Escouting...

Escout711

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Friday 11/25, I didn't hunt at all on Thanksgiving, mainly just slept the day away, YAWN! I decided to go out for a couple quick hours on Friday, and went to check the area where I killed my buck. I found a nice big track, and some fresh scraping and pawing. It was a good leg stretch before the drive home. Always hard to believe when the NY season comes to an end, I really look forward to it so much during the year, and it goes by in a flash.



 

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12/3/16- MA Doe

I've been out hunting in the mornings before work since shotgun started, and haven't seen much. This morning, I started off at the Plante stand, and had a close encounter with a button buck. I bumped him, sat 10 minutes and he came back in to 15 yards. I tried to snap a picture, but it wasn't working well. At lunchtime, I went to help a friend get his doe out of the woods. I decided to hunt behind my house for the first time since before I went to NY, and brought my climber with me. Right at the end of the day, I stood up to climb down and I heard a deer walking. Right behind me was a doe walking straight to me. 1 shot from the Wingmaster sent a Brenneke through the shoulder, quartering to. The deer went 20 yards and flopped. Easy gutting and drag out. She weighed 90 pounds on the nose.


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Shotgun 1.jpg
 
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Escout711

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New Years Eve season ender!

Well, I got to end the season on a high note, taking a nice little doe on the last morning with my muzzleloader, filling my last open tag. I woke up at 5:30am, and wound up sitting at my dining room table drinking coffee until the sun rose. I got to my spot at 7:45, said hello to my friend who owns the property, and headed in. My plan was to sit on the edge of a powerline where I could see about 200 yards. I had missed a doe at 145 yards here last week, and jumped one last night on my way out. As I got to the cut, I saw a deer down below me around 125 yards or so. I crouched down and tried sneaking forward a bit to a spot where I could get a better shot. When I raised up, I saw 3 deer run into the woods to my right. While I was standing there deciding what I should do next, the same deer ran back across in front of me about 150 yards below. I decided I was going to sit right there leaning against a tree that had blown down into the cut. From there, I had a commanding view below me, and I figured that if I sat long enough, one of them would step out again at some point before dark. At 8:50, I heard crunching, so I took a knee and tried to locate the movement. The deer had actually circled behind me, and when I turned around, a button buck was stepping into the open. I didn't want to shoot the button, and quickly looked into the edge of the trees and saw the head and neck of a small doe. Neck shot dropped her immediately. This little deer is special for a few reasons. First, I managed to kill deer with bow, rifle, shotgun, and muzzleloader this season. Second, and most importantly, I promised a friend that I was going to get a deer for him. He had a tough season in NH, and then his brother passed on Christmas Eve. When I called to tell him I got the deer, he was at the funeral. I know he will enjoy the venison from this deer this winter.




 
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Massachusetts Opening Day Black Turkey- 4/24/17

Nice easy opening morning hunt today. I watched this bird fly up on his roost last night a little before 8pm. I slept in a little late this morning, rolled out of bed at 5:15. I went and got set in my spot, and started calling, and he gobbled back right away. I didn't get the feeling he was coming in, so I moved up 20 yards, called again and hooked him. I saw his head bouncing through the trees and shot him at 30-40 yards. 3" Winchester Longbeard XR #6, dropped him in his tracks. 18.5 pounds, 8" beard, 7/8" spurs. The all black wing feathers are very cool. This was my first hunt using Peltor electronic earmuffs. They worked great.







 
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Escout711

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Whiff...

Roosted a couple nice gobblers last night. I though I could go in and get one, but heard nothing and sat until 6:45. Went to another spot, a powerline, and was in the birds immediately. I could see one strutting about 300 yards down the powerline. I got set and started calling. There was one I couldn't see that was just hammering. The one from way down the powerline strutted into view and was closing in on me. I was hidden well behind a rock wall, and should have let him keep coming, but I misjudged the distance and fired, and he flew away. Turns out he was about 70 yards. I need to learn patience!
 

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Friday and Saturday 4/28 and 4/29

My buddy Keith came down to hunt Friday. We got into the birds right away, but they weren't coming in to the calls. Finally got a real nice gobblerto come in, but he was silent and with 2 hens. He started to walk off with the hens, and Keith took a Hail Mary and missed. Fun morning though.

Saturday started off with the birds just rocking, lots of gobbling. Had a gobbler coming in but a kid on a dirtbike came blasting through at 6am spooked him off.
 
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5/1/17

I slipped into my natural blind on the powerline at 4:55am. At 5:05 gobbles started echoing, several birds, and all roosted close. I heard one fly down behind me and he was screaming. I turned and looked and he was on the other side of a pasture fence. At 5:20 He was hanging at 40 yards and just peeking over, wouldn't come over the fence. I aimed and fired, and MISSED. By 5:30 all was quiet again. I know where this bird roosts, and I plan on sneaking in closer. This one hurts, I thought I was taking a nice shot, and can't explain the miss.
 
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5/2 and 5/3

On 5/2, the birds were very quiet to begin the morning. I milled around for a while, then headed to work.

On 5/3, the birds were rocking and rolling at 4:45. Lots of gobbling, but they stopped after flydown, and I saw no birds. I did hear one gobble at 8am, very close to me, but couldn't call him in.
 

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"May the 4th Be With You"

I had an interesting early morning start to the hunt. It was a chilly 41 degree morning, and at 4:45 the birds were gobbling like mad, and the coyotes were doing some relentless howling, which seemed to keep the birds gobbling. As I sat in the little natural ground blind, I even saw a shooting star across the southern sky. Eventually, the turkeys clammed up. I had a noisy hen walking circles around me, purring and yelping. I thought she would attract a tom, but no luck. I decided to go home, eat breakfast, and have some coffee. My friend Keith was texting me that I should try to hunt the spot in late morning, and I decided to let my boss know I was taking the morning off. Feeling refreshed, I was back in my spot right at 9am. At 9:10, Meatseeker sent me a text asking what time I was hunting until, and he was hoping the birds would start gobbling again around 9:30. At 9:20, the noisy hen came back through, and I could hear gobbling back behind me. I could hear the bird continue to gobble, and I thought he would be coming down the powerline dirt road. At 9:37, I sent my friend Keith a text saying "Gobbler close." His answer was "Kill the bear!" which is an inside joke from the movie The Edge. I kept looking for the gobbler, and another hen came through. She was relaxed until my cheap foam hen decoy spun in the wind, and she flew off cackling. Finally, I saw him pop into view at 30 yards behind me, I aimed and hit him good with the 3.5" Winchester Longbeard XR #4. I had perfect concealment behind a big rock, so he had no chance of spotting me first. This was a bit of redemption, because on Monday, I missed the EXACT same shot on a big gobbler. I don't know if this the same one or not, but he was standing exactly in the spot. 21.8 pounds, 9" beard(He had a couple 11" strands, but they pulled out when I was measuring), one spur is 1 1/8" and the other is 7/8". I had to wait about 10 minutes to go get him, I had a truck drive past me down the powerline, but I sent Meatseeker the picture at 10:10, and he sent me one of his at the same time. We agreed it was a definite "Text Message Double!"

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A couple lessons that were reinforced. First, later in the morning can be awesome. Second, if a bird hears you early in the morning, there is a good chance he will come back around looking for you later.
 
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Escout711

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It's Sunday, so no hunting in Massachusetts, and both of my tags are full anyway. I have been thinking a lot about hunting, and life lately. Two major life events are on their way, and in a hurry too. My 40th birthday is July 11th. Obviously, most people dread turning 40. it signals a time in life where you are by most measures "halfway there." You are still strong and have plenty of energy, but grey hairs in the beard, less hair on the head, and new found wrinkles on the face show that you aren't quite as young as you want to think. 40 can be scary, it's not necessarily "old," but you are as close to 60 as you are to 20, and 20 doesn't seem that long ago. But mostly, I am thankful to turn 40, when 30 was once unlikely. This summer is 13 years lymphoma-free for me. A lot has happened in 13 years. 13 years ago, I had never killed a deer, and I had never killed a turkey. Now, I can look at antlers on the wall, turkey beards and spurs hanging, and the many photos and stories of time spent afield, and appreciate the richness that hunting has added to my life. It humbles me to realize how much I have learned from when I started. I hope that 13 years of hunting is just a small percentage of the years I will spend in the woods.

The second major event, and even more important than turning 40, is the arrival of our first child. A boy, a son, and hopefully someday someone who grows into a better man than me. It amazes me each and every day how the birth of a son feels like such an incredible responsibility. A responsibility to protect, a responsibility to teach, a responsibility to do better for him. I am in awe of how this tiny little boy growing safely inside of my wife makes me feel so excited, yet so nervous at the same time. I cannot wait until I get to be his guide, his teacher, his father. I know that he will have his own mind, and his own interests, but I know that I will do my best to pass on the love and tradition of the woods to him. he may or may not develop the same passion for hunting that I have, but some day he will realize that to truly understand who his daddy is, he will need to understand my love for the woods.

I am looking forward to the process of teaching and guiding my boy, not only in the woods, but in life. I also am getting more and more reflective of those who have taken the time to guide and teach me. I lost my father at a very young age, and I mostly had to piece together a father figure from those good men who took the time and cared enough to guide me. The first of those was my grandfather, Papa Joe. He was the first to spark the interest of hunting in me. His stories of hunting the Catskill Mountains with his brothers, his showing me deer and bear in the Poconos, and his teaching me firearm safety and handling really kindled the fire. Bob, my old Scoutmaster took the time to show me woodsmanship when I was an unruly teenager who didn't deserve the caring and patience that he showed me. It was Bob who was there to lift me up when I moved back to NY from California at 26, sick and scared that I was in the last few months of my life, and take the time to get me back into deer hunting, something I hadn't done since high school. Bob was there when I killed my first deer, and showed me how to field dress it. Bob was there when I killed my first "trophy buck", arriving just in time to help drag it from the woods. Much of what I know, and how I hunt, was learned from spending time in the woods with Bob. Over the last 5 or 6 years, my professional mentor Tom, has joined Bob and I in the NY woods. Tom hunted as a young man, but life and work kept him away from it for many years.

Over the past 6 or 7 years, many new friends have been made through hunting. I can remember all of the good times spent in the woods of NY, MA, NH, and Iowa with many of these friends. Although I spend a lot of time hunting alone, the best memories always involve time spent with these friends. The only better feeling than succeeding personally, is to see your friends succeed. I have learned so much from many of these friends, and cherish all of the memories. I cannot wait to introduce my boy to this world, this brotherhood of hunting. The cycle of life really is reflected in my group of hunting friends. Just as I feel like I am really hitting my stride personally as a hunter, I see Bob and Tom slowing down a bit. They need the occasional hand to pull them up a steep hill, or the occasional day off from hunting during the rut. I know that someday, my son will see the same slow down in me, and I hope by then he realizes that those times are really the best times of our lives.
 
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Escout711

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Tim's First Bird

So great to be with a good friend when he killed his first ever turkey, a real nice tom. Congrats Tim, I had a great time in the woods with you today!

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First Scrape of 2017 - 10/7

Stumbled across the first scrape I've found all season yesterday. Very close to where I killed 2 bucks last year, a hardwood/swamp edge. Put a camera on it, and hopefully there are some nice bucks cruising through. Always exciting to find a fresh scrape!

Scrape.jpg
 
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First Sit of 2017- 10/21

With a wedding to attend today, I wanted to get a quick morning hunt in, kind of as a dry run. The temps were cool, about 48, but the day was supposed to hit 75. I was only to stay on stand until 8:20 because we had stuff to do to get ready for the wedding. Nothing seen.
 

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10/23/17

The forecast for this morning was supposed to be mid-40s, so I decided to give it a shot before work. I woke up to 55 degrees and dense fog. It was so foggy that it was almost as if it had rained a bit. Got set on stand at 6:30, a little later than I wanted because I got caught by my friend who's driveway I park in and he wanted to gab a bit. Dew drops were falling all around, and I climbed down at 8:30. I went to check a camera, and I was surprised to find 3 huge scrapes that had just popped up in the past couple days. They were all within 20 yards of each other, and I actually have a camera right there, but apparently the bucks were too smart and made the scrapes facing the other way and I never got a single video of a buck. Oddly, these scrapes are RIGHT where my I found my Halloween buck dead last year.

Scrape.jpg
 
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Escout711

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10/26/17- Big Buck Spotted

Well, tonight was kind of bittersweet. I got off work early, and figured I could get on stand by 5 and sit the last hour. I was loving the weather conditions. After 2 days of rain, the weather cleared out earlier in the afternoon and it was overcast with temps dropping from 62 down to about 55. I was walking in at 4:45 and stopped about 50 yards from my stand to look around. As I was was looking at my stand, a MONSTER buck jumped up from his bed and bounded off. Wide, thick, chocolate rack. I climbed up quietly and sat until dark. I'm not sure if I will see that one again, but on the other hand, it was nice just to see him because my cameras have been dry and this lets me know I am in a good spot.
 
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Escout711

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10/27/17

I was able to leave work at 2pm today, and although I wasn't optimistic because e weather was too nice, almost 70 and very sunny, I didn't want to miss the afternoon. Went back to the same spot and sat until dark, nothing. Wind of the west.
 

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10/28/17

Got on stand at 6:30am, and prepared for a long sit. It was 45 degrees, and the temps climbed rapidly once the sun came out. At 7:30 my friend texted me that he just killed a nice 8 pointer out of the same stand he killed his big one last year. At 9:45am I spotted 2 does coming from my left, but they were a little too far, and it was a little too thick for a shot. I stayed on stand until 11 before climbing down. I checked my camera, which was watching a scrape 125 yards away, and found that a really nice buck was working the scrape while I was sitting on stand!




I came back at 2pm, and decided to close the distance on that scrape, and I set up 28 yards from the scrape, on the inside corner of a field. It was a very warm afternoon, about 75, and I worked up a serious sweat moving the stand and setting up, sat until dark, saw 2 great beard dragging toms, and zero deer.
 

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10/30 windy day

We had a major storm blow through, power outages everywhere due to wind damage. My office was closed, so I got into the woods after lunch for an afternoon sit. It was a little unsettling, I noticed a large tree had fallen 20 yards behind my stand, and one fell 5 yards in front. I could hear trees crashing around me. I figured the deer would be on their feet if the wind settled down. I checked my camera, and nothing touched the scrape since Saturday morning. I saw one doe at 4:30, and nothing else.
 

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Halloween- Rutcation Begins

I locked my office door at 1pm and headed for my stand, hoping for a Halloween buck 2 years in a row. Got on stand at 2:45, the wind was blowing from the SW and I was 35 yards inside the field edge watching the big scrape. Not much going on until 5pm when I saw a lone doe about 175 yards out in the field. At 5:30 2 skippers joined that doe, and a pair of skippers(1 was a button buck) were in the field 50-60 yards from me. The temps were 60 and sunny and breezy when I got stand, but the last hour cooled off nicely and felt like a great night to be out. Supposed to be 33 overnight. No other deer seen. All tricks, no treats.
 




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