Sunday, October 28, 2012

Things Dont Always go as Planned

As Dennis stated in the previous post I was fortunate enough to shoot a doe on opening weekend of the Minnesota Archery season.  As Dennis also alluded to, it didn't go exactly as planned. I personally think every hunt is only as good (and truthful) as the story that accompanies it.  Because of this, I am willing to put this out there for the enjoyment of all, at my expense.

The day had gone pretty well up to 6pm that Saturday in September.  We had seen some deer walking into our stands in the morning and after having lunch and getting back to our stands I had seen a couple more right away.  The deer seemed to be moving but staying just outside of our shooting range.

At exactly 6:09 pm I felt my cell phone buzz in the chest pocket of my GSX Sweet Spot jacket. Assuming it was Dennis with his normal update on random animals, facts or the fact that he is trying to solve all the worlds issues, I was surprised to see a text from Sr stating he had just shot a doe.  I was just as excited as he was the minute I read this. I quick sent him a text to stay in his stand and we would be over in a little while to get him.  Upon hitting send I closed my phone and looked up, and that's when the fun began!

Standing on the middle of the food plot that we had tilled and planted was a deer.  I hadn't seen nor heard her as she came in, she was a NINJA DEER!  I quickly stuck my phone back in my pocket and pulled out my Bushnell range finder.  This was the first time I realized I was shaking horribly.  I could barely get my hands to stay still long enough to get an accurate reading on the range finder.  She was at 37 yards.  A little longer then I would have liked for my first shot but I had practiced to 40.  Oh if I would have known what was about to begin...

Every time I tried to stand up she would turn and look in my direction.  I don't know if she could see me or if it was just my paranoia.  After 4 attempts to stand up I decided I was going to take the shot sitting down.  I had practiced this at the range, I could do this.  Slowly grabbing my bow I realized a second time that I was shaking uncontrollably with adrenaline.  I took one last look through the range finder, still 37 yards.  I hooked my release to my bow, took a deep breath and decided it was game time....sort of.....

Upon pulling my bow to draw I had trained myself to always start a bit above my target and drop my sight on to the spot I wanted to shot and then hit the trigger.  One issue, my hands were shaking so bad I hit my trigger prematurely!  To my complete surprise and utter horror, my arrow took off prior to me getting on target.  I completely cleared the deer by a good 6 feet, with my arrow landing on the ground behind her and skipping through the remaining portion of the food plot.  At this point the doe jumped and ran right at me.  She stopped behind a small pine tree about 15 yards in front of my stand, scanning the field for what caused the commotion.  I was able to get to my feet and adjust for what I hoped was going to be a better shot. 

I quickly got another arrow in the whisker biscuit and was clipped in and ready to go.  To my amazement the doe stepped out from behind the pine try for a perfect quartering away shot.  I took aim and let fly.  MISSED.  Or at least thought I did.  In the course of all the craziness and getting a second shot I didn't take into account my angle when taking a close shot of that nature. My arrow barely grazed her right under the front leg on the side of the belly and buried into the ground.  She jumped and ran into the field.  I thought for sure this time she would continue and be gone.  Or not.....

She stopped running and stood in the exact spot she was on my first shot.  I could not believe what I was seeing.  It is not supposed to happen this way.  I looked down and realized I had only one arrow left in my quiver.  I had to make this one count.  My adrenaline was starting to fade and holding for a steady shot was much easier.  I took a couple of deep breaths (Uncle Rich's school of breathing before shooting) and drew back.  Taking what seemed like an eternity I made sure that all aspects of my shot were completely correct.  Bow level, using the right pin, good broadside shot, all CHECK!  I let fly....

SMACK!  I nailed her right where I was aiming, right behind the front shoulder.  My Rage MeatSeeker broad head punch a huge entrance hole.  The doe took off across the field, leaving a nice trail of blood to the tree line.  I heard her enter the woods, crash, crash, crash, a very loud CRASH and then nothing.  She was down!

After meeting up with Dennis and getting SR we went and found his deer and then went to track mine.  After following the blood trail for about 50 yards we ran into an extremely thick area and though we had lost the trail and more importantly the deer.  Frustration setting in I shut off my flashlight to say some choice words to myself and that's when I saw it.  A glowing beacon of hope.  Somehow my arrow had not broken off but was sticking out of the side of the deer with the Luminok still shining, sticking straight up in the air.  At first I couldn't believe my eyes and had to ask Dennis if that was what I was seeing.  His response was "Gotta be a house light or something."

Normally I wouldn't have thought about it but i paused and said "we are like 60 plus acres from the nearest house" and started walking.  Sure enough there she lay. 

She wasn't the biggest doe we have ever seen or shot, but she was my first deer with my bow.  I would have loved for it to have gone perfect and for all purposes I could have kept the story to myself.  That's not me.  I don't care that the story is funny at my expense, I had a deer on the ground.  Needless to say the look on Dennis and SR's faces as I  told them the story was worth every second of my embarrassment.  We still joke that there was something mentally wrong with my deer to stick around while I flung arrows at it from everywhere.

Looking forward to this week we are heading up on Wednesday and will be in the tree Thursday through Sunday. We are hoping for some success on multiple days and hopefully something that we can seriously brag about.  Details to follow!!!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Successful Opener! 

Congratulations to my Dad (Sr) and Eric on their success.  Both of them put down a doe opening weekend of bow season in MN.  This was the first bow opener weekend we hunted and it was a good time.  

Sr shot a nice doe with his Ten Point Crossbow on Saturday evening about 4:30pm.  She came in and give him a quartering away shot that would have been tough with a bow, but his crossbow was on target and put her down after a 50 yard run through the brush.

Eric has quite a story for his doe.  Let's just say it didn't go down after the first shot....or the second.  I will leave that story for him to tell.  In the end we tracked her down and grabbed the second doe of the night on Saturday.  

I had my chances but didn't get a shot I liked, so I held back.  I still hope to fling an arrow or two before the gun season kicks off.  So far I would call this a very successful year for us.  It can only get better from here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

Time is running out on the off season.  We are 3 days away from the bow opener here in Minnesota.  The picture above is consistent with what we have been seeing for the past month.  Plenty of does all over our property.  Does, does, and more does.  I can tell you what our mission is going to be for the early season, and that is to fill as many doe tags as we can.  

The Frigad Forage Big-N-Beasty food plot is still a work in process.  We had plenty of rain all summer long, right up until we planted our food plot.  At that point we were cut off and the skies closed.  The weather forecasters have called for rain and storms every week for the past month and they have been wrong.  At best we get a sprinkle here and there.  We have some patches of things growing, but overall it doesnt look to great.  I put some fertilizer down last weekend to try and spur growth a bit.  We will see how it turns out.  

This weekend my Dad, Eric and I will be heading up for the opener.  Our goal is to put a couple does on the ground and get the season started right.  As a side note, we are also going to High Five Archery in Stillwater tonight for a deer butchering class.  We started butchering our own deer last year and are excited to learn more about what we are doing.  I will try and give you an update tomorrow.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When time stands still...

Its been a while since I had a chance to post, but with all the prep work we have been doing and all the nice deer we have been seeing on our Wildgame Innovations trail cams I cant help but think hunting non-stop.

This is one of the toughest times of the year for us as hunters.  Not only does every day drag on because we know the end of the day brings us one day closer to opening day, but we start to think, rethink and second guess all the decisions we have made in preparation.

This year we have a handful of deer stands that are in new locations.  All of these locations were decided upon for various reasons.  Some are based off of pictures from the trails cams as we moved them around the property through the summer.  One stand is an adjustment from an old permanent stand that is no longer use-able. The last stands are based off of our personal experiences hunting the land in recent years and the improvements we have done to the land (ex: food plot).

We research, discuss, research some more, discuss some more, decide, adjust, place the stands and then second guess ourselves until hunting comes and goes. I think it is human nature to second guess your decision making when it comes to hunting.  The variables change every day if not every minute.  Some of these are controllable and some are not.

We have a couple final decisions to make and then it is go time.  We will finally get to see who wins and who loses. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hard Work, Hard Play

Hard Work, Hard Play

A food plot went in, 2 stands were hung and over 100 rounds were sent down range.  

It was a good weekend of work on the property.  Eric got both his stands hung in what we think are going to be great spots around our new Big-N-Beasty food plot.  The first is in the same spot he was in last year, just facing a new direction.  His second is in a great spot along one of the few ridges we have to work with.  Getting into it will be really easy and just off the trail.  This could be one of his best chances to shoot a deer in years.  If anyone needs it, it's Eric.  He has been dry for years now.  

We also raked and planted a small "kill plot" that is maybe 10'x14' square.  I had sprayed the area with Round up a month ago, we raked all of the loose plants and cleared as much ground as we could.  Matt used a hand spreader to throw half a bag of Whitetail Institute Imperial Bow Stand blend.  I will be hunting off to the side of this food plot in my ladder stand position this year.  We hope it will continue to draw well into the fall for us.

The trail cams produced some great pictures again this time out.  The enjoyment of seeing the deer on camera makes the hard work of prepping easier each time we go.  The bucks are nice to see, but overall seeing so much deer activity in an area we will be sitting is amazing.

After we were done with our prep work we decided to break out the arsenal and have a little fun.  Matt and I brought our .22 hand guns, Trace brought a .44 Mag revolver straight out of Dirty Harry.  Matt also had an AK47 type semi-auto that his neighbor sent with for us to shoot.  After destroying plenty of cans, bottles and cups from the truck ride up, we all left with a big ole smile on our faces.  

This Sunday we are going to plant the Big-N-Beast from Frigid Forage on our main food plot.  A Polaris Magnum that I just purchased and plenty of man power should make this trip productive and fun!  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Working in a Sauna

Trail cams are out and we have been collecting pictures.  The first few weeks produced a good collection but getting them was a chore.  Working in 90 degree weather with humidity that could kill a lesser man, was not fun.  Myself, Eric and my Dad all braved the heat to get some things done for the upcoming season.  We are more excited than ever now.

We decided to do some things differently this year.  Our first two trail cam placements were over piles of Deer Corn from Gander Mountain.  The cams were put out in strategic spots surrounding the field we are turning into a food plot.  The first location was where Eric had his stand last year.  The second was 100 feet to the north west on a trail coming into the food plot.  I will try and give you a break down of studying the pictures in a separate post.  

While we were there collecting pictures we also did some prep work.  All of our trails needed to be cleared and cut.  There has been a lot of water, like flood type water levels, in our area.  The weeds loved the water and have been growing.  Along with some mowing we started the prep on what should become our two food plots this year.

The first is a clover plot from last year that we wrote about in Second Week of Work last year.  It sits just off of the back corner of the property and draws the deer in from a pine grove.  The second is in the big main field that sits on the property.  It was once used for planting dozens of years ago and has since become overgrown.  In order to begin getting the plots ready to plant, we mowed both spots and sprayed with Round Up.  

In the smaller kill plot, we are planning on planting Whitetail Institute Imperial Bow Stand blend.  The larger plot is about 1/2 an acre and is most likely going to get the Big-N-Beasty blend from Frigid Forage.  This will allow us to see how the different seeds grow in our soil conditions.  Stay tuned for a trail cam update this weekend!  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pre Season Prep

It's that time of year once again!  It seems like we just climbed down from the tree for the last time and yet, here we are making plans for another year of hunting.  This year we are going to be hitting the ground running and hopefully have a little more to show for it.  We put in a lot of grunt work last year and learned quite a few lessons along the way.  Here are the plans for this year:
1.  Sandstone Land - We had very limited success last year here.  We shot one buck and 2 does after hunting it all bow season and most of gun season.  We plan on relocating stands, using different attractants and overall land improvements this year.  I know a lot of experts tell us that we should be finishing all of these things this time of year and not starting them, but due to the nature of our jobs, that just isnt possible.  We have high hopes for bow season this year on this property.

2.  Metro Land - We had ZERO success on this property last year.  It was a combination of poor planning and poor execution on our part.  We are going to hunt this land very carefully this season.  I don't see it being a heavy year on this property but we will use it to fill the fridge if we can.  Again, we are going to change some stand locations and even some overall strategies on this land.  

3.  Land Acquisition - We are pushing forward with a new endeavor this year.  After hunting small plots of land our whole lives, we are looking to start the process of purchasing a larger chunk of land.  We have started looking at lands and areas trying to decide what is the best for us and what we want to pursue.  We are realistically looking at 2 years out before we actually make a purchase, but a lot can happen in two years.  

I can't wait to see what we pull together for this season and how it pans out.  I can tell you I am overly excited to get going.  See you all again soon with more detailed info on our plans!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Turkey Watching

Well our first year of turkey hunting has come and gone.  We had no idea what we were doing or how to do it but we did it.  Together Eric and I spent more than 40 hours over 4 days in the blind.  We saw plenty of hens and one tom.  Neither of us was able to get close enough to get a shot at the tom and we only saw him once.  This was quite a learning time for us.  

Not only did we learn a lot about turkey hunting, but a lot about ourselves as well.  Both of us decided to dive head first into this turkey hunting thing and hunt with our bows.  If we are going to hunt, we may as well do it the way we want.  It was good being out in the woods when we usually are not.  We saw a few dozen deer and had a good chance to pattern some of the deer in their off season habits.  While they may not carry over to the deer hunting season, I don't think we can ever have to much knowledge of our prey.  

My butt is tired from the sitting and my eyes may never be the same after all the wind this past few days, but my thirst for the hunt has been quenched for a few weeks.  Now we begin our prep for deer hunting.  My bow muscles need strengthening and I could use a good amount of practice this summer.  Add that to our quest for property that we will talk about soon and you have a full summer.

Sorry we do not have pics to show you of our grand entrance into turkey hunting stardom.  It didnt go down exactly as planned.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Off Season Activity

We have been working hard this off season on quite a few things.  We want to expand our hunting opportunities so we have been searching high and low for a good lease property.  So far we haven't come up with anything, but we will let you know if we do.

We also have the normal off season activities of studying and planning tactics, cleaning our gear, acquiring new gear, and practicing with our bows.  I recently acquired a new utility trailer that should work out great for hauling gear and what not.

Eric and I are also prepping for our first ever spring turkey season.  It should be interesting to say the least.  It feels good to be hunting in the spring when we normally are just dreaming about it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


This weekend turned out to have a silver lining that fuels the fire even more!  Dennis and I were both notified that we were drawn for the 2012 Spring turkey hunt.  This is going to make for a very interesting adventure.

Neither Dennis nor I have ever hunted turkeys, although we have seen many in the woods.  Any advice or insight that you may find helpful, we are all ears!!!!!

On a side note, today is Superbowl Sunday.  One of the greatest TV viewing days of the year.  Check it out and let us know what you thought was the best commercials of the day!!!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

A day well spent....

Today my girls decided they were going to reward me for my great fathering ability by taking a 4 hour nap.  To me that translates to "Daddy, you can watch 4 hours of hunting shows uninterrupted!"  They are such loving girls, they obviously know the way to daddy's heart!

The best part of my hunting show marathon is the use of my DVR. Being able to fast forward through all of the commercials means being able to maximize my viewing time.

Today I watched Battle of the Bow, and Hallowed Ground Outdoors.  These are my two favorite hunting shows. Check out their websites, and make sure and check out their shows.

Check'm out and let me know what you think!  What are your favorite hunting shows?  Let us know, as we can never watch enough hunting on TV!!!!!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Opportunity lost, lesson learned!

I decided to get ahold of my uncle "SR" on a Friday night to set up an early morning drive to our hunting land up north for early the next morning.  He is Dennis's dad, and has been a hunting mentor of mine as far back as I can remember.  Sr has some history on the land as my father and him hunted this land as kids, and Sr had partaken the art of bow hunting with a newly purchased crossbow.  Old men and their injuries!  Either way, any time I can spend with Sr in the woods is a good time no matter the outcome.

We got to the property about 30 minutes before sunrise, and took our time getting out to the stands.  This property and the stands we were hunting are notorius for deer sitting right in the entrance and exit routes to all of the stands. For this reason we decided to wait until there was just enough sunlight for us to see, and stalk our way out, hoping not to jump anything that we couldnt see.

As Dennis has referenced in prior posts, I had decided to put a portable hanging stand on the edge of a field that my father hunted quite often during his life.  It was a shot in the dark, as we had not seen anything prior to placing the stand, but the trails leading in and out, and the position of the stand in between a small valley and some large pine trees make it a solid highway that the deer like to travel.

Once I got into the stand and got situated, I decided to sit down and relax and try and calm the nerves for a couple of minutes.  After about 20 minutes of some breathing exercises, checking my fantasy football news on my cell phone, and making sure that my harness was connected and ready for nap time, I decided it was time to eat a small snack.  Upon leaning over to get the granola bar out of my backpack I realized something....THERE WAS A DEER UNDERNEATH MY STAND!!!! This is where those lessons come into play. 

Lesson #1 - where ever you think the deer will not come from, THEY WILL. We had figured the deer were crossing the field directly behind the stand or coming straight across from the pines.  the doe standing underneath me had come from behind me over my right shoulder, which is an area that we had never even taken into consideration. For at least 10 minutes the doe stood underneath my stand chewing on some of the greens and looking around.

Lesson #2 came very quickly after lesson #1.  The doe decided to walk off to the left of the stand.  This is an area of some extremely thick, head high brush.  Exactly where we thought the deer would NOT walk through.  The beaten down path, and the area that we had decided was my shooting lane was about 20 feet to her right.  after she ducked into the brush I was able to get my bow in my hand and ready to shoot.

Lesson #3 - clear every shooting lane!  She was standing 30 yards out when she finally turned in a way that gave me a perfect shot.  I pulled back and let out a small grunt with my mouth in order to get her to lift her head, and WHAM!  Ok, not so wham, but the arrow took off.  I watched my arrow fly the first 20 yards right at the target.  Then it happened.  The arrow brushed a branch with about 4 small leaves on it.  The branch shook and the leaves rattled, and I knew I was in trouble.  The minute the arrow hit the tree my attention was drawn to the branch, and I didnt get a clear view of the location of the hit.  She took off running and darted right to the tall pine trees that we have found the deer use as safe zone.

After a couple of hours SR and I walked back to the truck and let her sit.  After what we believed was enough time, we went to check where she was standing, and see if we could trail her.  We found some blood about 10 yards from where I hit her, heading in the direction she ran.  About 30 yards from where the shot took place we found the broken off arrow.  Much to my dismay there was a very small portion of the arrow that had broken off, meaning minimal penetration.  Sr put in his best tracking effort, and we trailed the little bit of blood for hours until it finally ran dry.  It was a heartbreaking feeling having to call off the search, but sometimes you just cant do any more.

3 lessons in one day.  Excitement and disappointment.  An empty truck on the way home.  All things that some would use as excuses to never go back again.  The crazy thing is, it made my drive to hunt smarter and harder even more than it was prior.  I could not wait to get back out again. 

This trip turned out to be the most excitement I would see for the year.  Through the rest of bow season and through the rifle season, I never again got an opportunity to put my sights on another deer. 

Congrats to Dennis (drop tine unicorn) and Matt (x2...well kinda) for their harvests this year.  I always say it and I truely mean it when I say that if someone in my party gets a deer, I am almost as excited as if I got the deer myself.  Success as an individual is as rewarding as success as a team.

I plan on writing some upcoming reviews on some of the equipment that I got the chance to use this season, as well as some previews for some of the new stuff i have purchased since the season has ended.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

A new bow! and finally got the net...

FINALLY!!!!  It took me a while to catch up with the 21st century, but I finally got internet at my home.  This will allow me to accomplish a couple of things. Most importantly it will allow me to surf the internet about hunting, while watching hunting, and texting Dennis about hunting.  I can finally get to writing some reviews about the equipment we used this year, talk about some of the things we learned this year in our first year hitting the woods for bow season, and working towards next year.

Prior to any of this, I am very pleased to announce I bought a new bow.  I decided after much research, lots of practice shooting and a little begging to my loving, beautiful wife and the purchase was made.  I am now the very proud owner of a brand new Elite GT 500 compound bow.

I decided on the GT 500 for a couple of reasons.  First, it is an extremely lightweight bow. Comparing it to the older one I was shooting this past year was like night and day.  Second, everywhere I looked and everyone I talked to that has owned or does own an Elite bow has nothing but good things to say about their performance and durability.  Lastly, the bow fell right into the price range I was looking for.

I have had the opportunity to hit the range 3 times so far.  Each time I am liking my decision to purchase the GT 500 more and more.  Hopefully Dennis and I will be successful in our pursuit of turkey licenses this spring and I will get a chance to try it out on a bird!