Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Deer Moving and Arrows Flying

Well the second weekend of hunting came and went and we finally have deer sightings.  Opener didnt go as planned as we had ZERO deer moving around us and some serious questions on our set ups.  Sunday was a different story and there were even shots fired.

As you notice there is not a victorious picture of me with a dead deer at the top of this post.  It wasnt for lack of effort or opportunity.  We started off early Sunday morning to the stands in a light rain, which is always nice.  I climbed into my ladder and got ready for a wet morning.  An hour into the sit I heard a crack and stood up.  A head popped out of the pines in front of me and to my surprise there were antlers attached to it!  It walked into my small opening and hooked off to my right.  The one trail I do not have a shot at is the one it was on.  I had plenty of time to take a good look and I didnt like what I saw.  It was a young 6 that we have pictures of from over the summer.  I decided I would pass even if it did present me a shot.  Of course the 6 decided to press his luck by turning around and stepping back out into my opening.  He stood broadside at 23 yards taunting me to shoot.  I stayed strong and let him walk.  He walked up the trail right under my stand and out of my life.

After an afternoon of being ripped by my Dad and Eric for passing, we were back in the stand with no rain.  The wind had kicked up and it was really hard to hear anything.  In front of me and to my right a doe stepped out and started eating in an area I have no shot.  She was a good size and I decided I was going to take her if she gave me a shot.  I stood and got myself ready while she grazed around behind some trees.  She slowly started moving towards my opening without a hint that she knew I was there.  Her front legs and head peaked out behind the last tree she had to clear before I could shoot and I came to full draw.

That's when she stopped.  She stood still eating, licking, flicking her ears, looking around, eating, licking, looking around, eating and standing STILL.  After what seemed like 10 minutes I decided I was going to have to let down if she didnt move forward.  My eyes were blurring from staring so hard at her and my arms were starting to get the shakes.  When she had me on the ropes begging for mercy she took that last step forward.  I tensed up and yanked the living day lights out of my trigger.

The whacking sound the arrow made when it smacked the tree above her head was really loud.  She jumped back a few feet, looked around and walked off into the pines.  I sat down in my stand and stared at my Lumenok in the tree in front of me.  It was glowing like a little beacon reminding me of where my arrow hit.  My first chance at a deer this year, early in the season and perfectly timed.....dead.  

Cant wait to get back out there in a week.  I have to redeem myself now.  Plus it cant get much worse.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

We are on the home stretch!

Tomorrow JR and I are taking our families up to the property to pull pics from the cams one last time before the season starts. Not many times do we get up there with our wives and kids, so it will be fun showing them what we have done and what we hope will be the place where some excitement occurs!

This could result in some increased excitement (like we need any of that) or some additional anxiety over whether we made the correct stand choices or not.

Next week we will have a recap of the pics we have gotten over the past two weeks and an outline of the plan heading into the opener!

Keep checking back for new updates!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013 Stand Preview

We are on the final countdown to opening day.  To say we are a little antsy may be the understatement of the decade.  Heading into the 2013 season I want to give everyone a preview of the stands we will be hunting this year.  Hopefully this should help as the season progress's and we continue to post updates with our success's (hopefully) and our failures (that's why they call it hunting and not killing).

Existing Stands 
These stands are all in areas that we used in the past.  For various reasons, mainly seeing and shooting deer, we have decided there is a need to continue our stand placement in these spots.  We have made a couple of adjustments with some new knowledge of what we believe is the deer pattern as well as some things we have learned about shooting our bows.

Girls Food Plot Stand - This stand was one of our original stands.  We moved it last year but have placed it back in its original location for this year.  Due to the sheer number of deer and the consistent number of bucks in this area that we have seen on our Wildgame Innovations cameras this season in we are very excited to see the results soon!

Main Food Plot Stand - This stand is still in its original location.  We have done some adjusting as to the exact direction it faces based on the sun, the direction of the deer in previous years as well as taking into account our "power zones" as shooters.  These changes have resulted in a quarter turn around the tree to maximize the area of shooting to the left of the person in the stand as most of us shoot right handed.

Muddy Stand - This was a new stand last year.  Although we did not see a lot of deer from this stand it helps us cover a corner of the property that is very difficult to hunt.  It sits about 60 yards above the top of the natural field that contains the main food plot.  Our cams over the summer have shown many deer coming and going from this upper corner, so hopefully with some good timing on our side this stand will be successful.

Matt's Stand - Also sometimes affectionatly refered to as the nursery, this is another original placement.  This year we did adjust to a different tree but the area is still the same.  Hopefully the change will open up some new parts of the area and better opportunities based on where we have seen deer in past years.

Double Stand - This was the killing zone last year.  All but one of our deer came from this stand which was new to us last year.  When choosing this stand we had scouted the area pretty hard and found what we believed to be a travel corridor and our hunch was correct.

New Stands
On to the newbies.  Based on what we learned last year in the woods as well as what we have seen on the cams, we have placed stands in 3 new locations.

Ridge Stand - The choice to place this stand on the backside of this ridge came from information we obtained while hunting out of the Double Stand.  Multiple times last year we had deer come out of the swamp and cross in front of the double stand, just on the opposite side of the ridge that splits the property.  Even during rifle season this does not allow a shot.  Once they hit the top of the ridge they are able to go multiple ways, many of which we did not occupy with a stand.  This new stand sits atop the ridge, overlooking an area where 5 or 6 heavily used deer trails combine. 

GS2.0 (Grandpa's Stand, new and improved) - This stand is a replacement for my grandpa's old stand.  We were unable to use my grandpa's stand any more as of last year due to unsafe conditions.  Because of this we had to move the stand down the ridge line a bit into a large pine tree.  Again there are multiple trails that combine in this area, as it is the major pass through across a large portion of the property.

Swamp Stand - Come hell or high water we were getting a stand back into this location.  Although getting here will be interesting if we get rain, this stand could hold the key to the monsters we are chasing.  As far as we can tell the big boys like the swamps on this property and this stand is on a small high land area in the middle of the swamp.  We did not place any cams back in this area so all of our hunts will be off of in person scouting and map research we have done.  

This year should be exciting.  We are seeing some large bucks and a very large number of does.  Keep checking back for updates to any last minutes adjustments and once the season begins.

As always, we love seeing your pictures and hearing your stories.  Please email any of us your pictures and stories and we will get them posted for all to see!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stand placement begins!

This past weekend Sr, Mike and myself made a last minute decision to run up to the property and work on getting some stands in place for the upcoming bow opener.  Seeing that we have multiple weddings and all the functions that go with them upcoming, saying our weekends to work are limited is an understatement.

I have decided to place three stands this year.  The first is in my traditional spot off the corner of the food plot.  Last year produced my first ever deer when I shot my doe in the evening of opening day.  We are hoping that our continued work on the food plot will bring more deer to this area.

The second stand we were able to get up and ready for the season is in a new area that we have never hunted before. I have always wanted to get back in this area, as my grandpa's old deer stand used to overlook it and my took a very large, nice 8 pointer from that stand.  Due to age of the tree that stand is in it is no longer safe to hunt from.  We were able to find a nice tall pine tree that has some cover provided by other tree's around it.  There are quite a few trails that appear to be heavily used that all come together in an area right out in front of the tree.  One change we made when hanging this stand was we decided to go up about an extra 4 to 5 feet to hopefully keep me high enough and out of the deer's normal vision range.  I am always crazy about my scent control, but this stand will really put this to the test.

After getting these two stands done in the 90 plus degree heat and the massive swarms of mosquitos we decided to scout out the stand placement of my third stand but not actually hang the stand.  Once again I have decided to get myself into an area that we have not traditionally hunted.  It is on the backside of the ridge that Sr's double ladder stand is on, leading right out of the swamp and almost right behind the cabins.  My hope is that if the deer are continuing to travel in and out of the swamp but not crossing across in front of the double stand this stand will give us the opportunity we have been missing.  Over the past couple of years we have seen quite a few deer traveling this corridor so I am quite excited for this stand.

I am planning another trip around the 28th or so.  I plan on getting my last stand done as well as helping work on any of JR's stands that are not up yet. Hopefully the heat will tone down a little for the next trip, although I doubt it. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

12 Days Later

12 Days Later

Our work on the food plot was done and the waiting was killing me.  Crops do not grow over night.  That might be the only thing I know for certain about planting crops.  I have never had a garden of my own, my grass is probably average at best, and my food plots in the past have not done well.  These reasons are why the waiting was not going well for me.  

Day 5 seemed to come fairly quickly.  We had time to study our trail cam pics and discuss the upcoming success of our food plot growth.  The first week ended and Eric started calling me about going back up again to check on the growth.  We planned to go 12 days after we had first planted.  We had no idea what to expect 12 days later.  Would the field be flush and green with tiny clover and greens popping up all over?  We had plenty of rain, in fact maybe it was to much rain.  Can you get to much rain?  What if the field washed out and all we had was a huge mud puddle?  Do we need to fertilize?  So many questions and all hinged on what we saw 12 days later.  

Eric got to the property before I did and started cutting grass.  When I finally arrived we took the trusty Polaris out and made our trek to the field.  I can tell you I was apprehensive when we rounded the last corner to see what all of our work looked like:

Not exactly what we were hoping to see.  I wasn't entirely positive we were going to have lush green crops flowing forth from our field, but I was hoping to see something positive.  Now this may just be the growth cycle, I really have no idea.  The deer may have eaten all of our crops before they came up.  Hell it may be on the verge of exploding into a lush tropical jungle full of pizza trees and jelly bean bushes.  For this guy, 12 days was not the holiday I was hoping it would be.  

Stay tuned!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Food Plotting

Food Plotting

Is that really what you call it?  I can't call it farming or even  planting because up to this point nothing has grown for us.  We have great intentions but limited results.  This year we went out of our comfort zone and found some help.  

Our help came in the form of a Fleet Farm ad for Antler King Mega Food Plot Starter Kit.  Senior found them on sale and bought a couple.  In the box there was an instant soil test kit, an array of seeds, dvd, some instructional stuff and assorted other information.  Past years of planting our own food plots have resulted in very little growth and a lot of work.  So following someone else's program couldnt hurt right?  The kits cost $15.99 so if it flops we arent out much.

This year we rented a disc from Hejny Rental to pull behind the good old trusty Polaris instead of hand tilling the ground or raking as we did in years past.  Cost a bit more money but saved us hours of time.  We gave the ground a good plow, put down some fertilizer and lime to raise the pH levels.  That sat for 9 days and we went back to plant.  

I separated the area into thirds for planting.   In the middle third, I planted Honey Hole from Antler King Kit.  On the top third I spread a bit of Trophy Clover again from the kit, and the bottom third I tossed some Whitetail Institute Bow Stand blend.  The middle third took the tilling the best and yielded some of the best looking dirt.  Not that I know what good dirt really would look like, but the consensus was that it looked good.  


We will be looking for some good rain to come through and get our field going.  We will keep you updated!  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Round Two!

Last Sunday Jr, Sr and Mike and I took a couple hours in Sandstone to prepare our food plot for planting.  Jr will have some pictures and information up here shortly on the plot itself.  We also took the opportunity to once again pull pictures from our trails cameras.  All I can say is WOW. 

Girls Food Plot - 400 plus pictures
Main Food Plot - 300 plus pictures
Grandpa's stand camera - 50 pictures

This is a ton of pictures for a two week period and more then we have ever seen this early in the season.  Here is a recap of some of the results.

These first pictures all come from our main food plot area:

Three visitors
Sometimes you just need to relax
He is a big boy!
Ninja Death Kick bro!

These next ones are from the Girls Food Plot:

Look who came to visit
Gobble gobble
Antlers over here as well
This is what Matt's dreams are made of!
That is a big body deer in the back
The pictures from my grandpa's stand were a lot of passing does, which is normal for that area.  As the season progress's we normally start to see bucks traveling through that area and hope to see that again.  In the next couple of week we will be looking to get our stands up our areas cleared.  We are making some adjustments off of things we have found, seen and the experiences we had last year.  We will discuss some of those decisions and why we made them as we get the stands in the air.
Keep checking back for updates coming soon!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Trail Cam Season


Part of the joy we get during spring and summer are the trail cameras we have been running.  Every couple of weeks we get to take stock of the deer on the property, and renew our excitement for the hunts to come. This May is no different.  

After turkey hunting, in which we had fun but did not shoot any turkeys, we put out the trail cams.  Four total put out with no bait in front of them to draw the deer in.  This first crop or pictures is just a plain inventory of the deer walking through on a regular day.  To say we are excited is an understatement. 

We pulled almost 200 pictures in two weeks.  That is a pretty good number for this property and no bait.  Even more importantly we had plenty of bucks mixed in with all the does.  Years past the bucks havent started really making an appearance until later in the year.  It will be interesting to see which ones stay around and how they grow.  We have seen some good 8 pointers on camera but never in person.  Maybe this will be the year the big ones walk by.  


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Keeping Up

Apparently I cannot keep up very well.  I have every intention of updating this blog on a weekly basis, and then 6 months goes by and here we are.  Spring is finally here and the prep for deer hunting 2013 started last weekend.

Eric and I went up to Sandstone for the spring turkey hunt.  The weather was and we did some sitting a long with plenty of scouting.  Last year was a great year for us, and we hope to expand on that this year.  Some plans for the year include making our food plot even bigger and better.  Adjusting some stand locations and putting in some new ones.  Plus the great trail cam outings we love to take.

I will do my best to try and keep up on a more regular basis moving forward.