Escouting...

Escout711

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I am going to start a journal for 2012, I hope it will be a successful year so this thread can be interesting! So far, 2012 has been slow, with lots and lots of unsuccessful shed hunting, but I have high hopes for a great year.
 

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First Shed Ever - 4/13

So much for Friday the 13th being unlucky. After many, many hours of searching I finally found a shed antler. This was my third year really looking for sheds, and I can't believe that it took this long. This antler was hanging from a twig at the base of a tree, about a foot off the ground. A friend from HC was with me, and we spotted it at virtually the same time. A nice 4 point side. I am really excited to find this antler because I am 99% certain that I hit this buck with my ML in December. After 3 of us searched followed the blood trail, and searched on and off for 2 days, we were sure that it was only a flesh wound. So, this is a very cool find.



 

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I have my fingers crossed that these white oaks will grow some acorns this year, it will be a very good year for me if they do. These leaves are still young and tender, lol!

 

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4/30 Opening Day of Spring Turkey Season

I had an interesting first day of turkey season. Last night I ran into another hunter while heading out to put the birds to bed. This guy had just roosted a big tom right where I was headed. I have seen a big tom in his spot a couple times the past few weeks, and I was a bit disappointed, but I figured I would offer to back off and hunt a different spot in the morning since he had just roosted the bird. When he found out I was fairly inexperienced, and trying to bag a bird with my bow, he offered to meet me in the morning, and he would call for me. We met at 5am, and he had huge necklace made of turkey spurs, so obviously he knows what he is doing.

It was a nice, cool, 32 degree morning, and no bugs. I remember the opening day in NH 2 years ago was 90 degrees and humid at 5 am, and the the blackflies were bloodthirsty, so the cool morning was appreciated. We had the tom gobbling on the roost, but he flew down the other way, and he wasn't playing with us this morning. On the bright side, a deer walked by at 20 yards, and it was fun to watch her reaction to the calls. She was calm until she caught our scent, and then she started walking stiff-legged and stomping her hoof before blowing out of there. I also caught my first sunrise from the woods in 2012, it was a pretty morning.

 

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I went back out tonight to try to roost a bird. Within minutes I found 2 birds that were eagerly gobbling back at my crow call. I got greedy, pulled out the box call, and yelped. I yelped, they gobbled. I yelped again, they started heading for me. I turn around and haul ass out of the area, I crow call again, they are clammed up. BUSTED:redface:. Lesson here: DO NOT GET GREEDY. If they gobble at the locator in the evening, DO NOT try to call to them.
 

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Turkey Sandwich

I got into the woods at 4:40 today. I tried getting a gobble on my way to the spot I had picked out, but the foggy morning had them tight-lipped this morning. I got to the highest point, about 10 yards in from the edge of a narrow field, and sat. I tried crow calls, and yelps, but no gobbles. At 0530, I yelped and got a good gobble from the roost on the other side of the field, man what a great sound! I yelped again, he gobbled. I clipped my release onto the string, and tried to slowly turn my body to face the direction he was coming from. Just as I turned, I heard sticks breaking and the FLAP, FLAP, FLAP of wings, and saw a turkey take off from about 20 yards away from where I was sitting. I don't know if this silent bird had gotten in close without me hearing because the ground was soaked, or if it had been silently roosted watching me, and waiting for me to move, but I was clearly sandwiched between the 2 birds. Just like that, the birds were gone. I stayed out until 0700, and never got another gobble before I had to head to work. About a mile from my office I say a big tom and 2 hens in someone's backyard, figures...
 

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5/12/12

Saturday morning was the first chance that I had to hunt in a week, and I was excited to get back out there, even though I only had until 7:30am to hunt. When I woke up at 4:15, I could already hears birds chirping, so I was hoping that the turkeys would be gobbling hard. When I walked outside at 4:45, I could hear gobbles starting. I found a place to set up with good cover, and nice lanes for my bow. This was literally he loudest that I have ever heard the woods. Turkeys gobbling, roosters crowing, geese honking, bird chirping, crows calling, and farm animals from the nearby farm were all hammering. It was so loud that I was having a lot of difficulty locating the direction from which the gobbles were coming. At about 6am, they shut right up and I started hearing a "hen" yelping from the high ground where I wanted to reposition myself. I was unsure of whether or not that was an actual hen or another hunter. I tried cackling at it, but all I got in response was more yelps, so I figured it was another hunter. Not sure of what to do next, I decide to sit tight for the remaining time before I had to walk out. At 6:45 I heard gobbles coming from further out , and the hen yelps started getting softer. At 7:15, I heard the boom of a shotgun, probably 1/4 mile off, and figured that the other "hen" had outcalled me. I decided to pack up and leave. Good morning in the woods though!
 

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5/14/12

...And hammered a whopper bird! Jake sent me a text last night asking if I wanted to hunt in the morning, and I said that I could, but absolutely had to be done by 7:30 because I had an important meeting at work that I had to get to. I barely slept, and was awake anyway when the alarm went off at 3am. I met up with Jake at his house at 4:30, and we went to a spot that he has taken some birds out of. As we were walking in, we heard some gobbles in the distance. We got set up on the edge of a powerline at 5:05, and he started calling. We were really lucky and got set up near some real hens that did not like our cackling and yelping one bit. Every time they cackled, Jake cackled back at them, and those hens were getting seriously pissed which was actually starting to crack me up. Originally, I was on the left, and Jake was on the right, but we switched to face the hens. A few minutes later he tells me that the bird was coming from the other direction, and that I had to reposition myself in a fairly awkward(lol!) position. Because I was laying down, I wasn't able to see the bird come in at first, and Jake whispered "He's right there moving to the left." I finally spotted him, and touched one off. The bird went down like a bag of bricks, and it was a 40 yard shot.






 
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5/17/12- Thunder Bird

I woke up this morning and decided to try a different tactic. Instead of doing some locating calls, I just started walking at 4:50 am and listened for gobbles on the roost. I got a good one right at 5, and tried to swing around a small bog to get some high ground and cleat shooting lanes. I found a great spot to sit with my back against a car-sized boulder. I let out some soft yelps, and BOOM, a thunderous gobble about 100 yards out! I got real excited, and dug into my spot. I would yelp, he would gobble. This bird had one of those big, nasty gobbles that only the big boys have, and he was giving me 3 and 4 at a time. I did this until 5:30, and then shut up, I figured he knew right where I was. I didn't get any more gobbles until a few minutes later and he was heading the wrong way! I tried yelping, but all I got was the "F*&$% You" from the bird.

I knew my wife was out in the neighborhood for a bike ride, so I asked her if she could hear any gobbles. Instead of answering me, she texts me 2 photos of toms in full strut in someone's yard less than a half mile away! I stayed until 7:30, and it was time to get ready for work. Lesson here is, next time I have a bird with his pecker up, I am going to keep working him!

Here are the pictures my wife took on her bike ride:



 
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Mom's Graduation

My wife and I went to NY this weekend to attend my mother's graduation from nursing school. Since I was going to be in NY, and I have 2 turkey tags to fill, I decided to bring my gear along. I called my friend Bob on my to NY Friday night, and he said that it has been a really strange year in NY, and that he has only heard one bird gobble before 9am all season, and he killed that bird which was 23# with a 10 inch beard. We decided to meet at 4:45am at the property of a family friend.

We met as scheduled, and drove to the high ground, where a dirt access road would allow us to walk near the top of the ridge and listen for gobbles. We listened for an hour, and had no gobbles. We got set in a good spot with our backs against the same tree, but facing opposite directions. We took turns calling for hour, Bob with a box call, and me with a slate. Still not a peep, so we got up and continued down the access road. We heard a loud snort, and saw a deer bound away. When the deer got just out of our view, it kept blowing at us. We stood very still, and I let out a couple soft bleats. The deer kept blowing, but then slowly started walking toward us and stopped at about 25 yards. When it got back into view, we saw that it was a big doe. We stood still watching the doe try to make us, and watched her for a good 10 minutes before we slowly backed out of there. We figured it must have had a fawn that it was protecting. Cool morning!

My wife and I were on our way home from NY just a little while ago, and I decided to swing by a few of my favorite spots to look for deer in the fields here in Massachusetts. We spotted our first 2 buck of the year, and one is going to be a really nice one this year! The bigger buck had a great big body and his antlers were about as long as his ears and starting to branch. The smaller one looks like it will be a spike or forkie this year. One thing is for sure, I need to get some stronger binos for glassing this year.
 
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The Curious Buck

What an awesome morning today! I got out into the woods at 4:45, and started listening for gobbles. I picked up a gobble, and decided to set up a bit differently than usual, so instead of chasing the bird, I picked a spot with a great alley for shooting, set my decoy, and dug in against a nice oak tree. The bird kept gobbling, but never got really fired up, and I tried not to over call. At 5:40, a big deer appeared out of the swamp at about 30 yards. I was trying to figure out if it had any bone growing, but the deer helped me out by turning and walking right toward me. When he got to my decoy, which was about 15 yards, he spotted me and let out a snort, and jumped back about 10 yards. For the next hour, he kept coming in close and moving back. He was stamping, head bobbing, snorting, and using every trick in the book to bust me. Finally I got bold and started filming him with my camera. I think I got a bit too bold with my hand movements, and he finally scooted. After hour and hour of sitting motionless, I was glad to be able to stretch my legs. The coolest part is that I suspect that this buck is the one I hit hard with my muzzleloader in December. He has the start of a real nice rack on his right side, but the left side looks like clump of nubs, so he will be sporting a non-typical rack, and I suspect that it may be a result of our December encounter. Honestly, for me, that was cooler than bagging a turkey, and it made the early wake up worth it. This encounter, plus my doe encounter in NY on Saturday really makes me re-think a lot of things I thought I knew about hunting. From now on, I am going to make sure that when I spook a deer, I will sit tight and give it a chance to come back around to see what bothered it.

Here is the video, sorry that it is sideways, I was having some technical difficulties!


http://s219.photobucket.com/albums/cc139/escout402/?action=view¤t=photobucket-737-1337600837215.mp4
 
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The Saga of Turkeyzilla

5/24/12-

I go into the woods at 4:45, and headed for the high ground to wait for Turkeyzilla to start gobbling. At 5, I was in position, and shortly after I could here gobbling coming from 200 yards out or so. I placed my decoy to my right, hunkered in, and started calling. Man, this bird was fired up!. He came in on a string, and at 5:25 he was blowing my ear drums out, but I couldn't see him!! He had kept a stone wall between us and worked into the field that was directly behind me. He didn't stay long, and got out of there fast. I stood up, went over to get my decoy, and another hunter stood up 20 yards from me. The guy said he thought I was a real hen, so he never called hoping that the tom would come to the real hen. He had been there before me, and I am not sure how he didn't see or hear me when I got there. I was glad that the bird didn't charge the decoy or I might have gotten a face full of #6. He turned out to be a cool guy, and as usually happens in the woods, we had a very nice conversation about hunting, and I invited him to join HC.

5/25/12

My friend Dave came down to hunt with me today. We set up close to where I had been the day before, but this time I had a plan. I had Dave set up his decoys below me, and sit quietly. I went 50 yards uphill and started calling. The bird started a bit more slowly than the day before, but he was headed for us. He somehow managed to just skirt us again, and once again I was left scratching my head, and started to think the bird was unkillable. We hunted til 7:30, had another one lazily gobbling at us, and then we left for work.

5/26/12- The Last Day- Turkeyzilla Must Die

Jake and his friend Billy came down, and the plan was for Billy to shoot if we got the bird to come in. I had roosted the bird the night before, so I was sure he was back there. He is always back there, lol! We got up to the high ground, and it was 5:05 with no gobbles at all. I started thinking "Crap, now I am going to feel like a jackass if we have no action after these guys drove 45 minutes on the last day of the season." Just as I was thinking that, we got a good gobble from the roost. Jake wanted to be more aggressive than I had been, so we worked slowly toward the bird. We all got set, and Jake called the bird. The bird started late this morning, but once he started gobbling he was rocking pretty hard. The bird came in to 30 yards, but stayed hidden behind a blowdown, which was making for a tough shot opportunity, and we got picked off by a hen that he was traveling with. He was gobbling just out of sight for about a half hour. We headed out of the woods, and they headed home.

I went back in at 9:30 after coffee and breakfast. I went back to the area we had been, and called for 2 hours with no response. I packed up, called it a season, and headed out. At 11:45, I heard a gobble, and he was close! I set up real fast, called, and waited. He skirted me again and into the field, and was now noon. I decided that I had to at least SEE what this bird looked like, so I left my bow, and all my gear, behind and I just grabbed my call. I went to the highest point and called, but he was headed down the field, I could hear the gobbles moving away. I skirted the field edge, just inside the woods, and worked parallel to him. He was gobbling at my calls, but I couldn't see him because the grass was so tall. FINALLY, I spot his head in the middle of the field, but it won't come any closer than 40 yards. After a few minutes, the bird reverses direction and heads back up hill toward where I had started, so I had to sneak all the back up there. When I got to the top I heard a gobble in front of me, so I found a spot I like and hunkered down. I may not have been allowed to shoot the bird, but I sure as heck wanted to see him. Suddenly, I had a gobble behind me, so I turned to look and had a big tom and 3 jakes just off my right shoulder. They wound up being about 3 yards from me, and they were eyeballing me big time. I could actually see the color change in the toms head, and the sun was shining through the skin of the jakes so that I could see the shadow of their spines through their skin. They were just clucking away, and after about 10 minutes, they went on their way. I may not have been able to fill my second tag, but this was a great way to end the season, because it leaves me with a lot of confidence headed into next season. I had called in 4 turkeys, 1 a giant tom, to a microscopic distance, and avoided getting busted. Very cool moment for me!
 
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NY Opener

I am hitting the highway in a couple of hours for Oneonta, NY. I would already be rolling, but I ruined my phone last night, and I have to get in touch with Verizon to order a replacement before I leave. I will be scouting this afternoon and tomorrow, and I will hunt Monday and Tuesday. The apple orchard I planned on hunting didn't have a crop this year, so I am going to have to formulate another plan based on what I find. The weather forecast is rain both days, yuck!
 

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It isn't looking great for tomorrow, I didn't see much sign, and only got 2 deer pictures in 2 weeks. The photo of the deer shoulder is interesting, and recent, I wish it would have stepped in front of the camera.



 

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NY Opener

I hunted October 1 and 2 and saw nothing. I took my first stand above a sliver of a bench that parallels a ravine, and my second set 50 yards downwind of the only tree on the hill with apples. I sat the morning of 10/2 in the ravine and saw nothing. The spot I was hunting in NY was showing very, very little sign.
 

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Massachusetts is heating up

Rubs and scrapes popping up everywhere. I have a cam watching a scrape that is about 7 feet long by 3 feet wide, should get some interesting pictures. I used the rainy weather today to slip in and set the cams up without leaving too much scent.
 

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Massachusetts Opening Week 2012

Opening Day- very warm and muggy, not great hunting weather. Sat on stand for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening. Found someone's old stand hanging in a pine tree that was only 6" diameter where the stand was fastened.

Day2- tried hunting from the ground in the evening, and did some rattling. Nothing. On my way out, a deer that was very close was snorting like crazy at me. Grunting at it made it angry.

Day 3- hunted until 7:45am, pulled my sd cards and got pics of 2 bucks, one is a nice 8 point.

Day 4- hunted 5pm until it was too dark to see my pin. Getting dark at 6:10.
 

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10/19/12

Just a morning shift on stand today. I have been on stand for 40 minutes so far, waiting on the rain. Hoping the big front coming in stirs something up.

Update: I climbed out of my stand at 7:35am. I headed over to pull the card from my cam, and when I got 60 yards from my stand a deer snorted and blew out of there. I never saw it. I wound up heading out for the last hour of the day in the rain storm. I just hunted from the ground and saw nothing.
 
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