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.. 
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