Sunday, October 26, 2008

Minny-MO Buck #1 Down In MN

I arrived at the Annandale property around 3 PM on 10/24/08. Had cloudy skies, cool temps in the low 50’s to upper 40’s and a south wind at 5-10 MPH. The wind was suppose to be out of the N/NW all evening but never switched until after dark. Thanks again! Because of the forecast I climbed into my center woods stand. The south wind was a bit iffy, but I should have been O.K..

After a slow first hour and a half I noticed movement to my left. I spotted what I thought was a descent 8 point buck about 60 yards south of me working the bottom of the hillside. I think the deer caught a brief whiff of my scent, but not enough to put him on alert, instead it seemed to peak his curiosity. It looks like my Scent Lock clothing was paying off! The deer started up a path that led directly to my set, the whole time it was walking dead down wind of me. At 30 yards the buck gave me a brief broadside shot but quickly turned and continued walking directly to my set. Finally at 5 feet from my set the buck turned broadside and gave me an almost straight down shot. My arrow flew straight down and never touched the deer. Everything happened so fast that the deer never new what happened. He took a quick step back and started to look around.

I think the deer caught me move for a brief second as I reached for a 2nd arrow, but after a minute or two of staring each other down the deer started working his way straight east from my stand. At 15 yards the deer stepped behind a tree and gave my a 2nd opportunity to come to full draw. When the buck stepped out from behind the tree at 17 yards my Hoyt was waiting for him. This time there was no messing around. I hit him about 6 ribs back as he was quartering away and my arrow came out perfectly on the opposite crease. "We have a broken heart!" The deer did a mule kick on impact and took off running to the east. It feels nice to be lucky once in a while!

After settling down, making a couple phone calls and waiting about 45 minutes I started my track job. The deer made it nearly 200 yards with no lungs and a hole in his heart. I guess he wanted to try and hold it. Luckily for me the spitfire opened him up proper and the track job was fairly easy once I got my big spot light. After a 30 minute track job I found my 1st buck of 2008! The deer ended up being a big bodied 7 point. Not the biggest rack in the world, but he can ride in my truck…I mean mini van any day of the week. After pulling the deer to a field edge I left him for the night and returned the following morning with Logan and Jake to take some pictures and finish the drag. With temps in the upper 30's Friday night the deer would be fine. Below is a picture with me and the two future deer killers on Saturday morning. Another highlight to my 2008 hunting season. My week trip to Missouri is next week!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Delany Strikes Again - "Brooklynn's Deer"

10/21/08 - Brian and I headed out to the Blue Springs property we got permission for this year. We both had a good feeling about the evenings hunt, because a big front was moving in from the west. We got to the farm around 3:40pm suited up and headed to the stands. The temp was around 56 with strong winds out of the east/southeast at 20-30 mph. Brian was going to hunt his north stand and I decided to hunt from the ground, because of the wind and close proximity of both Brian's sets.

Brian made a couple of mock scrapes around his set and noticed a lot of rubs right around his stand. The evening started off slow with no activity until around 5:50pm. I had 11 does work in from the north of me. They were feeding in the green field about 60 yards out, but angling right at me. Another 25 yards or so and I'd have a shot. At 6:12 my phone started to vibrate and it was Delany. I sent him a quick text and asked him what his deal was. Brian texted me back and said he had a doe down, and for me to come over. I told him to stay put, because I was covered up in deer. Another 10 yards and they were going to be in range. About 2 minutes later all the deer went on alert looking back to the east, and I knew Delany was no longer in his stand. After the deer took off I packed up shop and headed over to Brian's location.

Brian had 3 big does work in behind his set, but they knew something was up because they kept looking up at him. The lead doe skirted Brian's position and headed into the field to feed. The other two does stayed back and kept eyeballing Brian. After several tense minutes the deer seemed to relax a little and Brian took advantage of the chance. The first doe was now 31 yards from his set in the bean field slightly quartering to him. Brian drew back without being detected and made a great shot on the big doe. She took the full force of the Rage and headed out the northeast end of the field, but she wasn't going far.

Once I met up with Brian he went to get the rig, so we could hopefully get her and ourselves out of the field before the rain hit. I trailed the deer for about 60 yards into the woods and found her piled up underneath a dead fall. This is were the fun starts!!!

By the time Brian got back the rain was coming down pretty good. We took a few pictures and started dragging the big doe the 300 yards to the truck. The rain continued to fall and picked up into a downpour for about 15 minutes. By the time we had the doe field dressed and everything loaded up the bean field looked like soup. Brian put the Chevy to work and after several tense minutes of tearing up mud, beans, the two track, and Brian' s transmission we finally crested the top of the field and made it home safely.

After getting back to the house and hanging the deer Brian couldn't help notice he had on his "World's Greatest Dad" shirt. It's been his lucky charm since turkey season, we've had three kills in 3 outings with that shirt. God knows it has nothing to do with Brian's outdoor skills!

Going into this fall Brian had a good feeling his luck was going to change. He had dedicated this season to Broolynn Delany, the daughter he and Melissa lost last fall prematurely. She must be looking down on dad, because he's putting a great fall together so far. Keep up the good work Brooklynn, dad needs all the help he can get!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A "Little" More MO Venison in 2008

10/18/08 - I headed over to Mid MO to hunt with Ralph and Bobby this weekend. I hunted the No Seat set Saturday morning with no activity except for the tree rats. The temperature started out around 45 with highs near 65 by mid day. The wind was all over the place at 5-12 mph. There is a lot of sign around, but with the crops still in down south of us that is were most of the deer are still hanging around.

Saturday evening I hunted the Ladder Set. Saw several turkeys, but no deer activity to speak of. The food plot looks great, but there are areas that we need to open up so the sun gets to them. Ralph had a doe and yearling come in from the north on him, but they never got close enough for a shot.

10/19/08 -After an evening of roasting dogs and cocktails at Eddy's farm, we hit the woods again. I hunted the new NW Ladder set. The temp was 41 with an east/southeast wind, but by 7:30am the wind switched and was coming mainly out of the northeast at 15-25mph. I had 4 turkeys roosted across the fence from me, but they pitched into VanDyke's field and headed north. At 9:35am I spotted two does working south in the cedars, they were about 70 yards to the east. They made it to Ralph around 10am, but he didn't see them until it was to late, and they ended up sliding past him without a shot opportunity.

I met Bobby back at the trucks around 10:30am and when Ralph made it down he said there was a "good sized" doe up on the Hill Top trail, and that she didn't spook when he walked by on the main trail. The wind was blowing hard out of the northwest at this point, so I decided to try a stalk on that deer. I took one arrow and headed back up the trail to the the Hill Top. The wind was perfect and the woods were very noisy, so any sound I made was covered up. I snuck up the trail to the Hill Top set and about 15 yards from cresting the ridge I spotted the top of the deer's back. It's head was down and it was right behind a large oak tree, so I decided to see how close I could get. At 9 1/2 yards I was directly behind the big oak and could hear the deer eating acorns. I drew back and the deer worked out from behind the tree headed west. Once the deer's shoulder past my pin I touched off the Rage tipped "Black Widow" Maximum Hunter. The shot was right on the heart and the deer only went about 15 yards before going down.

I know it's not the biggest deer in the woods, but it was a great stalk, perfect shot and will make some good eats.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BFD In Minnesota!!!

Hunted the corner set in Annandale for the afternoon sit. Strong N/NW wind blowing at 15 to 20 mph. Cloudy sky and spitting rain every now and again. A great fall afternoon. At 6:10 PM I picked up movement to my right. I saw a Red Fox sneaking towards my main shooting lane about 20 yards out. By the time I got my bow and stopped the fox it was standing in some brush. After sitting in the brush for 10 seconds the fox worked its way towards the corn field without offering me a shot. I quickly made a dying rabbit/mouse noise with my lips and hand to try and call the fox back. It worked like a charm and the fox came trotting into my set on a rope. At 13 yards the fox stopped directly in my shooting lane to have a look for the dying animal he thought he was hunting. Instead of a rabbit/mouse he got a Carbon Express arrow tipped with a Spitfire broad head directly in his face for dinner. Bon Appetit sucka! The fox didn't even think about holding it, he just dropped to the ground and gave up. That was my first fox kill with a bow. It was especially cool calling him back freestyle! BFD in MN!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Delany Finally Ends the Drought !!!! No Joke!!!!

During the summer months I was real optimistic that my 8 year drought of not getting a deer with my bow was going to come to an end. My wife and hunting buddies didn't think so, but I had a good feeling about it. I finally bucked up and bought a range finder, which limited my excuses if I did miss. Not that missing deer has been my problem, I just haven't been presented with a lot of opportunities over the past several years.

I was headed just North of Marshall, MO on October 11th to hunt a new property that I have permission for. My friend Jud and I hung a set early in September overlooking a bean field where three draws all meet up. Without a lot of scouting it looked like a good spot to start, worst case it would be a good observation stand. The temps were in the mid-50s with a slight S to SE wind. On the way up I was seeing a lot of deer in the fields which got me all worked up for the morning sit. The day started out slow with three coons being the only activity right off the bat. I am very sentimental so I decided to let the coons pass. Once there was good light I noticed some branches that I hadn't cut in September were blocking my view of the entire field edge. I kept having to lean out to check the field edge and thinking that deer would be right on top of me before I saw them.

Around 7:20am I saw 4 deer in field about 130 yards out and headed my direction. I got out my range finder and checked several yardages so I'd be ready if they kept working my direction. As the deer got closer I realized this may be the end to my long archery drought and the adrenaline started pumping. I could hear my heart pounding and the anticipation was at a fever pitch. As the deer approached the branches that had been blocking my view, I drew back the Hoyt and prepared for the shot. The first deer into the shooting lane was a doe fawn, but she was quickly followed by a mature doe. The doe stopped at 23 yards slightly quartering to me. I settled the pin just off her front shoulder and touched off the shot. The arrow flew true and I watched the Rage chew her up with a complete pass through. She tried to hold it, but after 5o yards or so she took a dirt nap.

Even though it was early and there were some fresh rubs near the stand, I had to get down and start burning up the phone lines. I was all jacked up after waiting almost a decade to end my archery drought. It was a great morning in the MO woods, and now Delany is finally on the archery board!

I have to dedicate this hunt to my idol Pete Eisentrager, without his guidance and tutelage over the years none of this would be possible. I would also like to mention Pete's brother Scott who has been my spirital guide in my quest to break my 8 year drought. Without the two of them I would still hunting with the wind at my back and storing my clothes next to my lawn mower. You guys are the greatest, seriously. BD

Sunday, October 12, 2008

MN Waterfowl- Week #2

Logan and I arrived at our cabin in Barry, MN the evening of 10/11/08. There had been showers and thunderstorms in the area all day on Saturday. Around 3 AM I woke up to a large thunderstorm that was pounding the cabin. When the alarm went off at 6 AM the storm had passed but the sky was still spitting rain and the wind had switch to an increasingly strong 10-15 mph southeast wind. Bill and Ryan Burns would be joining Logan and I for morning hunt on our Mecca Pond.

When we arrived at the slough we where greeted by about 200 hundred ducks and 100 geese busting off the pound. It looked like we where in for another good shoot. Again, I only placed about 18 ducks and a couple goose decoy out on the slough. We also added Mojo to the spread for the morning shoot, but I actually think he flared a LOT more birds then he decoyed. We set up in the exact same spot as last weekend (Southeast corner). Shooting time was roughly 7:10 and we where waiting with loaded guns when it was time. We had a strong 20-30 MPH wind and rain was falling when shooting time arrived. The rain never stopped the rest of the morning and neither did the wind.

The morning quickly started with Logan and I piling up a handful of ducks in the first couple of minutes of shooting time. After birds continued to drop into my side of the spread I switched spots with Ryan and let him chew up his dad's supply of heavy shot. Mojo's day ended around 9 AM with another flock of Mallards flaring right before committing to the spread. Goose movement was also zero for the day.

Around 9:30 AM Logan and I took a walk over to the Donut slough after watching several flocks of good birds work the Northwest corner of slough. After a short walk Logan and I set up in the northwest corner along some trees with a 30 MPH wind pounding us in the face. Just what you are looking for when picking a spot to set up for ducks! After a short sit in our new location a mallard came over the field and presented me a 20 yard shot directly overhead into the 30 MPH wind. Easy money! The highlight of the shot was Logan bailing out of the way as the duck nearly took his head off and I actually got to bat it out of the air with the barrel of my gun. I can now cross another item off my bucket list. Shortly after that I added a big, fat gray duck to the stack and got to watch Logan wrestle it down in the cut bean field. The gray duck didn't stand a chance in that fight. Just before returning to the Mecca Slough I pulled a big fat Spoonbill out of the air on a nice 45 yard shoot, that will be some good eating! Below is a photo of my retriever with our Donut Slough ducks.

After a windy, cool and wet morning we called it quits shortly before 11 AM. Over all it was a great morning of duck hunting. We ended up killing 15 of our 18 birds (1 Wood Duck, 2 Spoonbill, 4 Mallards, 4 Gadwall, 2 Widgeon, 1 Bluewing and 1 ganser). There is a chance Logan and I will make it out for one more duck shoot the weekend of Oct 25-26, but or 2008 waterfowl season most likely ended on Sunday morning. If my season did end it ended in style with my final bird of 2008 being a Spoonbill. We've had a great 2008 waterfowl season and Logan is now hooked on duck hunting.

Monday, October 6, 2008

2008 MN Duck Opener

10/04/08- Logan and I left for Barry, MN around 4:30 AM on Saturday morning. We arrived at the cabin around 7:30 AM. After quickly changing into our camo and loading our decoys into the car we where off to the North slough for the MN duck opener. On the way to the north slough I spotted a large flock of Mallards milling around in the middle of the field. We stopped the car to watch them for a minute and while we watched another large group of ducks flew up from the field. Logan and I got out of the car and walked over the hill to find the field pothole was full of water and easily holding 400 puddle ducks. We quickly parked the car, grabbed our gear and headed down to hunt our new found duck mecca! Below is a picture our mecca on Saturday evening (the black spots on the left side of the pond are ducks feeding in the field).

After putting out18 mallard, a couple wood duck and 1 goose decoy Logan and I settled in and waited for 9 AM to open the season. We had mostly sunny skies and a strong south/southeast wind at 15 to 20 MPH. Our season started with a green wing teal shortly after 9 AM. That was followed up by a bluewing teal, 2 wood ducks, a Gadwall and 1 Susie. Opening day lasted a grand total of 25 minutes. A brief gun issue cost me a chip shot at two geese right before we started picking up the decoys. Not a bad way for Logan to start his duck hunting career! Below is a picture of Logan and I with our opening day limit.

Saturday evening Logan and I set up shop on top of the hill to spend the last 45 minutes of day light observing our pot hole. Right before leaving for our scouting trip Logan noticed a Pigeon fly into one of the silos behind the cabin. Logan and I hustled inside for the 12 gauge, flushed the bird into the wind and made an easy 20 yard shot. Pigeon down! By the time we arrived (6:30) at the hill the pot hole was already holding hundreds of ducks. Over the course of the next hour another 150 to 200 ducks must have joined the flock. Needless to say expectations where high for Sunday mornings hunt. While Logan and I sat on the hillside we had 5 deer walk to within 20 yards of us. Logan managed to get a shot off with his BB gun and connected with a doe’s ass! The boy was more than pleased with himself to say the least. Below is a picture of Logan with his favorite game bird.

10/05/08- We woke up to a strong southeast wind blowing at 20 mph and pouring rain. We got down to the pothole at 6:45 and busted hundreds of Mallards off the pond. I quickly set out a dozen decoys and we settled in for a wet morning of duck hunting. We where covered up with Wood Ducks the entire morning. I could have easily killed 20 Wood Ducks if I wanted to act like I was from Arkansas. The morning started with a full dressed Green Wing Teal cart wheeling into the pound and seconds later a double on Wood Ducks. After a couple misses a Drake Mallard found his way into the bag headed for the back of our car. Another Bluewing Teal took a spanking and I couldn’t resist finishing the day with a big ole’ Spoonbill (greatest duck on the planet). 35 minutes of hunting and Logan and I where heading home soaking wet with another limit of MN ducks. Easily my best opening weekend of hunting ever and Logan is now hooked on duck hunting! We should be back next Saturday for another crack at some ducks and possibly a pheasant or two. Below is a photo of Logan with Sundays shoot.