Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back at 2011: Part 3

This is the third and final part of my Goals for 2011. This year has been a great year with a few first, at lot more time in the field and as always a great time with friends and family. Here is to a great 2011 and an even better 2012


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.
  • I did get to hunt a few times in spring gobbler season and I even had a close call with one, but I wasn't able to harvest one. It'll have to wait until this upcoming season to lay a turkey down.
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.
  • I got a little ahead of myself on this one, I wanted to move it but I was unsure of where I wanted to move it to so it didn't get done. This was good because I was able to harvest two deer out of one of the stands I was going to move. 
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.
  • This is something that I try to do ever year and no matter how much I accomplish, it will still be on my list every year. 
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.
  • I FINALLY got to check this one off my list!! I had been trying for a few years to get one and was finally able to take  a doe this year. This was probably one of my favorite posts this year.
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.
  •   Yet again, a little ahead of myself, but I was still able to take that buck on Opening Day


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).
  • Some months are better than others, but I'm still at it a year and a half in so I can't complain much.
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.
  •  I hope I have and made it better for everyone, but if anyone has any opinions or tips let me know!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Back at 2011: Part 2

After tackling the personal section yesterday, I am going to take a look at general outdoors and fishing goals for  2011. This is the second part of three posts looking at how my Goals for 2011 went.

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 managed to have my first garden this year. There was a great learning curve, but something tells me there is never going to be a perfect garden. 
I learned to make jam for the first time last year, so this year I need to find more places  with black berry thickets and/or any (edible) berries for that fact.
  • I did manage to find a few additional places to pick berries and those places have raspberries also. But the best news is I got permission to pick addition fields within a few miles of my house.
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.
Cleaning Ramps
  • For what I missed in the previous year, I made up for it this year. I went on quiet a few ramp digging trips. Cassie and I both whipped up a few new and old ramp recipes: Pickled Ramps, Ramp Potatoes, and Ramp Burgers. I didn't manage to keep three-fourths of a year, but I did manage to keep a bout half a 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.
  • This is something that will be on my list every year, I learned a good deal this year but still have a lot left to learn.
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.
  • Check this one off the list, but I've learned, it seems you always seems you get twice as much as you give away.

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 keepmy goal simple -  I want to fish at least 9 out of the 12 months this year. Doesn't sound to hard, 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. 
  • I called this one from the get go, the water conditions were terrible for the beginning part of the year and I wasn't able to fish until March, I did well and fishing every month from march to August. As with every year though, that's when bow hunting and whitetails took over and I haven't seen my fishing pole since.
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.
  • Ehh.. Although I got a out a few times I mainly stayed close to home (or went salty). That means that it was strictly Rainbows 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 one I managed to pull off. This past summer while visiting my parents I was able to go surf fishing. This was a great experience and one that I will soon be repeating as Cassie and I are heading towards the beach this evening. 
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". 
  • This one I might had pulled off, but I did a lot of catch and release fishing at the beginning of the year. There were a fish or two that I caught that were close, but they are still swimming as far as I know it so no chance of them getting me my state citation.
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.
  • I took my fly pole with me almost every time I went fishing, but yet no luck on the fly yet. As for tying flies, well maybe that's why they haven't been biting. Who knows. Haha.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Back at 2011: Part 1

I'm deviating a little from my norm here, but with the hustle and bustle of the holidays finally calming down I'd like to take a look back at the goals I set for myself last year. This is going to be a two possibly three part post due to the fact that this would be extremely to large for one post.
The first section was Personal Goal...

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.
  • This one we can skip, this was a weak spot this year. I maintained my unhealthy eating habits and exercise regiment, but with Mark at Sole Adventure and Al at SoCal Bowhunter both leading the charge for a healthier way of life, I think I might just get my butt in gear.
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.
  • This one is easy because it is no longer my hoarding, it's our hoarding habits. Really though, there has been many, many trips made to Goodwill, Salvation Army, and church clothing banks with excess clothes and goods. No matter how hard we try, this will be something we always try to do. It really benefits all when we donate what we can to who we can.
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.
  • I did get accepted into Grad School and have managed to keep a 4.0 GPA through two semesters now, but as for the subbing classes I didn't choose to proceed with them. I am looking into getting a internship for the spring and summer though. 
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.
  • Fundamentals, no, but I do love taking pictures and have manged to take some decent pictures and am always learning. With the addition of a waterproof camera (a Christmas present from Cassie), it should lead to be even more interesting pictures. 
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.
  • Well this one I think I did well with, but then again what do I know in terms of this. So for this why don't we hear straight from Cassie... "I couldn't ask for more..."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - December 20, 2011

With today being one of the first days since the semester is over and tonight being the first night of Hanukkah (Happy Hanukkah!!) I've been a little bit relaxed to say the least. There are no new pictures and I'm actually a camera down at the moment, but that won't stop TCT. It seems like today is the perfect day to do a blooper edition.

Not so much a bloopers, but just interesting pictures.

An up close and personal hello from a young buck.

This doe isn't having any of this coon.

After the doe decided to leave the coon decided to King of the Hill 
with the stump and taunt the doe

Thursday, December 15, 2011

WV Buck Harvest Up Dramatically for 2011

The small 3-point I took this past Rifle Season.
By Chris Lawrence of WV Metro News - Outdoors

Biologists with the West Virginia DNR expected the 2011 buck season to be better than 2010, but nobody expected it to be this good. Preliminary harvest figures indicate West Virginia hunters killed 59,835 bucks during the two week season.

"The magnitude of the harvest increase certainly was a pleasant surprise," said DNR Game Management Chief Paul Johansen. "I personally didn't expect it to be that high."

The southern counties of West Virginia and the western counties saw the highest percentage increase over the totals from 2010, but Johansen said it didn't really matter where you looked everybody was killing more bucks this year.

"Those trends were apparently across all of our districts at least as reflected in the overall buck harvest," Johansen said. "It was pretty much a statewide phenomenon."

For the rest of the story click here...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time By Georgia Pellegrini

Earlier this spring I got an e-mail from none other than Georgia Pellegrini, at this point I was ecstatic, I didn't care what the email said. After opening it, I found out she was releasing a book this winter and wanted me to get an advanced copy. To say I was flattered was an understatement. Now let me take a step back and explain my level of excitement. For those of you who read this blog, know I am a big burly man that normally has a bow, gun, or fishing pole in my hand and this blog chronicles those events, but no ones how close this blog came to resembling the blogs of Georgia Pellegrini or Hank Shaw because as at home as I am in the woods the kitchen isn't a far second. Both of these people heavily included my ideas for a blog, and have partial credit for me starting Foggy Mountain Meanderings. So to receive an e-mail asking me if I'd like to have an advance copy of Georgia's book was one of those things you couldn't even ask for or imagine when you start blogging.

After the book arrived it didn't take long for it to find a spot in my hunting pack, actually it when straight from the mailing envelope directly into my bag for the next mornings hunt. It didn't take me long to breeze through the book the first time as I could barely put it down. I was actually long for me to find myself enthralled with the book, but with being in school I knew I had to leave it in my hunting pack so I could only read it when I was hunting. A sad fact, I was so entrenched while reading this book, the buck that I shot on opening day of rifle season made it half way in behind me before I looked up from the book, but that one still turned out for the best. This book is a must read for any hunter, actually, it's a must read for anyone. It shows what hunting is truly about and the values that most people don't see in today's world of hunting. This book has opened my eyes, even as a hunter, it has made me want to strive to hunt new types of game and expand my horizons in the kitchen. The chapters are laid out wonderfully with a short story of her hunt trip and then concludes with a handful of recipes for the selected game in that chapter. Georgia was nice enough to share one of the recipes from her new book released yesterday. Here is a great recipe that I recommend everyone and anyone needs to try!

Buttermilk Fried Rabbit

Serves 4

Also try: chicken, turkey, squirrel, dove, upland game birds, or any other young game meat

1 young cottontail rabbit, cut into serving pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1 medium-size onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, or 1 teaspoon each of your three favorite dried herbs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper
2 to 3 cups grape seed or vegetable oil

1. Soak the rabbit overnight in the buttermilk, along with the onion, garlic, herbs, paprika, and 1
teaspoon of the cayenne.

2. Drain in a colander, leaving some herbs on the rabbit. In a large resealable plastic bag or in a
large bowl, mix the flour with the garlic and onion powder and remaining 2 teaspoons of cayenne,
as well as a pinch of salt and pepper. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet
over medium-high heat until a pinch of flour starts to sizzle when dropped in the hot oil, but not so
hot as for the oil to be smoking.

3. Place the rabbit pieces in the bag with the flour mixture and shake until thoroughly coated. Do
this in small batches, dredging just enough rabbit to fit in the pan at one time.

4. Add the rabbit to the skillet and fry on one side for about 10 minutes, until golden brown, then
use tongs to turn the pieces over and fry for another 10 minutes, again until golden brown. Be
careful to keep the oil hot enough to fry the rabbit, but not so that it burns.

5. Remove the rabbit from the skillet and place it on a wire rack over paper towels. Season
immediately with salt and pepper to taste, to help preserve the crispiness for the table. This is
good served immediately or also good cold for lunch the next day.

From the book Girl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2011.

For more on Georgia and her book...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - December 13, 2011

Just as luck would have it, there are more and more bucks starting to show up now that rifle season has come to a close. Hopefully most of these bucks will make it until next year, all they have to do is make it through this week of muzzleloader season then the select few that are still bow hunting. Here are a few pictures of of the bucks that have shown up over the past week.

Here is a nice looking buck that I wouldn't mind still getting a shot at this year with 
my bow, but he's still on a nocturnal patern. By the picture it is hard to tell
but he is an 8-point that broke it's brow tine early in the season.

Here is a thick main beam 5 or 6 point. We haven't been able to tell from any of the 
pictures if he has both brow tines, but either way for such a young deer
he has decent mass thus far. 

Here is another 8-point that we haven't had any pictures of this year. It
looks like he has one side that is either dwarfed or busted up. 

And last but not least, my little buddy from two previous posts (Rifle Season Review and Doe Season Review). The interesting fact about this picture is that it was taken with me sitting only 20 yards up the hillside looking down on him feeding.

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Doe Season Review

This past Saturday ended West Virginia's rifle season as a whole,although the last week was doe only. Today it moved onto a week of muzzleloader before heading back to bow for the final two weeks, but as for myself I'll be headed back to my bow. But for now, I'll share a little bit about last week.

On Monday, the first day of doe season, I caught something out of the corner of my eye before I even made it to our property. If you remember me talking about the new pair grouse I had jumped back in the first week, I got a picture of one of them. At this point, my day was already made from getting a few great pictures. As I made my way into the stand, I managed to spook a flock of 10+ grouse and doves from my stand area. We went from thinking we only had a pair of grouse to now having at least a handful or more. The morning was slow from then on out but a trip to check one my trail camera let me see a doe with it's two yearlings cutting up over the hillside at the top of the property. After not getting a shot at these deer, I decided to head over to a spot that I hunted a few years back and have been thinking about hunting next year. After radioing with Rick and deciding to call it an early day, I headed over there spot just to see if I could have any luck. Within 12 minutes of sitting down, in the location I want to put a blind up,  I saw two does walk through, two more run through, and then a buck I'd been waiting to see all rifle season, but that wasn't it. Soon there after I saw two more does run through with another little spike trialing them. It was a great day to be in the woods, even though I wasn't about to get a deer in my cross-hairs.

It wasn't until Friday that I was able to make it back out due to the start of finals, but it was a great be back out there in all the fresh new snow. That morning had to be one of the most beautiful morning of the season so far. I didn't get to see anything that morning but, I was hoping again to take a deer that afternoon and I knew there where a few around from the massive amount of track marks in the snow. After sitting most of the morning and not seeing anything, I decided to go for a walk, I knew there was a spot where a lot of deer like to bed in bad condition. I took off for a little walk, as soon as I made it across Heartbreak Ridge and into Fisher Hollow, I looked up to see the flicker of two little tails and then I saw two more start trotting behind them, it wasn't a long to take a shot, nor would I have wanted to take a shot at that angle, but I did what I wanted to do. I tested out how well I knew the area and figure out where the deer where, I didn't get to harvest one, but I was happy enough I knew where to be expecting them next time.

Saturday was my last hope and a half day hunt at that, with family coming in on Sunday and dinner date planned, I thought it couldn't hurt to go for another hike. Who would have thought, on my way into my stand to check the trail camera, I bumped up that same doe and fawn that is always around my stand, they took off and I didn't even attempt to take a shot, it wasn't worth it at this point. After a little deliberation, I decided to take the hike I took the day previously, it didn't pan out the same way. I didn't see any deer, so I decided to sit at the top of my food plot on a downed tree for my last half hour I had planned to hunt, within a few moments a little spike walked in, the same one I let walk on the last Saturday of Buck Season. I watched him for a while, but nothing was spooking him. My phone began to buzz so I looked down and Jay was calling me so I decided to take it, figured I wasn't going to shoot the spike and I was ready to leave. During our conversation that spike proceeded to walk within 10 feet of me. A crazy way to end rifle season for sure.

Now to leave everyone with a throught,  I was tweeting with Michelle (@sdo_mlt) during my final hour of rifle season and we were talking about just being happy to be out and see deer, she said something that I can't agree with more, so I'm going to share it with everyone.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - December 6, 2011

As you read yesterday buck season came to an end this past weekend. Here's a preview of a few bucks that have made it this far. Who knows if they'll make it until next year, but here to what I'm looking forward to. That is saying I don't get one of them in front of me in the remaining few weeks of bow season.

This is a new buck to the area, he looks narrow, but tall. 
Not a bad looking deer. He's got some mass and is polished up nice.
This is the same buck as above and the preview everyone got in yesterday's post.
And here's one for the future. A little button buck that hasn't even have his nubs pop through.

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Rifle Season Review

A preview of TCT
The first week of rifle season held most of the excitement, as it normally does. This is a quasi-holiday in WV, some school systems take off the opening day and other give the kids off the whole week.However, the second week, it is the forgotten week. This week is when the woods start to settle down and everything gets back to normal. Most people have to go back to work or school, this is where the folks that have retired or have some extra time off enjoy some quite hunting.  Sadly enough, between a project and a paper due during last week I didn't get out as much as I wanted to. But what can you do in those situations?
I was only able to make it out on Friday and Saturday, the final day of antlered rifle season. And wouldn't you know it.. I shoulda, coulda, woulda - If I had been in my tree stand on Monday evening I would have seen a great looking deer and possibly had a chance at taking it, but then again if I was in stand would he have came in following these does? There wasn't much activity the rest of the week on camera, actually the only activity was me catching a nasty head cold. This put a damper on the rest of rifle season, if you didn't know the deer aren't to fond of hacking and coughing as well as blowing your nose. While only having the last two days to hunt I sucked it up as best I could.

On Friday I slept in a little and finished up some studying before I hit the woods around 11:15 AM. I thought with a cold all I would be able to pull off was a mid day and evening hunt. In theory this was a great idea, but my cold didn't think so. When I arrived and radioed to Rick, who had been there since day break, I was there , he said he had a deer in front of him, but it had bedded down. It was a very slow day on part of Foggy Mountain to say the least. Then again that could have been due to the coughing and sneezing. I spent part of this day in stand but after realizing that there wasn't going to be a deer come within a mile radius of me, I went to check some cameras and do some scouting. The day ended with no deer, one hell of a headache, but one amazing view.

Then next  morning came and I still wasn't feeling my best but I managed to hit the woods around 8:00 AM. I was still straggling in, but at least I could breath. I'm not sure if this was from the medicine but  I was grateful. As I slowly walked into my stand I knew I would probably jump something, I was right. As I walked in, I jumped up a doe and yearling that frequent the area. Shortly after this I got into my stand and it didn't take long for another doe to make its way in. After it milled around for a while I had hoped that a buck would be trailing it her. It was only about two hours later, and a little less than a stud. It was great getting to see a buck on the last day, but I wasn't going to take him, if he had made it this long, he deserved to make it to be another year older. Although I did get some good video of him. The rest of the day I spent in anticipation waiting for the evening to roll around to, this was the only pattern I had on the deer, that I talked about in the opening, he liked evenings. I was hoping the buck would make an appearance, but he didn't. Then as it went from twilight to dusk to dark, he never came in, the most I saw were two more does running up the hillside behind me.

The season closed out on a gorgeous sunset I could help but to be thankful for having a good season and just being able to hunt and take part in the outdoors with great friends and family. Now it's on to a week of doe season, then because I don't have a muzzle loader, I'll be back to bow hunting until the end of the year.

The sun setting on the final day of antlered rifle season. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - Nov. 29, 2011

I've always wanted to get a second trail camera to experiment with, but not until lately when Moultrie ran a special was I able to make this possible. One thing I have always wanted to try was during hunting season and luckily this past week I was able to try it. Around this part of West Virginia gut piles don't last long, but rarely do you get to see much more than a coon running from them. Everyone knows that there has to be more than coons that eat it, but I wanted to know what else would show up. I finally have an answer, well at least one example of this. Thanks to the buck that I harvested last Monday I was able to put my new trail camera over this gut pile and get some great pictures for everyone.

Like I said, I knew there would be some coons, but there where up to seven in one picture.
I had an idea that a bear would show up, but there was only
one bear that showed up for a short period of time.
This one took me by surprise, I never thought I'd be able to get a capture like this, a Red Tailed Hawk.
And the last one, I've got captures of gray foxes, but never a red fox.
Not only did I finally get a red fox, I got a mature adult.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The First Week of Rifle Season: Part 2

After what started as a slow, wet morning, opening day turned out to be a pretty interesting day. Then again, any day hunting is better than sitting on the couch. Once I got the deer checked in and hung, I pulled up the forecast to find out that Tuesday was going to be nothing but rain. A quick call to my uncle Rick to make sure he was still going to come up and make sure of the meeting time and I was off to dry out my gear and repack for the next day.

Tuesday - 11/22 - BSing with Rick

Rick and his blind
After taking a deer on the first day and adding more meat to the freezer there was little to no pressure. At least that's what I was telling myself considering the day was looking to be a totally wash out. It started out the same way as Monday, the fog was heavy and didn't lift until nearly 9:00 AM. I had radioed Rick and told him if I hadn't seen any deer and the rain didn't let up I was going to take a hike around the property in the hopes of pushing some deer his way. As 11:00 AM rolled around, the only thing in my sight line were a few gray squirrels and rain drops. At this point I knew that there wasn't much point of sitting on stand as I knew no one else was out, due to the lack of shots and text messages, to push the deer around, so I thought the best chance Rick or I had at seeing a deer was if I bumped one up. I proceeded to hike around Foggy Mountain, until I met up with Rick at his lean-to ground blind. The only thing I managed to see was a pair of Grouse that have taken to Foggy Mountain the past year. On a day like today, Rick had the best idea. He was held up under his homemade lean-to blind that was big enough for the two of use to comfortable sit in and stay dry. So what else is left to do on a wash out day like this other than have a nice hot lunch, he has everything in this blind, sometimes those old-timers still have a few tricks up their sleeves that we've never even thought of. As we sat there and waited for our lunch, we BS'ed about everything from the early days that Rick hunted this property to the current state of Foggy Mountain and the hopes for its future. Then after we ate, he talked about his hunting trips out west and even still had a few pictures on his camera that he showed me. All in all, this had to be one of my favorite days hunting even without seeing a deer.

Wednesday - 11/23 - Butchering

This was another rainy day that I used as day to catch up with everyone that'd had been hunting this week and hadn't been able to talk to. I also finished butchering my deer and got it into the freezer, by the way it's looking I have enough room for one, maybe two if I'm lucky, but who knows. The second half of the day was used to travel to Cassie's parents for Thanksgiving.

Thursday - 11/24 - Thanksgiving

This was the first time I was able to hunt on Cassie's parents land. I was very eager as this land is close the Ohio River and I knew that a few of the locals had told me about some great looking deer in the area. At day break, Cassie's dad and I heading out. He went to his stand, which he saw a bobcat at Monday, and I headed to the furthest field edge from his stand in hopes of pushing a few deer this way on my walk back in to another stand. I felt like a little kid exploring a new world trying to hunt this area. As soon as I cut down into the woods I jumped up two does and then a moment later I saw a rabbit take off. I slowly crept through the woods until I made it to the stand I was using that day. Shortly after getting into stand I saw a figure of a deer in the creek bed, roughly 150 yards from me. At this point the fog was so thick I couldn't see much more than a figure. Around 9:00 AM, her dad texted me to see what I saw thus far, I told him and he told me he had 6 turkeys, 3 long beards included in front of him for the last 45 minutes. We proceeded to text as I had a doe walk up the hill in front of me towards his stand. In hopes that it would work its way towards him I let the deer walk. Around 10:30 AM the fog finally broke and I texted him that I was going to continue  heading towards him trying to push him that doe I saw earlier. Before I even made it out of stand 25 yards I bumped up a young doe, At this point Cassie's brother texted me that he'd gladly take a deer if felt like shooting one for him considering he didn't hunt much or at all. I decided to head to the field to wait for it to make its way out. After waiting for it for a while I decided to slowly head back down the path to see if it was still there. I didn't even make it five yards back into the woods before I had a 48 yard chip shot. Normally in this situation I wouldn't be taking a doe this young, but someone else was wanting the meat. I laid the cross-hairs on it's neck and dropped it in it's tracks. This left me just enough time to take it to the processors and get back and get a shower before turkey time!

Kick Off
Friday - 11/25 - Backyard Brawl

With taking my second deer of the week and still trying to recover from the tryptophan, I slept in and took it easy as we packed up to leave and head to the last WVU home game of the season, The Backyard Brawl, WVU vs. Pitt. I know I didn't get to hunt, but I did get to watch WVU beat Pitt in possibly the last Backyard Brawl so I'll take it.

Saturday - 11/26 - Exploring Foggy Mountain

I had plans of getting up and hunting all day on Saturday, but after a late game and not getting home until nearly 2:00 AM, I slept in again and went breakfast with Cassie, something we rarely get to do in hunting season. I still managed to get in an afternoon hunt. Late in the first week of the rifle season I prefer to still hunt and explore more of the property, mainly because you never know at this point and time where the deer are going to be hiding. This also gave me time to look for where I want to put my own lean-to blind next year, like I said I'm learning and staying dry this past week would have been nice. My hunting strategy paid offed, I ended up seeing two does, I had a shot on both, but with only being able to take one more buck and doe I held of considering I still have a week of buck season left and two in doe. I also stumbled onto those same two grouse again as well as a massive gray squirrel. I also pulled the camera cards from my trail cameras and I must say that everyone is in for a treat tomorrow.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The First Week of Rifle Season: Part 1

With the forecast calling for warm, rainy weather in the early part of the week, I wasn't looking to have much success if any at all. But as the saying goes, "You can't kill 'em from the couch." The first week of rifle season always sounds like a World War 3 is starting, just one of those things one gets use to hunting rifle season in WV. Past the first morning, the deer are running scared as well as a few hunters. But there are two parts to this season, the openings week (this past week) that everyone has time off to hunt a portion of the week and the second week when there is rarely anyone out and the deer start to get back on their patterns and the start of the second half of the rut. Luckily, this year I had the whole week off and  a few days in the second week to hunt also. As for how my week turned out, you may have got a clue in the past TCT, but I'll give an overview of the past week over the next two posts.

Monday - 11/21 - Opening Day

Mainly being a bow hunter, I still get excited for this time of year. Even with only starting my reemergence into the outdoor world five years ago, there is still a little bit of tradition here. As a little kid I always went hunting with my grandpa this week, now that he's beyond the point of being able to tote a gun and run the ridges, Foggy Mountain is mainly left to my uncle and myself.

As with any eager morning I got to my stand early, I met my uncle Rick at the bottom of the mountain as he was unloading his ATV and we wished each other luck and we were on our way. With a heavy mist in the air, that quickly turned back into a drizzle, we both knew this would be a long day. This proved to be true, on any normal opening morning, you can normally count 75 to a 100 shots by noon. This wasn't the case, I didn't hear my first shot that morning until nearly 8:00 AM, that wasn't as shocking as it was to not hear a second shot until 10:28 AM. Shortly after hearing that second faint shot of the morning, I saw my first deer. Well, more like a tail, it was a deer that was bumped up by someone, it was off to the races and  nothing was stopping it. Luckily I was able to see that it was a doe. That was my only action all morning. The rain was still coming down and I wasn't getting any drier so I decided to take a 20 minute lunch break. I climbed down and still hunted my way back to my Jeep for a quick lunch, I was hopeful to at least jump something up on the way out, but still no luck.

It wasn't until a little after 3:00 PM that I saw my next deer. It was a 3-point that I had been seeing on and off all of bow season, to be honest I thought it was 6-point I had pictures of from the previous weekend. I actually have some video footage of this deer, from bow season. This deer snuck in behind me before I even saw it. It was already at 75 yards when I saw it and heading towards a thicket with little to no visibility. I proceeded to watch this deer with my binoculars for 45 minutes after it bedded down in the thicket. This deer wasn't moving, I ranged it at 111 yards, but no matter how I looked at it, I didn't have a shot. I had a choice to make, watch this deer until it was to dark to shoot or try and sneak out of my stand and get a clean shot on it. After weighing my options, I decided if I could make it out of my stand I'd have a good shot at making it through another thicket adjacent to the buck on the opposite side of the creek.

I made it out of my stand without spooking the buck. I knew the rest should be easy, right? Over the next 20 minutes I managed to close in on buck at 45 yards, this was the first spot I was able to get a clear shot. Luckily, I was able to stalk crawl through the thicket on my side of the creek. This should like a lot of work for a 3-point I know, but at this point it was more about seeing if I could do it or not, plus I was this thinking it was that six point. After closing in and getting set up for the shot, the buck was still bedded down when I was able to get my cross-hairs on him. No matter what I did, he wasn't getting up, so at this point I decided my best option would be a neck shot, not my first choice, but there wasn't much left to choose from. As I bore down on fire my shot, another close shot rang out only seconds before I pulled the trigger. Finally that made the deer stand up, of course I wasn't ready for this. I was already firing my shot, in that split second I fired the buck, he stood and my shot fired right under him completely missing him. This was the first time I have ever missed a deer on a first shot, hell the only time I had to use more than one bullet on a deer period. I thought this chance was over and he was gone, but he only took three steps in the opposite direction into a hard quartering away shot and paused that's all I needed, I let another shot ring out and he buckled and he was done. I had successfully stalked and harvested one of the only deer taken this past week on Foggy  Mountain. This was the third consecutive year (you can read about last year's here) I was able to take a deer on opening day of rifle season.

My trophy from Rifle Season... So far...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - 11/22/11

This is the "Gone Hunting" Edition... 

Between it being opening week of Rifle Season here in WV and trying to finish processing my deer, I am going to forgo this week's TCT. Look for a new one next week. And if you haven't guessed or heard on Twitter yet, I got a deer, but you'll have to wait a little bit longer for the full write up......

Friday, November 18, 2011

How Many Points!?!?!

If you remember back a couple weeks ago when I posted a TCT that lead with a picture of a non-typical buck taken on a property next to Foggy Mountain, you're in for a treat. If not then you can look to the right a see the same picture that lead that post. Now you many be sitting there wondering why you are in for a treat.. It's not because it's almost rifle season in WV. It is not because The Will to Hunt finally posted on how I can save money on outdoor gear, however,  this will allow me to keep breathing once Cassie sees my next purchase, haha. Is it because we finally have a better idea of many points the buck (pictured right) has, were getting warmer. Is it because we finally have some quality pictures of it, you're starting to burn up. Who know this would turn into a game of Hotter/Colder? Not I... (Side note, Cassie says I am a dork.)

 Any ways on to the point of this, this buck that we have been chasing has 15 score-able points, or should I said had. That's right, he was harvested this past weekend. Yet again I didn't have any part in the harvesting of a buck on Foggy Mountain, but James (the one who originally had the Trail Cam pictures) took him on this past Saturday evening. Sorry for the quality of the first picture, it was taken with a cell phone, but the second pictures makes up for it and gives a better prospective of a head on shot. I think this just proves, even though WV is only known for having average deer hunting, we can still a few quality bucks hidden up our sleeves.

Look at the mass!!!

Talk about a freak!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - Nov. 15, 2011

This past weekend was a little trying in the aspect that one minute that it felt like the rut hadn't even started and then the next that it was in full swing, but I got a some interesting pictures this past week that say that it's here and in full swing. I got a set of pictures of these two bucks sparing for nearly ten minutes. Then after this there is a does scent checking a licking branch and scrape (not pictured).

Also we are starting to get some pictures of a few bucks that we've never seen before. This isn't the best picture, but this buck looks to have an interesting rack.

I couldn't resist posting this picture. Any one have the need for a new coonskin hat? I know where you can find a few coons at.

This bear isn't as cute as the rest, this is one big bear! From what we can tell from the picture and the one encounter someone had with him, we are estimating him to be at around 300 pounds give or take.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - Nov. 8, 2011

Click to Enlarge
Considering last week's TCT left a lot to the imagination this weeks made up for it. I didn't manage to get any pictures of that buck, but my buddy, James, did get a great looking one on the next property. This buck is looking to be a non-typical 13 point. I apologize for the quality, but this is a great looking deer. This wasn't the end of the surprises for this week, after having just a few does and small bucks on camera for the majority of last week, I got a great surprise on Friday evening/night. This was after I moved my camera around to get a better angle on the bucks entering my food plot. 

Shortly after getting out of my tree stand this guy shows up...

I believe this is Slick,  a buck we have been watching for three years now...
 Normally this time of year Slick goes completely nocturnal and also starts cruising. He uses our property as a home base, but normally only frequents the area of this trail cam once a week if that. Much to my surprise, I got another set of great picture of him around three hours later...

And as always it wouldn't be a TCT without having a bear picture or two. After looking at this pictures a few times I think I might be agreeing with Cassie. She said she has money on the fact that this bear is pregnant due to its size and rounded belly. I'll let you guys be the judge.

Monday, November 7, 2011

And the winner is..

It's time to announce the winner of the Boone & Crockett Club Membership Giveaway and it is..

The lucky #1 entry belongs to Tony of the The Bearded Boar. Congratulations and please contact me with your name, email, and mailing address. You can do this by using my Contact Me page or at 
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