DLuke's Hunting Journal

DLuke

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11/28/16

Opening day in Massachusetts. Picked up Pop and headed for our spot. Pop poked along a powerline road for the couple hours we hunted. He had a deer come out on the road and look at him. As he brought his gun up it turned and ran dead away down the road, then cut in. No shot... I sat in my stand where I shot a deer last year with no luck. At about 8:30 I spotted some orange coming through the woods. I figured when he saw me he would change course. He spotted me and waved. Snap, crackle, pop...he walked up to me..."any luck?", then proceeded to tell me something with finger pointing and and sweeps of his arm that I couldn't hear so I just kept nodding my head. I met him last year and he only showed up the one day last year. Hope its the same this year..... Climbed down after he got out of sight, dropped off Pop, went home and showered and came to work. Back at it tomorrow...
 

DLuke

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11/29/16

Up early and back down to our spot. Drove around for a half hour before going into the woods. Had two deer cross right near my entrance to my stand heading in on my side of the road so that was good. Sat from 6am until 8:45. At about 7:45 at my furthest view I had two deer trot through the hardwoods with their tails up. The were about 25 yards apart. I could not tell if it was a doe and a fawn or if it was a buck bird dogging a doe. I watched for another hour and never saw them again. We left the woods at 8:45am, dropped of my father at home, and was at my desk at work at 10:30am using only 2.5 hours of vacation time. Pop had zero luck on the other side of the road this morning. We'll be back at it tomorrow weather permitting.....
 

DLuke

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11/30/16

Back at it again this morning....trying one more time at the same stand that I hunted the last couple mornings. Area was pockmarked with tracks in the marshy area since the rain ended overnight. No luck this morning though. Pop had another deer squirt across the power line in front of him without a shot. Gonna shuffle the deck and try something else tomorrow, maybe one of my stands near where my dad has been playing around. The cams have been hotter over there.....
 

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12/2/16
Back down to our spot today after taking a break yesterday. Against my better judgement, I went back to the same stand again....one of those "its gotta work" situations that never work. I gave it till 8am with no luck and did a little swing up to the house where we park. The stand I should have been in, and where I almost went, had 3 deer 50 yards away from it and trotting right at it, according to my father. He hunted that side of the road where there is a powerline....I have a stand in about 50-60 yards and the deer went out of the powerline right at it. They would have been visible out on the powerline from the stand. I'll be there tomorrow.... Saw two cross in the headlights predawn and had 3 in the fields that I cam 45 minutes before daylight.....
 

DLuke

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12/3/16

Southeast wind today finally got me out of my stand that I have sat each hunt so far. My dad has been seeing a few deer across the road where he likes to hunt and I have a couple treestands in the woods over there that set up well for the wind direction. The one I decided to hunt I hadn't been in to look at since Turningleaf and I put it in back in the Spring. I should have trimmed it out and tack lined it, as the bull briars were reaaally bad getting in while dark. I was able to get in without too much of a problem though. I sat for two uneventful hours and got down. Pop picked me up, went and checked a couple of the five cams that I have out at this point and packed it in. Once I got home and took a shower I felt like I was falling into a coma and slept right though mid day....
 

DLuke

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12/5/16
Got up and drove up to Middleboro to pick up Pop. When we got down to our spot about an hour early the snow started to fall. It gave us about 3/4" an inch when all was said and done. I climbed into another stand in the same block as the one I used on 12/3, but down at the other end of the block. I climbed up 20 mins before light and hunkered in with my handwarmers, headmask and collars zipped all up. The woods were super pretty with falling snow and everything turning white. This is a view out the front....I call it the pyramid stand for obvious reasons....



I let the snow build up on me sitting up there watching a big briar patch with heavy pines to my back. At about 7 or so I heard running and sticks breaking behind me and caught a flash of brown out of the corner of my eye. I thought it was a coyote at first, as I have three in this small block on cam all the time. Pretty soon I could hear hooves breaking branches and knew it was deer. I could hear and see flashes all around me and knew I had a crowd around me. I slowly got turned in my seat so as not to creak the stand. I had two skippers straight down below me....like reach out and drop a shotgun shell on their heads below me. More deer were milling around as well. Big bodies and small bodies. I think there were six of them total on both sides of me. They were looking back in the direction they had come from, but didn't want to cross my scent trail from an hour earlier. They would approach my trail and their heads would recoil back and they would mill back around. I focused on one bigger body that was thick from chest to back through the shoulders behind some pines. I put the gun up and the scope was fogged, of course. I could see legs, look over the scope and figure out where the body was, look back through scope, over scope, through scope. Figured it out....boom! Tails and crashing everywhere. I went to where she stood and found blood pretty soon. followed a little further and found a bloody bed. I stopped to think that I didn't want to push her, but the snow had turned to rain as well so I didn't feel like I had a choice. I looked up in the direction she went and saw her head over the edge of a stone wall. She had her head up but was not getting back up. I cleared a shot to her neck and finished her off. Big doe.....as big as any Massachusetts doe I've ever shot over the years. Never got her weighed though. I met a family friend at the meat cutter he wanted to use and dropped off the deer with him. He'll pick it up when its done and its all his........

 
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DLuke

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12/7/16

Back to the scene of the crime from Monday and back into the same stand hoping for lightening to strike twice, but mostly wanted to be closest to my truck due to the rain. Got situated in the dark and had either a deer or a coyote run by the stand before light. Never saw it but heard sticks popping and brush moving. Never saw anything after light and got down early as I had to be at work for a meeting late in the morning after dropping off Pop, going home and taking a shower, and getting down to work. Pop walked the power line right of way and had a coyote come out in front of him and wheel back into the woods before he was able to get his gun up. I have one solo and a pair of coyotes on cam over there all the time. The solo one is big with a very dark tail....this was the big one. Back at it tomorrow hopefully. Hopefully the wind will shift and set up another stand I want to try or maybe go back to the first one.
 
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DLuke

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12/8/16
Back out again this morning. My plan was to go back to my stand I sat in most of last week, as the wind shifted and it was good again for that location. I took my drop off from Pop and went up the path to my tack line and followed it in. When I got to my stand tree....no ladder stand. Gone in the last few days. The more I get to know hunters, the less I like them. I used to think that we were a cut above the rest. Not anymore. If I decided to rip off all the ladders I've found over the years, my back yard would look like a metal scrap yard. Pieces of shit. Anyhow, I waited till light right there and made my way across the block back to the house where I took off my heavy outer stuff and stashed them behind the garage and decided to do a little push to my dad across the street on the power lines. I let him know I was coming across the top and to be ready. My first step into the woods brought up a tail that I had walked past in the field by about 15 yards 20 seconds before. Hard to describe, but I had just walked past there, took a left at the end of the field and took another hard left right into that patch of woods. That deer let me walk by at 15 yards and only decided to move when I buttonhooked back into the woods! It did not run but only walked off with its tail up. I tried to get a look through the scope and find it through the brush but it disappeared. I was confident I'd hear shooting from Pop but it never happened. When I got out to the road up the middle we walked back to the truck. When we got close I looked up the road up the next section of power lines across the paved road. There were two deer in the road looking back at me. We stood right there until the deer wandered into the low brush on the right. At that point I hotfooted across the pavement, reloaded, and did a low scoot up the road. Never saw them again. Back home and back to work.....
 

DLuke

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12/9/16
Last chance in the woods with the shotgun for me, as I can't go tomorrow. Anyhow, Pop played on the next section of powerline south of where we usually hunt, as there were a lot of tracks down there when I spotted the doe and fawn in the road yesterday. I went back in to my stand where I shot the doe on Monday. Just after light I heard leaves rustling coming up behind me out of the pines. They stopped back about where I would imagine it came across my scent trail coming in a half hour earlier. The sound stopped and then headed off in another direction after 30 seconds or so. At about 7:40am I looked up straight in front of me and caught a flash of grey and black. It was a coyote at a trot going right to left in front of me at about 40 yards in heavy cover. I hooted and hupped a couple times to try to stop him, but he kept right on going through the briar patch. I put the gun out in front of him and when he hit the crosshairs I let one rip. He went straight up in the air and hit the ground running right at me at Mach 1. I pumped in another round but he shot past me under my stand like a rocket and was gone. Little bastard. Going to change my access to this stand for next year. I don't like the deer approaching across my backtrail in there. It's not the first time I've had deer approach, stop, and turn back on me. No hunting tomorrow.....hoping for snow for day one of muzzleloader on Monday.
 

DLuke

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12/12/16
Woke up to an inch of snow at 4:15am and decided to give it a whirl, hoping that the rain held off. There was a little bit more snow down where I hunt and I was hoping to find a decent track to take the morning to creep on. These two blocks are quite small and the search for the maker of tracks is generally very short....you will find the deer at the end of the tracks so a total death creep is generally productive. The deer had been in the fields before the turnover to rain and all the tracks were filled in and full of slush at 6:30. I did a loop through across the street, then back over behind the house for a loop that is roughly two miles and never found a fresh track...all were pock marks in the snow. The rain was just a little bit too much for the deer to stay out apparently. The rain picked up as time went on and I gave up.... back to work. It was nearly a perfect day, maybe if the rain was half as heavy....
 

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12/17/16

Snow day! Got up to a couple inches on the ground and more coming down. A 40 minute drive turned into an hour and a half as the travel was 35mph the whole way on the highway. As I drove I was thinking that this was not going to be a good day on the snow. It didn't start coming down till about 3am and it was snowing hard now. I figured the deer would have been out feeding all night right up till the snow, then got themselves into the pines. Several slow rides around my block showed no sign of deer crossing the roads in the snow. I parked and went across to the power lines. I enter the block about midway down the length so I decided to head south first...no tracks. I crossed the paved road and walked the next section all the way down to some fields and a farm....no tracks. I backtracked all the way back to where I started and headed north...crossed the paved road into the next section and followed that 3/4 of the way....no tracks. I went back and crossed back to the farm side of the road. I walked the road that bisects the place then did a swing to the north back around to the farm and my truck. Not a single track...not even a pockmark in the snow from an early track. Zip. I knew it was gonna happen. Will try again a couple times this week.
 

DLuke

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12/23/16
Down to my spot predawn and sat in one of my treestands until about 8am or so. Walking the powerlines out of the woods I found a dead skipper in the ditch right beside the access road I was walking in on. It wasn't there the last time I came through, but I could have missed it due to the snow. The entire rear end was gone from the coyotes. Hard to tell why it was dead...it would have taken zero effort for a hunter to find it, as it was right next to the road and if it was shot in the road it only went about three feet. If it was hit somewhere else, not many deer come out to tote roads to die. My guess is it was a coyote kill. There are several coyotes that play in this small block and I bet they caught this little doe. The skip was small enough for them to manage without help of deep snow. Too bad....
 

DLuke

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11/18/17
Opening Day of New York Rifle season! Same lease and same motel, with Turningleaf, Ultratec, and non members named Dave, Anthony, and Jeremy this year. Pop stayed back, wanting to do more of our short MA hunts next month during shotgun instead of the all day tougher hunting in NY. First morning in the woods I took a ground blind where my dad has had luck seeing bucks in a long strip field. Fifteen minutes into legal shooting light I look to the left at about 45 yards and spot a buck that I couldn't see earlier due to the side window being cinched up. By the time I saw him he was stopped after trotting up the side of the field and about to go back into the woods. I grabbed my gun and promptly fired right over the back of this broadside standing buck at 45 yards, probably my least proud marksmanship moment of my life... The buck was easily recognizable by the kicker tines off both the back of both sides of his antlers.....



....I coulda puked, for obvious reasons. Anyhow, I was able to put a bullet in a little six pointer later in the day. I also saw 8-10 other does zip across the back end of the field I was watching. 6 hunters shot four deer today. My little buck.....

 

DLuke

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11/19/17

Day two in the woods and I went back to the same ground blind. First thing in the morning a doe poked out into the field at archery range. Had the great chance to ensure the perfect shot, waited for the far leg to go forward so I wouldn't ruin any meat and squeezed the trigger...click! I didn't have the lever on my BLR squeezed. The doe bolted and stopped broadside again at about 30 yards and I was able to hammer her. A short blood trail led to her laid out in the pines....



The group shot three deer that day, including Turningleaf's 7 pointer......

 

DLuke

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11/20/17
Day three brought snow to the hills in NY. I took a stand in a ground blind on a small oak ridge at the north end of the property. UltraTec was in a tree stand a few hundred yards away. First thing I looked over my left shoulder and got busted by a doe and two fawns. I was down to my last doe tag and when the deer lingered, stomping and looking back at me, I had trouble figuring out who the fawns were and which one was the doe...plus, with three days left I wasn't in a huge hurry to tag out. Soon after, UltraTec fired and texted that he got a doe. Rapid fire texts afterwords said that he was covered up in deer with sightings minutes apart. He was tagged out now after shooting a buck on the first day. We switched stands real quick and ten minutes into my sit in his original stand I had a big old nanny doe come out right under me and sniff the boot tracks in the snow on the trail. One neck shot dropped her right where she stood. At the scale at the butcher shop later in the day she had a field dressed weight of 146lbs. Biggest doe I've ever shot.....her on the left and Keiths doe on the right.....



11/21 was spent out of the woods with UltraTec in a very funny day. We opened the bar/restaurant at the bottom of the hill from where we hunt with breakfast, returned mid-afternoon, and stayed there till about 9 oclock at night drinking beer. We pestered the hunters all afternoon with text messages until they joined us afterhours. Too funny.....
 
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DLuke

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11/22/17
Last day. Back into the woods with my bear tag....and funny, as on new snow one of the guys found bear tracks on one of the trails leading in. I went back to the oak ridge I was on on day three. I saw a few deer, but basically just hung out watching the woods fill up with snow. One of the guys filled his buck tag with a spikehorn and we all quit in the early afternoon. 6 hunters, 12 deer. Great time with everybody and can't wait to get out there again.....

 

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11/27/17

Back from New York for a few days and right back into it for the opener of shotgun here in Mass. My favorite stand I have is a spot I call the swamp island. I've had good luck out there in the past, but again, there were no acorns on this bit of highground which makes it far less attractive. I took a winger on it and decided to give it a try anyway, hoping to maybe catch a moving buck in there, as it is more open on the "island" an give pretty good visibility where the rest of the swamp is a real mess. No luck today. No sightings, no movement. Pop didn't see anything either. I was back at work by about 10:30am....
 

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12/28/17

Different stand in the same general area, in a strip along a power line. Along about 7:30am I saw a doe approaching out a good distance from me. I took a whack at her and she took off running, tail up. I got down a half hour later and went to where she was standing when I shot....no blood or hair. Her running tracks were very easy to follow in the deep, sloppy mud. No blood and no sign of a hit for a good distance. Met up with Pop out on the power lines. He had three go by him earlier in the morning with no chance of a shot. Back at work nice and early, only using a couple hours vacation time to catch the best time of the day.
 

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11/30/17

Missed yesterday, as I could just not rally for the alarm clock. Today I hit another section along the same powerline, just further up the line. I climbed in to my ladder 15 or so minutes before legal light. At 7pm I looked slightly left and saw a deer walking right to left, slowly, at about 50 or so yards. I saw antlers, and since I cam the area heavily I knew the deer instantly. Big Six. I held on a gap in front of him and let him walk in. When he paused for a second I let one rip. He tore out of there at breakneck speed with his tail up, which concerned me a bit...did I friggin' miss again? I stayed put for 45 minutes as I didn't want to burn the stand by getting on him too quick looking for blood. After 45 I got down and went to a dead crag that I knew he was standing behind when I fired. Same type of ground as where I followed the doe. No hair, no blood...ripping tracks through the swamp. Follow, follow...nothing. Starting to kick myself as this would be yet another miss... As I got close to the edge of the power lines with still zero blood I look up and spot an antler sticking up. He was laid out right there! His perfectly in the lungs with no exit hole, there was not a trace of blood on dry ground for 60 yards until a couple feet from where he lay. I have dozens of videos of this deer from summer and fall.....







 

DLuke

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12/1/17

Back at it again today. I went back to the stand that I missed the doe from on the second day of the season. I gave the stand a couple days to quiet down. Nothing moving today for either my dad or me. Out of the woods at 8:30 and into work at 10:30....
 
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