Archive for the ‘Hunting Reports’ Category

If It Weren’t for Bad Luck…

Friday, October 31st, 2008
My Lucky Hunting Shirt

My Lucky Hunting Shirt

Well, if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.  My bow season is not going as I had hoped, but the good news is, it can only get better from here!

How many of you all have “superstitions” when it comes to hunting?  We are not really superstitious, but we enjoy the running joke of having “lucky shirts”.  I just had to replace my lucky shirt after many years of service, and so I thought I would make one up for me and my dad.  I used Cafe Press, and I think the shirts came out great.  The bad news is, I wore my “lucky shirt” for the first time this morning, and had anything but good luck.  And, once you have “cursed” the lucky shirt, it is hard to shake the kaibosh from it!

I had a small buck come right up to my stand this morning, and thought I had venison in the freezer (don’t every count your steaks before they are cut!)  He turned broad side at 20 yards, and I put my pin behind his shoulder and pulled the trigger on my release.  I watched as the arrow flew right over top of his back.  I assumed I jumped or made some other dumb mistake.  But the buck circled around me, and came back right behind my stand.  Again, he stood broad side at 20 yards.  I put the pin behind his shoulder, and pulled the trigger.  The deer shot out like he was scorched.  I climbed down and looked for the arrow (which had appeared to again fly high).  This time, I had skimmed his back, and only had a little hair and touch of flesh on the arrow–no blood.  Sure enough, he escaped with only a scratch.  I should mention, this is the same buck that Chad has also missed 2 times.  We are beginning to think that this buck has some kind of force field around him.  He may simply be “untouchable.”

Upon returning to the house, I fired a couple of practice arrows and found that my bow is suddenly hitting about 5 inches high at 20 yards.  I have no idea what happened to cause this, but it was consistently high all 4 shots that I took today.  I am going to have to retune it before heading back out into the woods, and see if maybe my luck will start picking up at the first of the week.

Early Season Success…

Saturday, October 25th, 2008
Chads First Archery Kill

Chad's First Archery Kill

I haven’t had any luck yet this year, but my friend, Chad, arrowed his first deer a few days ago!  I just got Chad set up into bow hunting this year.  Last year was his first serious hunting, though he had done some over the years.  Chad has only about 3 acres on his property, but that includes a great bedding thicket, and a nice open wood that connects with some other properties.  He has set up an ideal stand, and has seen bucks every day in his stand.  He stuck this decent 7 pointer (his first buck) Thursday morning.

I do have to teach him all the rest that goes with deer hunting.  I spent Thursday morning helping him clean the deer, and then butcher it.  I only had time to help him debone the meat…he had to work on getting the rest done himself.  Normally, I would have helped him till the job was done, but I had 2 tickets to the WVU/Auburn game Thursday night, and had to get out of here early enough to get to Morgantown by 4:30!  So, it ended up being a very busy day, but we had a very good time (even though my Tigers look terrible this year.)

I think I am going to hang my stand tomorrow afternoon, and get at least a couple hours of hunting in on Monday.  Wish me luck!

West Virginia Bow Season

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Well, our bow season has come in here in West Virginia.  I didn’t even get to go out on opening day.  I did, however, make a trip to our camp for a couple of days of hunting this past Monday and Tuesday.  The deer around camp are plentiful enough.  We drove around (maybe 10 miles from the camp all together) and saw over 100 deer.  But, I only saw 2 deer from my stand.  It was quite depressing, especially since the area I was hunting has been very productive over the last several years.  There is plenty of sign around, telling me that there are plenty of deer, they just decided to avoid my stand for those two days.  Hopefully, I will have better luck later.  It is looking like I may not make it back up to camp until rifle season comes in.

I do have another small area to hunt, as a friend of mine bought a house with a little wood lot behind it.  He saw a small buck up there on opening day, but wasn’t able to connect on him.  I know there are some nice does up there, and would like to tag a couple for my freezer if I get the chance.  I also am hoping to do a bit of scouting around in a couple of local wildlife management areas that are with in driving distance.  With the high price of gasoline, it is harder and harder to drive 3+ hours to get to our camp.  It’s also been very hard to find the time to be able to do that!  It would be great to have a couple of places close by, where I could hunt in the morning, and still have time to get my work done.

I hope you all are having a good season thus far.  I have been out of town working for the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t had a chance to read up on blogs to see who has been successful yet.  If nothing else, I hope you all are enjoying the fall.  Our colors are brighter this year than they have been in several years!

You Gotta Start ’em Early!

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Jacob with CrowsI came across this picture on my hard drive today and just had to share it. You can click the picture to see a larger version. This was taken when my son, Jacob, was about 2 years old.  We had these crows coming in and snagging all the corn we were putting down for the deer.  I was able to actually get 2 of them with a .22, which was surprising because they were so wary, that they would fly off at first sight of us.

Of course, after shooting the crows, Jacob had to go out with me to see what I got.  He was certainly willing to grab hold of them, and hoist them for the camera!  He has continued with this same enthusiasm, no matter what the game.  He was just as proud of those two crows as any deer I have brought home.

On a side note, the law concerning shooting crows has become very interesting here in WV.  Some time back, they had to be classified as a “game animal” so that the state could receive federal money (the details have escaped me, as it has been too long ago.)  However, the law also allows for the shooting of “nuisance birds”, which is very broadly defined.  In fact, crows can be shot now with the same regularity as before, if you can establish that they were any kind of nuisance.  These two were a nuisance, as they were eating my corn.  I guess even states have to get around laws every once in a while!

Did You Ever Have One of Those Days?

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Well, now the 2007 hunting season is officially over for me.  I know, I got to hunt about 7 days into 2008 on that 2007 season…gotta love Alabama’s long season!  I was able to hit the woods for a couple of evenings, and a couple of mornings while in Alabama.  I finally figured out where the deer were coming out into a field where I had permission to hunt.  One morning, I was able to tag one small doe.  She had been shot through the front knee earlier in the season, and while she would have made it through the winter, she looked pretty miserable limping across the field.  I put her out of her misery with one shot at about 150 yards.

Later in the week, I went out in the evening in the same field.  Just as it was about dark, 4 does stepped out in the corner of the field.  I thought it was a sure thing…I chose one big doe, placed the crosshairs right behind the shoulder, and pulled the trigger.  All 4 deer whirled, and ran back into the woods, on the same trail they had entered the field on.   I still don’t know what I did to miss that deer.   My best guess is that I simply jumped the trigger, and missed her by jerking off of her.  I can tell you, I was plenty aggravated!  The worst thing is that now I have to live with a miss through the long “off season” until next deer season!

This trip was interesting because of the swift change of the weather.  The morning I shot the first deer was a mere 8*, which is extremely cold for north Alabama.  Two days later, it was nearly 70*.  That makes for some difficult hunting!  You can never tell when the deer will be up and moving, and which fields they might hit.   I guess that is one reason I enjoy hunting so much–you can never know what’s coming, and there is no such thing as a “sure thing”.

I hope you all had good hunting seasons.  We have about 10 months here until bow season comes back around.  I guess it is time to start getting ready for that!

In the Books…

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Well, another West Virginia hunting season is now in the books for me.  As you saw from my last post, it was a bit abbreviated, due to the birth of my son.  I was still able to tag 3 deer, two bucks and a doe.  I did get to go out looking for a final deer with a muzzle loader this week, but we had terrible weather.  It rained most of the time, and was over 50 degrees.  It was quiet, and I was able to do quite a bit of still hunting.  I only had one opportunity at a deer that I walked up on in its bed, but did not take the shot, as I was trying to drive deer to a hunting companion of mine.  The deer were very few and far between, and they were very skittish this late in the season.  We ended up coming home empty handed, and that’s ok too!

I was very disappointed to find the evidence of deer poaching at our farm this week.  There were 5 carcasses thrown out in the middle of a road, which had been minimally butchered, and had their antlers cut off.  Other hunters in our party told me these deer were already there when the season started.  It has been a common sight over the last few years to find at least 2 bucks killed before the season comes in, and their carcasses thrown out on the side of the road.  It is very disappointing to see this, when we are trying desperately to find nice bucks legally.  It is hard to kill those nice bucks in season when someone else is killing them before!  I also found 2 other deer that were simply shot and left lay in the woods.  One was a doe that had been left for some time, and had been eaten by coyotes.  The other was a small buck, which had only been dead for a couple of days.  It was probably shot in doe season, and left behind because of its antlers.  What a waste!  If you are going to shoot without looking to see if the deer is legal first, then at least take it out so it does not go to waste!  Such unethical practices make me angry as a hunter, because it is such things as this that give hunters a bad name.  We need to hunt ethically, and treat our quarry with respect.

I hope to get a few days to hunt in Alabama this year.  Last year I was able to bag a couple of does down that way, and put a little meat in my in-laws freezer.  Maybe I will have a chance to do that again this year.  It is always fun to hunt down there.  The methods of hunting are so different from up here, it was like learning to hunt all over again.  We shall see if the deer are ready for me in a couple weeks!

My New Little Hunter…

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

I am happy to announce the birth of my third child, a true little hunter!  He was born on November 21st, yes right in the middle of West Virginia’s rifle season.  JonDavid Hunter weighed in at 8 lbs, 1/4 oz.  and measured 21 inches long.  Just to show you what he is in for, here is a picture of him in his coming home outfit:

JonDavid Hunter

 Lest any one worry, my wife made the adorable outfit that JonDavid is wearing.  Jacob also came home from the hospital in camo.  I gave in on my daughter, and let here wear a frilly dress.  However, the boys have to be tough, and prepared for the coming hunting seasons!  We couldn’t help but use the name “Hunter” since he was born during hunting season.

I have managed to get out into the woods a bit, around the birth of my son.  Since it didn’t appear that he was going to make an appearance on Monday of season, I decided to take a chance and travel to a friend’s farm about an hour and a half away.  I was fortunate enough to bag a nice little four point buck early in the morning.  A friend of mine accompanied me, and was able to get his first deer, a little button buck.  Here a few pics from the day:

WV Opening Day Success

 I also was able to get out last Friday and fill my doe tag.  That gets 3 nice deer into the freezer, and should keep us through the winter.  I am hoping to be able to get out for a couple of days next week for our muzzleloader season.  I am hoping to bag at least one more doe, and maybe get a chance at a late season buck.

Over all, it has been a great season so far!  We have truly been blessed.

Season Started!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

I am happy to report that bow season has started here in WV.  Unfortunately, it has started under extremely warm conditions.  I was fortunate enough to be able to take off a few days to hunt on some family land in central WV for the first week of season.  There was plenty of sign available, attesting to the deer numbers, but we were not seeing many deer.  In fact, I only saw about a half dozen deer during the whole week from my stands!

I am not planning to get to hunt as much this year as in years past, since I am expecting the birth of my 3rd child in November, right in the middle of rifle season.  I will, however, trade in one rifle season for a happy, healthy baby boy.  Want to see a picture?  Here you go! I know that may not be exciting for the rest of you, but hey, it’s my blog and my kid, so it’s exciting for me!  I am sure that the pictures forthcoming will be more interesting to those that actually read this blog for its hunting content!

Back to bow season.  The season started out pretty quickly.  On the first day that I was in stand, a small spike horn buck came feeding through the woods.  The woods of central WV are filled with acorns this year–plenty of feed for the deer, but it sure makes them hard to pattern!  This small buck came to within about 25 yards of my stand, and then was startled by a dove exploding from the cover–a dove that neither the buck nor I saw.  It made him jump about out of his skin, and I am not sure but that it had the same effect on me.  I had debated on whether to shoot this deer or wait for a larger buck, but then decided that I need not question what the Lord was providing for me.  Since I did not have long to hunt this year, I decided I would put this tender meat into the freezer!  The shot was just slightly far back, but made a perfect perforation through the liver of the young buck.  He walked off, up the hill, circled around, and then fell dead only about 4o yards from my tree stand. 

As with all the deer that I bring home, my children were very excited.  They wanted to see the deer, but this year was different in that they wanted to know everything about it, especially my son.  He was full of questions pertaining to the hunt, as well as the anatomy of the deer.  In fact, he insisted that I take him back to the gut pile for the purpose of exploring it to identify all the parts therein.  He could even remember most of them by the time my parents joined us in camp that evening.  What can I say?  Hunting is a great field lesson when you are homeschooling your children.  Even my daughter, following the example of my son, jumped in to look the deer over carefully.  She even picked up its head so that she could look in its mouth and check out its teeth!

Overall, it was a good week, save for the unseasonably hot weather.  I am hoping to get out for a couple of more days in a week or so.  I think I have a good stand site picked out, so maybe if the weather breaks a bit, I will be able to spot a few more deer, and get another shot.  We love to have that venison in the freezer!  We have already had the tenderloins of this buck marinated and grilled–and they were delicious!

Let me leave you with one more picture of my children examining the deer! I may come back and add a few more of these later on.

What a Season…

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Ok, I know it has been forever since I posted something on here. You all probably thought I had given up on you. But, that is not the case, it has just been very busy around here lately. Unbelieveably, deer season is now officially over. I had more good luck this year than I have had in any other year. I took 2 bucks with a bow, 1 with a muzzleloader and one with a rifle. I also took 3 does with a rifle, and one with a muzzleloader. Needless to say, my freezer (and my in-law’s freezer) are well stocked for the year. I also hunted 3 different states this year. I tagged one buck in Pennsylvania, and two does in Alabama. The rest were taken in my home state of West Virginia.

It was a great year, as most of the folks in our hunting party, including my brothers, my uncle, and one of my best friends were able to take at least one deer. Even in the best of circumstances, it is pretty unique to have that many folks in one party be able to successfully hunt deer!

My Pennsylvania hunt is probably the most memorable. I got to hunt with my dad, and we both scored on nice bucks. He tagged a nice 10 pointer, with 6 points on one side, and 4 on the other. I got a nice 9 pointer. Both were taken under “challenging” circumstances. Dad shot his buck on a dead run. In fact, it was running so hard that when it died, it smacked its head into a tree, and broke one antler off, level with the skull. I shot my buck at 420 yards, the furthest distance at which I have ever killed a deer. I’m sure you have noticed the picture of the two bucks over there to the left. My dad is on the left, and my son is in the middle. He absolutely loved being around all the deer this year!

I don’t know if we will ever have a year as successful as this one was again. Even without the success, this was a great, enjoyable year. It will be well remembered, as I am having my PA buck mounted for the wall, as is my dad. They are being done in the same pose, which is a “pedistal” mount. I will be sure to put some pics up here when I get the deer head back, probably some time in June. My dad had been trying for sometime to get me to hunt in Pennsylvania with him. With the new 4 point on one side law, he had been seeing several nice bucks. I am glad that I went this year. Who knows, maybe next year there will be time for another deer up there…there just might be another with my name on it!

Making of a Trophy…

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

I have been thinking about this subject lately.  Pick up any deer hunting magazine, and what you will find is picture after picture of monster bucks.  And then you will find story after story about how to kill a trophy buck.  The problem is, most of us don’t really get to hunt those monster bucks!  I, for one, don’t have the thousands of dollars that it takes to be able to pay for a deer like that.  That is what it typically turns out to be.  A hunt on either a high fence ranch, or a piece of property that is so secured it might as well have a high fence.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have about 5,000 acres all to myself on which to grow and manage trophy deer.  Given the opportunity, I would do it in a heartbeat.  But, that is just not a reality for most of us (unless I am really out of touch with reality!)

For most of us, “trophy” is not in the size of the antlers, but rather in the hunt itself.  For example, let me share this picture of a small buck I killed a couple of years ago. Obviously, this was not a “trophy” buck…just a little spike horn.  However, this was the first year my son (just about 1 1/2) was old enough to really know what was going on in deer camp.  Look at that smile on his face.  In my book, that is a trophy!  He has, from that day on, been hooked on deer hunting.  Every time I come in from hunting, he wants to know what I got.  If I didn’t get something, he wants to know what I saw.  He is always facinated by the different animals that I see, or hear while on the deer stand.  I knew, when I pulled the trigger on this little buck, that my little hunting buddy would be thrilled to see it in the back of my truck. 

In our little corner of WV, we don’t have a lot of big bucks.  And, the idea of letting little ones walk is appealing in a lot of ways, but the problem is if we let one walk, then it will just go over the hill and someone else will shoot him.  Such is the problem when you only own a few acres. 

Someday, I may have the opportunity to take Jacob somewhere where to hunt for a big buck.  Until then, I want to instill in him the joy of the hunt.  That can’t be tied to the size of antlers.  There is nothing like sitting in a stand and watching the sun rise…watching a buck walk right under your stand…squeezing the trigger and knowing you made a good, ethical, humane shot.  Folks, that buck is a trophy in the eyes of my little guy, and that is good enough for me.  He is now 3, and the desires for hunting have only grown.  He will be spending a couple of days this year in a hunting blind.  If I see a deer, I will shoot it, no matter how small.  I want him to get the experience of taking one of these beautiful creatures, and learning to take care of the game so that it is preserved for our freezer.  He has a great desire to learn all about it, and I look forward to teaching him!

This week, I was fortunate enough to find myself in a tree stand once again.  About 9 AM, I saw a deer walking toward my stand.  The small spike horn turned and went up over the hill, as I enjoyed watching him eat.  A few minutes later, another small buck came over the hill, and fed right toward my stand.  I debated over whether I wanted to take this small buck or not.  Some of what I have written about in this post was going through my mind.  Finally, when the deer was about 7 yards from me, I decided to go ahead and take him.  I made what I thought was a perfect shot, but the deer ran like crazy.  I ended up tracking him for 400 yards or more.  Unfortunately, he didn’t drop a lot of blood, so it took me a long time to find him.  Upon examination, I found that I had indeed made a very good shot on this deer.  The problem appeared to be that my mechanical broadhead did not open up as it should have.  It seemed as if only one of the 3 blades opened up, and cut the right way.  I was very disappointed in this.  I will be trying the broadheads again, but if I continue to have problems like this, I will definitely go to another brand.  After another test of this broadhead, maybe I will review it here.  The first 2 shots with it were quite effective, one penetrating the spine, the second a pass through in the lung area.  But, this shot was through one lung, and evidently due to the severe angle, under the second lung.  there was no exit hole, as the arrow didn’t penetrate enough.    I will have to report back on this later!

Notice the smile on my son’s face!  He, again, was thrilled to see this deer.  And he didn’t care a bit that the antlers on this deer were much smaller than the one from last week.  I hope he keeps that good attitude!