We made a trip to Alabama at the beginning of the month. Deer season is in there until the end of January, so I was able to get a bit of hunting in around visiting with friends and family. I didn’t have much luck, but my son, Jacob, connected on his first deer! We had the opportunity to hunt in a couple of great places!
First, I got to hunt with my good friend, Adam. He has a great lease in south east Alabama, that has a ton of deer on it. The sign was plentiful, but unfortunately the deer didn’t want to cooperate with us. It was bitter cold, and the wind was blowing briskly. I thought that going south to do some hunting would provide some opportunity for warmer weather. We thought the rut would also be raging, but the cold weather probably kept it from kicking in until after we were done hunting (probably the next week). Unfortunately, I didn’t see a single deer, but we sure had a blast hunting for them! Adam has also had a problem with feral hogs and goats (that’s right…goats). He was able to take out a few of the goats, but we didn’t see any of the hogs.
On Saturday evening, we moved to a piece of property owned by another friend. He is managing the property with the idea of reselling it as recreational property. He has a great lodge, and the property itself is beautiful! He told us that the doe population was out of control, and invited us to do some hunting for does to help thin them out. I figured it would be a good opportunity to put a bit of venison in my in-laws’ freezer, so we were looking forward to it. Adam also suggested that we take Jacob, to see if he could bag one. Adam has a TC Pro-Hunter in a .25-06, which he thought Jacob could handle. We were walking in to the two-man shooting house, which was sitting on the edge of the green field, when we saw a deer standing in the middle of the field. We quickly tried to get a shot set up for Jacob. We got him to sit down, and tried to get him to prop the gun up on his knee. He couldn’t hold the gun up, so Adam put a stool, which was going to be his seat in the shooting house, out in front of him for a rest. Jacob took his time, taking about a minute to line up the shot. When he pulled the trigger, the deer crumpled in its tracks! I was very proud of him for not rushing, or getting so excited that he made a poor shot. We were both very excited about his success. We decided to get the deer out of the field (how could we make a 6 year old wait till dark to lay his hands on his first deer?) and then head for the shooting house. Unfortunately, we didn’t see another deer for the rest of the afternoon. After the hunt, we went back to the Lodge, where Greg got some pictures of Jacob with his deer. Be sure to click on the picture to see the larger image.
Jacob is now truly hooked! We thought he was hooked after being with his Papaw when he killed a deer, but after shooting his own, he is ready to go. I won’t be able to keep him out of the woods from now on, which will be ok with me! We can hardly wait for next year, just to see what it holds for us. Jacob is already talking about wanting to shoot his first buck!
Thanks to Adam and Greg for giving us the opportunity to have such a good time. I hope we will have the opportunity to hunt together again in the near future.
My dad and I were able to sneak away for a couple of days of bow hunting in central West Virginia this week. Since I killed a doe on my regular base license, and didn’t buy any extra tags, I had to go to my dad’s land to have a chance to kill another deer (landowner’s child privilege). I took off Monday, Tuesday and most of Wednesday so that I would be able to relax a bit. We had some beautiful weather, and it was great to watch the sun come up from a tree stand again. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of deer activity. I saw a few, and almost shot a doe, but she refused to take that last step to open up a good shot. I think the deer activity was restricted because of the full moon. It was clear that the deer were up and moving late into the night, which also put them up and moving mid-day instead of morning and evening. I should have made sure to be on stand in the middle of the day, but I was not in the woods at the right time. On Wednesday, on the way home, we saw a bunch of deer on the side of the interstate. That was about 11 AM.
I was a bit frustrated with the movement of deer, but I guess that is what hunting is all about. It is hard to head into an area and find the perfect stand when you only have a day or two. Since the full moon threw off the feeding schedule of the deer, typical hot spots were suddenly cold. I guess I should have been able to adjust accordingly, but for this trip, the deer won the battle.
It won’t be long till rifle season comes in!
Bow season is now underway here in WV. I have been itching to break in my new (to me) Bowtech Diamond Marquis. This bow is a huge upgrade from the equipment I have been using. After all of the problems last year with deer jumping the string, I decided it was time to move into the 21st century with my equipment.
I have gotten out three or four mornings so far. On Wednesday, I blew a perfect opportunity at a beautiful buck. He was a mere 12 yards away, I was at full draw, and everything was perfect. I grunted at him to stop him, but instead he bolted. Stopped out about 35 yards (but behind trees) and looked at me for at least 15 minutes. I was really upset about my stupidity, as he probably would have stopped on his own in about 5 or 6 more yards. This would have been my best buck with a bow, but now he just keeps making appearances in my nightmares!
This morning I finally got to break in the new bow. I shot a nice doe at just about the same spot that I missed the opportunity at the buck on Wednesday. I also got a good view of just how good the new Rage Broadheads are. I got a clean pass through, and a huge hole. The commercials claim this for the broadheads, but I have had terrible time with mechanical broadheads up to this point. I shot this doe and made a very good shot on her. She went up the hill and stood watching around her for about 10 minutes. I guess she just didn’t have the blood pumping good enough. She never even knew she was hit. I ended up sending another arrow through here at 35 yards because I thought she was going to walk over the hill, and I was starting to doubt my first shot. The second arrow also passed through, both blades opening up and leaving a second huge hole. When I went up to the spot of the second hit, I could see that I just didn’t give her the opportunity to expire. The blood trail, and the puddle where she stood was amazing. I know that is a bit graphic, but I just have to give my recommendation for these great broadheads. They are fairly expensive, but it seems that all archery equipment is increasing drastically. One bad thing about the Rage broadheads is that they don’t stay “set” on the o-ring very well. I sometimes have problems dislodging them from the “set” position when removing from the quiver. You need to be careful and not bump them when you take them out. Otherwise, they are great, flying like field points, and doing a devastating job when you hit an animal. I didn’t get any pictures because the skies opened up and we had downpours for most of the day after I got the deer dragged out of the woods.
This was my second deer of the year. I also took a doe in a new early season muzzleloader season. I took Jacob with me for a 2 day hunt, and we were able to score on a pretty nice doe. The picture above is the muzzleloader doe. He was very excited to see the smoke belch out of the barrel when I shot. I think I have decided that a mid-September hunt is too early for deer. It was extremely hot, and we had to process deer within an hour or so of recovery just to keep them from spoiling. It felt like a rush against the clock just to save the meat from going bad. We also had to battle with the flies and yellow jackets to get the butchering done!
I am hoping to get away for a couple of days to catch a few more days of bow season, and get to our camp. I’d like to tag a buck with the new bow this year. I just don’t know whether I have already had my shot at a nice buck! I hope everyone out there has a good season ahead!
In my last post, over a month ago now, I said that I was going to try and get back in here an write more…but that just hasn’t happened. I’ve been spending most of my writing time on other projects. Its not that I have lost interest here, it is just that I have been too short on time!
I have been out for some turkey hunting the last couple of days. Season came in here in WV on Monday. Unfortunately, we also got a snap of really warm weather. The turkeys talked a bit on Monday, but Tuesday, they were absolutely silent. We covered several miles of mountain top, and never heard a single bird! Monday, we had one turkey willing to do a bit of gobbling, but we simply could not get him to climb the hill between us, so he never even came close. I am not sure that I will get the opportunity to get out any more, as I don’t have any land close to my house where I can hunt. I guess there is always next year! So far, I haven’t been able to bag a gobbler, but one of these days I suppose I will connect. I’ve only been out a handful of times, so maybe I should take it a bit more seriously and see if I can have a bit better luck.
I also have been able to get out on the trout streams a couple of times. The first day I made it out, it was incredibly cold and windy. We fished for several hours without even a strike. Later in the day, as the water warmed up a bit, I was able to finally get a few nice trout. In fact, I was able to catch 3 trout over 15 inches out of the same lie. Evidently, they were stacked up in there. I know that isn’t huge for those who get to fish in the West, but for here in WV, they are nice stream trout. The second day we were out, the weather was much nicer, with temperatures in the high 70’s. I was able to catch a few trout, as was my fishing partner for the day. It was nice to get away and spend the time on the water, even though we weren’t able to catch a lot of fish.
Things in the rabbitry are going pretty well. We have another litter added to our number. We have expanded from 5 rabbits to our current 29. Of course, that will be fluctuating a lot as we will begin to sell and butcher. We did sell one rabbit as a pet recently. Since we are growing, I am now trying to come up with a name for our rabbitry. I have started to build a website for the rabbitry, to keep everyone updated with what we have on hand, and how we are expanding, but I have no name for it! Hopefully, you all will be able to help me out with this. I am thinking about making a contest out of it, so start thinking about it but don’t tell me yet. Check back in the next couple of days, when I have come up with a good prize, I will have a post about the contest. From all suggestions we will pick the best, and the submitter will win the prize.
I know that we are now 6 days into the new year, but I’m on vacation :). I ended the year with a quick hunt down here in Alabama. I went out early last Wednesday morning, only to be beat to death by the cold wind. After about 30 minutes, I decided I was going to head to the house. As I drove up my in-laws’ driveway, I spotted a deer in the woods off to the side. After parking, and walking down the driveway, I looked through the small wood patch into the field, and saw 3 deer standing in the field. Since they were making it so easy on me, I chose the biggest doe, and sent a 150 grain PSP through the lungs (that’s a pointed soft point, for all you who just found this post by searching for PSP stuff…). I was glad to be able to put one in my in-laws’ freezer, as they have discovered that they really enjoy venison. I always like to kill at least one deer down here, just for that reason.
There are a couple more days left to the Alabama doe season, so I may try to get out another day or two. I do like the season down here…it goes all the way to January 31st. In fact, the biggest buck I have killed in Alabama was killed on January 31st several years ago.
Well, hunting season for me here in WV is over. I had a very enjoyable, and successful season. I was able to take a couple of days for muzzle loader season the first of this week, but didn’t add any venison to the freezer. I don’t know what was up, but it just seemed like I couldn’t shoot for anything. I missed 3 deer…I felt like they were all laughing at me. The first one should have been easy, but I just didn’t connect. The second was a difficult shot. The deer was about 150 yards out through some brush. I thought I could get her for sure, but she escaped unscathed. The third was a shot on the run, and a large tree jumped out in front of me just as I pulled the trigger. Those trophy trees are somewhat easy to hit, but they are a little tough to get drug out of the woods. We did have fun hunting, and there were a couple of deer taken. My friend Danny took a great old doe with a side lock .54 caliber. The rest of us were hunting with inline .45 caliber rifles with scopes…he nailed one with an old percussion cap rifle with open sights. Gotta love it! My dad got a buck that had already dropped his horns. This is just about the earliest that I have ever seen antlers dropped around here. I shot one many years ago in Pennsylvania that had dropped his horns. Bucks and does are legal in muzzle loader season here, so dad probably would have gotten this deer either way. But, when they start getting killed in doe season, it is kind of a bummer!
I am planning to head down to Alabama to visit some of our family in a few days. I am hoping to get out a few times to try to bag a deer or two while down there. I always enjoy getting the opportunity to put a deer or two into my inlaws’ freezer. Hopefully I can shoot a bit better there than I have here this year.
It has been great reading about so many deer taken this year. I hope you all enjoyed the season as much as I did. And for those of you that still have at least some late seasons left to go, good luck!
I told you a couple of posts ago about Jacob going hunting, in a tree stand, with my dad. Dad got the videos posted of the aftermath of that hunt. You can see from this first one how excited Jacob was to be out hunting. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait in the stand very long before this little buck came by. He hasn’t built up a lot of patience yet, but this may be just the ticket for getting him to be willing to stay out in the woods a bit longer. Here is Jacob recounting the hunt:
Here is Jacob behind the camera, and Papaw telling the story:
Look out Bill Jordan…I think Jacob could be one of the next great camera men to video hunters. He could have the next Realtree Roadtrips!
After the stories were told, the work began. Jacob asked if he could help drag…to which I told him he HAD to help drag. Of course his little sister wanted in on that action as well. They both jumped right in and began tugging on the drag rope:
It is exciting to me to see my kids enjoying hunting so much already. As I said before, I think Jacob will be hooked for life now. Next year (or soon thereafter) I hope to have a rifle he can handle so that he can take his own deer!
Thanks to Papaw for the great videos!
I got a couple of pictures from my dad last night, so I thought I’d share them. First, here is a picture of my uncle Ray, and the big 8 point he killed in Pennsylvania this year:
Here is another picture of my brother and the skull of the deer he killed. You can see the rack much better in this picture:
Ray’s buck is evidence of the success of the new laws (instituted 5 or 6 years ago) in Pennsylvania. By putting antler restrictions on the deer, the state has steadily grown the average size of the bucks. This makes me want to go back to Pennsylvania to hunt more!
Shawn’s buck is a really nice buck for the area of WV that we hunt. I am hoping that we are going to be seeing some more bucks like this around camp. We have been seeing a lot more bucks, and we are hoping that we will start seeing some of them grow up. The biggest problem is that the hunting pressure in our neck of the woods is tremendous. If you pass up a buck, chances are he will go over the hill and get shot by someone else. It would certainly be nice to have a few hundred acres (or thousand) to manage for larger bucks. Just seeing the improvement around us makes me believe that management could be very successful given enough land to provide safety to some of the bucks.
I wrote a few posts back about the deer that seemed to have a force field around it. It was a little 4 point buck, with an interesting configuration to the horns. Well, “Bucky” as Chad named him, finally fell to Chad’s 30-30 last night. Unfortunately, Chad wasn’t able to find the little buck until this morning. It appears that the deer did not spoil, and that Chad will be able to get some good meat from him.
Upon skinning the deer, Chad found both wounds that were inflicted on Bucky from our archery shots. Chad had hit him squarely in the hind roast. How he hit that far back is still a mystery. It appeared that the arrow passed through the rear leg, missed all arteries, and caused practically no damage. The wound was completely healed, and Bucky was getting by with nary a limp.
My arrow had gone through the back, just below the spine. It appeared to me that the broad head had not opened up. If it had, it would have struck the spine, and surely would have killed the deer. The arrow passed through and came out the rib cage on the off side. Looking at the wound, I was shocked the arrow did not pass through the lung. Obviously, this wound did not cause much damage either. It was amazing to see the way the wound was healing. In fact, the buck had grown a whole new network of veins to supply the wound with blood. It is certainly amazing how resiliant these animals can be.
Don’t misunderstand this post. It is sickening to me to wound an animal and not recover it. But, it is nice to see that this buck made it through these wounds, and did not die needlessly. He will now feed Chad’s family through the winter. But, he still didn’t go down without a fight. His forcefield kicked in, and nearly deflected the bullet completely away from him. But, Chad’s bullet struck home, and Bucky met his demise.
This was Chad’s second buck of the year. He has now killed 3 deer, and I think he is hooked for good. We are planning to head back to the camp in a couple of weeks for Muzzleloader season.
This is the week that I look forward to each and every year. One year ago this week, my wife gave birth to our 3rd child, JonDavid. Amazingly, I still found time to get out and do a little rifle hunting, taking both a buck and a doe. Isn’t my wife a trooper, letting me head out into the woods a mere 2 days before the baby was born?
This year was a bit more relaxed. I made it to deer camp, and had a wonderful time. We had much success, and even had a bit of snow fall for a couple of days. The first day, Monday, came with some terrible weather. We had a ton of rain before the temperature fell enough to change over to snow. Fortunately, I was able to bag a buck before the rain set in, so I didn’t have to sit out in the rain and be miserable all day. Unfortunately, because of the rain, I didn’t get out to get too many pictures. I got a couple with Jacob standing with the hanging deer, but you can’t see much.
My brother, Shawn, bagged a great WV buck on opening day. I knew we were setting up a great stand for him, but I never dreamed that a buck like that would walk by him. I’m thrilled he was able to get a shot at a deer like this, as he doesn’t get out to hunt much. He made a great shot and dropped him in his tracks.
This buck looks like it must be related to the buck I shot with a bow a few years back. He had the same long, curved eye tines that my buck had, but this one had a much nicer rack over all than did my bow buck.
I think my brother is going to do a European type mount with this deer, and I hope to get some pics when it is done.
My dad decided to take Jacob hunting with him in the same tree stand as Shawn used to shoot his buck on Tuesday morning. Dad decided that he would shoot anything that came by, since we haven’t been able to bag anything when Jacob was with us over the last 3 years. He didn’t have to wait long until a little button buck came by, and Jacob was able to spot it. Dad shot it with his new 7mm Mag. I think that Jacob is now officially hooked. I am hoping that Jacob will be able to shoot a deer either next year or the year after. We are going to be working on getting a gun that he can handle sometime over the next year, and get him practicing so that he can make a good shot. He was certainly excited about his Papaw getting a deer, and I think he will be ready to get back out there as soon as he can. My dad got a video of Jacob telling his hunting story. I will try to get that posted here in the next couple of days, if he gets it loaded up (hint, hint dad).
Skylar didn’t make it out this year. She just didn’t really seem that interested this year. Next year, we will see if she still is interested in going out with us. It was very cold and wet this year, so I’m not really surprised that she wasn’t gung-ho to get out there.
Over all, we had a great season. We ended up bagging 3 racked bucks, 1 button buck, and 5 does. We also saw a lot of great deer. Hopefully, there will be some more bucks around when we head back to camp for muzzleloader season. I still have a bow tag left, as well as 2 muzzleloader tags. We’ll have to see if I’m able to fill any of them before the year is out.
All of the stands we set earlier in the season turned out to be very productive. We did miss my little brother, who was the only one who wasn’t able to make it into camp this year. Maybe next year he will have a job that will allow him to have some time off for the important stuff!