Sunday, November 27, 2011

Season 9, episode 5: BBD (big buck down) part 2

With the deer down, I filled in Dad with what happened, how I didnt shoot when he was in the first shooting lane and all of the excitement that goes along with the hunt. Dad walked over to the deer before I did and counted the tines. He has never shot a 10 pointer (he has shot a lot of 8 and 9 pointers that were big deer, a few over 200lbs) so to get such a big deer was really great.
When we started to gut him, we smelled a horrible stench. This deer was very much in the rut and since they carry their sent in their lower legs, it was the strongest right near us, where we were holding his legs and gutting him. Whew! It was bad. Dad said he has never smelled a deer so stinky. And since he was heavy and we were a distance from the truck, Dad decided that he was going to get the tractor to get the deer out of the woods and back to the truck.
I led the parade out of the woods while the deer got a nice rid in the bucket. We loaded him into the truck, took him to get tagged and brought him home.
It was a great season, with wonderful weather and snow at the start and end. It was so much fun seeing the tracks around the house and in the woods; seeing the deer beds and then having my first big buck walk out in front of me and be able to take him down. Wonderful end to a great season.

Thanks for coming along during the season!

Season 9, episode 5: BBD (big buck down) part 1

What a weekend! I went home in a snowstorm on Wednesday. Dad and I hunted Thursday morning and with the fresh snow, we could see that the deer were right where we were. It was a little discouraging to have that confirmed for us, because we still had not seen a buck. We walked, tracked and walked some more. A cool thing that I had never seen before were deer beds.
We saw 3 in a row and you can tell how big the deer is because they leave a print in the bed when they get up. This one was the largest and Dad is pointing to the print. We called it a day mid-morning and spent the rest of the day with family.

The next day was warm, 37 degrees. Which is warm for the end of November. Dad made the call that, because the majority of the tracts were headed to my tree seat, we headed down there first instead of sitting in the sky condo. We headed down and I was sitting and ready by 6am. I sat and waited.
It was around 8am that I saw him. He stepped out in front of me. Right in my shooting lane. Right where the second tree is. I could see his antlers up over his ears, but I could not see how big they were beyond that.


He had his head down. I shifted to try and get my gun in position (I keep it across my body, resting on the bar of my seat). As I moved, he stopped and lifted his head and looked right at me. I froze. I think I stopped breathing too. I did not want to spook him or make him run. And, I had no idea where Dad was. He was walking around somewhere, so I couldnt bank on Dad getting the buck if I didnt. The deer put his head back down again. moved again. He stopped, then lowered his head, flicked his tail and kept walking... right into the trees. I was freaking out. How could I tell Dad that I let a good sized buck walk in front of me and I didnt take a shot. I had a bleet in my jacket and as I was reaching for it, I saw him move in the bushes (far left on photo). I put the bleet back, made sure my orange mittens were out of the way so I could see out of my scope and waited.


My heart was beating out of my chest. I got in position and set my scope on the opening where I prayed he stepped out of. It is right behind the small tree you can see in the back of my clear shooting lane. Anywhere near there and I could get him. I could see him walking in, walking in... I was breathing so hard, I think he heard me and looked. I lined the scope up, behind the shoulder and shot. He dropped. BBD. I have NEVER shot a buck and had him drop. Usually they run a little bit and fall. He went collapsed right there. His front left leg retreated back into his body and his head twitched and that was it. I sat there and called Dad. He was walking up from the bog (at the end of my first shooting lane). He had heard the shot and knew it was me. We greeted each other with a big smile and half hug.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful...for the tag!

This Thanksgiving, there are many things I am thankful for; my family, my friends, good job, good health... but I am thankful that I get to spend so much time with my dad in the fall as we hunt. As you can see, it paid off! I shot a 10 pointer this morning. I will give you the complete story in my next blog (and I will show you more pictures) but until then thank you to each and every one of you that reads my little blog and leaves me encouraging comments. Hope you are enjoying Thanksgiving weekend!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tracking big bucks

This is what is coming our way -
8-12 inches of snow. Tonight into tomorrow. I am trying to focus at work, but really, its not working. Dad and I have been doing snow dances all season to get some snow to fall so we can track this damn deer that keeps mocking us and refusing to show himself. Gimmie some snowshoes and my gun and lets go! We will be out Thurs, Fri and Sat this weekend. Hopefully the snow sticks around into the weekend and we can get some good tracking in!

Season 9: episode 4

I have learned 2 things this hunting season: 1. I can now wear enough gear (awesome wool jacket) to mimic an owl. I bundle up so much that all that is exposed are my eyes and nose. I move my head and that's really it when I am in my tree seat. 2. I need to sleep the night before. Thursday night, Dad told me about the huge tracks he saw around my seat. I went to bed at 10 and tossed and turned about the big buck. At 5:30am, I was in my seat waiting for the sun to come up. I sat and I sat. 5 hours later, dad came to get me. Nothing. He did see 3 does and hoped there was a buck near by but that was not the case. We sat in the Sky Condo in the afternoon. It has been windy every day that we have been hunting. Not a crazy wind, but windy enough to keep your ears sharp for the difference between leaves blowing, squirrels running around and a deer. Or so I thought. I was in the SC, checking all of our shooting lanes. I looked straight ahead, where we have been seeing deer before the season started and where we shot our deer last year. Looking. I heard leaves to my right but assuming it was a squirrel, I didnt really pay attention. When it got loud, I turned to see a deer run by. It was maybe 100 feet from the SC and by the time I realized it was a deer, it was gone. I saw the whole deer, but I could not tell you if it was a buck or doe. For the sake of my self-esteem, lets say it was a doe. We left the woods empty handed. Saturday - nothing. We own 400 acres near my parents house and Dad had seen a lot of scrapes and rubs (finally). We walked around for 2 hours trying to jump something. Dad put me on a skidder trail and told me to walk up and over the mountain and we would meet at an intersection. I took my time and followed the trail. Dad lets bikers ride around the mountain, and I got off on their trail and not on the one I was supposed to be one. Crap. I found tree with orange tape and trees with yellow paint. Not an intersection and no trail really in sight. Im glad we carry cell phones. I had to call Dad to find out where I needed to go - he was literally 60 seconds behind me following the yellow trees. While it was a lot of fun to walk around the mountain, we need some meat. This weekend is the end of the season. Thanksgiving, Friday and Saturday. Fingers crossed I have a nice picture to post!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Working on our angles

Dad was out scouting this week. He found a bunch of scrapes and huge tracks near my tree seat. Big. He said its probably the monster we saw on the camera this summer - 8 pointer that he hopes has 20+ inch spread. No pressure or anything. So, we worked through all of the possible angles that I could shoot this monster, depending on which shooting lane he steps into (the largest scrape is in the lane right in front of me - see previous posts for the photo - there is a blow down and its right under it). Dad needed something to use as a model. I had the perfect thing!
We worked all sorts of scenarios - if the deer does X, shoot him here. If he comes right at me, hit him in the white of his neck. If he falls down, shoot again (I lost a doe when I let her get up and walk away). The normal pressure of making sure to kill a deer is fun, but having the added pressure of this monster buck right near me... eeeekkkkkkk!!!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Season 9, episode 3

Note: I started writing this, saved it and realized I never posted. Sorry! Well, at least the weather has been beautiful and I can work on my fall sun/wind burn. Last weekend, we struck out again. Dad saw a coyote and a couple does but nothing big. It was a beautiful weekend and it was nice to be outside in such great weather. Dad said he will make a scrape near our stand to see if we can get some action that way. My father in law did get his deer but he didn't have it weighed. SO... I ask all of you to guess how big you think this deer may be. I guessed, they guessed and now I want your guesses.
AND - I know how much meat they got from the deer. Is there a formula to figure out the dead weight?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Something more upbeat

This is my dog. She is adorable. She is a rescue puppy that we got almost 2 years ago. And this is the only picture I have of her face on, usually she moves as the flash is going off. So, blog friends, meet Leah.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The rotten apples

Over the weekend in Maine, 3 hunters were shot. One man died. Also over the weekend, 2 dogs were shot and killed as they were mistaken for coyotes. In this article, John Holyoke talks about what its like for him to talk to his non-hunting friends and how bad the sport or hunting looks when so many incidents happen over such a short period of time. I must say that it makes me happy that I hunt on family property and that Dad and I know WHO is hunting in the area with us (they sit in tree stands) but it is so, so scary to think about how quick something like this could happen and how absent minded some hunters can be while carrying a loaded weapon. Yes, I throw that gun up over my shoulder and shimmy up into my tree stand without worrying, but I also have a constant voice in my head yelling at me the minute the front of my gun comes up to where it would hit Dad's calf. It is unfortunate that these serious incidents happen at all, but to have 5 of them happen in less than a week is scary and unnecessary. A man lost his life. The idea of hunting already has stigmas attached to it and when things like this happen, it doesnt help our cause.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Season 9, episode 2

Nope. Not mine. Or Dad's. We struck out again this past weekend. We saw coyote and bear droppings (the bear was really cool because it was on the path to our sky condo). Dad was able to jump a few does but no bucks. No scrapes or rubs - are any of you seeing this as well? I am hoping that with a full moon on Thursday, rain all day Thursday and it getting colder here, that come Friday, I have a picture to post that is actually mine. The above deer was shot by my brother in law - 8 points and 225lbs. He got is at 8am on Saturday.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hunt the Rut

I found this cool article today about deer moving around in the rut. Do you agree? Hunt the Rut

Prep for week 2

What am I missing or need to do before I head into the woods? There was an article in the local paper about traditions and how the author gets up with his buddies, has a huge breakfast and coffee before heading out into the woods. I have cream of wheat or maypo, sip enough juice to get the vitamins down. Girls and guys? What about you? What's your typical breakfast before heading out? I also dress in SO many layers. This morning I found my running pants (Lycra maybe? spandex?) and my first thought was "perfect, they will fit under my fleece long johns that I wear under my wool pants". Two layers of sock, snowmobile boots, foot warmers (like the ones you use when you go skiing). Under armor, non-cotton t-shirt, more fleece, more under armor, a down vest and my wool jacket. Layers baby! Gloves, hat and blaze orange light weight vest and I am ready to go and sit. Tomorrow, I will be in my tree seat at 5:30. The temperature will be somewhere near 20. I will wait for the day light to break and hope a deer decides to walk past me. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Before and After

Here are my before and after shots with the snow. I climbed back up in my tree seat to take Sunday's photos from the same view point. You can see how long my shooting lanes are with the snow on the ground. 48 hours from now, I will have been in that seat for 4.5 hours. Im cold just thinking about it.