Monday, September 29, 2008

Double The Fun In MO!

9/27/08 Clear skies and warm temps (58 degrees) welcomed us as we arrived in Cambria, MO on Saturday morning. There was absolutely no wind to speak of. Pete was hunting the hog house set, Brian was on the ridge top and I hunted the upper pond set. Pete saw no deer movement and Brian had some deer blow at him while walking into his set. I guess deer don't like his Old Spice, earth spray and gasoline cover scent, who would have guessed that?

Just after 7:00 AM a had a doe come running directly under my stand from the west. I tried stopping her with a grunt but she kept on working to the east. Seconds behind her was a young buck and my grunts did stop him in his tracks 15 yards in front of me. He was just a 1 1/2 year old 5 pt so he was granted his walking papers. As he milled around in front of me the doe started to work back towards me. She got 10 yards to my north but was in some thick cover and never presented a shot. The young buck then chased after her and both deer went running back to the east.

5 minutes later I had another doe come down the hill directly in front of me trotting from west to east. she worked about 60 yards to my right and stopped on the back side of the pond. After milling around for about 5 minutes she slowly started to walk back towards my set. After taking her sweet time she finally stepped out in front of me and presented a slightly quarter towards me 15 yard chipper. The Doe ran about 60 yards to the Northwest before crashing in site. Archery deer #1 is on the board. Below is a picture of my first deer of 2008.

While sending Pete a quick "Doe Down" text message another Doe calmly walked in from the left (south). She got into the creek bottom and I came to full draw expecting a 20 yard shot. Right before the shot presented its self she turned and walked away from me into the brush. After milling around for a couple minutes she turned around again and came right back towards me on the path I had just shot my first deer. Seconds later I released arrow #2 and double lunged my second deer of the season at 21 yards. This deer was literally standing 5 steps from the same place I had shot deer #1.

2 adult doe in 10 minutes. You have to love MO whitetail hunting. No more action for the rest of the morning unless you count mosquito kills which I am sure I limited out on by 8 AM. Below is a picture of Doe #2.

The afternoon hunt found temps in the upper 70's and a light east breeze. Not a cloud in the sky. Pete and I hunted Ground Zero after moving the Ameristep ground blind. Pete was shooting his Hoyt and I was shooting a video camera. Neither of us touched our weapons of choice. Brian hunted the North meadow and also saw nothing. Below is a picture of my two death sticks from earlier in the day.

9/28/09 Almost identical to Saturday. Clear skies, temps in the low 60's and no wind to start the morning. Pete hunted the low pond set and I hunted the beach. Nothing doing at either location.

We did hang Pete's Secret Set in the late morning. On the way to the tree we came across a shed from last year. A real nice 8 pt that would have been close to 150 last year. Here's hoping he added a couple more points and a lot more length and mass.

The afternoon hunt found Pete back in the Ameristep ground blind hoping for another glimpse of the big boy. I was hunting the North end of the bean field. On my way down the levy I spotted a doe bedded in the beans next to the small creek in the middle of the field. She kept her head down and acted like she was invisible. Temps where in the 80's and after removing a couple fallen limbs I was sweating like a fat kid in a sauna. To top it off the mosquito's where the worst I have ever dealt with. I had to get completely covered up as soon as I was in the stand to keep the bugs off me, which led to more sweat. by 6:30 I had probably lost 10 pounds in water weight and had to stink like road kill in August from all the BO. Of course I had two doe cross in front of me along the hillside and then come over the levy 50 yards to my west. The 2 doe then worked their way directly down wind from me. This lasted for about 2 seconds before they had smelled me and took off running. I should have used Brians Old Spice! The night ended with no more deer sightings and 1 coon "sighting". I got out of the stand a bit early so I didn't spook anymore deer. Simply the most miserable night of hunting in my life. Pete saw no deer in the meadow.

9/29/08 Pete and I woke up to thunder storms rolling in. We weren't able to hunt but got a couple more hours of sleep. My next trip to MO can't come fast enough.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

MO Archery 2008 - On the Board!

9/19/08 - I arrived at the North MO farm around 4:45pm. I talked with Roger a while and he said he's seen more deer this summer than ever before. This got me even more fired up to get the season started. I hunted the North set because of the SE wind at 5-10 mph. I got into the set around 5:30pm and settled in for the evening hunt. There was no deer movement at all. I did have a coon climb the tree next to me around 7pm and cause a racket the rest of the evening. A disappointing start.

9/20/08 (AM setup) - I hunted the Ridge Top set this morning. The wind was out of the East at 7-10 mph with temps around 57, which worked out perfectly for this set. There was heavy fog driving into the farm and it got worse as I headed towards the bottom fields. The acorns were pouring out of the trees and the squirrels were having a field day collecting their winter stashes. I didn't see any deer, but the ridge top was covered up with tracks and sign. The fog moving through the timber made for an exceptional sunrise and morning sit. I got down around 9:45am and hung another set west of the meadow pond and set up a ground blind on the SE edge of the meadow.

(PM setup) - I got into the ground blind set around 4:45pm. The temps were in the upper 70s with a strong E / SE wind, which was perfect for the setup. Around 6:45pm I spotted a good buck working up the levee from the north. When he was about 80 yards out several yotes topped the meadow and appeared to chase after the buck. He was not going to have anything to do with them and took off in short order to the south. He ran by the blind at about 50 yards in the bean field. It looked like a good 140+ 8 or 9 point, I couldn't get a good look at him to be positive. Right at last shooting light I was starting to pack up the video camera when I looked to the West and saw antlers approaching from the back side of the pond dam. I'm almost positive it was the same giant 10 I saw several times last year, but he added a lot of tine length and mass. He stopped on top of the dam at 36 yards, but was facing straight towards me and didn't offer a shot opportunity. He proceeded to drop down onto my side of the dam but took the wash out just South of the blind and passed me at 13 yards, but all I could see was his antlers. So close, yet so far away!!! He made it to the bean field were I glassed him for about 5 minutes until he feed North out of view. It was an amazing encounter. He had no idea I was even in the world, so I'm very optimistic he'll make another appearance before the season is out, and hopefully I'll be waiting.

9/21/08 (AM setup) - On Sunday morning I was greeted by overcast skies, temp of 63, and a SE wind around 8mph. There was a little fog in the bottom fields, but nothing like Saturday morning. I setup in the Meadow Pond set hoping to catch deer coming back from the fields to bed. I had a deer walk up on me right after I was in the stand but it was to dark to make out what it was. There was very little activity besides squirrels and acorns falling. I was only going to hunt until 9am, because several tree limbs had fallen into my shooting lanes, and I didn't check this stand before the season started. I figured I could get the shooting lanes cleaned up before the rain moved in. At 8:53am I decided it was time to get down. I took the arrow off my bow and grabbed my quiver off the hanger and set it in my lap. When I turned to grab my bow I was very surprised to see a big doe walking along the pond bank right at my set. She had me in a bind at this point. My mask and gloves were off, my quiver was laying across my lap, and I didn't have an arrow nocked. She kept heading NE and walked right into the main shooting lane. I grunted at her and she stopped perfectly broadside and looked back in my direction. I decided to give it a go. I took an arrow out of the quiver and got it nocked without her picking me off. I came to full draw with my quiver still resting across my legs and settled the 20 yard pin on her. Lights out, the shot was absolutely perfect and she didn't make it 30 yards before tipping over. The Rage in the Cage was to much for her to try an hold. I got down and picked up my arrow and decided to follow the blood trial, even though I saw her fall. There was literally blood splattered 3-4 ft. high on everything she passed before she expired. It capped a good first weekend to the 2008 MO Archery season. I'll be back next weekend with Scott and hopefully get to catch up with the big 10.

Monday, September 8, 2008

2008 Hunting Season Starts In Western MN

The 2008 MN Early Goose Season opened up saturday (9/06/08) morning around 6:25 AM. The opener found Pete, Logan and I hunting the northeast corner of the island on the north slough. We had mostly clear skies on saturday with a light wind blowing from the south. Goose movement was slow going to start the day. We hardly heard any shooting and saw no geese for the first hour and a half of the hunt. I was starting to worry that Pete drove all the way from MO to shoot doves and clay pigeons. The good news was the number of ducks we where seeing. There where hundreds of Mallards and other puddlers dropping in and out of the slough all morning long.

The first flock of geese showed up around 8:30 AM. Over the course of the next hour to an hour and half we scratched out 5 geese. Below is a photo of Logan with the mornings shoot.

Later that afternoon I managed to put a pigeon in Pete's freezer and we also added another goose to the bag right before sunset. Hardly any geese where moving during the evening. The wind picked up out of the southwest to about 15 mph before switching to a west/northwest right before dark. The single we killed came into the slough with about 5 minutes of legal shooting time left. Pete and I called him directly into the decoys and put him away with a 10 yard poke. Below is a photo of Logan and Pete retrieving the 6th bird of the day. The retrieve was Pete's first of the day!

Sunday morning had us back on the island in the North Slough. The wind switched back to the southwest and was blowing around 10 mph. The sky was clear after an over night shower had passed through. The goose action started right away Sunday morning. We called a flock of 6 birds in about 10 minutes after legal shooting time. After some less than stellar shooting we had 1 goose in the bag. A couple minutes later a pair of geese came in but broke off right before committing to the decoys. I managed to pull down one of the birds with me best shot of the weekend, a 55-60 yard poke.

Things settled down until around nine o'clock. We had two more singles come in and Pete promptly put both of them into the meat wagon. We saw several other flocks of geese but they wouldn't commit to the island after the wind stopped blowing. The weekend ended with Pete and I putting the tacks to one last goose that tried to settle in just outside our decoys. We finished up with 11 geese for the weekend. We probably should have added about 5 more birds to that total, but you can't complain about 11 birds. It was a great weekend and a perfect start to the 2008 hunting season! Logan and I will be back in Western MN on Saturday to try and add a couple more geese to the freezer. Below is a picture of Logan with Sundays kill.