Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tagged out!

Dad assured us that deer move in the wind.  He was confident that if we were in the woods, we would see something.  He could be as confident as he needed to; he had tagged out and could stay warm. The wind was howling and with the Sky Condo breaking apart, I didn't waste much time getting into my tree seat in the woods.  It had taken me a handful of years to be comfortable enough swaying in a tree during a windy sit, but I was ready.

It was so cold that I had on my snowmobile boots with toe warmers, my ski gloves with hand warmers and a blanket over my legs to help keep the wind from hitting the backs of my legs.  I had on so many layers!

It was too windy to hear anything move so I just kept scanning from one side to the other.  I kept hearing Dad's voice telling us that deer move in the wind and I was reliving the shock of seeing that massive buck run across my parent's back yard the night before.  I was zoning out, looking straight ahead when something off to my right caught my eye; a doe!  It figured.  She was talking past me and into the thicker woods.  Dad was right.

I went back to starting straight ahead and trying to guess what time it was and when I might suspect Hubs to come get me to head inside for lunch.  I heard rustling of leaves just off to my left and assumed that it was either a brave gray squirrel or Hubs.  But when I really focused, I could see that it was brown.  Maybe the doe was circling back.

Then, I saw antlers.  Just little spikes.  Nope.  He was safe but he wasn't alone.  Only a few steps behind him was a crotch horn.  The minute I saw him, I had two thoughts: 1. I can't afford to get two deer heads mounted so I don't need to wait for the big buck and 2. If Dad's deer meat is tough, this one won't be.

I pulled my ski glove off and put it in my lap.  They were going to be crossing right in front of me, so I got my sights lined up and watched the spike walk in and out of the cross hairs.  The crotch horn stopped behind a tree as the spike kept walking.   The second he exposed himself, I squeezed the trigger and he dropped.  I was done! Tagged out!



The wind was gusting hard enough that Hubs wasn't sure that shot he heard was mine.  It wasn't until I sent him a text saying that I had a deer down that he headed my way.  My phone decided it was too cold to work but I was able to shoot a quick video of how it all went down.

It wasn't my biggest deer and it wasn't the one that I was after, but it's meat and it will keep us well fed.  And now the count down is on until the 2018 season!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Of course I don't have a doe permit

This is how I started my second week of deer hunting. 

I have never been so quiet in the woods.  I was painstakingly slow and keeping my eyes peeled for deer.  The week before, I had jumped two deer under my stand and I was determined not to have that happen again.

I walked out and around our normal route into my stand.  I was at a snail's pace. I would walk, stop and look.  I would look again and take a couple of steps before doing it all over again.  I watched for any movement near my stand.

The leaves had fallen off the trees from the wind storm the weekend prior so I had a better view of the area.  I could not see any movement near my stand so I paused next to our trail camera to look around and relax a little bit.  The minute that I stopped, three loud blows jumped me off to my left.  I had made a huge error; I was so concerned about looking near my stand, that I never figured that the deer would be on the opposite side of the path.

I watched their flags wave as the bound into the thick woods and I picked up my pace and headed to my stand.  I was pretty confident that I wouldn't see another deer for the rest of the day.  I was right.  But, at least I knew that there were plenty of does around that stand. If only I had a doe permit!





Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Finally! it's the rut

All over social media, there were posts about the rut; has it started in your area? have you seen any chasing? how do you know? what's the moon phase?  As much as I would have loved to have had some concrete answer to those questions, I had never seen proof that the rut was on.  Until that second week in November.

Hubs was out hunting on the 10th and I was in charge of the kids and making our way up to my parent's house to hunt on the 11th.  It was windy and cold and I had opted to stay in and not hunt that evening, but wait until the next day. 

I was holding the baby and watching the leaves blow across the lawn when I saw a doe emerge from the bushes around the pond (see down pointing arrow.)  She paused and then ran across the lawn, tail down.  I assumed that she wanted to get back into cover with the weather being what it was.  Seconds behind her was another deer.  I assumed that it was her fawn from the spring, until I saw the shine of small antlers.  It was a buck chasing a doe!  I had never seen anything like it.  The two of them ran across the lawn and disappeared into the tall grass closer to the house (right pointing arrow)



Dad was outside when all of this happened and hadn't see any of it.  I was explaining what I had just seen when we both looked back at the pond.  Another deer was coming out of the grass... another buck... with HUGE antlers.  Someone yelled, 'get the gun!' It might have been me... I was still holding the baby, so I promptly placed her on the floor in the living room and ran back to the door.  I flung the door open, leaving the open screen door between me and the buck.  He had tall antlers and they were well beyond his ears.  This was the biggest live deer I had ever seen.   He had his head down and was following the path of the doe and smaller buck. 

I yelled at time through the screen and tried anything I could to delay him so that Dad could get the gun and I could step outside and take a shot.  He didn't hear me, or if he did, he didn't care.  He was gone before I could get the gun in my hands. 

It was the first time that I had seen the rut "in action" with not one but two bucks chasing one doe.  I would have LOVED to have been able to drop a huge buck right on the lawn, but it just wasn't meant to be.  Still, it was an incredible experience!  and another reason why deer hunting is so much fun; you never know what could happen and when.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The end of the Sky Condo

As I climbed into the Sky Condo to start the 2017 hunting season, the top step broke off from the tree sending a chuck of wood to the ground and leaving the bulk of the rung hanging down to the next step. I lifted my gun off my shoulder and slid it onto the floor of the Sky Condo and them threw my backpack up.  I got myself into the stand and looked down at the damage.  We were going to have to replace a few rungs before the following week.  And my silent entry into the woods was anything but.


I sat there for a couple of hours and then headed for my stand in the woods to see if anything was walking through. 


I was cautious walking in and looked for any sign of brown.  I made it around the corner when I heard that tell-tale sound of a deer blowing.  I watched as two flags ran from under my stand, away from me and into the ticker woods.  My cover was blown but I had hoped that the deer would head towards the stand that Hubs was in since he had a doe permit.  No such luck.

I sat in my stand for a few hours and then Hubs and Dad showed up to get me and head out of the woods for lunch (this was two days before this happened)  We didn't stay out long and made a plan for the rest of the night.  I was heading back to the Sky Condo to sit and asked Hubs to walk me back in to make sure that  I was all set getting back up, given the broken rung. 

I made it three or four rungs up when another one broke beneath me.  I lowered myself back to the ground and headed over to Hub's ground blind to wait out the rest of the night.  Nothing was moving and I was out of my comfort zone being on the ground.

I walked out at the end of legal hours and closed out the first day of the rifle season with seeing two deer butts running away from me...but at least I saw deer!


We decided that night that this is the last season of the Sky Condo as we know it.  There will be a bigger and better Sky Condo for the 2018 season. Stay tuned for that!