Monday, November 26, 2007

MO - Muzzle Loader 11/23 - 11/25

11/23 - Started the MO Muzzle Loader season out hunting with Ralph in Central MO at The Hill. We decided to sleep in a bit and get to our stands around 7:30 am. The temp was in the low 20s with a NW wind of 8-12mph. While walking up the Hill I spotted a deer feeding just S of the Y in the road. I stalked to 11 yards undetected and prepared for the shot. The deer was behind the bank in the Y, so I could only see the top of its back. It turned N and started feeding back, which was going to bring it about 4 yards in front of me. As it cleared the bank I noticed 2 spikes about 1 inch long each. He finally realized something wasn't right and walked to the West up the road. "Why couldn't it have been a doe?". I hunted the rest of the morning in "Old Faithful with no movement other than squirrels and turkeys.

11/23 (2pm - Sunset) I hunted The Ladder stand set and Ralph hunted in The Middle stand set. Around 2:15 I heard a deer blow on the S side of the road and then heard deer running. A total of 5 does ran down the road and cut S in to Van Dyke's cedar thicket, there was no shot opportunity. Around 3:40 I was taking a beating on Yahtzee when I started hearing hearing turkeys yelp behind me in the cedars thicket. They continued moving S and the noise became more and more intense. I could hear yelping, clucking, purring, and turkeys walking everywhere behind me. As they started to filter out in front and around my stand, I was amazed the number of birds. They kept coming and coming in waves of 5-15. In total I counted 97 different birds "I think". There were birds everywhere fighting, scratching, and carrying on all around me, it was impossible to hear anything. Around 4pm I noticed movement to the E amongst all of the birds, there were 2 deer running up the E draw. The first deer was a young doe she came into 30 yards and finally stopped in the cedars. I looked back at the second deer and noticed she was a considerably larger doe, so I focused on getting a shot at her. All the turkey co motion was making them very nervous. The bigger doe slowed her run and began slowly walking W right into the shooting lane. I grunted at her and she stopped perfectly broadside at 32 yards. I settled the scope and let the smoke pole bark. "All hell broke loose" turkeys starting flying everywhere, the smoke just hoovered in front of me and both deer took off running tho the SE. I let everything settle down and waited 40 minutes before getting down. I couldn't locate any fur or blood at the spot she was standing. I looked all over our side of the road and over into Van Dyke's thicket, with no sign of the blood or a good hit. I knew there was no way I could have missed and started replying the scene over in my head. With no sign to speak of and searching both sides of the road for an hour, I decided to leave and continue looking the AM. The temp was going to be in the upper 20s during the evening.

11/24 (Sun Rise - 11 am) I hunted The Ladder stand again, so I could continue my search after the morning sit. At 7:10am I picked up movement the W and could barley make out 3 deer heading S into the cedars, they all looked like does. While watching them I picked up more movement coming back N on the same trail. It was a good 2 yr. old 8 point and a shooter 3-4 yr. old 8pointer walking right behind each other. I looked everywhere for a shooting lane, but they moved into the cedars and kept heading N. Ralph shot around 8:15 and ended up harvesting a nice doe out of the Bedframe set. Around 10am I had small yearling doe walk right up the stand and mill around for 3-4 minutes before moving off. Me and Ralph continued the search for my doe around 11 and at 11:10 I found her piled up in a dead fall about 80 yards S of the stand on Van Dyke's side. My shot was perfectly placed right behind the shoulder, but she only bled about 10 yards before she expired. Think her shoulder blade prevented her from bleeding out. Upon inspecting her, the coyotes got to her back quarters.

11/24 (2pm - Sunset) Hunted the Ladder stand again, with NW light breeze and temps in the 40s. No movement except for squirrels and turkeys.

11/25 (Sunrise - 10am) Hunted the NW set with winds out of the NNW at 10-15mph and temps around 30. It started sleeting and raining before 7am. There was no activity except for a woodpecker. I packed it in for the day around 10am and Ralph and I ate some breakfast and cut up our deer.

In all it was a solid weekend with good deer activity. 2 more does for the feezer and a shooter still moving during daylight hours. Eddie said that Ralph's monster 8 was spotted by the Double Decker set, which is a good sign. I'm heading to New Cambria on Friday, to finish up the MO 07 muzzle loader season.

2007 MN Muzzle Loader Season 11/24 and 11/25

Hunted the finger stand in Annandale Area the evening on 11/24/07. Wind was South/Southwest at 15 MPH with temps in the mid 30's. I checked the small food plot on the way to my stand and it was chewed up. Nearly all of the plants had been eaten to the ground and lots of sign going in and out of the swamp. Got into ladder stand shortly before 2:30 PM and was expecting a good sit. The wind died down to a light breeze around 4 PM and the moon was up around the same time. I heard no other gun shots and zero deer movement. Had a pure white weasel come through from the swamp about 20 yards to the east. Right at last light a large possum came directly under my stand. The possum didn’t even try and hold the 50 caliber. So far my 2007 muzzle loader season consists of no deer sightings and 1 possum....fantastic!

Hunted the big swamp on the north end of the Annandale property on 11/25/07. Wind was blowing 15-20 from the SW when I arrived at the farm around 5:30. The temp when I arrived was 29 degrees and was suppose to reach nearly 50 in the afternoon. I made it to the stand and was sitting by 6:35, legal shooting was a couple minutes after 7 AM. First deer movement was right at 8 AM. I heard deer coming through the woods directly behind me (west side of swamp). I picked up movement as the deer worked their way to the swamp edge about 25 yards to the north. First thing to arrive was two yearlings (1 button and 1 doe). Both deer hit the swamp edge and came directly in front of my stand at 5 yards. Both where looking behind them and moving at a slight trot. I grunted to stop the deer at 25 yards before they made the woods and waited to see what else was coming. A third deer appeared seconds later and it was a mature doe, not the buck I was hoping for. I swung back over to the yearlings and picked out the doe. I took aim and squeezed the trigger. Once the smoke cleared I saw both yearlings staring up at my and wondering what just happened. I didnt see the dead deer I was expecting, I must have shot under her. The three deer stood around for 30 seconds before heading back the way they came. I could have used 30 more seconds as I was trying to re-load my gun without being detected. Talk about humbling and another kick in the gut for the season. That was my first clean miss at a deer with a gun since I was in high school. Hopefully it will be another 12 or 13 years before it happens again.

Exactly 5 minutes later I spotted another Doe entering the swamp to my north about 10 yards further north then the previous deer entered. The deer started on the same path as the first group but then went to the east when she hit a "Y" on the trail she was walking. This gave me a perfect 35 yard broadside shot as the deer crossed the swamp. I put the Omega on her vitals and squeezed off a shot. My shot found its mark and went right through both front shoulders. My third deer of the year was down and I had just turned my second Minnesota Triple Play (Archery, Rifle, and Muzzle loader). This was easily the biggest Doe I have ever taken and she made me work as I drug her to the car. I also bumped another group of 3 doe on my way to the car.

For an extra treat I spotted three Ringneck’s in a bush on my way off the property and just happened to have my shot gun with in the car. Two shots later I had a limit of pheasants to take home with my deer!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

MO Firearms - 11/15-11/18

East Central, MO - Callaway County- 11/15 (Afternoon Hunt 1:30-Sunset) Hunted Eddies property in the S fence shooting box. Very windy gusts up to 25 mph from the S. They shot a 199 3/8 non-typical 22 pnt. about 150 yards to the S last Saturday 11/10. No movement at all!!! Saw 9 hens feed through at 4pm. Eddie met me at the pasture and reported seeing nothing. Drove me around the property, looks great!! Excited to get a chance to hunt this side. Bobby shot a mature doe and yearling doe out of the NW Stand. Ralph jumped a small doe walking out and skull capped her. Three does for the freezer!!!

11/16 (Sunrise - 11:30am) Hunted the NE meadow at Eddies. Wind was down and temps started out around 30, but got up to 64 in the pm. ABSOLUTELY NO MOVEMENT!!! Eddie saw zero! Ralph shot another nice doe out of the Middle stand early am.
11/16 (1:00pm- Sunset) Ralph & Booby went home to cut up the does. I hunted the Feeder Stand until 3pm and moved over to the Hill Top. NO DEER ACTIVITY TO REPORT! Saw 22 turkeys work through the cedars again.

11/17 (Sunrise - 11:00a) Hunted the NW stand and believe it or not "zero deer seen", this is absurd after the numbers we'd seen bow hunting! Ralph missed a doe in the Bed Frame stand "20 yards and missed the skull buster", I guess we didn't want that meat for the freezer huh Ralph!!!
11/17 (2:15 - sunset) It got hot and windy this afternoon. South winds and 68. I hunted E of the Hill Top pond until 3 and moved over to Bare Back for the remainder of the evening. I heard Bobby shoot and 4:05pm followed by a "war cry", and knew what that meant (see pic on previous post). He hunted the Ladder Stand and had 3 shooters chasing 4 does all around him and the Old Faithful set. (I was going to hunt there!!! dumb ass!!). He ended up shooting the biggest buck to date on the property. 14 point (1 broken RG3)/full rut activity/ I'm guessing 158-163!

11/18 (Sunrise - 11:30) I sat in "Old Faithful" hoping to break the streak of no deer movement. At 7am I heard 2 growls (1st time ever) up on the road, followed by grunts and deer running my way. The doe came through at 42 yrds doing about 118 mph. I could her the buck following her but hadn't seen him yet. Once he finally came up from the draw I was locked and loaded for a shooter! Of course I saw a 1 1/2 yr old fork top the lip and lazily follow the doe, who after seeing the suitor wanted nothing to do with the little guy. At least I broke the streak, and hearing the growl was very solid!! Couldn't hunt the evening, see you for muzzle loading in 6 days!!

MO Firearms - Opener

North Central MO 11/10 - After seeing several good bucks and a lot of doe activity during the bow season, the firearms opener came with a lot of anticipation. I hunted the Southeast Hog Ridge stand on a SW 12-22 mph wind. Temps. started out in the mid-30s and got up to 65 by late afternoon. Had a nice 3 yr old 8 point follow a doe in from the S around 7:20am. I elected not to shoot and watched was the doe tried to evade her stalker! It appeared like she didn't want to be harassed yet. The buck grunted several times at her. I gave him 2 aggressive grunts but he was more focused on the lady. Only movement of the morning. Heard 23 shots. Hunted until 11:15am

11/10 (Afternoon Hunt 12:45 - Sunset) Strong E -SE wind & mid 60s. Hunted the bottom meadow stand with no movement seen. Not the start I'd hoped for. Very little movement reported from a lot of the hunter I spoke with. The group up north shot 1 small 8 (that hurts), 1 button buck (ouch), and 1 yearling doe (1 right).

11/11 (Morning Hunt) Hunted the Hog Ridge again until 11am. Temps started in the mid 30s but quickly jumped into the high 50s and lower 70s by late afternoon. No movement early. 3 does busted out of the clear cut draw around 9am along with turkeys, something bumped them. Walked the SE logging road out "SOLID" sign and area (remember for late/next season)!!!!!! Bumped a good buck and doe bedded in the cut-in. Walked up to 14 yards on 4 big toms, to bad I didn't have the bow they had no idea. I watched them for 5 minutes before I finally let them now I was there.

11/11 (Evening Hunt 1:00-Sunset) I hunted up behind the ponds. Figured with the temps and hunting pressure, I might catch them coming in the back door to drink. Great sign and rubs leading to the ridge top. NO MOVEMENT!!! Very windy until late and extremely hot. Not the start I anticipated!

Don't forget about the late Archery Season!

The beauty of late November and December is the limited number of hunters in the field. With the holidays approaching and most hunters hitting the firearms season pretty hard. The pressure really decreases on the deer in most areas. Late season archery is a great time to catch up with that buck you've been looking for all season. Once the rut slows down their focus shifts quickly to food and survival. Key in on agricultural fields and food plots. With the white acorn crop being pretty slim in MO this year, deer will be forced to find areas that can support their dietary requirements.

Archery hunting for turkey can be very productive this time of year also. They should be flocked up in their winter groups, and food is the only thing on their mind. If you see a flock working the same area, don't be afraid to slip into a ground blind and put a little holiday turkey on the table. Winter flocks get pretty easy to pattern if they aren't pressured. Roost to Food to Water to Food to Roost.

Remember to draw early because a flock of 10-40 birds is tough to fool if you wait to long and they are in close, believe me I speak from experience!

Hunt safe and let the little bucks walk!

Central MO 2nd Weekend Firearms

The 2nd week of the MO firearms season was met with mixed results. Areas in the northern part of the state saw decent movement early and late in the days, but high temps kept mid-day movement to a minimum, from most of the conversations I've had. Central MO had strong winds and higher than normal temps on the 15th, 16th, and 17th. We saw great movement on the 17th after 3:30pm when the wind laid down. Our group enjoyed some good success harvesting 3 does on the 15th, 1 doe on the 16th, and a large 14 point (grossing 150+) on the evening of the 17th. There was little to no movement during the mid-afternoon hours in our area. With the 1st real cold snap of the season right around the corner, the muzzle loader season should be interesting here in MO. Hopefully it will get the big boys on their feet more during the mid-day hours.
The rutting activity should still be pretty strong over the next 8-10 days. Bucks will be looking for those late estrus does and cruising the timber.
If movement in your area is slow, try changing up your game plan. Now is not the time to be sitting over rubs and scrape lines. While you may get lucky and catch a buck out cruising, the majority of action will be around the doe groups. Key in on finding the pockets of does in your area and hunting close to them. Because of the added pressure of firearms season, the majority of activity will be during the last 45 minutes of light. Key in on transition areas between bedding and food sources. If you find the does, you will find the bucks close behind.
Hunt safe and let the little bucks walk!

Monday, November 19, 2007

2007 Muzzleloader Season Right Around The Corner

Well the 2007 Muzzleloader Season is right around the corner for both Minnesota and Missouri. Both seasons kickoff Saturday (11/24/07) morning a 1/2 hour before sunrise. The weather is looking up for both states. After a relatively warm November Minnesota is about to gets it first bitter cold weather of the season. The highs on Thursday and Friday are not suppose to break 30. Saturday is suppose to warm into the low 30's but they are also calling for flurries. Should make for some favorable hunting.

Missouri is also calling for a cold snap at the end of the week. This comes as a welcome break from the upper 70's the state experienced during their firemarms season.

Scott will be starting the season in central minnesota while Pete will be in Central Missouri tree. Updates to follow and hopefully a couple pictures of some midwest whitetails!