2015 Season update - Shawn's Hunting Log

shawn_in_MA

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I haven't been posting much here and it's been a SLOW season in CT archery for me. Here is a quick update for MA and CT

Started hunting CT on opening day. Saw nothing in am but had 3 under me in the dark, saw a big button buck that had lost all of its spots, thought it was a doe coming in for the PM sit.


FOund 3 or 4 huge rubs while scouting a new piece of property...real early for rubs like this but they were definitely fresh


CT has a TON of acorns this year...reds, whites, blacks, burr, chestnut you name it they had a banner year. THere are actually whites that were solid nuts that are rotting on the ground right now. Deer are moving very little. Before the acorns fell we were getting lots of pics but not any more. Deer sightings and opportunities are way down.
I had a big doe come in by herself on the evening of 9/26. I thought for sure she was gonna pass by out of range but she changed course and walked behind a blowdown at 34yds. I bleated at her and she stopped. I drew back and took my time settling the 30yd pin behind the shoulder half way up her body. I squeezed off a great shot and watched as the arrow sailed over her back. I was dumbfounded. She ran off and circled around me. She gave me a wide open broadside shot at 42 yds. Seeing I shot high the first time I aimed for split my 30-40yd pins...naturally that arrow sailed harmlessly just under her. I can tell you one thing though...with the light up nocks I saw my arrow flight real good and the arrows are flying great LOL.
The next 3 weeks in October were very uneventful with an occasional deer seen but nothing in range. I hunted a lot but had very little to show for it.

MA opened on 10/19. I have a good buck on camera near home and hunted opening night hoping to see him. As I was walking in I slipped while crossing a stagnant/muddy mucky area...did a faceplant in the muck...bow went flying and I snapped the cable slide...happy happy happy. Right before dark I heard a deer walking behind me across the brook on the edge of a bog. I could just make out movement but there was no way the deer would make it over to me before dark. I ended up blowing it out of there on the way out...I'm pretty sure it was the big lone doe I have a bunch of pics of this summer. THere is very little sign around though.
On thursday of opening week I took a walk into a spot near work that I hunt sometimes in the afternoons. It looked great in there, lots of buck sign. I hunted it Friday afternoon and had 2 does come out feeding on acorns...no doe tag though. Right before dark another deer started breaking branches in the swamp and came out and pushed the 2 does back where they came from...I think it was a small spike/4pt. I put a camera in there that night and went back to check it on Monday...lots of activity in there, prolly 4 different bucks with this one being the biggest on camera

That Saturday I hunted CT and saw 3 deer in the afternoon...one of them was a big spike that came out of the swamp as I was climbing my tree...naturally.

10/26-11/1 I hunted mon tues and thurs afternoons knowing that with the time change it would be tough to get back in there. Every day I would have more pics and new scrapes would get opened up but I didn't see anymore deer.
Hunted Friday morning near home and saw nothing and not much sign so I headed for CT at 11;00 for an afternoon sit and hunt all day Sat and sunday morning. Sat morning I saw a doe and a skip from my tree on a lawn across the street from where I was hunting. Sat PM we went into a state land spot that we haven't hunted in a long time. Tons of tracks but I saw nothing. Sunday morning I hunted private land spot where we have a feeder running...a spike came walking in an hour after sunrise. He was coming in perfect, at 60yds he had his nose up in a tree making a scrape, I ranged some trees in fron of me for when he would walk up on the knoll I was on. He turned and started coming to me. When he got to 50yds the feeder went off...I've never seen a deer run away so fast in my life it was comical. I wasn't happy but you gotta laugh.

11/2-11/8 I hunted Tuesday and weds morning near work and had a real good buck come cruising the swamp edge on Tuesday. It was either the one I have a pic of or one bigger than that. He stopped at a scrape at 40yds and turned like he was gonna come right in front of me but instead he continued along and out into the swamp, I tried bleating and grunting to him but he kept going.
Friday morning I was back in CT. It was 63 degrees when we left the truck! i SAW 2 DOES but they were well out of range. In the afternoon I never got to sit in my stand as my buddy hit a buck that we were tracking until late that night.
Saturday morning was an exciting hunt. I got dropped off and set up on state land where I had planned to hunt Friday night. Right at first light I could hear a buck grunting out in the swamp in front of me. Not excited grunts or chasing grunts. I bleated a few times but got no response. Around 7:30 I turned behind me and saw antler. It was a big mature 6pt. I watched him for 15 minutes feeding around. He was only 40yds away but there was a beech between us...I would just get glimpses of him here and there. At one point it looked like he was going to walk down into the swamp. I grunted softly and heard him grunt back. There is a great run at the base of the knoll I was on that went from me to him...I was just hoping he would take it. Finally I saw movement and a doe popped out from behind the beech heading down my run...Perfect. Then a skip came running out from behind the beech and ran to the top of the knoll and stood there all nervous looking at 25 yds. It put its tail up and trotted across the top of the knoll and back down into the swamp...naturally the doe followed and the buck followed too. I came to full draw and bleated with my mouth. The buck stopped at 35yds, just slightly quartering away with a sapling going up right behind his shoulder covering most if not all of his lungs. I settled the pin and just couldn't shoot. I might have been able to get the back of his lungs, but most likely liver would have been the result. He walked off following the doe and skip. I was pissed and heartbroken all at the same time. I know I could have gotten a lethal arrow into him and I know most people would have shot. I also know I did the right thing though. He was a good one. I didn't get a deer last year and I hadn't gotten one yet this year, nothing has gone my way and I was beyond frustrated. Everyone else is getting deer and I am just snake bit.
Sunday morning 3 of us set up on a big piece that we just got this year (where I missed and where the big rubs are) I heard deer waliking in the dark around my stand but they moved off in the dark. Around 7:30 I heard a buck chasing a doe off to my left. Crashing and heard him grunt but never saw them. I put my bow back on the hanger and looked up the streambed up on the hill about 150yds away and saw a deer walking. I looked quick through the binos and saw it was a small buck. I bleated loudly to him but he kept walking. When he stopped I bleated again and he snapped his head up. I bleated again and he came on a dead run pretty much to the base of my tree. I drew early as I was in the open. I held full draw for over a minute. He walked in, turned broadside and 9yds and I mouth bleated him to stop. The shot was a little back but I thought I smoked him. He ran tail up all the way up the valley...I couldn't believe he didn't fall. From the tree I could see the blood trail 70yds away. I got down at 9:30 and saw a ton of bllod but there were some chunks in it. I waited for the other guys to get there and we followed a ton of blood to where I last saw him. He was dead 10yds farther. The black cloud has lifted!!! I clipped one lung, liver, and stomach. I hit about 2" back from where I thought I did.
 

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shawn_in_MA

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11/12/15
Got up early to hit a spot near work where I saw a good buck last week. At around 7:40 I see white down in the swamp. It was a smaller 6pt with his nose up in a branch. He started making his way towards me but stopped behind some trees about 50yds out. After 5 minutes I bleated two times quietly. I saw him move and started looking with my binoculars. He was staring hard in my direction looking for the deer that bleated. He turned and started walking away from me so I bleated a few more times but he continued on his way. An hour later I look to my right and the same buck pops out of some thick whispy pines 20yds from me. I was able to grab my bow off the hanger but couldn't move as he walked directly under my tree, sniffed the scent wick I had out. He started walking away, I stood turned and drew all at once. He was quartering away REAL hard and started walking. I bleated w my mouth very quietly hoping he would turn and give me a shot. Instead it spooked him and he trotted off. I screwed the pooch on that one!!!! If I had just waited he probably would have turned one way or another...dumbass!
 
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shawn_in_MA

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11/13/15 IT'S DEFINITELY FRIDAY THE 13th!!!!!!!!!!:mad::mad:

Got up early and went back to hunt near work again this morning.

Walking in 100 yds from the truck I jumped a lone deer out of the oaks. It only took a couple bounds and stopped. I kept my red light down and continued walking and dragging my scent drag.
I got to my tree and climbed up, was settled in 15 minutes before legal time. At 6:45 I turned my head behind me and saw a buck walking right behind my tree. He was under 20yds away, I just never heard him in the wet leaves. I grabbed my bow and stood up when he was behind a tree. He was getting a little of my wind. I turned around and my boot squeaked on my climber. At the close distance he looked directly up at me and trotted 10yds off then started walking away. He turned broadside at 50yds and I was at full draw but did not take the shot. At first I thought it was the same buck I screwed up on yesterday but this one was a little bigger and had an extra point or 2. I was standing there kinda dejected thinking Mr Murphy has been riding me a little hard this year. About 15 minutes later I look out in the swamp and see a deer walking towards me. I grab the binos and see it's a doe skip. Mom must be locked down with a buck. She walked in to 25 yds in the wide open. I took 3 or 4 pictures of her. She started staring off to my left and stomped her foot. then turned and ran off. I turned and saw a deer walking towards her about 35yds off to my side. I could tell by the way he was walking that it was a buck, but I grabbed the binos to confirm. It was definitely the same buck that I saw yesterday. He went behind a tree and I drew back and anchored. I stopped him in an opening broadside at 27yds. I knew how far he was...yet in my excitement to try and redeem myself from all the screw ups...I buried the 20 yd pin right behind his shoulder and squeezed off the shot...which naturally went right under his heart cutting some hair on the way by. He took 2 bounds and tuned back to look at where he was standing...he had no clue. He walked off after the doe. This year continues to be a If it can go wrong it will go wrong type of year. I've made more rookie mistakes this year than I care to admit. I keep finding new ways to screw up. I'm ready to leave for Maine...put a rifle in my hand!

Also a buck re-opened 4 or 5 scrapes last night.
 
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shawn_in_MA

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11/14 Hunted CT in the wind all day. I managed to not get sea sick somehow!!!
Morning I saw nothing sitting in the spot where I had the encounter with the big 6pt, doe and skip last week.
Midday we checked all our cameras. On the Farm that we hunt we had a pic of a nice big 8 or 9pt cruise by the camera at 8:15 that morning. I told Ben that I really thought the buck was bedded close by. I went down below where I guessed he was bedded for the afternoon. Wind was still whipping. At 4:15 I saw a deer walking. Head down low, there was no doubt it was a buck and a big one at that. He walked by at 80-85yds and dropped off the ridge, never responded to calls (if he could even hear them).

11/15 Sunday morning. Hunted the same piece of woods where I shot the 4pt last week. It was clear and cold with no wind...we figured there would be awesome movement. I was in between 3 or 4 good thick bedding areas but I never heard or saw a deer.
 

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11/18/15 Headed up to Maine with high hopes. Arrived in town around 11:30, unpacked and hit the woods for the afternoon hunt. Found plenty of moose sign but very little deer sign. Got back to camp and cooked our traditional first night meal of backstraps wrapped in bacon for the 5 of us in camp.


11/19/15 Headed out early. When we got to where we wanted to hunt there was already a couple guys in there. We drove another mile up the logging road and there was another truck there...guess it's time for Plan C. We headed to another place in the same area that we usually hunt once everybody is at camp but we were kinda out of options. We headed up the mountain. At 10:15 I talked to one of my buddies on the radio, he was seeing very little deer sign just like me. I told him I was going to hunt around the top for a while, he had just gotten up to the top and was going to do the same. 3 minutes later I heard 2 shots ring out from up where he was. He had a big 8pt come walking in and made a great shot on him. The deer went 30yds and died as it was jumping over a blowdown. I made my way up to him and saw a nice big buck laying there. high five!! I took some pics and gutted the deer out completely. We checked with the other guys on the radio and none of them were even remotely close to us. It was gonna be a suck drag off that mountain any way we went. It is thick, rough and full of blow downs. One guy carried both rifles while the other guy tugged. It took us over 2hrs to get him out. 2 other guys showed up for the last 3-400yds. We loaded him up in the truck and headed to the check station...naturally he weighed 199lbs. I should have left his balls attached LOL. So close to a patch but it wasn't meant to be.


 
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shawn_in_MA

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11/20/15 It rained hard most of the day. We got wet and nobody saw a deer.

11/21/15 We drove way back into the piece where I have pics of huge signpost rubs in the past. I saw 2 moose. Nobody saw a deer.

11/23/15 Cold wind and crunchy. One of the guys jumped 3 deer right off the bat but that was it. Very little sign.

11/24/15 Cold and crunchy. Two of us started a couple miles above the other guys and hunted our way down through some old cuts. My buddy found a big fresh moose shed (less than a week old). I found a spot most of the way down to the other guys that had quite a bit of buck sign. It was a 100yd around island of spruce in the middle of a bunch of swail grass. Really neat area to catch a deer bedded down, I will definitely check it out again next time we go there. One of the guys saw a doe and skip. I jumped 2 deer half an hour later...most likely the same 2.

11/25/15 my last day to hunt. Left the truck and it was 4 degrees...and crunchy. I decided to go try and take a stand in a ladder stand we put up last year. Most of the way down to the stand I had a deer blow once at me. I walked a little farther and found a melted out bed in the frost in the swail grass...big bed too. I climbed the stand. One of the guys saw a doe and a skip and another guy had a buck cruising down a grown up skidder lane but couldn't get a shot. It was way too cold to sit on the metal so I decided to stand up on the seat(it's bigger than the foot platform) Around 8:30-9:00 I turned around and heard a deer walking. I caught the movement 80-90yds out but just couldn't make out the head. It went behind a bunch of trees and veered off never to be seen again. I was FROZEN but it was so loud walking that I ended up making it until 12:45 before I gave up the stand. We moved to a new cut that had a lot of sign in it and gave it hell until dark.

The deer population is HURTING there. Seven guys hunted hard all week with less than 10 deer seen. I love the challenge of hunting up there but it can get very discouraging/frustrating. I really need to do some thinking after the season to decide if I want to go back next year or go try something different.
 

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11/30/15 opening day of shotgun. Two words...it sucked. The piece of woods the guys decided to hunt was pretty much barren of deer and deer sign. No acorns in there this year. I will not go back there this year unless we have snow.
 

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12/3/15 Quabbin hunt Day 1. We got drawn for Hardwick which was our first choice Zone. I have a little hump on the edge of a beaver bog that I have shot 3 or 4 deer off of over the years...naturally that is where I was going the first morning. I walked in by headlamp and was surprised to see another headlamp 80-100yds from where I typically sit. I stopped a little short of my spot to give us each some room. I hated it, but wasn't going to walk beyond the guy. It was a slow morning hearing few shots but around 8:30I look over my right shoulder in time to see a deer had trotted in to 30yds from me and was spinning to run away. He caught me completely off guard. I jumped up but in 3 bounds he was out of sight...then I heard a loud splash. The deer jumped into the beaver pond and started swimming across it. I figured he would swim directly away from me but instead turned and swam 30-40yds from me...I was just shaking my head in bisbelief. I looked at him in the scope and he had a 7-8" spike on one side and was snapped off on the other side. I was still undecided if I would shoot him when he stepped onto solid ground. When he got close to the shore he tried to jump but slipped and went completely under water. He did it again a few seconds later. I was laughing and decided I wasn't going to shoot him...I kinda felt bad for the little bastard. He stepped on shore 80 yds away and stood there in the wide open broadside to me. I had the scope on him and just whispered POW. I caught a lot of shit from the guys but I'm OK with my decision to let him walk. Naturally, the guy 100yds from me shot at a deer about 30 minutes later. I talked to him later on he gut shot the deer and never found it GRRR he didn't know what if it was a buck or doe either but there is a good chance it was the deer I let walk. My buddy jumped a good buck a couple hours later and as I was trying to get in front of the direction it headed a kid above me shot 2x at the buck but missed. That was about it for the day. I knew 12 guys in there and I was the only one who could have shot at a deer.

12/4 Quabbin day 2. We went back into the same spot, there was a lot of sign in there and it is the area we know the best. Extremely quiet morning, saw no deer, and only heards 2 shots in our zone all morning. We tried another spot later in the day and found a ton more sign and one of the guys saw a sow with 3 cubs. We saw quite a few moose over the 2 days. One of my buddies saw 5 different moose.
When we checked out at 3:30 on Friday we asked for the numbers
Day 1 Hardwick- 178 people out of the 190 drawn showed up, 8 deer killed
Day 1 Petersham - not sure on people but 8 deer killed
Day 2 Hardwick - 90 people 2 deer killed
Day 2 Petersham - 0 deer killed as of the time we left.
 




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