DLuke's Hunting Journal

DLuke

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After seeing Arlows log starting up, I think I'll do one too. I've never done one before, but the thought of it goes through my mind each year. So this year, I'm going to do it here. Hope it doesn't bore anybody to death, but since I'm on here quite a bit, it makes sense for me to do it here.
 
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DLuke

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10/18/10

Opening day of bow hunting. Skipped the morning and hunted a strip of woods between a road and a powerline. South of me in the strip is brush you can't even walk through that floods during rain. North of me is a strip of oaks. East is the powerline running N/S, West of me is a house with a back yard that runs deep towards the powerline, creating a nice funnel only about 100 yards across. Saw gray squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks, chickadees, tufted titmice, and several flocks of geese. No deer......
 

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10/19/10

Second nite of bowhunting. Hunted the same powerline, but down the far south end of the section and in on the other side. This is a smallish block of woods with one giant white oak in the middle of it that continues to drop acorns about every two minutes or so. Set up to the north of the tree with a southwest wind blowing, watching south. I could see poop from up in the tree. Tons of squirrels to entertain, but no deer.....
 

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10/25/10

Warm night in the woods last night. Went to the back end of the property that I like to hunt and checked the oaks on the right and left of the four wheeler trail. Chopped up leaves and deer poop and a perfect SSW wind. Went in on the right and bumped right into a treestand. Took a look on the left side and found a great looking spot and went up a tall white pine. Got to the height I wanted and buckled in and settled down. Looked straight ahead about 60 yards....another empty treestand. Oh well. Sat till dark in a very quiet swamp with no activity. Not sure when I'll get out again at this point, maybe not till Friday or so.....
 

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10/29/10

Fourth night up a tree. Down on the edge of a large swamp on a little finger of oaks that juts out into the swamp. Couldn't see too much sign, but I also figured the new leaves on the ground would cover things up a bit. Anyhow, climbed a straight, branchless oak in the middle of the oaks and waited. No deer, just squirrels and chipmunks. Chipmunks are much more aggressive than grey squirrels and are very territorial when a squirrel invades his territory.... Tough little bastards.... Four trips, total of about 10 hours, no deer yet....
 

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11/8/10

Got up to Maine the evening of the seventh and got some dinner. Took a drive around our spot at about 7pm. Did a few laps and counted 16 full deer and sets of eyes in the headlights without flashing any fields. The next morning we counted fourteen in the headlights....including a group of 12 all together right near the drainage ditch on the side of the road! Never seen a group like that in the Fall in Maine! So, I took my dropoff a half hour before shooting light. Cut across a field, a powerline, and down into the swamp...through the swamp, through another swamp and up an old cartroad up into the beeches. This is a great crossing for the deer to come down from the north and into the cutting and heavier swamp behind me. Got on stand at just short of 6am. At 7am, I had just decided to take a look through my dot site to make sure there wasn't any crap on the lens. As I lifted the gun, I looked in the direction the muzzle was pointed...deer. I could make out antlers as it moved through the swamp. When he came out onto the cartroad...boom. Straight down without a flinch.....


...after I knocked him down I stayed right there for about 10 more minutes before a doe and fawn came on the same trail. The doe stood right over the buck stomping her feet and head bobbing. They would not cross my scent trail and turned and went back. I gave my dad a ring and he said that he had only made it about 50 yards from the truck when I shot. He goes for coffee and rides around till it gets light. He came down to me and pushed four does across. Seven deer sighted for the morning by 8 am.....


Pops likes to do the gutting and wants to dig in...we've pulled probably 20 deer over this little log bridge over the last 15 years.....



And I gotta make him drag...what the hell, he's 79...gotta get some dragging out of him while I can. I give him water once in a while, don't worry....

 
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11/9/10

Day two...no deer from the car before light. I went coyote hunting from the same stand, as honestly had a glimpse of a coyote the day before and I sure as hell am not going to stay out of the woods after missing a year in Maine and only hunting one day. No deer seen from the stand and no coyotes either. We took a high ground walk to see what was happening in the south end of the place and bounced a doe and two fawns along the way.... Fell asleep at the room in the afternoon and never got back out...3 deer seen.
 

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11/10/10

Day three...same stand to start. Stayed there for three and a half hours with no deer sighted. Dad showed up and we took a walk to some of the finger of woods between the farm fields on the east side. My dad wanted to check out one of the fingers and I told him that I can't shoot anything that he may jump down, but he wanted to look at it. I stood at the bottom of the finger with a view of one of the side fields.....boing, boing, boing boing boing... Evidently, the same group of deer that we saw the morning of the first day had move about 1/2 mile up the road to this finger. A dozen does and fawns crossed that field about 100 yards out from me! I've never seen that many deer together in the woods with a gun in my hand... We headed out of the woods a bit later and had a deer blow and flag off the side of a snow mobile trail on the way to the truck.... 13 deer sighted by me...a single day record for me.
 

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11/11/10

Back to the same stand near about 75 yards from the guts....they were gone this morning. Nothing happening early, but at about 8am a doe and two fawns drifted by heading for the cutting and bigger swamp behind me. My dad came around at about 10am and I decided to push that same finger to him where he moved all the deer. On the way up we jumped three. Nothing happened on the push. I got a text from Paul/NH that his son had shot his first deer. We went for coffee and took a ride over to Pauls. When I got my deer I called him and asked if I could hang my deer at his camp, as we were staying at a hotel. He said sure, so my deer was already there. We got Matts deer up and took a few pictures. My 6 pointer is on the right and weighed 139, Matts on the left was 119....



From left to right, my deer, Paul/NH, my dad, Matts deer, and Matt....





We didn't go out in the afternoon and that was it for the trip....6 deer sighted in the woods this day.
 
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DLuke

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11/29/10

Opening day in Massachusetts! Hunted with my father today and got down to our stomping grounds at around 5am. Did some recon looking for trucks in the area. I had an idea that I wanted to sit down in the swamp that I had taken a look at on Saturday. It was tracked up pretty good then, and I knew that I had an old reflector tack line going into a nice opening out there. Dressed extra heavy and lugged out the Lone Wolf. Got up a good tree a few minutes before shooting light. Heard a few gunshots early on.

At about 7:30 I caught some movement to the west...it was a deer. I turned up the scope a bit to take a look. At that point I could see backs, tails, and bald heads coming across a little oak flat on the other side of the water. I didn't see any antlers....tough to say how many there were, but I'd guess 7-8. I put the crosshairs on a deer that I confirmed as a doe and let one rip. The deer erupted with tails and movement and I lost track of the one I had fired at. I had no idea if I had hit it or not. The deer stuck around, so I figured I had two doe permits and could shoot another regardless of the status of the first one. I picked another flop eared doe and fired......nothing! Big boom and no deer moving. I aimed again...boom! Wood chips of a tree about 10 feet in front of me! Dammit. I took better aim at that one again and flattened her right there.

I climbed down and went over to take a look. The second deer that dropped on the spot was dead. I looked off to the right to begin a search for deer number one. I saw the back end of a deer about 30 feet away on the ground, with its head low to the ground. I don't know if it moved or what, but I was sure it was still alive. I took a step to the side to give me the ribcage and shot. The deer bolted about 20 yards and dropped.... Both nice big does, the bigger around 120 or so, and the smaller about 110-115 or so.... Took us till 11:30 to get out to the truck with both of them.....

First one I came up to, deer number two.....hit her in the neck....


Blood trail after finishing shot on deer number one.....


Deer number two....first shot was the high one, second was the low one....


Ugly drag through that shit behind me.....
 

DLuke

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......Continued.


Shot them at 7:30 and didn't get them both out until about 11:30.....


Hanging.......



Great morning in the woods with the Ol' Man...................
 
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11/30/10

Out early and down to a nearby spot to where I got the deer yesterday. Wasn't too interested in taking a stand and was really beat anyway. We ended up pushing a couple little corners and blocks to each other. I never saw anything, but the ol' Boy saw one go by him in a wet spot. Never flew its tail, but just saw its back go by... Back home as I have a doctors appointment this afternoon and want to take a nap...

Took a couple neat pictures yesterday that I just loaded up. I felt the hide of one of those two does yesterday and felt a lump on one of them. I cut a slit and pulled out one of my slugs from the exit side of the deer.... This is a 2 3/4" 1oz 20ga. Remington Buckhammer slug.....very cool, perfectly rounded expansion....



I'm holding the slug even with the top of the shell here....That's some expansion right there!!

 
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DLuke

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12/3/10

Hunted at the same spot where I shot the two does earlier in the week and climbed the same tree. My father dropped me at that end of the property and went around and parked in the yard of the farm and hunted that end of the area. I was bundled up and ready for a good sit. Very quiet morning in the woods without much happening. Along about 8am I caught movement in the same spot where I shot the two does. It was a deer...I put up the shotgun hoping to see some horns. I tried and tried to create spikes or forks, but when two skippers came out behind her I knew it was their momma. The question to shoot or not played back and forth. This was my travel day to Maine before Anticosti, did I really want to fill my last doe tag and make the entire muzzleloader season "bucks only". Three weeks and lots of hunting time....I didn't shoot. I was out of the tree, home, and packed the truck, ready for Anticosti.
 

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12/7/10 Anticosti Island

We could not fly into the island due to fog, so we missed our first day of hunting. Down to three days and the pressure was on. The weather was not cooperative. I was picked to go with the guide from our group on day one with a plan to go north, cross the river on the 4 wheelers and go up into a new area and stalk trails. When we got to the airport it had begun to snow and by the time we were on our way down in, we had a bit on the ground.



We had a doe frozen in front of the wheeler early, and waited for a bit for a buck to follow....no luck. Further up we had a buck chase a doe across the trail, but he kept moving and the woods are such that it is not possible to follow up on anything. The river was deep so we could not hunt up or down, so we crossed. We walked trails for an hour and a half out and an hour and a half back, seeing a couple deer. Lance was contacted on the radio and said that he and Brayden had each shot a deer a ways down river on a trail. We left our area and headed there.....with me going in on the same trail. I was into deer pretty quick, but nothing gave a shot...no bucks seen...other than Lance and Brayden's bucks lying dead in the trail up in a ways. Got back out at dark.... Nine deer seen for the day, no shots fired. Lance's buck as I found him on the trail....
 
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DLuke

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12/8/10 Anticosti Island

Day two......weather still did not cooperate. A little bit of snow left, plus a bit of new stuff, so spirits were high. Jeff and I were to be hunting the same area, Jeff with the guide today. The guide told me about a certain trail system half way up the main trail to try to hunt. I set out on foot to get there. Jeff and the guide were about out to that area on the wheeler when they radioed back to me and said that the river was too high and that I would not be able to make it out there to that location. He told me to try a different trail that I had already bypassed. I walked it down in to a big bog, seeing a fawn on the way down. Turned and walked it all the way back and tried another trail. It turned out to only be a half mile spur, so I hunted it out and back...nada. Up to the next set of trails. Got in about 3/4 of a mile and found a brook that was too deep. I found a blowdown that I could cross on but thought twice about it.....If I slip and go in, there is no warm camp nearby. I'd be up to my waist and no radio contact with the guide. I'd have been in for a cold ass day.

Ate a sandwich by the brook and went back down the first trail that I hunted first thing in the morning. Followed it down to the end and caught on with another trail that takes you to the main road....walked all the way up the road to the truck. All told, as far as I could figure, I walked about 8 miles and saw one fawn all day long. Needless to say, with one day left on the island, I was ready to go deer free for the week. You name the negative feelings....I had every one of them. As it turned out, I was the only deerless person in the camp of eight at that point, and we still needed to kill 7 deer to fill all the tags....
 
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DLuke

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12/9/10 Anticosti Island

Last day and I don't have a deer and the whole camp needs to shoot seven deer to fill all our tags. The weather improved and dumped a few inches of snow on the ground. Wellsbowhunter tagged out the day before, so he was the wheelman on the ATV. We headed to the river by the camp and headed north on the rock beds, crossing the river whenever necessary and stopping to glass. I spotted the first deer, a spikehorn, that got to about 130 yards. I was torn on whether to shoot, but Jeff said no as it was likely going to be a good day. I passed on him and 30 seconds later another spike and two does came out to the river. If I was going to pass on the first one, I passed on this one too. The day was looking up. We continued up river with good confidence and proceeded to not see anything for about an hour or so. Right then, I lowered my standard and said an adult doe would get it.... A ways further up, we spotted a doe facing directly at us. It was 175 yards out. I put it on her throat patch, as I didn't want to make a mess of her by hitting her straight on in the chest. I knew I'd miss or drop her right down.....I missed. She wheeled and bolted tail up... We continued up the river and I spotted two more does. The crossed at 98 yards on Well's rangefinder. I shot the bigger of the two, getting her on my second shot after missing a standing broadside the first shot.....




We left the doe with the idea that we would pick her up on the return trip back down. We continued north... We got a call on the radios from Lance who told us that an area called the burns was all tracked up by a branch of the river we were on. He had just shot an eight pointer and his son had killed a spike for his grandfather. The had also seen a monster. Anyhow we headed up over a part of the burns and dropped down into the river you see below....



About this time we got a call from the guide saying that a tag had opened up and we were free to shoot an extra deer if we found one (last day is party hunting). Not far after going around the cliff you see on the right we bumped into three does. They jumped and ran along the bottom of the cliff a little bit before climbing up half way and looking back. I drilled doe number two at 130 yards. After a bloodless 100 yard dash we found her dead down at the base of the cliff and dragged her to the river to gut her....



Very nice....two deer down and I still had a tag left over....

Continued.....
 
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DLuke

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Continued.......

We packed up that doe on the wheeler and kept going. Soon, Jeff pointed to the left and said "running...good buck". I stepped off the wheeler as he climbed the cliff and stopped near the top. One shot at about 75 yards tumbled him down the hill.....









Three deer down by lunchtime!! The camp tagged out by the end of the day with our sixteen deer. My hunt went from dismal to fantastic in the course of a morning. Other than many trips hunting with my father, this goes down as one of my most memorable days in the field ever.... Great time Jeff! Twenty-three deer seen on the last day.
 
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DLuke

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12/15/10

Back home in MA and back out at it this morning. Cold, cold, cold.... Handwarmers all over the place, layer upon layer, facemask...still got cold in that tree and was wrapped up by 9am. Decided to head for coffee and give it another shot after....but we just kept driving after getting the coffee! Done for the day, as I have a dental appointment. Changed over my camera cards from the last three weeks or so....Holy Christ, did the deer do some playing in front of my cams. Check the 12/15/10 cam pics post in the Cam forum... No deer seen today, next time out will be Friday and Saturday.
 
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12/17/10

Up at 4am and out the door into the cold. Picked up my father and down to our hunting hangout. I left the truck at 5:40am and was in my tree stand at 6am. Another one of those days where you just cannot wear enough clothes and can't have enough hand warmers. The woods were still except for the ice in the swamp popping occasionally. I heard something cut north to south out in front of me beyond my vision, and a little while later had a coyote come from the west a fast trot and kept going. No shot offered by him. We met up after I climbed down and we went for coffee. Came back and hunted on a power line, doing a couple little 20 minute pushes before packing it in. No deer seen today, one coyote and some squirrels. Back at it tomorrow....
 




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