Monday, November 17, 2008

Deer Hunting Season 2008

Don't see any antlers!

I’ve been so busy at work since September that I’ve seem to have miss the better part of the fall season. In fact I needed to go to Ft. Lauderdale for four days over the week-end before the deer season. I was concerned that I would possibly miss the deer opener. My father and I have a total of 85 acres together. I hunt with my father, his friend, Roger, from Ohio, and my step-mother’s brother, Gary.

Well, as the time grew near it looked like I would be able to go up north and hunt. A couple weeks earlier I was able to get up to my property and put up my tree stand, but that was the extent of the preparations. Since I got back into canoe racing this year I didn’t get up north but only a couple times and that was to race. I neglected my food plot that I put in a few years ago. The clover was still growing but so were the weeds. Normally in the spring I drag the site then after the weeds begin growing I kill them with a herbicide. I usually plant some annuals such as rape, turnips, chicory, etc. besides the clover.

This year the season opened one week later than usual. I drove up on Friday, 11-07-08, and raked the leaves off the trail leading to my portable tree stand. I then checked out the food plot and found a scrape and a couple rubs.

I took down my trail camera that I set up a few weeks earlier. I had it over looking a spot where my father had a deer feeder set up. There were only a couple days of pictures since my dad took the feeder down a couple days after I set up my camera. I only had some smaller deer and one small buck on the camera. My father had a trail camera set up in another area and had some pictures of some bigger bucks.

Saturday, 11-08-08

I woke up shortly before my alarm went off at 0400 am. When I went upstairs I could hear the wind chime outside making noise. I knew the wind had to be blowing hard for it to be making the noise it was making. I looked outside and besides the strong wind there was some snow on the ground. Definitely not the way I like the season to begin. The temperature was around 30 degrees but it would be much colder with the wind chill.

I like to have it calm and the leaves to be crunchy. I don’t mine if there is some snow but I don’t like the wet stuff. It gets very tiring having to constantly scan the woods for deer. I like to sit back and tune in to the surrounding and listen for the deer. I hunt from a tree stand and I hunt all day long so it can get tiring always having to be looking around.

I began the coffee and my oatmeal. I put the rest of my coffee in my thermos and sandwiches were made the night before.

I get up early because I don’t like having to rush around in the morning and I like to be on my stand around an hour or so before legal shooting, a half hour before sunrise.

I was out the door at 0530 am and it only takes me about two minutes to drive to where I park on our property. I parked and grabbed my hunting pack and my rifle at 0537 am. It took me six minutes to walk to my stand. It was 0558 am when I was up in my stand and ready to hunt. The snow was making sounds as it was hitting against the trees. The snow was also hitting my face causing a tingling or tickling sensation as it fell. The wind was blowing and there was no sign of any let up.

My watch said 0643 am when I looked off to my right. About 35 yards away I saw a doe and it appeared it was looking in my direction. Yep, it was! The doe looked forward and continued on its way after about one minute. It was now walking in a more open area of the woods so I couldn’t reach for my gun until it got past me. When it did I reached for my rifle and my lens cover fogged up. By the time I got the cover off and on target again I couldn’t get a clean shot due to all the trees in the way. I watched as the deer headed to my food plot and it got to about 10 yards from a shooting lane. It decided it didn’t want to cross any open area so it veered off further into the woods.

We can party hunt and I have three deer tags, so I would have liked to have taken the doe. It was a nice size. With the wind blowing I never heard the deer moving through the area. Five minutes later I heard a shot to my north. I thought it could possibly be my father, but I learned later it was further north of him, but with the strong NW wind the shot seemed much closer. The only other larger animal I saw in the morning was a Fisher as it ran in basically the same direction the doe had went earlier.

Around 0100 pm I was looking off to my right when I saw movement out of my peripheral to my left. I quickly turned and grabbed my rifle as the deer was running. I put the scope on it and shot it before I got a good look at its size. After I shot I realized it was a very small deer, a fawn. Of all my years hunting I’ve never shot a deer so small. I got out of my stand to go field dress it when I noticed it was a buck. Oh well, not much meat but it’ll taste good. I never even took a photo of it. It was a nice break to get off my stand to get out of the cold wind, move around to warm up.

Gary shot a good size spike buck and a doe. My dad never saw a deer which was unusual.

I told everyone about my small deer that I shot. My dad and I went to get it with the 4- wheeler. Once we brought the deer back to my dad’s I went in town and bought 2 more bonus licenses. We can buy a total of five licenses in our area. These two licenses wouldn’t be good until Monday.

For dinner we had venison chili with some Apple Crisp.

Sunday, 11-09-08

It was 21 degrees when I woke up at 0400 am. The wind wasn’t as bad as yesterday but it was about 10 degrees cooler.

I listened to some Black Capped Chickadees while I sat in my stand. The sun tried coming out today, but it quickly disappeared. It’s was 0954 am and I’ve only heard a couple shots.

There was a very light snow that fell on and off today.

I really started to get cold sitting on my stand at 0330 pm. It’s been a few years that I can remember being this cold. I needed to begin tightening and loosening my muscles to get some blood flowing again. I began to feel much better after a half hour.

I didn’t see any deer the whole day. Roger shot a buck fawn. We registered all the deer that we shot so far and dropped them off at Dave’s who is a butcher for a local supermarket in town. During the hunting season he takes time off of work and cuts up deer at his home.

Monday, 11-10-08

More high winds and the temperature was 22 degrees when I got up. I was the only one who went out this morning. Roger and his wife were leaving and going back home to Ohio today. My dad was going to see them off.

Around 0430 pm I heard a deer snorting to my SW. It was a ways from me and it snorted about eights times. Approximately 10 minutes later I heard a gun shot from the same area. I figured the hunter must have gotten this deer.

While I was looking in the direction of the snorting deer I saw the flag of another deer running from my food plot. Something appeared to have been scaring these two deer.

The temperature warmed up to 28 degrees today, but as soon as the sun went down it dropped to 23 degrees.

Driving back to my dad’s when I saw two good size does on the side of the road. One of them was very large.

Monday, 11-11-08

Now this is the type of morning I enjoy. Although it was 18 degrees out there was no wind and the leaves were crisp and crunchy. There was a heavy frost on my Suburban.

The trees were popping and snapping while I sat in my tree stand. It was 0615 am when I heard a deer walking toward my direction. It walked to about 30 to 35 yards away but I never could see it since it was still dark. The deer came by about 15 minutes to early.

My coffee tasted so good this morning while sitting on the stand. Although the actual temperature was cooler than the other three mornings it felt warmer because there was no wind.

I stopped hunting at 1050 am because I was going home. I walked through my food plot to check on the scrape that was being used as of Friday, but it hadn’t been used these past couple of days.

Wednesday, 11-12-08

My father called me tonight to tell me Gary shot a nice 6 point buck tonight. Gary had shot it off a stand I originally built on my 10 acre parcel in the mid-1990’s. I told my dad I would be coming up tomorrow and I planned to hunt in the afternoon.

Thursday, 11-13-08

I got to my dad’s on Pokegama Lake at 0130 pm. I hurried inside and put on my hunting clothes. I parked the Suburban by 0150 pm. I was on my stand and ready to hunt at 0205 pm.

The temperature was in the low 40’s. I don’t remember what time it was but I heard the deer snorting in the same area as last Monday. This time it snorted three times. It looks like the deer wasn’t shot like I thought it was.

I didn’t see any deer this afternoon. My dad saw two large does on our private road when he driving out to go home.

Friday, 11-14-08

My alarm went off at 0420 am. I was on my stand at 0545 am. The temperature was 34 degrees and cloudy. The leaves on the ground were damp from the rain last night. It was supposed to have snowed after midnight, but it only rained.

There ended up being snow flurries on and off all day. Some of the snow was more like sleet. The wind was once again blowing hard all day. Normally the deer don’t like moving in the high winds and it appeared to be that way today. Nothing was moving.

My feet were cold most of the afternoon. I needed to move my feet around in my pac boots to get some blood flowing to warm them up.

Saturday, 11-15-08

I grew up in Michigan from about the age of 5 to 18. Well, today is the opening of the deer hunting season in Michigan. The opener is always on the 15th. Just thought I would throw that in.

Again, I was up at 0420 am. The temperature was 26 degrees and the wind was still blowing strong. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground.

Walking to my stand I heard a deer walking off away from me as I walked down one of my trails. When my father and I bought our property we made trails around the circumference of the property. Most of these trails are wide enough to drive vehicles on. I was on my stand ready to hunt at 0550 am. Today I was on my stand 50 minutes before legal shooting time. Fifteen minutes later, I heard that deer snorting again. It snorted 4 or 5 times. It sounded a little closer but it was because the wind was blowing toward me. There was some snow flurries in the morning but it didn’t amount to anything.

Walking from my stand I saw a large deer north of where my east and west trails come together on the northern edge of my south 20. I couldn’t see the front half of the deer, only it’s flag and rear end that appeared very large.

The wind was constant most of the morning but it died down some in the afternoon to only some large gust.

Today seemed like a long day on the stand probably because I was pretty cold and didn’t see any deer.

It was 26 degrees when I got back to my Suburban.

Sunday, 11-16-08

I planned to only hunt the morning. I planned to start my tractor and then take out the battery afterward before driving home.

The alarm went off at 0420 am. It was 22 degrees and it was calm out. I felt good about this morning, but I had good feeling most of the other mornings despite the winds.

There was a light snow falling although I could see the moon in a hazy sky. There was more snow on the ground than last night. It was crisp out so I should be able to hear any deer walking.

After sunrise the wind started to pick up ever so gently. It was quiet out except for the birds and the falling snow.

It was 0745 am when I heard a woodpecker near by. I can’t see him but he’s working on a dead tree.

The light snow has started to cover my clothes. This was another nice morning to hang out in a tree stand and have my morning coffee. I didn’t see any deer this morning but it was a very nice morning. Again, one of the reasons was the lack of wind blowing.

I don’t think I’ll be able to get out to hunt again this year, but while I sat on my stand I told myself next year I will prepare and plant my food plot; put up some new stands; hunt some more, including bow hunting that I wasn’t able to do this year.


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