Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking Forward to 2011

There's been a website I have been frequenting for a while now, Outdoor Blogger Network, you can see their logo on my side bar on the right side of my blog They offer writing prompts, a suggestion to help get the writing juices flowing. This last one was about our 2011 Outdoor Goals, I was thinking about doing a goals list or at least just jotting down some things and ideas I was looking forward to in the New Year, but now this gave me more incentive to make this list. Here goes nothing.

Personal (I know, this doesn't deal with hunting, fishing, or the outdoors in general, but if I put 'em in writing here, I can't forget 'em or say I didn't say that but I'd never do that. Haha.)

  • The old one that everyone does, lose weight and get healthier. I did lose some weight last year, it made running up and down the river banks and hiking through the woods a lot easier, but now just to not let the weight creep back over the winter is the goal.
  • Stop hoarding random junk in my attic and basement, and clothes as well. Clean out my house and donate everything I can to Goodwill / Salvation Army. This also will allow for more room for someone else to move in with me this summer.
  • I want to go back to school, so I need to apply to Graduate School at WVU and get accepted in my program. As well as take a course this summer so I can substitute teach while I go back to school.
  • As I wrote about earlier, I finally have the funds available to purchase a Nikon D90, the camera I've been wanting for a while now. Since this will be my first DSLR, I want to learn the fundamentals of photography and actually put the camera to use for everyone out there.
  • Lastly for this section, it's a bit sappy and no one cares about this one but me, but I'd like to be a better boyfriend this year. It might actually help keep her around, lord knows I'll need all the help I can get. Haha.
General Outdoors
  • I've wanted to have my own garden for years, but it always seems to just end up being a potted peppers and tomatoes. This year I want to have a garden that actually makes it into the ground.
  • I learned to make jam for the first time last year, so this year I need to find more places to with black berry thickets and/or any (edible) berries for that fact.
  • This past year I skimped on my ramp hunting/digging, but now that I am able to can them, I want to be able to have enough ramps canned to last me three-fourths of the year.
  • As much time as I spend in the outdoors, I need to continue to learn more about the native flora and fauna of West Virginia.
  • Continue learning and using the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving that I got for Christmas to make more Jams and Jellies.
  • As long as I follow through with my first objective on this list, the last one shouldn't prove to be too difficult, can and give away part of the produce from my garden.
  • I'm not one for remembering to count every day or every fish I catch, I wish I was, I've tried keeping journals, taking pictures, just about everything, but it doesn't seem to work. I thought this year, I'm going to keep it general on this one, I want to fish at least 9 out of the 12 months this year. Doesn't sound to hard to happen, but I need to start somewhere and if we get the snow like we did last year, the water around here won't be clear or at normal levels till March. 
  • This is one I'm not sure I'm going to be able to attain, but I've love to. I want to catch four different types of trout: Rainbow, Brown, Brook, and Golden Rainbow Trout. I've never caught a Rainbow Golden trout before, so why not make it a goal this year.
  • When I got to Florida this summer I would like to try one of the following three types of fishing: Surf Fishing, Pier Fishing, or fish on a Charter. Another one that isn't that hard, but sometimes on a time crunch things like this take a back seat, unfortunately last year that was the case.
  • This is something I've been trying to do for years, but I haven't got lucky enough to catch a trout that qualifies for "The West Virginia Trophy Fish Citation Program". 
  • Lastly in the fishing section, I bought a fly fishing outfit and fly tying equipment this past year. I would like to become more proficient in tying flies and catch my first fish on a fly fishing.
  • Considering Spring Gobbler Season is going to be here before we know it, I want to hunt Spring Gobbler Season. As I've wrote before I haven't got to go turkey hunting, I've went and sat in the blind and called them, but I want to be able to have the chance at harvesting my first gobbler.
  • We've now talked about moving a tree stand to the flat at the top of my property that over looks a valley. I want to re-hang one stand and add another to my property and hunt from both of them this next season.
  • For the last four years, I've spent time learning about my property, adding food plots with Jay and Luke's help, and generally make it a better hunting area. I want to continue the progression of our hunting grounds and keep expanding the food plots.
  • I've been bow hunting now for more than a few season and have yet to harvest anything with my bow. My objective for next hunting season is to harvest at least one deer of either sex with my bow.
  • During Rifle Season I'd like to successfully hang, hunt, and harvest a buck from one of the two new tree stand locations I'm going to add this summer.
  • Well I guess the first thing I need to do is finally submit my blog to the OBN, yes, the same site that I've been checking out for the last few months and finding great blogs to read. What do I have to lose?
  • Right now I'm just using this as an outlet for my outdoor ramblings, so that I don't have to bore everyone around me with my thoughts, complains, and stories. I'd really like to start posting on a more regular schedule (twice during the week and once during the weekends).
  • As this is my first blog and I only started it a few months ago, I still have a lot to learn, but I'd like to make my blog more user friendly and entertaining.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking Back at 2010

Our haul after a morning at a honey hole.
L to R: Jay, Myself, and Jared
While looking at 2010, there were low points, but over all this was a great year. I got spend more time fishing locally, yet I was still about to explore some new streams in West Virginia. Even though, I wasn't able to start fishing as early into the year as I wanted to, I still made the most of it and got to spend some great morning on the banks of Big Sandy Creek and the Cheat River with some great guys. Then as turkey season rolled around, I didn't get to go hunting as I had wished, but I did get to go out and at least call and play in the woods and get the turkeys to respond to me. Next year, this will be a different story.

A bird catching his lunch on Ormond Beach, FL.
Of course, I spent most of the summer fishing as well as shooting bow, and working on our food plots and tree stands. I also got to take a trip to my parent's beach house this summer in Ormond Beach, FL., this was a great adventure for Jay and I, we didn't get to go salt water fishing as I had wanted, but this just leaves more for me to do this year. The end of the summer and beginning of the fall always leads to a lot of interesting things, it starts the count down for bow season, our annual trip to Romney, WV, the start of WVU football, and this year it even introduced a great girl into my life.

Then as the warm weather turns cold and the leaves turn and eventually start falling off, bow season proved to be uneventful for me this year, but man was Jay luck this year, not only did he take a buck on the Opening Day of Bow Season, he always took a personal best deer only a few day later. Although I didn't get to harvest a deer with a bow this year, Opening Morning of Rifle Season allowed me to put some meat in my freezer.

Looking back at it, it's hard to believe that this year is almost over, it's just flown by. But I guess now it's time to look forward to next year and start making plans for my up coming fishing trips.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Goods

I hope everyone had an great Christmas and got to spend sometime with their friends and family!!

Her new Camo Hoodie.
I had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my parents always have a seafood dinner/party for everyone to come enjoy, it's always filled with great food and laughter, this was actually this first year I got to introduce Cassie to this tradition. Of course as I've got older, the nights have gotten longer, and as there are no little children left in my immediate family right now, it makes for a nice Christmas morning to sleep in on. Once we were all awake and functioning, we began exchanging our gifts, it's always an interesting time giving and receiving gifts at my parents house, but this year wasn't too bad. I knew what they had planned to get me, but as I said before this was Cassie and I's first Christmas together so it was time to see if my had actually done well enough on her presents or not. As it turns out, I didn't do that bad at all for her, she loved her Fiesta Wear amongst other things as well, but the one she said she liked the most was her Cabela's Seclusion 3D hoodie I had gotten her, now she has something to wear next time we go shooting. Haha. As well as I had thought I did for her, she blew me out of the water with what I got. But instead of going on forever about everything I got, here's a few of my favorites:

The new 2010 Camo NFL (Redskins) OnField Gear

Picture my parents got me from a local artist.
And my parents got me some smaller stuff, but their main gift was cash for me to put towards something I've been wanting for a while now. A Nikon D90, hopefully I will be purchasing the camera soon after the new year begins. This should lead to me being able to get you guys a lot better and more pictures on here (as long as I remember to take it. Haha.).

Image from

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Maybe Next Year I'll be hunting this week..

Around five years ago when I got back in to hunting, I took up archery around the same time. I threw myself into it, just like I do with most new hobbies, I thought I'd never want to take up Muzzle Loader hunting due to the fact that I was an archery hunter (Yes, I rifle hunt as well, but around here that's just a fact). But now as time as passed, especially the last few years, I have started getting the inkling to try this foreign form of hunting. One of my other buddy I hunt with, Jared, has been muzzle loader hunting for a while now, along with Jay who actually took his first muzzle loader buck last year. So this leaves me with an open week in the season, yes I could be still bow hunting it and I have, but this leaves tags unclaimed since I can't take one with a muzzle loader. So maybe I'm just antsy for a new toy or maybe I am just wanting to take on a new task / skill, but whatever it may be, I hope to be hunting next year at this time with some black powered. This my take more than a year to happen, but I don't foresee any reason why I shouldn't try this form of hunting, I might even leave "Ol' Black Betty" at home more often, if I could take to whatever muzzle loader I get. This is just a thought, idea, dream, and a goal. But really what hunter wouldn't want to extend their season just that much more?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Time to put meat in the freezer..

Well today was the last day of Rifle Doe Season. After passing last week on the doe and yearlings I was hopeful to at least see them again, I hadn't planned on even shooting them, it'd just have been nice to see them. I guess that was a little too much to as for, because I didn't even get to see a deer that morning. It would have been nice to have taken one more deer during rifle season to assure that my freezer would be full for the fooling year, but at least I got one on opening day and I was able to get some meat in the freezer, guess I can't complain that much. All in all this past Rifle Season has been very enjoyable, I got to spend some time with friends and family and even managed to harvest one deer with my limited time in the woods.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Last Ditch Effort for Antler..

With having to work the second and final week of rifle season, the only day left that week for me, to bag a big buck or a buck at all for that matter was yesterday. This day was normally used to deer drives or to walk to woods in hopes of jumping up some deer, mainly due to the fact the snow has set in on us. This year was a little different though, Jay, who had spent the previous week (first week of rifle season) in Florida working, was back with an itchy trigger finger.

Since this would be the first time Jay and I would get together to rifle hunt this year, we decided to abandoned our tree stands and find a spot to sit together. We ended up picking a spot that we had sat the previous year and said we needed to build a shooting shanty or at the very least put a tree stand, but as you can tell by now, we were sitting on a foam seat the ground, leaning against a log, not horrible, but not the comfort level we had planned on the year before. Even with nothing having everything done we had wished we still held tight in this spot for a while, and it wasn't long before we spotted some deer making their way in. The doe and two yearlings that had been frequenting my tree stand started filling down the hill like that had done many times before that year, Jay having the itchy trigger finger threw me his his video camera and pulled up his rifle after we made sure that it wasn't a buck coming in. After some deliberation and the fact that they made their way right under my tree stand (which was blocked by some trees), we decided to pass on these deer in hopes that they would make it till  next year. Those were the only deer we saw that day, until we unloaded the rifle and started to pack our gear away, then of course a doe came crashing down the hill besides, but it didn't plan on sticking around long enough to let me load my gun again. Haha. I still don't regret passing on the the deer we saw earlier that day, hopefully they make it till next year and help the deer heard grow stronger.

The main lesson we learned today is that we should have trusted our instincts and put a tree stand at this location, next year this mistake will not be repeated.

The sun starting to peak over the valley we were watching that morning.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Number 1 on the Hit List..

This buck has had our (Jay and myself) attention for the past two years. Last year he was #2 on our list, but went nocturnal once season came in and never showed himself again until last this past summer and boy, did he grow. This buck was referred to as "Little Brow" due to fact that in 2009, the other buck it traveled with had a very similar rack, but the main distinction between the two was the difference in the brow tines. "Big Brow" was taken in 2009 on the opening morning of Rifle Season by a distant relative, you can't win them all I guess, but this was disappointing to see our #1 taken out from under using see as he was taken in between Jay's and my tree stand. But after that I still managed to harvest a nice 7-point that same morning, and we had hope that "Little Brow" would make to next year.

Now to fast forward to this year, we had been getting pictures of a 130" class 10-point that had all the same characteristics and "Little Brow" did, he was alive and growing rapidly. The excitement for this year only grew as the season grew closer, no one else had said anything about him still being around, he was going to be ours. Well at the very least we just wanted to see him in person, then the thoughts of what would be look like if he grew one more year, well we won't get to find that out. No, we didn't get him, neither did anyone that we hunt with on a regular basis. He was harvested by a friend of the property owner adjacent to us by Jay's tree stand. Yes, we were saddened by the news that the buck we had been chasing the last two years was dead, but shortly after that I was happy. Weird, I know, that I was happy that someone else had taken him, no. I was happy because, he was taken in the bottom corner were our properties join together, he was at least a 3 1/2 year old deer, and had great growth and potential. I was happy because, we had him pinpointed to an area and were correct, we just couldn't control exactly when he was going to be there, and I was also happy for the future of that mountain with the side of that rack, I'm sure he has some offspring running around. Here's to the future and joy of hunting for years to come.

None other than "Little Brow" himself.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Week of Rifle Season Review

This first week of West Virginia Rifle Buck Season is over now, one more week to go, but I'm not going to be able to get out until Saturday of next week. The joys of growing up and the need for a "real job" to be able to support yourself sure puts a damper on my hunting time. Even with work this past week I was able to get out in the woods on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, not too bad, four of the six days I could be out. I'm sure if you've been following along with my blog you know Monday was successful, if not you can read about it in the post "Opening Morning Rifle Season Success." The next two days moved like molasses in winter time. When Thursday finally rolled around I was lucky enough to get out and spend the day on stand. Most years I only get the morning due to family dinners and such, but this year my parents snuck away to their beach house for the holiday. With my parents gone and having a very understanding girlfriend it allowed me to get another full day of hunting in, with an already slimmed down hunting season that I use to (Thanks Cassie!!).

One of the few bucks I saw this Rifle Season
I was glad to be able to be out on, Thursday, my first day of Thanksgiving break, it almost paid off, but reluctantly I let the spike walk. He entered off the hillside behind me that the group of does and spike had on Monday, but this time it was different, he wasn't trailing a doe, he was just browsing for some food. I watched the spike walk down the side road by the creek, at this point I traded my gun for my camera. I tried to get a picture at the distance he was at, but no luck till too far for my point and shoot camera. As I continued to watch this deer he continued browsing and began to cross the creek and start walking towards the thicket between my tree stand and the main road leading around the property. To my surprise, I watched this spike for nearly 40 minutes browsing around the thicket and my foot plot, I did get to snap a few pictures and managed to play with my grunt call a few times to get a reaction. I could have used another deer in the freezer, especially since he was stand in the main road, right where I could have back the Jeep down to, looking at me for a few moments, but I figured that the busted up spike should at least walk one more day. Who knows if he'll make, but I figured I'd do my part to let him try and grow up to be a bruiser.

The temps finally started to call in the latter part of the week which allowed for the snow to finally start falling on Friday and Saturday. These days kind of blended together due to the fact that I hadn't got to see anything more than some does. Now that the snow was on I started to do some late season scouting as well, both days I sat in stand till lunch, then went home, warmed up, and grabbed a bite to eat. Then on my return to the mountain I would slowly stalk the property and try to pick up on any deer sign that I was about to pick up, I was actually joined on Friday afternoon by my cousin, Zach, who was visiting from Texas. He wasn't hunting, more just going along for the ride since he was only in for a short time, but he is an avid hunter and photographer so don't be surprised if some of his work shows up here in the future. But I used Friday and Saturday mainly to relax and just try to learn more about my property and spend some time with family.  

Even though I wasn't able to harvest another deer to finish filling my freezer, I still considered the end of my first week a success. I learned some new things about my property, was able to pass on a small buck, see some does and yearlings, and spend some time with family. We often forget that sometimes, hunting isn't completely about bring home an animal, sometimes is more about the time spent out there.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Opening Morning Rifle Season Success

I'd love to be posting how I went out this morning and I took the 130 class buck we have been after since this summer. I'd love to have an amazing story to tell you how the majestic buck walk in right at day like and proceeded to chase does all morning before before I could get a shot off at him, but that's not the case, I'm going to tell you the story of a how sometimes a big, bad trophy hunter needs to take a deer to fill the freezer. Haha.

It has been unseasonable warm here for this time of year, opening day of rifle season highs were to be in the mid 60's, this is something unheard of in north central West Virgina.  This time of year, highs in the mid 40's are considered blistering, so you can imagine the difficulty of trying to harvest, gut, drag, and process a deer with highs in the 60's. With this weighing on my mind I thought to myself, I only have today, Thanksgiving, Friday, and Saturday to hunt this week due to work and my freezer was nearly empty form last year. Not to mention, my dragging buddy, Jay, wasn't hunting with me to week due to his work schedule, so any deer I took this week was all on me to drag out this week.

Now that you know the frame of mind I was in and the envirmontal issues I was dealing with, but now onto how the day went. It was another opening morning, not as much excitement as there is normally for bow season, not sure why, I love rifle season, but there's still not the same excitement, maybe due to the fact I was heading out alone this morning.  I got to my stand just before day light and jumped into stand and just hoped that to day turn out a little better than my dismal bow season had done. As I sat there and watched the sun start to peek over mountain ridge behind me, I started to hear the first shots of the morning. It did start slow, but I knew it was from the lack of shots ringing through the woods that it wasn't only myself that wasn't seeing a lot of deer that morning. It wasn't to long into the morning till I started to see some deer, little did I know, this would be the only group I'd see.

Rifle season actually has me watching behind me in the treestand more so that the traditional way I should be, but I use the same to bow hunt out of so I figured I'd saw more deer crossing behind me this morning that I had any year previously. I kept my eyes peeled for deer leaving the feild top behind me and coming down the ridge line behind me to creek that ran 45 yards behind my stand.  It only took till 8:15AM to have the deer start trickling down the hillside looking for a drink in the unseasonable warm morning. I first spotted a doe with two fawns, one still having a faint sign of spots on it. You can call me a sucker but typically I don't try to shot a doe with fawns, then seeing that the does had her tail in the half cocked position I knew she was in heat, and proceeded to steady my rifle on the spot they came from, because it was only a matter of time till a buck was going to be trailing her. To my surprise, very soon after I not only had one but two deer in my scope, both were does though, also with their tails cocked. At this point I was sure a buck was on his way, and boy was I right. It was only a matter of a few minutes until I had a buck in my sights, it as a tall, heavy antlered spike, that right, the deer I had been waiting on, was a spike; Knowing that a larger buck could come a long at any moment I decided to pass on him. I then proceeded to watch these deer play games with each other all down the hillside, with a few times still putting my crossharis on the buck questioning if I should have just then the spike to get some meat in the freeze and get it processed before the day got hot, but the idea of what he would grow into next year got the best of me and I let him finish walking out of sight.

After letting those six deer walk in and out without even firing a shot at them, I proceeded to kick myself for letting them walk because I knew those does would taste just as well as something with antlers on it. As the mid day rolled around I decided to stay on stand for all day and just eat lunch there, I'm glad I did. I wasn't even two bites into my pepperoni roll (it's a West Virginia specialty that I'm sure not many other people will know what I'm talking about, but I plan to post a recipe for them sometime) when I saw a decent sized does start walking off the hillside. I slowly put away my food and got my rifle of the hanger. Still not sure if I was going to take it I thought what was the harm in being ready. As I watched this doe for what seemed to be a half an hour, it was actually 15 minutes, all the thoughts of being that it was now in the mid 50's, I didn't have anyone to help me drag it out of the valley, and there could be a buck trailing it. Then I finally thought I need meat and I have the rest of the day to process it, but only if it would get in a place that I wouldn't have to drag it out of the valley. So I left shooting this deer up to where it wanted to walk, funny and lazy I know, but honestly I thought if it walked away without getting a shot on it I'd get to see more deer that day, if not I finally had my first deer of the season in the freezer. Needless to say the deer choose wrong, it not only walked in the towards me, and then just a few yards above a side road that ran next to the creek. After seeing this and knowing everything I was lining up perfect for me I let a shot ring, the doe dropped right in the middle of the road for an easy job of gutting and dragging it out, now as I right this I have it quarted out and half of it deboned. I apologize for not having any pictures, but it was a hot day and I was by myself so my first thought was to get it processed and put into the fridge.  I promise if I take anymore deer, even a doe I will get you guys a picture.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hopefully Rifle Season goes a little better than this...

Here is an e-mail my girlfriend received from one of her co-workers who know I hunt, they thought I'd get a nice laugh out of it. Well they were right and here it is for your enjoyment as well...

Click to Enlarge

I'm not sure of it origins so I'm not about to cite its source other than as I stated previously about the e-mail.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where did all the deer go?

It is now a month into bow season and I have still yet to harvest a deer, hell who am I kidding. I've yet to have a deer within 40 yards of my stand. Well that is at least when I'm there, there are plenty of trail camera pictures of deer frequenting my stand at all hours, but it just seems to be the hours that I'm not there. I'm not trying to make this a woe as me post, I just need a little venting session I believe.

Now that I got that over with, I'm now trying to figure out what the problem is with my stand, it was a great location last year. I had at least one to three bucks frequenting it last year, but I have no clue what happened to it. There's a saying my friend told me; "Don't hang your stand on memories, hang it on facts." Well even though this was partially true, hanging it on facts, I hadn't even bothered to think about moving it, maybe I should. They did some timbering a few properties over and were running new power lines on that same property, so I'm sure that had to affect the deers movement, not to mention the fact that this years acorn crop was one of the largest in recent years. There are plenty of reason why I'm not seeing deer I guess, and only thing I can do is more scouting and prep better for next year. Thanks for listening to me whine about this, I still love being in the woods, even if I don't see a deer, just sometimes I need to rant to realize how lucky I am to be able to just sit there and enjoy it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Time to Knock the Rust off Ol' Black Betty

With Rifle Season right around the corner, I figured it was about time to get "Ol' Black Betty" out and make sure she was still sighted in and ready to go. She's a very standard, Remington Model 700 ADL .270 mounted with a  Bushnell Sportsman 4x12 scope. This was the first time I would take my girlfriend with me to target practice, seeing as this is her first deer season with me. She's been amazing about everything so far, best her heart. Haha. But I was just hoping that "Ol' Black Betty" was on so I didn't look too bad and maybe even impress her. If not, we took out some smaller caliber guns to shoot so that she could join in and I knew they were shooting straight.

Don't mind the older covered up bullet holes, but 
I'd say she (the gun that is) was shooting pretty well still.. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another uneventful outing..

With another week of work in the books and not many days to take off, I am mainly restricted to hunting on Saturdays, also due to West Virginia laws prohibiting hunting on Sundays. The day started out the same slow way that the previous Saturday had started, but this time I didn't see any bucks. The first deer is saw were a group of does behind me on the hillside above Jay's tree stand, he said they didn't even make it close enough for him to see. Although he didn't see the does, he did have a spike walk in close, but considering he was already tagged out on bucks with a bow for the season (his hot streak continued into the early part of this past week), he passed on this buck to let him grow another year. That was it for the morning sightings. The afternoon started off quickly, but then died down soon after spotting a doe and yearling cutting across the log landing I had saw the bucks in on the previous Saturday. A very slow down, with few sightings and none in range, but it was still a beautiful day to be in the woods for sure. I'm going to leave you with a picture of the buck that Jay got on Monday of this past week. He harvested it from the blind I showed everyone earlier in the post "Apples Part II & A Walk in the Woods". This deer scored roughly 115", and is currently Jay's largest whitetail taken, replacing "1&1" taken only a two days previously.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bow Season opening day's ending was a "drag"...

The opening day excitement wasn't lost on Jay or I, as it seems that every opening morning we get to our stands at least an hour before we even need to be. It is nice to be ready and waiting, just even being in the woods after waiting 364 days to be right back here on opening day was amazing. After we got parked and ready, we started walking in, of course as normal we bumped a few deer out walking down the main entrance to the property. Once we reached the path leading to my stand Jay and I wished each other good luck and he proceeded to his stand. Now the fun part of climbing up into the stand, getting everything unstrapped, re-strapped, make sure the safety harness is tight, and the bow is hung in its proper place. As quick as Jay is at moving throughout the woods and getting in his tree stand, I thought he'd already be ready and shooting something by the time I got the last strap tightened, but I was wrong, I looked across the valley to still see his headlamp glowing in the last bend in the road before I lose sight of him, come to find out later that he was bumping deer out of his stand location as he was trying to move in slowly enough not to spook them. Now I know what everyone is thinking, that we're not getting into our stands soon enough if we are bumping deer out, but we have the deer on trail cameras at all hours of the night and it was near impossible to walk in there and not bump at least one deer out. So we just had to go in as softly as we could and try not to spoke them to bad.

Well you would think that with all these deer being bumped up that for sure we'd both have a buck on the ground by breakfast. Well we did too, well at least we were hoping to have the option to have passed on a buck by then. How wrong we both were. It started out very, very slow, then around 7:30AM, right on schedule with our scouting a few does walked in by Jay, but we were holding out for a buck on opening morning. He did see a spike with that group of does, but it was no where near in range and was acting kind of "spooked" as Jay texted me. Later to find out the buck we referred to as "1&1" was trying to push him out of this area, but the spike still cared more about trying to tend to the does. Jay thought he saw a larger buck behind the spike, but could never get the buck to step out in plain view. We found out it was "1&1" because later in the morning around 9:30AM, he presented himself at my stand. Let me step back for a minute and explain how he got here. After Jay had been seeing deer all  morning I had gotten a little discouraged, because I hadn't seen nor heard a deer all morning even though some of these deer were leaving Jay's stand on a direct route to mine, but needless to say they didn't make it there. Around 9:15AM I started to get out my water bottle, but I didn't even make it to zipper before I spotted a small, busted up 4-point using a licking branch and scrap about 100 yards from my stand, I wasn't planning on taking this deer, but I still had my bow ready, just in case something else presented itself. I watched him clean out his scrap and then proceed through a log landing while heading straight for the top of my food plot, right as he reached the end of the path, ready to step out at roughly 50 yards; The buck did an about-face and exited the same way he came in. Wondering why he did this I started questioning if he winded me, but he wasn't down wind, I hadn't moved, and I was left puzzled for a moment. As I watched the buck head back across the log landing I spotted another, much larger buck at the licking branch and scrap where I had started watching the first buck, but this one I knew, it was "1&1" and he was right on time from leaving Jay's stand and heading to mine, but sadly enough he didn't make it within a 100 yards of me before they both ran each other off. By the time all this was done it was close noon and was warming up so Jay and I decided to head back to my house for a quick lunch.

After a quick lunch and a rundown of the morning with my grandpa, we were back on the way up the mountain to get back in our stands. The afternoon was slower than the morning even was, I ended up not even seeing a deer, but come to find out Jay was a little luckier than I was. At 6:10PM two does walked in under him and not more than 30 seconds later, "1&1" the buck we'd both had a look at today, was stand right under him less than three yards away. As the deer wondered around Jay's food plot, he drew back on it once, but he could never get a clear or steady shot at him, he said he thought it was over. As luck had it, as it normally does with him, "1&1" presented himself broadside at a perfectly clear 20 yard chip shot. He didn't even make it 35 yards before he had bled out and dropped. So the opening day of  bow season ending was a "real drag"... Needless to say it was dragging out a deer we had been watching for a while now, I'm was slightly sad that I didn't get to harvest a deer on opening day, but I was more than ecstatic to see the fruits of our labors finally paying off. This was only the buck taken off the property in the last four years, we have been trying to be selective and start trying to add some food plots and minerals year around. To see the other buck taken off the property you can go to the "About Me" page.

This picture will hopefully help explain why we called him "1&1", as you can see by this picture he had one small brow tine on the left side (if you are facing him) and a small G3 on the right side.

Jay with his largest buck to date

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bow Season Eve

It's been a little while since I've posted on here, but every spare moment I've had I've been shooting bow and double and triple check my gear. All this preparing is due to the fact that tomorrow morning, I will be getting up at the butt crack of dawn (if I can sleep at all due to the excitement), for the opening day of Bow Season in West Virgina. So before I know it Jay will be pulling up in front of the house to head up to our tree stands. Here's to a safe and plentiful season, wish me luck...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Well I was going to a WVU Football game...

...but along my way, while cutting through the middle of Morgantown, WV I came across a doe and two fawns. I tried to take a quick picture on my BlackBerry, but it didn't come out the best, here's a look at them.

Proof that there are Whitetails in Morgantown City Limits
Funniest part of this is, I don't know if you can see it, but fawns are standing next to a "Slow, Children at Play" sign, with the doe looking back at them. And in case you were worried, I made it to the game in plenty of time for some tailgating and the game...

   Let's Gooooooooo Mountaineers!!!
The Pride of WV forming the State of West Virginia during the Pre-Game show
Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium  - Morgantown, WV 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apples Part II & A Walk in the Woods

View overlooking part of the property before
we ended the woods on the deer trail.
As you read earlier this month about the tradition of our trip to Romney to get deer apples. I now introduce you to Apples Part II. The trip was a smooth ride and good conversations, this time it was only Jay and I that went up, so most of the conversation revolved around my grandfather's property we hunt on and our plans of what we want to do to it in the next few years. I did remember to bring my camera with me, when I left my house that was. I kind of, sorta, maybe forgot it in my Jeep once I got to Jay's. Sorry, no pictures again, but there's always next year, haha. As far as the load of apples we got was a nice, firm load, so hopefully they'll last at least till Rifle Season in November, we'll have to see. You do know, the old saying "one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch" is true, so hopefully I got all of the bad apple out of my bags.

A POV from where the Trail Cam is set.
Some buck rubs we found.
Once we got back, it was still early enough in the day that Jay wanted a new hunting location he got access to this year as well as check his trail cam he had set up in the area. So of course, I obliged and we loaded back into his truck and headed out after the apples were bagged. Yes, I did remember to grab my camera for this part of the trip. This tract of land is only a matter of minutes from his house; it's actually a hunting club on a Christmas tree farm that his father, brother, and he are a part of. The spot we went to is tucked back in one of the corners of the property. A well used deer trail cutting off the field edge lead back to his trail camera, a little further than that was a slight opening. Standing in that opening I could see a handful of nice rubs where the deer had been trying to shed their velvet and sharpen up their antlers for the next month or so of sparing. Once we got to the location of his trail camera we pulled the card and switched it out, nothing like the excitement of seeing what is on the card from the previous week or so. Luckily, as we browsed through the pictures there were some nice bucks coming on a regular pattern. Hopefully this will allow for Jay, or at the very least someone in his family to get a shot at one of theses bucks coming in. In all the excitement of looking at the pictures I didn't even bother looking to see where he had hung his stand or put up a blind. I stepped back and started looking for the stand/blind, it took me a minute, but I found it, no help to a tree that was blocking my view of it momentarily. He did a great job of bushing it in and keeping it close to the location, but not scaring the deer off with a new structure in the area. After wandering around the woods for a little while longer snapping pictures and looking at more rubs, we decided it was time to call it a day a head back home. These are the days that breeze by way to fast and make you feel like you didn't do much of anything, but we still accomplished a lot today; including much needed scouting on a new blind location for Jay.

Can you find the blind?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Right in the Boiler Room

Well it is only 26 more days until the opening day of Bow Season here in West Virginia. I'm not excited or anything, I know some of you may be already be hunting in your state and if you are good luck and be careful. Always remember though, practice, practice practice, even in season. There's no reason to get rusty sitting there waiting on your trophy. For those of you who are still waiting for the season to open, this is the time that you need to be shooting as much as possible and honing your skills. So after this mini-rant, I'll leave you with the last group I shot today.

Three arrow grouping at 23 yards.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Annual Romney Apple Trip

Well it was about that time of year, no not time to start shooting my bow (that should be done year around, if at all possible), it was time to head to Romney, WV. You may ask why I'm excited about this, well this has become a tradition, not one of mine but one I got invited to join. One of my best friends, Jay, and his family and friends always make a pilgrimage to the apple orchard of Romney for deer apples around the middle of September.

I will start by saying, in West Virginia it is legal to feed deer, this is different in every state and even different in different parts of states, so make sure to check your regulations throughly, but this is mainly a personal choice to feed or not to feed, given it is legal. Now after the Public Service Announcement, back to the story. This is normally an early morning adventure with a caravan of pick-ups with trailers in tow, heading out in search of apples, not that we don't know where we're going, but that just made it sound more majesty (haha). This may sounds like a yearly chore for some people, but this is our unofficial count down starter to bow season (this trip normally takes place within a month of bow season starting). The ride to get the apples consists of everything and anything you can imagine hearing around a campfire at deer camp. Roughly three-fourths of the way there is the only pit-stop, just enough time to refuel, unload all the coffee that was consumed on the ride, and then to fill up the coffee mugs, again. Only a little while later are we were all pulling into the orchard, lining the trucks up to get filled with crates of apples. While the trucks and trailer are getting loaded, half of the guys standing around looking and laugh at how much each others trucks are squatting due to the apples and the other half of us are inside the shop filling our order from home for eating and baking apples.Once everyone pays for their goodies and piles back into the trucks, the voyage back begins, albeit a much slow venture. Now is time to start eating the apples and discussing who's going to take the biggest deer, where everyone is going to be hunting opening morning, and what the rest of the day has in store.

As we close in on our destination back home, the caravan starts to break off one by one, then it's our turn. Now we're back at Jay's house, but with a load of apples that needs to be unloaded and bagged; that's where all the fun begins, not really, but it still an interesting time to say the least. After the apples are bagged and put away or loaded into my Jeep, it's time to head home and put out some apples in front of the trail camera. Just another way, another tradition to make the memories of hunting and the great outdoors special.


P.S. - Jay and I are actually talking about making a trip up there later this month to get another load of apples, hopefully if that happens I'll remember my camera to take some pictures for everyone to see.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When the World Stopped Turning..

I'll never forget where I was that morning or what has happened since.. Please pay your respect today for those that lost their lives that day and their loved ones that still deal with this tragedy to this day..


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses - It's More than a Flower

As I sat behind my parents house over the this past labor day weekend, cooking s'mores over the campfire, with my cousins and aunt, who were visiting from suburban Washington, D.C. and my parents, we began to reflect on what we had done that day. To myself, this was an semi-average day consisting of  walking around a rural, river valley town, going to check trail cameras, exploring the area around my tree stand, showing Austin and Avery (my two younger cousin who were visiting) the wonders of what a little green shoot of sassafras can taste like, a trip to the river to wade in and skip rocks, and a night cap of a campfire and s'mores. To us, lucky enough to grow up in this great mountain state, this doesn't sound like such a far fetched day. But to those two elementary aged children this was a new wild and wonderful world of amazement and adventure. As the recap continued, there was a sense of awe from my aunt, who visits western Maryland on skiing trips and is familiar with the area, over the past days events. The amazement she was showing took me back to some degree. Who would have thought that a simple day in what I considered an ordinary day could have such an impact on someone. 

After the s'mores were eaten, the fire had smoldered out, and the young ones were tucked into bed, it began to hit me that the life I lead in the mountains might not be that ordinary. But for those of you that live and breath the outdoors know what I'm referring to, but those series of events have helped me remember a saying, or more so a motto to live by that my grandfather taught me at a very young age. This is something that I've thought, back then, could be mastered in a childhood, but now as an adult have come to realize that this is something you will never fully grasp, even in a lifetime. That motto is to, "stop and smell the roses." Such a simple little line, something you may have even heard a few times throughout your life, but I beg you to heed this advice. Whether you are hunting, fishing, going for a hike, camping, or even just skipping stones across the river, "Stop and smell the rose" for a while. Life will be there, yet the experience that you will take in, just those few extra moments with the people around you or even by yourself will make memories that will last a lifetime. As for where I learned this; It would have been just another hike with my grandfather, but a quarter of the way into the hike we reached the first bench on our way up the mountain, overlooking a one of the West Virginia valleys that Route 50 runs though, and he told me just stop for a moment. I did, but with a dumbfounded look on my face for sure, I asked him "Why?", knowing that he wasn't tired or in need of a break. And right then, at the ripe ol' age of six, I learned one the most valuable life lessons to date, that I still try to achieve to this day, "...just stop and smell the roses for a while. This trip isn't about getting from start to finish, but about taking everything in along the way." That trip, right then, became a memory that will last a lifetime, just a matter of 30 seconds of explanation and few moments of "stopping and smelling" has left an impression me, my life, and my views for eternity.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...