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Rifle opener

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  • Rifle opener

    Bumping my own thread that’s been dormant over a year.

    Deer activity has been a bit off all year here on the hill, even this summer we seemed to be down on older bucks showing themselves on camera. Pretty much has followed through bow season. The Kid didn’t see a single legal buck and the two I did see never gave me an opportunity. The youth weekend snafu has been the only chance at filling a tag. So we weren’t exactly optimistic about today. Things seemed more out of wack since my cousin didn’t come down for only the second time in 40+ years. At almost 65 he’s expecting his first grandchild any day now so he’s hanging close to home for a few weeks.

    This morning showed some promise weather wise; cold, clear and still with temps predicted to rise from 20* into the upper 30’s. The type of morning you can’t move without making a racket but getting nice enough quick enough to keep you in one spot.

    The Kid headed out about 15 minutes ahead of his sister and I, he wanted to get up top before light and I decided to let the dogs take care of business so my wife didn’t have to when she got up. My daughter and I were settled into the shack at about 6:15, about 15 minutes before legal shooting light. Turned out the Kid had bumped two going in ahead but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. We were still sitting at 9:30 when he texted to see if we’d seen anything. We hadn’t and had heard relatively few shots, none close. He’d bumped the two down low, plus had two more walk by separately about 5 minutes after he settled in. He knows they were deer but it was still to dark to tell what exactly. About a half hour later he had a third come by, he got it closer with his grunt tube and thinks it had antlers but it wouldn’t commit. It paced around a bit before walking off. Then about 8:00 a coyote came in that he stopped broadside with a mouth squeak. He had the crosshairs on it and the safety off but couldn’t bring himself to pop it with deer moving around him. He’s kinda kicking himself now because he didn’t see anything else the rest of the morning.

    I ended up texting back to stay put for another hour then work his way down to us and we’d all come down to eat. At 10:00 I stood up to stretch and checked behind us through the cracks in the side boards, there were two does feeding on the edge of the brassicas. I signaled my daughter and asked her if she wanted to fill her doe tag to which she just shrugged her shoulders. She did turn around to check them out through her side window but never made a move with her gun. I thought about it but with bucks chasing this week decided to wait it out. Wasn’t long the two moved off. About 11:00 the Kid showed up and we came down for sausage biscuits and gravy with eggs over easy. Just as we walked in the kitchen a big doe and small fawn walked out in the front yard. Figured, but the little one wasn’t big enough to bother with and we wouldn’t orphan it either.

    I planned on us heading back up about 1:00 after a quick nap, faded in and out for a bit when the Kid asked me if I was ready, he and his sister both had been getting homework done and it was almost 2:00. We split up going back and the Kid walked up on a bedded doe that never moved. He said she looked pretty small as well, it’s possible it was the same little one from the house, they were headed up as well. After that he didn’t see a thing.

    My daughter and I went back to our comfortable chairs and she ended up dozing off. About 3:00 shots started picking up more than in the morning. About a half hour later I catch a deer coming in the same trail as the six pt she hit during youth weekend. The binos showed it yo be a spike so I asked her if she wanted to take him. She said no. I told her ok and we just watched him work his way up to less than 25 yards before passing by. Took him about a half hour. After he walked off I asked if he’d been a doe would she have taken her and she grinned while nodding her head. Guess she’s still in the game but sticking to her guns over her buck tag. I’ll admit being torn, proud of her but also wanting her to get back on the horse. Not to mention we’re low on venison.

    After that was nothing. Short sit in the morning as both kids have multiple commitments but I may head back up alone mid morning. That doesn’t happen often anymore.

    Couple “pics or it didn’t happen” evidence. Confident she would have downed this one.



    Last edited by fitch270; 11-20-2021, 07:51 PM.

  • #2
    Havent seen a buck while hunting, 4 mornings bow and 3rd one rifle hunting.
    Literally seen maybe the same 5 does/fawns all season.

    I had PT for my shoulder, Tues. Season opened prev Sat.

    So not a gun opener associated post..........first week of gun though LOL

    Just heading in to do my stuff and got a text..........the big 8 neighbors had seen, told us, one of the two we caught at night yr before on trail cam.....

    cuz got him.

    Aint shot a good deer or seen any for so long, my initial guess was 180# and 145".

    Cuz said it weighed 177#. See what it scores later I guess, its at the taxi.
    Last edited by CD2; 11-20-2021, 08:44 PM.


    • #3
      Not too shabby


      • #4
        Being we are same age and falling apart, and he just got a new quad cab truck........after I left PT I ran over to the woods and was gonna help him drag it out. Screw that.

        I drove my beater Jeep to about 15 yards from it, had to cut a vine and one crap sapling down, to snake back through the brush/stickers.

        We hauled him to the hatch, opened, and got his head over my plastic rear bumper (old Jeep GC) and secured w ratchet strap.

        Then I just slowly drove out of woods to field by his truck and we loaded it up (Rhino lined bed).

        Yeah I got a sled. No cart. No ATV...........I have a beater Jeep.

        Of course later that same day, before work, I test drove a 2015 Jeep.
        They wouldn't budge on price so to heck with em.


        • #5
          3 hrs looking into 20mph wind this morning. Saw nothing.
          Climb up into cuz's gun stand is kinda spooky.
          Getting down w bad shoulder and knee (screwed it up 2 days ago).........was sketchy.

          Need to hang a stand near his gun stand, for rest of season.
          But am too hobbled up.

          Dunno if I will try tomorrow, just take rifle in the wind or actually move my bow creek stand.
          Ladders or sticks seem easier on my bum shoulder to navigate.

          Looking at Muddy ladder stand too, but locally sold out.


          • #6
            I have been running on 3 hrs sleep, a night, and not in one chunk, for a long while.
            Finally crashed and took a solid 3 hr nap after coming home from hunting.
            Dunno if heading out tomorrow.
            Am exhausted.
            Saw a fair sized track on field edge so maybe a 100" eight pointer around to catch a bullet?


            • #7
              Originally posted by CD2 View Post
              Not too shabby

              Beautiful. There is something special about a truly big 8, with the neck of a bull no less.


              • #8
                Have 1 doe tag left and two more seasons this year to fill it. Deer moved a little slow today, full moon maybe a factor? Lots of squirrels tearing it up all day. Brings a chuckle to my compadre as he knows I'm chomping at the bit to thin em out. Heard coyotes every morning but haven't seen any. Agreed to blast at any and all who taunt me. One more pic of the stand, fully assembled. IMG_0059.jpg


                • #9
                  Now comes the grind.
                  Tough spot, not many deer, a good one comes through once in a while (usually at night).
                  Got to log in the time, not lose discipline..........

                  just be there whenever one shows up.

                  Work 2nd shift, physical..........and am like most here, older w aches n pains.

                  I may say screw it after gun season. Doc hasn't cleared me for bow (shoulder doc visit next week- see if he wants more PT or an MRI and surgery).

                  Ive hunted...........7 mornings I think. And am about burned out. Just aint got the energy or health (or spot) to really enjoy this year.


                  • #10
                    Deer hunting enjoyment hinges greatly on location location location. (With a little timing). Frame of mind is so important. For instance. If going deer hunting is solely a means of getting one then one has to steel themselves for perhaps hours (even days) of boredom followed by 30 seconds of adrenaline overload followed then by the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. If your objective is to just be out there in the mix and take part in a fall ritual of spirit renewal then reward comes easier, but more subtle. No wrong way to go here as long as you go. I am already close to exhausted and sore and hurting more than I have in months. I know I'm heading back for knee, back, and shoulder procedures (the needle) soon now but having gone out will give me my legendary Christmas spirit and give me inner strength for the upcoming year. Stay safe, aim small. God bless you my friends.


                    • #11
                      Not seeing deer and knowing how this spot is..........I know one has to do the grind.
                      And still may blank.

                      I've hunted the rain/wind, day after day after day...........done everything right. For nothing.

                      Did it one yr and next to last day popped a 100" 8 pt.

                      Not sure its worth it.

                      Nothing on game cams but cut a decent track, so there's something still around. Not a bruiser.
                      Could be busted up.

                      May never show.

                      Can't kill em sitting on the couch.


                      • #12
                        Well said Dewman. Thing is I bounce around on that spectrum quite often.

                        I had a really strange day today. When I woke up I didn’t realize my daughter was already waiting downstairs on the couch. The Kid wasn’t up and she never turned on a light. The two of us headed up for a quick sit, both kids had stuff going on today so I figured he didn’t want to bother. Turns out he just didn’t set his alarm and didn’t wake up.

                        We got in the shack just before legal daylight and had just an hour to hunt before I had to get her back to the house. We didn’t see anything and back we went. I got a quick bite to eat and changed my top layers snd boots for walking not sitting and headed back up in less than a half hour.

                        The weather was wonderful, started out about 30* but no frost. There was just enough humidity to make the leaves in the roads soft so it was fairly quiet walking. I found myself wandering up to my old rock, a spot I used to sit when others hunted the farm. Started thinking about deer killed, a couple missed and several that just got away. Also about some heated line discussions and unwelcome people. Didn’t stay long there, it’s not usually a great spot unless others are moving deer around. Relocated a few hundred yards away and pulled up a tree with some lanes to watch. Sat for awhile longer then took to wandering again. I had no real idea what I wanted to do and the hill all to myself. I just meandered around without even thinking about it. Found four somewhat fresh scrapes, two good ones and two that looked half hearted. Only one rub on a spindly beech whip.

                        Eventually the leaves started to dry out as it had warmed up and the walking got loud. I found myself back down at the meadow. As I rounded the turn in the road I caught a deer running straight up the hill out. My first thought was I’d bumped it, then I caught the second and realized a buck was chasing a doe. They crossed the road about 75 yards in front of me and stopped. I got the gun up just as the doe took off uphill again. The buck followed but I couldn’t make out a rack. They disappeared for a couple minutes then the next thing I knew they were headed straight back down the hill. When she hit the road she turned and came straight at me. I dropped to a knee and pulled the gun up again. As they got closer I then recognized the spike from yesterday. She kept coming and finally veered off about 50’ from me. I don’t think she realized what I was, only that something was in the way. He kinda gave me a look as he ran past but never missed a step. It was then I saw a third deer coming and hoped it was a bigger buck. Nope, her fawn trying to keep up. He passed on the same path as the others but stopped directly to my left. I’d already pulled my phone out and took a couple pictures when he noticed me and about jumped out of his skin. After he took off I sat at the base of a tree hoping another buck might come cruising in. It didn’t happen.

                        Next thing I know I’m in the shack trying to figure out what to do. It’s not really where I want to be but I need to stay sitting somewhere and don’t want to bust back uphill. It’s about 11:00 and I know if I head to the house I’ll end up hanging out longer than I should. So I sit tight just figuring I’ll chill out a bit. About a half hour later I catch movement coming across the meadow, my first thought is it’s the same three deer again. But it’s not, it’s four does. They start feeding in the brassicas and I start second guessing what to do. My initial thought is to let them be hoping a buck comes in. Problem is the wind is bad. It’s a good spot to take a doe but I still don’t want to pull the trigger. It’s not much longer and the decision gets made for me, one doe takes a couple wiffs of the air and starts looking around. She’s not looking overly alert but knows something isn’t right. Then a second one starts tuning in as well. They just slowly move to the far edge of the plot and stand there looking around. Finally they decide to make their way downhill. At some point my daughter had texted so I’ve also been answering and sending pics during the entire time.

                        I’m feeling like I did the right thing but know I might regret it later. I decide I’m staying put the rest of the day. It’s not 15 minutes later and another deer is coming in. This time I’m pretty sure it’s the lost fawn from earlier. It feeds a bit heading at the shack the whole time. I start sending more texts and pics. When it gets to the near side it starts coming to the shack. I lean back in the window thinking it will walk within a few feet of me but it never shows, it must have turned below.

                        About 2:30 the Kid lets me know he’s on his way up. We end up catching up on our day’s events until 4:00 when I tell him he should sit down below and I’ll watch up top. We shut the side window to darken it up inside. At 4:30 another deer shows at the top edge. Turns out yo be a small buck with spike antlers less than 2” each. Hard bone not buttons. Three times he’s looking down to my left but I can’t see anything in the plot. A short time later he starts staring at the shack. He settles back in feeding for a bit then starts staring my way again. Seems like he can make me out in the window but I’ve been stone still. He finally decides to turn back into the woods. I give it another 5 minutes and decide to call it a day. I pack everything up and open the door in checking down below. I step out and look to the right then turn to the left just in time to see a deer blowing out of the clover between the Kid and I. I can see him but he never saw the deer. I’m sure the top deer was watching the second earlier before picking up on me.

                        I walk down to the Kid and we head for the house. I’d pulled memory cards in the morning on my way up and give them
                        to him to check out.

                        Turns out the camera just below us caught an 8 pt working up past my daughter and I at 8:30 yesterday morning. He stayed in the strip of woods in front of us and we never saw him.

                        All in all a good day but you gotta wonder sometimes.


                        • #13
                          Some of today’s pictures.





                          • #14
                            Rained today but we saw a few, nothing close enough to try with a pistol. Cleared up this afternoon and this evening a small flock of turkeys flew up to roost all around us. A couple of the squirrels weren't feeling it though and nervously jostled them around . 2 flocks of ducks came winging overhead so close you could hear their wings. Was a good day.


                            • #15
                              Saw a 120" buck right down road from retaurant today. Took fam out to eat

                              Shoulder doc wed. Gonna have him check my screwed up knee. Something messed up Thursday.

                              Season may be over.




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