Friday, December 13, 2013
With schools starting to wind down for the coming holiday season, needed to take a day off to watch my son when he came home from school. So I spent the morning before that sitting in the deer stand in hopes that the deer that I am seeking shows himself. Conditions are really getting to those winter temperatures as the air temp was 11 degrees, clear skies and no wind at sunrise with it picking up quite a bit at 9:00 am. I am still thinking that the buck in the area is going to show himself, sat in that particular stand that I have been for so long already. As the sun rose over the swamp, and warmed me as it came up, it was going to be another fruitless day as there were no deer moving in this area what so ever. As I left I made my way around and through this bigger field looking for any sign and there was not one track in the little snow that we have showing that anything is even moving through this area. As I walked through the woods and around a smaller field, there still were no tracks anywhere showing deer activity. This is not a good sign as it is telling me that these deer have totally vacated that area and I am just wasting my time staying here in hopes that one will come out. I think that this may be the last time sitting in any of my existing stands as things are just not lining up. We have a big storm coming this weekend and next week will make it out there once just to check and patch of woods that I have not entered into as I have been waiting for snow to do that. I have a feeling that the deer I seek stays in this area, but lately without any sign of him moving around, my hopes are not that strong anymore. My main plan for the remainder of the year is to concentrate around some of the horse farms in the area, hoping the deer are feeding in these areas. And I am also making a move to a neighboring town in search of hoping to see more deer activity there.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The end of the woods being void of numbers of hunters is coming to a close as this is the last sit before shotgun season opens Monday morning. Conditions are the same as the morning and a bit warmer. The particular property that I hunt will get a lot of pressure from hunters come Monday morning as the owners have been there their whole life and they have a large family and friend base so a number of them will show up to hunt. Usually after the first weekend if there aren’t many deer seen then it will clear out quite a bit and there are only a few that will hunt the muzzleloader season that follows. Not a lot of people have been in the area that I am hunting this year but that can always change. On this particular hunt, once again there were plenty of squirrels and birds using the area but the deer just are not going to show themselves. I still think that they will come through the area and will probably use this area for the remainder of the season, but there is one area I haven’t even gone into yet. I have been waiting for snow to soften the foot noise of sneaking through there and that is supposed to come next week. I will be taking the next weekend off and hopefully the shotgun hunters will get disappointed and leave the area for when I return. The plan for next season will definitely need to look for more private land that isn’t being hunted and allows the deer to stay with their daily routines that the deer I am hunting now change as hunters enter the woods.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I am really hoping that this morning is going to be the one that finally settles the season for me as with the rut in full swing, something has to be moving as it is cold once again. Conditions for this hunt were mid-teens for air temperatures, moderate wind and cloudy skies. With the cold weather parked over us right now and the rut in swing, really hoping that the bucks would start moving more during the daylight hours but without any snow, hard to tell what they are doing now as the ground is frozen so finding fresh tracks is a bit hard these days. After sitting for a few hours and nothing moving around, is making for a very long sit while in the stand. With the upcoming shotgun season approaching, my hopes of getting this done before those are getting more dismal as the hours pass by. Nothing was seen this morning and with one more sit for the weekend, not looking good and as I walked back through the woods to my truck, there is little sign of rubs or scrapes and that does not make for a good feeling.
Monday, December 9, 2013
The weather has been horrible and for the last long weekend of spending in the woods before the guns enter, is getting shorter as each day passes. Conditions this morning were cold air temperatures of mid teens, light breeze and sunny skies. I wanted to get out Wednesday afternoon but it had been and was raining all day and ruined any chance of getting into the stand. Usually go out Thanksgiving morning and that was not the case as well as the rains were gone but now the cold temps were here and also the 30 mph winds that come along with them. So finally I was able to get out Friday morning and was hoping that after the bad weather the past 2 days, the deer would be moving around much more and the rut in full swing. Sat in the stand for 4 hours and not a deer was seen or heard and made for a cold morning waiting. The animals are in these woods as their tracks are left behind each day but they are moving mainly in the nocturnal hours and that is making the hunting a very difficult and challenging one. I want to start doing some stalk hunts, but without any snow cover, making it near impossible for getting around the woods without making any noise. The small squirrels even make a lot of noise as they hop across the dry leaves so for me to walk through there, going to be a difficult task.
Really didn't want to go back to this stand as I feel the deer have left the area and are using totally different routes but my son convinced me to take another shot here. Conditions have stayed about the same from this morning with partly cloudy skies, low 40 degree air temperatures and considerable amount of wind. I didn't do the scent drag to the stand but when arriving at the stand I added new scent to the wick and hung it under the tree. Just as I was settling into the stand it sounded like a deer snort coming from behind me. Thinking there was a deer in the vicinity, I scoured the woods and looked for movement as another sound came out so did a gun shot. The trapper using the area had a bog raccoon in his trap and dispatched of it and reset and vacated the area. After having this happen, my hopes were not that good as there has been a human walking and making noise through a section of woods. But with the amount of wind we were having, I was hoping that the sounds were carried the other direction from where ever a deer may come from. I don't watch the worked over field to much as there is nothing there for the deer and concentrate more on the creek bottom and woods behind me. As I was turning around from searching those areas here comes a deer walking across the field and it seen me rotating around but wasn't alarmed. I ranged the deer at around 85 yards and it looked like it was heading to the trail on the edge as it went behind the field edge brush and disappeared out of sight. From what I could see it looked like a doe to me and figured that it continued into the woods and not to be seen again. 15 minutes went by and all of a sudden here comes the deer down the edge of the field and it is a spiked buck. It took me by surprise as the time that had elapsed had me off guard and was not ready to say the least. As he walked down the edge he got to my stand trail and stopped there smelling the wind as he could smell the doe urine hanging there and was searching around for the doe that left it. With him standing 10 yards right in front of me, I slowly got my hands onto my bow and get the release to the string as he starts meandering down the edge of the field. By the time I could get the bow into position, he was getting out of range and no shot could be taken. At this point my heart was racing and my hands were shaking from all of the excitement that just happened in front of me. Hoping that he would turn around or swing around from behind me searching for the doe, he and no other deer were seen as darkness came. I did learn something from this that if I see one I need to be ready for a while after seeing it as the silence these animals can travel at, will have you off guard and allowing you to miss the opportunity of having a harvest.
Going to sit in a stand that hasn't been used in the morning yet and hopefully something will be moving through this area. Conditions were partly cloudy skies, winds around 10 mph and air temperatures of upper 20's. Upon arriving to the area, with the rut coming to a heightened state, decided to drag a scent trail as I cross the field heading to the morning stand. I criss crossed across the field dragging a scent patch full of doe estrus in hopes that anything crossing the field will catch wind of this and follow it to my location. With a decent breeze in the air, the scent should be drifting all over the area and at the same time I am using a doe bleat call to try to entice something to come out as well. As the morning went on, frustration starts setting in once again as there were no deer being sighted from this stand. So decided to go and collect all of my cameras as they are not getting any pictures lately as well and as I go back to the truck, go and check out another area that I haven't hunted before and see if there is any sign at that location. I dropped off the cameras and backpack in the truck and made my way to the first location and there were a fair amount of deer tracks there. But as I looked more and more around this area, low and behold there was a ladder stand there and not sure if that was to be used for the upcoming gun season or if they use it for bow season. Walked around to another area that I have seen deer in and there definitely is plenty of trails through it and is a number of rubs on small trees. So there are a couple of options to try as well and would sit on the ground at these locations.
Decided to sit on the stand where the rub is just to see if anything comes through this area on its way to feeding for the night. Conditions improved a bit as the air temperatures were in the mid 40's, sunny skies and the winds did pick up a bit as they were noticeable now. This outing was turning into the same as all of the rest as there wasn't any movement of basically anything in or around this stand. Kept watching out onto the open swampland in hopes of seeing some coming across but nothing was venturing around from where I could see. After walking out of the woods after sunset, there was nothing moving around on the open fields as I walked back to the truck. I went and checked the small field and nothing was hanging out there as well. For a day that I felt was going to be somewhat promising, it is giving me more doubts as each hunt passes and it is turning into exactly the same as last years dismal hunt. My conclusions are that for next season I am going to have to really search for some new land to hunt and be able to get away from other hunters as well as finding more food plots for having more active deer around.
With the onset of the rut season vastly approaching, wanted to go to the woods during the week so that there shouldn't be any other hunters in the area. Conditions were cold, 20 degree air temperatures, partly cloudy skies and no wind. Felt like a good morning that the deer may be moving around and decided to vacate the previous stand locations and sit in a stand that is on a travel route. As light approached, off to my left really sounded like there was finally a deer going to be seen as the steps were pronounced, and you could hear something rubbing on the brush as it moved. But after quite sometime, nothing materialized and all hopes of seeing one were vanishing as the moments passed. It was quite a cold morning for sitting in the stand and I made it to 9:30am before I needed to get down and move around. Nothing came through this morning and figured I might as well check all of my cameras since I am out and about. Checked the camera watching a fresh rub but doesn't look like he has been back. Checked the camera watching a heavy trail coming to a field and nothing was recorded there as well as our prime location seems to have dried up. The deer have definitely changed and moved as the season has gone along and I really need to figure something out fast as after Thanksgiving, the gun season starts. I walked back to my truck and always check a small field down the road and someone has setup a blind on this field. Looks like this weekend I will be pulling the stand near this field and relocating. Have an area in mind and hopeful there is no one there as I am finding out fast this year that I need to find some new land to hunt as there are just to many other hunters on this property.
With the sight that I had seen from the morning walk through the woods back to the truck, time to change stand locations. Conditions stayed fairly much the same for the day at mid 50's for air temperatures, sunny skies and little wind. In the morning on my walk back as I was almost out of the woods, I walked past a hunter sitting in a stand that wasn't there before. So this evening's sit was going to rest on if this hunter was at this location or not. As driving past the entry point, I looked at the stand location that you can see and there was no person sitting there so I planned to sit in the stand that has the rub underneath it. I had about 3 hours on this sit and did some rattling as well as in the past I have always been able to get something to come and look around for the sound being made. But as I sat there until darkness fell, again nothing was to come through and was an uneventful day of hunting. I know that the temperatures were a bit warm for this day but with the peak of the rut coming, would think that the deer would be moving around much more. I am definitely seeing a lot more deer sign than I did last season so I know that they are using the area but it is going to come down to timing and them going through an area that I am in. As I walked out of the woods and got to the edge, across the field there was a deer walking on the opposite wood edge but was never able to see what it was as it stepped into the woods and disappeared. They are here, just have to be in the right place at the right time.
Going to give this one stand location one more morning sit and will have to adjust to another location if it doesn't pan out this time around. Conditions were overcast skies, low 40's air temperatures and little to no wind. Was in the stand before the sky lightened and listened to the woods come to life for another day. As it started getting light out there was a grey fox that came trotting across the field and hit the edge of the field and came right back to the tree that I was sitting in and he was looking around for a bit and then headed down the field. Today I had decided that I was going to start doing some rattling and doe calling to see if the bucks are into the rut phase yet. As the morning went on it was becoming like any other morning that there was going to be no deer coming through this location. I don't know why they have changed the patterns as for months they had been using this location and now nothing. Even after checking the cameras there was only one deer pictured coming through and that was during one night and that was the only one for the whole week. Checked another camera in the same location facing a different direction and that camera had no pictures as well. Checked my third camera that was on a decent trail that always has fresh tracks and may have had that one to deep into the woods as there was no pictures on that one as well and I moved that camera right next to the field edge right where the trail comes in. When leaving this location I typically cross my bridge on a deep creek, and make my way past one of my other stands. When arriving at this stand there was the first buck rub on a tree right next to my tree stand and was fairly fresh. So I hung a trail camera there in hopes of capturing which buck was using the area and also left some scent in the area. Plan is to sit at this location this afternoon when I return.
The plan for this day was to try and sit all day to see if the deer moved around during the noon hour as some of the pictures on the cameras were showing. Arrived in the stand at dark-o-thirty and there was a breeze all ready, skies were clear and the air temperatures were around the freezing mark. Hopes of seeing the big buck in the area, I set myself up for an all day sit and hopefully something will come through. As the skies brightened up and all of the small animals and birds started coming to life, anticipations were running wild listen to every little noise that one could here. As the minutes and hours passed by, you do a lot of thinking and second guessing yourself as to was this the right stand, why don't they come through here and always, there is sign everywhere, where are they? At around 11:00 am with nothing sighted yet, decided to get out of the stand and go check my cameras and stretch my legs and get some feeling back into my toes. Upon checking the cameras, the past week had only shown one small deer at this stand in the middle of the night. There is a trapper using the area and not sure if that is messing with the deer's patterns here or if they are changing their patterns with the coming rut. Since the cameras had no pictures, I took two of them off of the field and located one behind my stand looking a different direction than one that is there already and the other one was moved down the field to a highly used deer trail and hopefully will see some better results there next weekend. After doing the cameras I made it back into my perch in my tree stand for the rest of the afternoon's sit. It was definitely cooler in the afternoon as the clouds came in and the breeze picked up quite a bit. Still was no deer moving around and I had been there for 11.5 hours and not one deer sighted. Now my mind is playing games with me as to which stand should I sit in next time. I am making a plan that when I leave the next stand I am going to go work my way through a small patch of woods that I really feel that the local buck is using as he bedding area. Would be nice if we could get a few inches of snow this week but the temperatures are going to be to warm to warrant that.
Was really looking forward to getting into the stand this morning and after the last day or so of rain and high winds, we were greeted with cloudy skies turning to sunny skies later in the morning, no wind, and 50 degree air temperatures. Made it into the stand under the cover of darkness but upon arriving at my small trail to the tree, the previous winds had knocked a bunch of branches across os made it very difficult getting to the tree in the darkness. It felt right this morning and was hoping for a lot of animal movement and couldn't wait for the light of morning to come. The squirrels and small birds were very active at the first light of morning with big expectations of deer moving as well. As the morning went on a family of turkey's came out onto the field and the young ones came out in front of my tree stand. They were still very small and not worth taking a shot at but the parents wouldn't come off of the crest of the hill to offer a shot and they eventually went on about their business. Also had a grey fox run under the stand and not sure if I have ever seen one of these in the woods before. As the morning went on the winds started to blow a bit and decided at 10:00 am to vacate this stand and relocate to another for a little bit longer. Stayed at the second stand for an hour and there was no deer movement and at that point I needed to head out for other plans. I returned the next day to check the game cameras for the week and one of the cameras near my first stand left a good picture. There was a very nice buck that went right under my stand an hour before I had gotten there and also another deer was under that stand if I would have sat there for the evening hunt. There are definitely deer in the area and it is going to come to a waiting game and hopefully be there when they move through.
The clocks are going to be turning back within the next few days and that means our evening hunts will be coming to a close during the work week days. So we were able to get out for a little time this evening and see if we can see some of the deer that we keep getting pictures of. Conditions were prime with sunny skies after a rainy cold day, no wind was detected and the temperature was around 50. Instead of going to the usual stands for during the week, wanted to try a stand that we haven't been to yet and opposite side of our stand that we sat on last Saturday morning. Conditions were great and was really hoping to see some activity, but once again the sit was not going to work out and no deer movement was seen. Plenty of other wildlife were active in their search for food, but getting the feeling it is going to be hit or miss, but as long as the cameras are still getting morning and evening movement, it is only a matter of time. As darkness was setting in, the tall swamp grass you could once again hear something that was moving around in there. Almost sounded like a deer getting up from a day's nap and moving through there but also sounded like it went out the opposite side from where I was sitting. Between the last two stands, there is a long narrow strip of this tall grass and I am having a feeling that this may be the bedding area for some of these deer in the area. Time will only tell.
Finally the weekend has come to be able to get to our key location for an early morning sit in hopes that the cameras aren't lying to us. Was in the stand before the skies lightened up and there was no wind, clear skies and temperatures were at the freezing mark. As I situated into my stand, in the darkness I could already hear an animal moving through the tall swamp grass off to my left. It definitely sounded like a deer coming through as some branches were snapping and you could hear the grass or brush dragging on its sides. As it got lighter out this animal either went out the opposite side of the tall grass or it laid down in there for its daytime sleep as it never came out on my side. It didn't take long and the winds really started kicking up and was blowing out of the wrong direction and blowing any of my scent into the woods to the side of me. Where this stand is located, I have a field in front of me, a small creek running right behind me and bigger woods to the left of me. The camera that I have covering this location, always has animals coming and going and today just wasn't that day. There are also a number of red squirrels in this location so I am going to have to watch myself as they definitely let everyone know that something is not right in the area. Hopefully will be able to get out there a couple of evenings this week before the clocks get turned back which will take away any evening hunts during the week.
Have to take advantage of these first two weeks of the archery deer season for getting to the stand after work as after these two weeks then daylight savings changes the time and the evening hunts will be gone. Another very nice evening to be in a tree stand with sunny skies, little to no wind and air temperatures around 50. It is very hard to get into the woods right now as the leaves are falling and it has been very dry here so these leaves are very crispy and hide a lot of branches as well. Decided to sit on a different stand this evening and it is in a funnel location that has a small cornfield to one side and a swamp to the other and where the stand is there is a strip of woods that the deer use to move from other feeding areas to the deeper woods. Keeping me entertained once again are a number of squirrels that frequent the area and it is amazing how they sound like a bigger animal is coming through the woods. Unfortunately, there were no deer sighted but was still very nice sitting in the stand and can't wait to get to Saturday as we will be locating into our prime location that we feel will show some deer.
The 2013 archery deer season has officially kicked off and was a very warm time sitting in the stand on this evening. There was a slight breeze, sunny skies, air temperatures were in the upper 60's at the beginning. Has felt like a long time coming for getting this deer season underway but now that it is here, we are in full motion gear going forward in search of 2 deer that we would like to harvest this year. The first deer that we are looking for is one of 2 different spike bucks that have been frequenting one of our locations and either of those deer would be a good freezer filler for some fresh venison. Then we get to a trophy hunt that entails a couple of different bucks that we have been tracking all summer and lately they have still shown themselves to our cameras. One thing that we are not liking is that we are starting to see the better animals are starting to turn nocturnal, but this hopefully is only due to the bright evenings we have been having with the clear skies and very bright moon phases. All in all there should be a number of deer seen this season and we are really looking forward to seeing how the season unfolds. Last nights hunt yielded no deer being seen but also getting all of the little things taken care of from our equipment placement and such, so we are ready to go now.