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Showing posts from December, 2016

Wait! It's not over yet

"All I saw was blue smoke" dad said smiling. One week after I shot my deer and rifle season ended, Dad was still hard at it trying to get one of those big bucks we still had pictures of. But, instead, he squeezed the trigger and got his first deer with a muzzleloader. According to Dad: two doe came crossed three different shooting lanes before starting to talk at him. When he decided to fire at the biggest doe, he lined up the sites and just saw the blue smoke and no deer.  "I got down and walked to where I saw her last.  The second doe was still standing nearby, so I knew she was down.  When that second doe ran off by itself, I knew the deer was somewhere near by"  Dad picked up the blood trail and tracked his doe... right into a nice puddle of cold water,"She was completely in the water and dead."  Dad pulled her out and got her back onto higher ground, then got his skidder to pull her out the rest of the way.  When you lose two fellow hunters who

In less than a minute

The snow was melting and dropping off the branches and leaves.  I had been in the stand for only a few minutes when I heard a deer walking off to my right.  It was one deer and too dark to know if it was a doe or buck.  Maybe it was the crotch horn.  I closed my eyes and listened to the deer walking away from me.  At least it didn't seem spooked; maybe it didn't know that I was there. The sky began to get brighter, indicating that the rain predicted was not coming.  I dug into my pocket for handwarmers. I tried to keep the crinkling plastic as quiet as I could as I ripped the first side open.  I waited before I opened the second warmer to keep my noise at a minimum. When I made the second tear, just the corner came off exposing a hole just big enough to get my pinky into. The second warmer was heating up, but I couldn't get to it.  I wiggled my pinky inside the hole and tried stretching it out. I kept watch from the Sky Condo as I pulled to get the plastic to give. A br

It doesn't get better than hunting on snow

There was a storm coming in on Thanksgiving night, so Dad and I started and ended our day in the woods.  It was silent when we walked into our stands in a turkey induced semi-stupor. The silence didn't last long.  For almost two hours, we listened to someone target practicing or just shooting different guns.  It was ridiculous and I still can not understand why, during hunting season, someone would do this when they could have waited until Sunday (when we can't hunt.) When we went to bed Thanksgiving night, the cold rain had turned to snow and on Friday morning, there was enough on the ground to track. Snow turns me into a kid! It could be an early snow in Oct, a Christmas show or the type that you dread in March but for me, I get giddy.  I was the first one up and dressed on Friday morning. The woods were totally silent. The animals had not woken up yet and I loved how bright the world seemed under a coating of white. The silence was broken by steps. It was still too dar

United, we win.

United, we win. The more involved you get with something, the more frustrated you can become when priorities shift, you see behind that iron curtain and you lose sight of what’s important and made you get involved in the first place. It’s hard to get reenergized and motivated sometimes, especially when there are so many divides. I have been partly amused and partly disheartened to read articles that my fellow outdoor writers have written about how they miss the ‘good ole days’ of hunting when women were home with the kids and not out in the woods.   I hate to break it to you, but women are the only way that the next generation of hunters are going to take to the woods.   WE are teaching our children why it is so important to hunt, know where your meat comes from and respect the entire field-to-table process.   I don’t remember the ‘good ole days’ because I am too young, but I can guarantee you that I will do everything I can to make sure that my children are comfortable see

Just shoot a doe

There were signs of deer everywhere! Tracks, rubs and fresh scrapes but for some reason, I was not seeing them.  Dad, on the other hand, was seeing deer everywhere he looked. One morning, he watched a spike horn chase a doe and fawn through the woods.  He walked out of the woods behind a doe and fawn another night.  He was seeing multiple does every time he sat or walked through the woods but instead of using that doe tag, he wanted that big, illusive buck that we knew was still hanging around. I hung out in my stands and watched a lot of squirrels.  How could we be spending so much time in the woods and not come across a deer yet? It helped that Hubs had filled the freezer but we knew that there were deer all around us. Still, being in the woods was fantastic.

Sitting is safer

On Veteran's Day, the wind was so bad that I climbed down from the Sky Condo to sit in the ground blind that we had not removed since turkey season.  I am usually all for rocking in the trees but there was just enough extra creeks happening that I felt better on the ground. It sleeted, the wind blew and nothing moved. Saturday was different.  I started off the same way as the weekend before; Sky Condo to tree seat.  I left the Sky Condo a little earlier than I had the week before hoping to see more deer than just the two does.  There were fresh rubs that were a little bigger than the ones the week before, but it wasn't from a large buck. The leaves were somewhat crunchy and I took my time getting to the stand.  I was almost there when I saw two white flags flickering in the woods.  The does!  They were at my stand, eating. I was in the middle of the trail and totally exposed.  I slowly crept backward until I was up against a tree.  I couldn't see any antlers.  T

Back into the woods

We had to revamp our hunting plan since we were now one hunter down, but Dad and I stuck with what he knew would work and where we thought the deer were. I started the morning in the Sky Condo and when it was clear that nothing was moving through, I headed to a tree seat not far away.  There were fresh rubs along the path that I used and although they were made by small deer, it gave me hope that the deer would be moving through. I left my pack at the bottom of the tree and climbed the 16 feet up to the seat.  I think I am more comfortable in treeseats than the bigger stands.  I can't move when I am up there because every part of me is exposed to unseen deer but there is something about being so much more present with nature than when you are hidden in a big box.  I rested my gun on the arm rests and kept watch for movement or footsteps. I hadn't been there long when two brown bodies emerged from the thick hardwoods.  I twisted slightly and got my gun ready in case

It's finally deer season!

We've waited all year for this!  Deer season was back.  Hubs, Dad and I had a rough idea of where we were going to sit to start the morning, when and where we would move to next and the basic game plan for the morning hunt. But then, I looked at the trail camera pictures. The 10 pointer that we had had on the camera last year had shown himself for the first time two days before at T3. Up until that point, we had only smaller bucks on the cameras.  But this one... we've been watching him for at least 4 years and he was beautiful.  I declared that I would start the season sitting in T3. Hubs was bumped to the Sky Condo and Dad would still hunt. It was a perfect morning - quiet and calm.  I got into T3 and settled in.  I had a set of rattling antlers, a grunt call and a bleat.  The season officially started at 6:40am.  I was ready.  From my seat, I could watch 7 different shooting lanes. I picked up the antlers and as I prepared to rattle, a single gun shot rang out. It was cl

Do they call it partidge hunting?

I don't bird hunt so I can never really be totally sure when people say that they are going bird hunting.  Does that mean partridge? grouse? aren't they the same thing? In this case, I wanted partridge. Staci and I decided to try out luck partridge hunting this fall.  We loaded the shotguns up, our outdoor gear and drove into the empty dirt roads of the Maine woods.  The fog had not lifted from the valley but the sun was making the foliage glow on the sides of the mountains. It could not have been a more perfect October morning. The colors were radiant and there was just a small breeze.  We left the main dirt roads and headed down skidder trails to look for birds that might be hanging out close to the road. Moose season was starting the following week so we kept our eyes and ears out for moose while we drove and walked down the paths.  After not hearing or seeing any birds down one stretch, I backed my car back on to the main dirt road.  I didn't even have time