DLuke's Hunting Journal

DLuke

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12/3/15

Picked up dad and down to the woods. It was 54 degrees when I got up this morning, but I woke up pretty easy and gave Pop his wake up call. I sat the same stand as day two for a couple hours. For a while I could hear a dog barking nearby. I called dad and I asked if he could hear the dog. He said yes, he could hear him quite clearly, and that the dog was standing five feet away from him! Lol.... Wasted day for Pop on his powerline trail. Nothing from the treestand either. Cam check showed deer movement deep in the night. Just about time to climb down out of the trees and do a little moving and see what there is to see. Pop can't hunt tomorrow so today will be a mobile scouting morning that will end with my climbing treestand lashed to the bottom of a tree for Saturday morning...I think.
 

DLuke

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12/4/15

Fifth day in a row of 4am alarms and Pop has answered the call each day! He wanted to give his power line stroll another shot. I gave my backside tree stand another shot. I sat till about 8:30 with no deer sighted then took a loop through the place to scout out the north end. There were fresh tracks up that end and a few well used runs. Two years ago on snow it was pretty busy up there too. I found a good straight tree and left my safety rope and pull rope at the base of a tree and did a tack line out to a small field. I'll take a drop off there on Monday with my climber on my back. No deer sighted for me....none all week as a matter of fact. Pop thinks he saw one well up the power lines cross right at about legal light. Going to skip tomorrow and get back at it on Monday.
 

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12/7/15

I hunted in the north end of the block this morning up where I found some pretty good sign. Pop walked the power lines again. We didn't stay too long as he has a doctors appointment midday, and like all old folks, they need to spend the day twiddling their thumbs waiting around for that one appointment. Anyhow, nothing seen by either of us. I checked my cams and the activity that had been across the street on the power line last week has very noticeably shifted over to the house side of the street and multiplied greatly. Lots of does, doe groups, small and medium bucks moving and even some doe chasing. We're going to give it a stronger effort tomorrow to make something happen. Pops says he's feeling good and wants to do a bit of slow woods walking so he'll get in on my side of the road. I'll climb my swamp stand and be ready....
 

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I 12/8/15

Tough morning to get up today for me, but Pop was already up when I called. His plan was to walk the power lines early at legal light for an hour or maybe a little more. I went around to the backside of the block for my third sit in a stand that Escout helped me set up a couple months ago. I climbed up and realized I had forgot my phone in the truck....horror!! No torturing Escout, Turningleaf, NH, or several other lucky souls. At about 7:40 I looked down a corridor for the hundredth time and a color and shape looked out of place. Through the scope I caught a quick glimpse of a deer at a little over 100 yards. It moved a few steps and I had no shot. I watched the briars and brush for a bit, seeing little bits of body and movement here and there. I didn't see it for a minute or two and knew that if he went left I'd never see him again, but if he went right I could shoot. I put the gun down and a minute later caught movement again....he popped out at 110 paces. I settled the crosshairs and sent a 20ga. Lightfield his way. He went straight down in a brook with a nice splash....Five minutes later I could still see movement and had to get down to give him another one in the neck. 110lb 3 pointer....



Pop never made it into the woods on my side of the road....he made it over for the chores though. Gotta use up what's left of Pops hip before he gets the full replacement this winter...no sense leaving any tread on those tires....

 
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DLuke

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12/9/15

Up and out the door again today. Went to the same stand where I shot the deer yesterday, Pop started his day across the street with the plan to come over later in the morning after catching the first hour or so on the power lines. I had an uneventful sit, watching for deer and watching the gut pile from yesterday for coyote activity. Along about 8 my phone vibrates...its Pop. When he crossed over to my side of the street he promptly locked the keys in the truck with his gun inside. I almost laughed myself out of my treestand. He waited an hour for the AAA guy to get there and had the keys in about 20 seconds. By this time I had left my stand and came back to the house and we wrapped it up for the day. Very unobtrusive hunt today which is good. Back at it tomorrow most likely.
 

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12/10/15

All was quiet in the woods today. Very warm from the get-go. You know it's warm when you fall asleep in your ladder stand and when you wake up 15 minutes later you're not cold! Pop tried another section of power line for his dawn patrol stroll but didn't see anything either. No hunting for us tomorrow, next hunt is Saturday....
 

DLuke

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12/12/15

super warm this morning. You know it's warm when you fall asleep in your ladder stand pre-dawn and wake up 15 minutes later and you're not chilled in the slightest bit! Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Climbed down after a 2 hour sit, checked cams and picked up Pop.

Now, on to my favorite part of the season! Bring on the boomstuffers!!


 

DLuke

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12/14/15

Got all my muzzleloader stuff together and filled up some tubes for me and Pop on Sunday. Headed out into the warm December morning at 47 degrees at 4:30am. This weather really sucks, but the deer don't go to the mall to enjoy the air conditioning. Anyhow, Pop walked another section of powerlines while I went in to my climber squirrelled away in the far north end of my spot. I was up and ready in the tree 20 minutes before legal light. I sat until about 8:30 with no luck. No deer seen by either Pop or me this morning. We packed it in due to the warmth and I'm already home, cleaned up, and sitting at my desk at work at 10:30am with only 2.5 hours off the books. Can't beat that. Might take the day off from hunting tomorrow with the warm weather probably peaking tomorrow. Miserable hunting weather.....
 

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12/16/15

Up and out the door this morning. Not really into it, but went through the motions and got my ass in the woods about 20 minutes before light in the same stand that I shot the spike horn last week. No dice this morning. My cams showed pretty good overnight movement but nothing during the day. If it was cooler out I'd be more inclined to get out and see if I could generate some success, but the warm weather and ultra-thick cover make the idea not all that attractive. A couple of the bucks that had been around in November moved back into the area overnight last night. I caught the two of them together on 3 out of 5 cams at around 3:30am to 4am on both sides of the road. They came back into the area from west to east after being gone for a decent chunk of the rut. Hopefully they are back to stay for a while. Something needs to give with this terrible hunting weather. I lose all my ambition when it climbs over 45 degrees.... On the bright side, after hunting mornings most every day since the opener of shotgun 2 1/2 weeks ago, I am only now going over 40 hours of vacation time used.
 

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12/21/15

Did two hours on stand this morning with nothing seen but a hawk soaring quietly through the hardwoods. I checked my cams on the way out on both sides of the road and they were very active a couple nights since I was last in the woods. I'm not seeing the tracks down where I've been standing most recently, so I'm going to shuffle the deck a little bit. The deer are coming and going on my cams as far south as they can the last couple nights, and I am down in the swamp a bit to the north where I got the spikehorn two weeks ago. I haven't been out to my swamp island stand yet this year, as it is usually only productive when there are acorns. I'm going to give it some time and take a look around for activity. There are 3-4 bucks and a group of does playing around....
 

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12/22/15

Tough getting up this morning but I made it down to the woods. I called Pop at 4am but he bailed out on me. I went in to my swamp island stand where I haven't been all season. It's generally dead in years without white oak acorns. The last time it produced acorns I shot a big 6 pointer on opening day of shotgun and a real pretty 10 pointer on the third day. There isn't a ton of water in the swamps this year so getting out there wasn't bad...most years you have to check your footing under water each step to stay below your boot tops. I lasted in my ladder till about 8:45am with nothing seen out there. Back at it tomorrow if the weather cooperates....
 

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12/23/15

Down to the farm. In and out of fog the whole way down and pretty well locked in where we hunt. I didn't bother climbing a stand this morning as it would be difficult to see the ground, let alone a deer at 50 yards. I did a quick couple of little pushes to Pop to no avail and wound up thoroughly soaked with zero interest in continued deer hunting. Checked cams and bolted.... Weather is ridiculous.
 

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12/26/15
Put in two hours staring at empty woods this morning with only a woodpecker and a flock of geese seen. Was able to sit in my climber and took it out of the woods for the year when I was done. Cams were pretty quiet as well. Maybe a little snow on Tuesday??
 

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12/29/15

Down to the farm with high hopes as the snow was still falling and hadn't turned to rain yet. There was a half inch of slushy wet snow with wet leaves underneath and a good pitter-patter in the woods from melt and mist. Perfect day for creeping on tracks. I figured Pop and I would both be able to pick up tracks, him across the street, right in among my cameras in the back fields. Nothing there...I walked the south perimeter right out to the back road, cut north, then diagonal across the place. Checked a couple funnels where the woods bottlenecks between a field and a chain link fence that herds the deer through a narrow spot to get to bigger woods beyond. Zig-zagged through the pines where I always found tracks in the snow and shot a doe two years ago following tracks. Right through where I missed bucko a couple years ago after following him to a bed. Walked 2+ miles through the place and never cut a single track. Rewalked the south perimeter where I had started to see if I moved anything out....nothing doing. Pop had the same across the street and took a good soaking. I was waterproof but the rain picked up, we lost half the snow in the first hour and a half. Done for the day... Can't hunt tomorrow, one day left!!
 

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11/16/16

Up at 530 am and picked up dad at his place and pointed the truck west. Rolled into Portageville new York at about 12:30. After doing some basic unpacking and relaxing we did a an hour long deer cruise before dark around our general hunting area. WE counted 51 deer from the truck and had to slow down to avoid a small six pointer that came out on the road. WE Actually skipped the last 15 minutes before dark to hit the grocery store or we would have seen more. A day to hang around a little and check out our spot tomorrow, then hunting on saturday through wednesday, maybe longer if Pop is up for it, we'll see..... On Friday we got down to our spot and got in a little recon around the area. As always, very chopped up with deer sign. It was super warm out...a record 70 degrees. Not much else to do.....



Later, we took a ride around and counted 31 more deer in fields and crossing the road. High hopes for tomorrow.
 
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DLuke

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11/19/16
Up into my stand a half hour before legal light. Just after legal I spotted a deer making his way across the hill out above me. My scope showed me he was a forkhorn. With five days to hunt I wasn't quite ready to finish off my buck tag with him, so I let him walk. As he approached the thick cover he met face to face with a doe who continued on in the direction that he had come from. She got up into some thicker cover...I hoped she would come down towards the north where I was, as Pop and I had four doe tags to fill. She continued off to the south. I could see her tail flick occasionally. About 20 minutes later I looked back over my shoulder and spotted another buck, this one a little bigger it seemed. I still didn't want to use my buck tag yet and let him walk as well. Not long later, about where he had come out, I spotted a doe. She was back over my right shoulder which is kinda no mans land from a treestand. I decided I would just stand and turn and if she gave me the shot I would take it. I stood and pivoted and she ran about 20 yards and stopped and looked back. I dropped her right there. I left her right there and stayed put for a few more hours. I got down later in the morning and dragged her to the railroad bed and gutted her out. Definite ground shrinkage, but not a bad deer. Later on stand I looked back over my shoulder to the same spot and had two does and a fawn behind me very close to where my doe had fallen. I didn't the same stand and pivot and needed only a couple more seconds to get on the big doe, but they wheeled and bolted. Thirty seconds later I heard a shot from Bob, a friend of Tim, who was in a tree about 150 yards away. He shot the medium size doe of the two adults as they came by her. My dad took hair off a deer up to early on. I went up to give him a hand. There was a lot of hair but zero blood through 20 yards of field and zigzagging through the brush for another 50 yards. It seemed like he gave it a haircut. Timmy picked up a doe from his stand at the far north end of the place. Everybody had a shot....3 deer down on day one.

 
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DLuke

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11/20/16
Back to the same stand with weather intensifying. The temps had dropped 30 more degrees since the day before, and 50 degrees since Friday. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing a gale with 50 mph gusts. Early on, I had a skipper come through early in the morning up above where the doe and fork were yesterday. That proved to be the only deer I saw today. We quit around noon as the day just got worse. The snow was great, but the wind was bad...limbs popping and falling in the distance! We headed out to watch football. Timmy shot his second deer of the trip that morning. It was a big bodied deer that he thought was a doe. Turned out to be a buck with pancaked horns that were almost flat. Nice big bodied 130lb. deer though. Under 3" spikes gets a doe tag so he kept his buck tag. Amazing weather changes in 24 hours......

 
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DLuke

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11/21/16
Back up in the same tree. Day three of a five day hunt and having been blown out of the woods yesterday all bets were off as far as deer size goes. The wind was still blowing and it appeared that the deer did not move much during the night. Along about 7:30 I saw a deer moving up across the top headed for thicker cover. I saw it was a forkhorn, probably the same deer I saw on day one. I found an opening ahead of him and when he walked into view I let him have it. He lurched up and lunged forward. I heard him run into a tree and then saw him running back the way he came. He dropped just about where he was when I first fired at him! I got down and took a look. He had one antler broken off, but a good bodied deer....my kind of deer. Punch me out for a fat forkhorn every year. Later, Timmy and I found the broken antler where he had run into the tree! I was actually stuck in the bark of a pine tree with blood around the trunk. Try as we might, I couldn't get that antler to stay in the bark like it had been before. Nice little deer for the freezer.....



 
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DLuke

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11/22/16
Opted for a change of scenery and a bit of poking around. Pop sat in my stand and likely shot the five pointer that I saw on the opener. No pictures of him with it, as he got cold and left it and I went in and did the gutting and getting it out of the woods. Nice buck about 145ish pounds....





Tim and Bob had left which gave me a chance to do a little stillhunting and poking. I took the trail up towards Timmy's favorite stand and was immediately into the deer bigtime. As I got out towards the top of a field I had deer bounce out in front of me across the trail bounding with tails up. Does and fawns got across followed by one last doe at about 25 yards. I had the gun up, found her back end and swung forward, pulling the trigger as I could see the front of her brisket. At the shot, my first thought was "that felt good". I went up to the maze of tracks laid down by the five deer, cutting through where they had already fed. I went in the wrong direction looking blood after finding an initial spray. I went back to original blood and found blood spraying with every bound. She ran about 60 yards in a half moon and piled up on the edge of a field.... 20 deer seen on the day. Look at that shot on a pretty hard running deer....

 
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DLuke

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11/23/16
Last day, two doe tags left. I figured the woods would be alive for a second day in a row, but daylight movement was minimal. They had certainly fed overnight. I sat in Timmy's favorite stand in the morning for several hours and saw one small doe come across. The tracks were everywhere though, so I had to stay there. After taking a deer to the meat cutter late morning we were back in the woods for the remainder of the afternoon. At noon or so I ate a sandwich and started to get a bit tired. This is the view up to my left....(taken earlier in the morning and you can see the small one on the right side of the road I mentioned earlier)....



Between head bobs I would look both ways. Soon after having done it 20 times I looked up in time to catch a doe scoot across the road in up the top. I got the gun up in time to see another one making her way to the road. This was a bigger one and I put it behind her shoulder and let it rip....





A gift deer on her feet at lunchtime for me. Confidence was high for Pop and I to fill the last doe tag, but it wasn't meant to be. The hunting was great and we ended up with deer for ourselves and a few people who wanted one if we got lucky. Pop had a tough time. His hip was really hurting him this year as he had put off getting replacement over last winter. He is definitely getting it done now, however, as it had a huge impact on his hunting. He also had asthma attacks and coughing fits, and was diagnosed with bronchitis when we got home. He is a tough old 85 year old goat though, so we'll see if he makes the trip next year post surgery. My money is on the old boy....
 
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