Monday, December 29, 2008

MO Antlerless Season

12-19/08 PM- I was headed out to the BS 155 farm for an evening doe hunt. BS 155 is the farm Pete and I had so much luck on during the regular rifle season. I arrived at the farm about 2:45pm. I was really hoping to sit my ladder stand, but a Northwest winds put an end to that idea. Because of the wind I decided to hunt Pete's ladder stand. I took my time getting to Pete's stand because the ice covered snow made walking extremely noisy, and I'm not to stealthy to begin with.

I had only been on stand for about 30 minutes when I heard footsteps to my left. I turned and spotted 4 big longbeards coming out into the field. I watched them feed for about thirty minutes. Around 4:00pm I looked back to the south and noticed a doe fawn looking right at me about 90 yards to the south. I was caught off guard to say the least. As she stood there I noticed there were several tree branchs in the way, so I just watched her. After a couple of minute's she went back in the timber. It was still early in the evening so my anticipation level was high.

About 4:20pm I heard footsteps coming from the south where the doe fawn had went back into the timber. I looked over and saw 5 deer coming out to the field. 3 big Does and 2 buttons. The location of the deer made for a tough shot because I am right handed. I had to just watch them and hope they would give me a shot eventually. After about 20 minutes they finally worked to about 55 yards directly in front of Pete's stand. I anchored the Remington 30-06, picked out one of the mature doe's and settled in. Booommm!

The deer scattered and ran right under the stand. The doe I shot ran about 30 yards to the north before piling up. I was fired up with another doe down and a great end to the 08 season for me. On the way back to the 4-wheeler I spotted deer in the field where my stand is located, so I took the long way back. As I got closer to the truck I saw more deer feeding in the field about a 100 yards from my truck. I took a closer look a saw 3 bucks, including one good buck and 11 doe's and fawns. What a sight 22 deer in one evening. After seeing the deer numbers on this farm, I am fired up for the 2009 season already.

Texas Whitetail/Hog Hunt 2008

We arrived at camp on Saturday morning (12/13/08) shortly before noon. Pete and I where hunting QV Ranch located just East of Throckmorton, TX. We would be targeting whitetail does, wild hogs, and anything else that was legal to shoot. "When in Texas you do as the Texans." After getting settled, stretching our legs after the 8 hour drive from Missouri and watching UMD win the DII National Football Championship we where off for our first evening hunt of the trip.

12/13/08 PM- We where hunting a new lease "The Hargrove" a couple miles north of the main ranch. The property was made up of a huge wheat field with some thick mesquite on the north end of the property. Pete and I hunted about 600 yards a part on each end of the mesquite patch. Both of us where hunting out of shooting boxes. We had temps in the 60's, mostly clear skies and light south winds. I had zero activity on the evening and Pete had a couple small bucks around his stand.

12/14/08 AM- We woke up to clear skies, temps in the mid 50's and a light south wind. We hunted another lease about 15 miles from the main ranch called the Jarman Lease. Pete and I both hunted here in February and saw lots of animals. Needless to say we where both excited to be back. Both Pete and I saw a lot of deer all morning long and could have shot several mature does. Since we had 2 ½ more days to hunt we held out and just watched the show. I had one nice 4 ½ year old buck that I grunted inside 50 yards. He ran off every deer in my area and even postured some cattle that where behind my blind. Along with all the deer I also saw a large coyote and a big bobcat. Neither of them offered me a shot. I was able to take my first Rio Turkey in the morning. At one point I had over 50 turkeys around my blind before I finally got a clear shot at a mature bird. Below is a picture of my TX Rio turkey.

12/14/08 PM- Pete and I hunted just south of the main ranch for our evening hunt. We had a slight south wind, temps close to 80 and clear sky. I was running the video camera and Pete was doing "most" of the hunting. On the way to our blind we bumped a large covey of Quail. Shortly after settling into the blind Pete saw a Monster Armadillo sneaking through the cactus to our left. Pete made room for me to slide into his window and I made an easy 40 yard shot. Varment #1 down. With about 40 minutes of video light left I noticed movement about 150 yards to our south. We glassed the brush and noticed 4 deer (3 does and a young buck) moving our direction. The buck broke off but the 3 does continued walking from south to the north. After a couple minutes the 3 does crossed about 80 yards directly in front of our blind. I stopped the last of the doe when it got centered in the video camera and Pete put a perfect heart/lung shot on the ol' girl. She held it for 30 yards before giving up the ghost. Our first Texas deer and first whitetail kill on video. Right before dark the wind switched to the north and picked up to 30 mph. Shortly after that the temp dropped from 80 degrees to 50 degrees in five minutes, and kept falling throughout the evening. Wind and cold would be the story for the rest of our trip. Below is a photo of Pete with his doe and my armadillo.

12/15/08 AM- We woke up to temps in the upper 20's and a north wind blowing from 20-30 mph. The wind was absolutely brutal! Pete and I where hunting together again in the AM but this time I had the gun and Pete had the video camera. Our morning hunt was back at the Jarman lease. As soon as you could see we where covered up in deer. At one point we literally had deer all around our box blind. There where several smaller bucks, one nice tall & wide 10 point and tons of does. After careful inspection of all the does Pete and I picked out our target for the morning. After Pete got some good video footage of all the deer I made an easy 45 yard shot on a big mature Texas doe. The 30-06 put her down in her tracks.

Below is a photo of me freezing with my first Texas whitetail.

12/15/08 PM - The wind picked up throughout the day and the temp kept dropping. Because of this Pete and I decided to shorten our afternoon sit and also hunt inside the fence at the main ranch. There is a large population of wild hogs on the ranch along with some African Plains deer. Owner Ben Koonce gave us the okay to kill an exotic doe if we wanted. The evening was pretty slow for me. I did see two sets of exotic deer but all of them where young bucks. Pete on the other hand, was covered up in critters all night long. Pete saw several fallow deer, black bucks, Rio turkeys and hogs. Pete was able to take a pure white Fallow deer doe on video and a huge 300# sow hog. Below are a couple pictures of Pete’s hog.

12/16/08 AM- The wind finally died down over the evening but temps remained in the 20's with clear skies. Pete and I setup together in the #2 box blind I killed my turkey in, at the Jarman lease. We where hoping for another parade of deer and turkeys so we could get two more kills on film. Instead we got zero. All we saw on our morning hunt was a small spike buck and 5 does cut through an opening about 130 yards to our west. Nothing else moved all morning.

12/16/08 PM- Pete and I where back at the Jarman lease for the PM hunt. On the way into the lease we saw several deer moving around. This was a good sign for the evenings hunt. The temp had warmed up into the upper 30's, we had clear sky and the wind was blowing from the south at 5 mph. We where back in the #4 box blind that I had shot my doe at the morning before. Shortly after getting settled the deer parade started. Right away we had a nice sized button buck work into 70 yards that nearly got shot. Pete and I went back and forth for several minutes trying to decide if it was a legal doe before finally getting close enough to see it was a young buck. That would be the story of the night. Every deer that worked into our blind for the first 2 hours was small buck or a button buck. Finally, with about 20 minutes of our hunt left, two mature does stepped out a 120 yards north of our blind. The Scentblocker suits earned their money as the deer were directly down wind from us and never had a clue Pete and I where in their world. After a good five minutes worth of glassing to verify the deer where not buttons I touched off a shot and made a perfect 120 yard heart shot. Slickhead thought about holding it for all of 10 yards before going face first into a cactus. That concluded out TX 08 doe/hog hunt.

12/17/08- Pete and I hit the road at 8 AM and headed for Missouri. I ended up making the entire trip all the way back to MN, because the entire family was sick. I finally black dogged into my driveway at 2 AM on 12/18/08.

Monday, December 8, 2008

MO Smoke Pole

With the Missouri Muzzle Loader season coming to a close this past Sunday and our Texas trip scheduled for this weekend, I decided to ML hunt as much as possible through the weekend in hopes of shooting another big doe for the freezer.

12/5/08 BS 155 - A.M. Sit - My Ladder Set

I was able to sneak out for a couple hours before work on Friday, so I took full advantage and was in my set by 6:30am. The temp was hoovering around 12 degrees with a northeast wind at 5-7mph. The morning was crisp and clear with frost covering everything. I had a mature doe come out in the corner of the field to the north at 7:30am. She started feeding straight away, but I didn't have a shooting lane. After a few minutes of devouring beans she went crazy, it was like her feet caught on fire! The doe started jumping around and running all over the field. She made it all the way to the east treeline before turning around and running all the way back to the west timber. She never did stop long enough for a clean shot opportunity. At 7:40am I caught movement in the east treeline. A small 4 point stepped out onto the field. His left side was broke off, but he had a good body for a 1 1/2 yr. old. He licked several branches before walking across to the west timber.

12/6/08 BS 155 A.M. Sit - Ground Action (East side of the farm)

I had to work at 10am this morning, so I was only going to be able to hunt until 8:30 or so. Brian and Brad were bow hunting the BS 70, so I decided to hunt the east side of the BS155 farm. Nobody had been in there all year, and I had personally never been over there. I set up on the north end of the bean field in some tall grass. The temp was 33 with a west breeze of 6-8mph. There was no action off the bat except for rabbits and tree rats. At 8:00am I decided to sneak into the timber and take a look around. The west timber was covered up with trails and good sign. There is a lot of under growth and big oaks throughout the draw. I setup on a little pinch point and had a good 8pnt and doe come by about 10 minutes after I was set up, but they were moving with a purpose and never presented a shot.

12/6/08 BS 155 P.M. Sit - Ground Action (East Side of the farm)

Of course I had OU fans in the store 30 minutes after closing time, so I was scrambling to get out for the evening sit. The wind switched out of the northwest during the day and was gusting at 25mph all night. I set up on the southwest corner of the field overlooking the timber draw and field. I spotted 2 huge cedar trees that had been rubbed recently. They were the biggest trees I've seen rubbed in 4-5 years (remember this!!!). No movement to speak of except tree rats and birds.

12/7/08 BS 70 A.M. Sit - North Fence Ground Blind

Dennis and a friend were hunting the BS 155 property this morning, so I decided to hunt on the BS 70 property. The temp was 22 with a southeast wind of 8-12 mph. I got to the farm early so I could get across the field before there was any light coming up. I was set up in the blind by 6:20am and sat back and waited for shooting light. At 7:00am the skunk that tried to get in the blind with me a couple weeks ago walked out in front of me at 15 yrds and headed off across the field. At 7:12am I spotted a deer coming out of the middle section of timber to the west. It was a good 2 1/2 yr old 8 point and he was quickly followed by a 1 1/2 yr old 6 point that was busted up on his left side. Both deer began to feed east towards the south set. The 8 point went on alert and quickly headed in to the east timber once he crested the ridge of the field. The smaller buck continued to feed in that direction. Once he made it to the edge of the east timber all hell broke loose. 3 mature does and a yearling doe came busting onto the field. The 8 point was hot on the trial of the smaller deer. He was chasing her all over the corner of the field. The bigger does kept chasing after the buck, almost like they were trying to protect the little one.

After several minutes of watching this circus and trying to get a deer to stand still long enough for a clean shot, I grunted one of the big does to a stop. She was slightly quartering to me at 53 yrds, so I settled the cross hairs just to the left of her brisket and squeezed of the shot. The smoke pole barked and instantly I was surrounded by a whiteout. I jumped up to get out of the smoke and almost knocked myself out on an overhanging limb above the ground blind. After regaining my composure I was able to see my doe drop about 30 yrds into the timber. She absolutely smashed a tree on her death run and went ass over tea kettle to the ground.

I was stoked since this was the first muzzle loader kill of my career that the coyotes didn't get to first!! It was a solid finish to the MO muzzle loader season and my eighth deer of the year. With Texas just around the corner I think I'll take a break this week and get back after it in Throckmorton, TX Saturday evening!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Pheasant Shoot

11/26/08- Chad, Logan and I arrived at the cabin the evening of the 25th. We woke up to clear skies, no wind and temps around 20 degrees. It looked to be a perfect day for Pheasant hunting. We actually had Pheasants running around the grain cribs in front of the cabin while we where eating breakfast and getting ready to go. Definitely a good sign.

The morning started out quickly as there seemed to be birds all over the place. As we drove towards the river we had a group of birds run into a ditch/cattail swamp. Chad was able to flush the group and make a nice shot on the first rooster to flush. We had our first bird 6 minutes into the hunt. We saw several more birds before finally making it down to the river. Once we arrived we got into another rooster almost immediately. Chad made what looked to be a good shot on the bird before it got back up and flew into the distance. Bird #2 on the day held Chad’s shot like a champ and was lost.

We worked our way back towards the cabin before finding a ton of birds around Roger’s mother’s house. After getting out smarted while trying to push a group of birds out of a wood lot we found a pair of roosters in the corner of a cattail slough/shelter belt. The birds held tight as we walked up on them and I made a nice crossing shot on the first bird to get up. After a bit of a search Chad and I had our 2nd bird in hand and "3rd" bird of the day.

200 yards from the location of the last bird killed and we where at it again. Chad had seen a bird flush into a thick ditch with little cover next to it. Chad posted about a quarter mile down the ditch while Logan and I walked towards him. I could see hens running along the edge of the ditch as soon as we got into our walk. Logan and I started flushing hens before finally flushing a rooster that came up from the grass right next to my leg. The large bird was cackling the entire way. I let him cackle all the way to 20 yards before putting a load of #2 in his back. Logan made a great retrieve on the bird and we had our 4 bird MN limit......kind of. The last bird had a tail feather slightly over 24 inches and seemed to weigh nearly twice as much as the other birds.

We saw quite a few more birds while driving home along with thousands of geese on the lake in Graceville. Another great hunt at the cabin and it was fun to get out with Chad after several years.