a lot of days for it to happen, so a few more minutes is easy. After a few minutes he committed to carrying on and in the right direction. From his direction of travel, he has three likely routes. One takes him behind the same tree he stood in front of earlier and that's the worst one for me. Second is in front of that tree where he will give me a shot in a few places as he walks five feet inside the low brush. Third and best is he will come right out in the open and cut across the plot to pick up the trail going north the the feeding grounds.
Of course he takes the first and worst!
Now I have to be on the ball. There are only two short openings for me to take a shot! Where is right now, and when he just clears the spruce after passing behind it. On the latter, I'll have to stop him. That trail angles slowly down the sidehill into the ravine and gone. I'm ready and he is broadside right now, but his near leg is back and when it goes forward that means he's walking and possibly blowing the number one and best chance. Still lots of lung showing, I reason, and start my draw.
Ok, here is where years of experience and many animals killed come into play. I knock my friggin arrow off the string and it clatters through the rest to the floor!!! I don't even look at the buck as I franticly get the arrow back in place, fully expecting to see those antlers and eyes floating above his butt ready to leave when I look up. But there are special angels that look after children and fools and I haven't been a kid for many decades.
That buck is locked right on my blind, and is now standing perfectly broadside front legs right in line and he looked exactly like a Rinehart 3D mule deer at a shoot. I'm some how able to slow the next few seconds down enough to put the thirty pin in the ten ring and follow through well enough to see the arrow hit through my sight. And it looked about perfect! In two jumps he was gone on his intended trail and I watched to see if he would appear on the hillside, but nothing. I was confident in the shot but just sat for about five minutes reliving the last month and this moment that makes it all worth it.
I walked out to find my arrow, which I did pretty quick. Then I walked out onto the edge of the knob to look into the ravine. I could see again why the deer like this spot to bed and wait for love to show up. It has a great one hundred and eighty degree panorama of the ravine bottom and the hillside and with the open plot behind them, slim chance a predator will be successful. I can also see the buck laying about seventy yards away in the flat bottom. I'm pretty grateful for my life right now.
I'm by myself and dark will soon be here, so I snap a few quick, "as he lay" pics and plan the extraction. I don't like to gut them them close by. The guts don't bother the deer but the coyotes over the next few days do and the less stress the better at this time of the year. I pretty quick realized that he had fallen in a handy spot as far as ravines go. I normally get them loaded in my little plastic sled and just grunt them out. But the plot jutted close the ravine at this point and I have 150 feet of 1/2" rope in the truck. With the little bit of snow and frozen ground I can back right up close enough. That plan worked and after getting him clear of the bush I dragged him a good distance away to gut, skin and cut up in to manageable piece's. I was home by eight o'clock.
He's a nice buck. Not a big buck, but a nice buck and I'm really happy with him. Got some age and good mass, which I really like. I like to have a minimum of 150" for a clean typical 4X4 and he does that job handily. And my friend has plenty of gravy for his potatoes!
I only have a few pics and they are on my phone, so I have to add them one at a time. Someday BS will catch up and fix that, but for now it will do.
Thanks again all!!
Cheers and Happy Hunting!
He was just a little all better, all around, than I thought.
What do you think that thing weighed?
If this hasn’t happened to you, you haven’t bowhunted long enough. ;)
Well done on the recovery Rod!
If you are swinging by me on I-15 heading south on the Snowbird gig, let me know.
Good luck, Robb
I went yesterday to clean up the blind and pull the cards from the cams. The ravine cam I don't pull until season's end, but there was nothing inspiring on it. Regular deer, coyotes and a bunch of moose. That cam goes year round anyway. The two close to my blind I hadn't checked in the last two weeks. It's a bit of a silly phsycological thing. It would be nice to check and see an excitement generating buck, but it's also disheartening to check and see nothing. I'm going to sit there regardless and what happens will be what happens, whatever was or wasn't on the cams, so not knowing can help to stay the course. But about two weeks prior I got one five second vid of the buck I shot. That was cool.
Everyday in the solitude of the blind gives me lots of time to reflect on life's blessings. Lot's of time to re-read some of the epic Bowsite stories and the new adventures as they happen. Time can actually go pretty fast and sometimes I'm surprised when I realize the light has dimmed enough that it's time to pack up for the day. Time flies when you're in good company!
Thanks again to everyone that followed along and hoped (with me) for the big finish. We did it! All together we pretty near caught up to the "transgender swimmer" thread. Hmmm, maybe next year I should find and target a doe with antlers ;)
Cheers and Happy Hunting, Friends!