Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Pete got into town on Tuesday night and we made a run up to the Garrison area for some Grouse hunting Wednesday morning. Conditions were perfect with about 5"of powder snow on the ground, temps in the upper 20's, and a winter storm moving into the area that evening. We flushed about 15 birds but the majority of them flushed wild 40-60yrds in front of us or out of the trees. I missed one easy shot early, but we managed to scratch out one bird. Pete went home empty handed but in much better shape. We logged some good miles!
Pete and I stopped into Whitecombs Uncommon Scents on the way home and met the owner. He let Pete and I look out back and check out his deer heard. Below is a photo of two of the Big Boys. I am planning to sneak out this weekend for one last pheasant if the weather allows. That will put a cap on my 2009 hunting season.
Friday, December 4, 2009
We celebrated a bit more than I would recommend that evening, but the cold MT air and cackling roosters the following morning cured whatever hangover I had in short order. We focused on roosters and whitetail does for the remainder of our trip.
The bird hunting wasn't as good as it was in the past for Montana, but it still exceeded my expectations. I truly believe the area we hunt is one of the few untapped upland bird meccas left in the country. We easily shot our daily/possession limits for the rest of the week, with Sunny's creek being the hottest area of all. I think we shot 26 of the 46 roosters off that section. Our shooting was on point, the dogs worked great, and the birds held tight all week. It was awesome to get back into pheasants, it's the one thing I miss hunting the most in MO.
Josh shot his whitetail doe on the 21st and Justin filled his tag on the morning of the 23rd. It took me until the final morning of our hunt to finally fill my whitetail doe tag. We were actually headed to Lon's for birds when we spotted a nice buck and doe headed into one of his draws in a horse pasture. After shooting the breeze with Lon for a bit we headed out in that direction. Josh spotted the buck standing up in the bottom, so I bailed out of the rig expecting them bust out across the pasture. To my surprise the buck just stood there and watched me get closer with every step. After seeing the rutting activity at a fevered pitch all week, I knew the doe had to be bedded under him. Surprisingly a decent muley buck popped over the ridge and into the draw and this was to much for the whitetail buck to handle. He chased the muley out of the area immediately and I saw my window of opportunity open.
I slid up to the edge of the draw and spotted the bedded doe about the same time she saw me. She busted out of the draw like her tail was on fire, but since I was inside 25yrds she was in a world of trouble. My first shot was just over her back as she crested the top of the draw, but shot #2 anchored her in her tracks and my Montana deer tags were officially filled.
We hunted birds for the rest of the afternoon and hit the road early the next morning so everyone could get home for Thanksgiving....I arrived back in KC around 1:30am Thanksgiving morning after 18 hours of driving!
We headed to Shana's folks house for Turkey Dinner and I was scheduled for my managed hunt Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, unfortunately I was called back to KC because of an emergency at work. I took full advantage of the antlerless season though, and was able to harvest another nice MO doe off the BS 70 farm. I've killed 4 deer from my natural ground blind on the 70 in the past two seasons including my buck in Scott's earlier post about the MO firearms opener. It's to bad we are losing that property this week. I'm going to miss the Zoo!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The day started with me in the office, until Brad finally talked me into going out for one last sit. We got out to the BS 155 farm and into the stands about 2:45pm. Brad went to Pete's ladder set and I went to my north ladder set. About 3:05pm a nice doe entered the field to my south. She kept looking back in the timber as she fed, but nothing ever came out after her. After 15 minutes of watching her I decided it was time to take her since it was still early and I was sick of just watching deer all season. I ranged her at 125 yards, waited for her to turn broadside and squeezed off a shot. My bullet hit home and she only made about 15 yards before eating a dirt sandwich. It felt good to finally get a deer on the ground! After the shot I decided to drag her over to the edge of the timber, since she was laying right where a lot of deer had been entering the field.
About 15 minutes after getting back in the stand another mature doe entered the field right by my west ladder set. She fed around for about 10 minutes before going back into the woods.
As light faded more deer piled into the field. All of the them were does and minis. I kept hoping that a mature buck would show himself with all of the does in the field but unfortunately he never did and with light about to run out on my 2009 gun season I decided to take another doe. I picked out the biggest doe in the field and touched off another shot at 60 yards. She held it like a champ and made it 60 yards into the timber before calling it quits. With that my 09 MO firearms season came to an end.
Kinda of funny that Brad and I went out and had the same situation happen one week earlier, only it was Brad who had the luck that night.
A couple more weeks and it is time to break out the smoke poles!!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Of course the weather was windy and warm, like it is every time I hunt in Missouri. The first nights hunt was very eventful. I was setup in the Gash Set. I spotted what looked like a good buck clear across the bottom field walking along the river edge. I couldn't tell exactly how big the buck was because it was probably close to a mile away. Right around 5 PM I had a small spike/fork buck come down the hillside in front of me and work into the field. Twice I had him at 20 yards.
As I was watching the small buck I heard foot steps coming through the gash. After a couple minutes a nice 2 1/2 year old 8 pt came out and stood in my shooting lane at 23 yards. I looked him over and had to talk myself out of shooting him several times. He had a nice tall rack but wasn't very wide and was lacking good mass. Great looking deer for an MN boy! I grunted at him with my Vector call and this stirred up trouble between him and the little buck in the field. At one point the two deer came nose to nose before the young guy finally realized he was seconds away from a tail kicking and quickly put a 100 yards between himself and the 8 pt. I was able to call the 8 pt. back into 20 yards three seperate times with my vector grunt call before he finally worked into the field to eat.
Right at dark I had a Doe and her two mini's come off the hillside about 150 yards out in front of my set and work across the field. Not a bad first nights sit, to bad it would be my only good sit for the next 5 days. Below is a photo the spike/fork buck I was able to snap.
Things really slowed down as far as deer movement the next couple of days. The only deer I saw the rest of the time in Macon was a doe who got spooked off a hillside by a falling tree. She came running past me at 60 mph scared out of her skin.
Things were also slow for Pete most of the week although he was seeing deer almost every sit. On the morning of 11/11/09 Pete had a great encounter with a huge Macon Co. giant. Right after getting into the oak ridge top set Pete heard running and grunting in the draw in front of his stand. Shortly after that two doe crested over the top of the draw. Shortly there after Pete heard more grunting and a huge 150 class eight came over the ridge bumping the does. For several minutes Pete had the big 8 bumping the does around his stand. The whole time the BIG BOY was grunting and lip curling at the two does. Pete finally got the buck to stop at 31 yards and he released his arrow. The shot looked great until the big guy dropped and spun to his right after hearing the string. Pete's arrow hit him high in the left shoulder and never penetrated the bone. Another kick to the groin for Pete's 2009 archery season!
We did track the deer all afternoon to make sure it wasn't hit better than we thought. I did catch a glimpse of the big fella once in the afternoon as he ran off over 200 yards away. Even at 200 yards I could tell he was a true giant. Hopefully we will see him again later this fall or next.
We returned to KC on Wednesday night because Pete had to be in Columbia for meetings the next two days. I hunted the Blue Springs farm Thursday evening and Friday morning but still couldn't shake my curse. The good news was the farm was littered with sign. The bad news was I only saw deer while walking back to my car after dark.
Saturday, November 14th. The Missouri firearms opener finally arrived and we would finally get a chance to even the score after a week of getting our tails kick.
Opening day found Brian, Pete and I hunting the Blue Springs farm. We had cloudy skies, cool temps, a good northwest wind and periods of light rain. Finally some good weather had arrived in MO!
I had a deer in my field prior to first light but that deer was quickly run off by a grunting buck who either wanted a fight or some tail. Pete and Brian where seeing deer and turkeys right at first shooting light and pretty much the rest of the morning. I started to feel like my curse was for real as I wasn't seeing anything while those two where covered up in critters. At 7:15 my curse was finally lifted. I caught movement to my left and looked over to see a doe coming out of the woods at full tilt with a very good buck right on her tail. I tried stopping the deer 4 or 5 times and finally yelled at the top of my lungs which got there attention. Both deer stopped briefly at 65 yards to see what all the noise was about. I quickly settled in on the buck but had to rush my shot because his doe started to take off again. I thought my first shot found its spot but the buck reacted oddly. I quickly reloaded and took a running shot as the deer went for the woods. After the 2nd shot the buck stopped one more time and allowed my to settle in and take a relaxed shot. My 3rd shot hit home and the big guy gimped into the woods about 20 yards before I lost sight of him. Everything happened so fast that I was rattled worse than I have ever been by a deer.
I sat tight and waited until 9am for Pete and Brian to come over to look for the buck. The wait was brutal as I wasn't positive of my shots although I knew the 3rd shot hit home. After arriving, Brian walked into the woods where I saw the deer enter and quickly spotted him laying in a heap 30 yards past the edge of the field. It was quite a relief after having to rush my shot and not have the deer drop immediately. Below are some pictures of the big jacked up MO Una-buck.
Brian and I met for lunch around 11:45 and treated ourselves to a bag full of BK while Pete decided to stay put on the 70. At 12:30pm we headed back to the stands for the rest of the afternoon. On the way to our stands Brian spotted a deer halfway down the cul-d-sac field. After verifying it was a doe the stalk was on! Brian and I got around the field and slowly worked our way down a hedge row. With the wind in our favor and great cover between us we were able to slide all the way down to the end of the hedge row. Brian gave me the green light so I dropped my pack and Brian held back 10 yards. I slowly slid into the field and popped out in a sitting position ready to fire. The doe had no idea I was in her world. After a couple seconds she turned perfectly broadside and I let the .06 speak its peace. As soon as the shot went off I heard Brian giggling behind me and letting me know she went right down in her tracks. We quickly pulled her into the hedge row we had just stalked down and made our way to our stands for the evening sit. Below is a photo of the doe we stalked.
Sunday, November 15. Although we all saw deer Saturday night no more shots were fired. Sunday greeted us with a strong north wind, rain, and temps in the mid 40's. Pete was in the cul-d-sac set, Brian was in his ladder stand and I was in the killing tree. All of us where sitting well before shooting time. I had a deer come through my field shortly after sitting down and Brian once again had deer in his field all morning. Shortly after legal shooting time it started to rain, so I made the move to my Ameristep ground blind that sat only 150 yards away. Shortly after settling into my dry, wind free ground blind I spotted a doe trotting onto the field to my right. I quickly grabbed my gun and settled it on my shooting stick. Ol girl must have seen me move because she stopped at 75 yards and looked directly at me. School girl mistake! The .06 spoke its peace again and deer #3 was down in her tracks. Below is a photo of my 3rd deer. With that my 2009 MO deer season was complete.
Later that evening after I headed back to MN Pete got himself dressed in his frogtogs and set up shop in on the BS 70. He arrived at his natural ground blind right around 2 PM and settled in for an evening sit in the rain. Around 4:30pm after seeing a couple smaller deer things really picked up and in a hurry. As he was watching the field Pete heard a noise directly to his right. He turned to see a big bodied buck jumping the fence and landing within 4ft of him, literally knocking the right side of hsi bling over. After a few seconds the buck realized soethign wasn't right and he ran out into the field 60 yards or so. Pete settled the .06 on him and let it bark. The big guy went down but got up and gimped into the cedar thicket east of the field. Pete returned to the thicket the following morning and made a quick recovery of his deer after only 5 minutes of tracking. Below is a photo of Pete and his 09 MO rifle buck. We will be adding some better pics when he returns next week from his Montana trip.
Not a bad MO opening weekend. 2 mature bucks and 2 nice doe. Overall the BS property has produced 4 mature bucks and 8 doe so far this season, plus Brian still has his tag(s) to fill. Below is a pic of a bobcat I got at the BS farm on sunday morning. Easily one of the coolest pics I have gotten on my cuddyback.
Pete is off to Montana this week with a small game license, whitetail doe tag and a prized either species (Muley or Whitetail) buck tag in his pocket. I am taking the weekend off before getting after some MN pheasants next week.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday morning Forrest and I made our way back to Hillrose, Colorado for our opener to the second split. We found ourselves in 31 degrees and a dense fog that almost saw the silverado end up in a ditch as the road disappeared. After navigating over some closed railroad tracks we had to set up quick.
Luckily the fog delayed shooting light about ten minutes which allowed us to settle in. Right away we had ducks working our area. This lead to the first great duck of the day, a Drake North American Shoveler, a beauty no doubt, Forrest is still contemplating putting it on the wall. Thanks to the blizzard 10 days ago a lot of the ducks had moved on to warmer areas. All day it seemed as if ducks were working the area. The next duck to meet it's end was a Gadwall, unfortunately I was spraying some breakup into the 1187. After settling back in, I decided we needed a hen spooney to go with that drake, by 6:40, mission accompished. At this point Forrest noticed a leak in his waders which forced a move to the nearby levee. Once reaching the levee I put on a shooting display. First a hen Pintail met her end at about 55 yards and then two minutes later we added another Gadwall to the bag, me cleaning up Forrests mess.
In an attempt to warm up his legs Forrest walked the property. At this time I had a greenhead and two fully dressed Pintails working the spread. Luck would have it they all landed right where Forrest was walking. After sneaking through the grass Forrest polished off one of the two pinnys.
We added one more Gadwall to the bag before packing up around 11:00. A good day, and I will be back at it Sat and Sun while Forrest goes out to Maryland for the World Goose.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
With the storm front that had brought all the rain over the past couple days passing through and temperatures in the low forties, I decided it would be a perfect Friday evening to checkout of work a little early and get into the Missouri woods. There were several fresh rubs around my set and to two very large sets of tracks heading into the bedding area just west of the set. With the front passing through the wind was gusting from 20-35mph out of the northwest and it had a cold fall bite to it!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday afternoon found us hunting the puddle right behind the cabin. Earlier in the morning we could hear what sounded like a mess of mallards feeding in the little puddle. Saturday afternoon Brady, Logan and I walked the slough for pheasants and to check things out for ducks. While walking the slough we must have kicked close to 5 dozen large birds off of it. We quickly decided this would be our evening hunt location. Below is a picture from the slough which shows how close to the cabin we hunted.
Brady and I found a nice pocket to setup and placed Logan on top of a muskrat house in his thrown. We had a fairly strong SW wind at 15 mph and mostly clear skies. Shortly after getting into the slough I ran into a minor issue, the crotch of my waders tore and I had water up to my thighs. I decided to tough things out for the final 2 hours of the day. Right away I called in a small flock of Gadwall and made a nice shot on a big drake, dropping him 3 feet from Logan and I. That was followed up by another gadwall, a widgeon and another spoonbill. Brady finally connected right before quitting time by making a great shot on a merganser, "That will make for some good eating." By quitting time my legs and feet had gone mum for the cold water which made for an interesting walk in. As we walked back to the cabin we got buzzed by literally hundreds of ducks piling into puddle slough for their evening roost. It would have been fun to sit back and watch if I could have felt the lower 1/3 of my body. Below is a picture of Logo on his muskrat house and another of him with part of the evening shoot.
Only Brady was able to hunt Sunday morning as I was wader-less and Logan’s boots where soaking wet from the night before. Brady snuck into our new puddle behind the cabin and was greeted by hundreds of ducks leaving the slough right after shooting time. Brady made a nice triple on mallards to start the morning and lost a couple more birds in the reeds the rest of the morning. He should have pulled a quick limit out of the puddle but that is hunting. There is a chance we will make it out this coming weekend for our last duck hunt of the year. Below are a couple more photos from the weekend. The first one is the total from the weekend.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I climbed into my new ladder stand which is located about 125 yards straight East of my money set. I bought this stand and set it specifically for a straight west wind. The location would allow me to hunt the core ground on a west or southwest wind. Today was a perfect wind for the new set. Below is a picture of my view from the new killing set.
I was in my stand and set at 6:25 AM, legal shooting time was 6:54 AM. The wind was relatively light to start the morning and the woods were completely still. By 7:30 AM the wind was beating me in the face to the tune of 15-20 mph. I went from being comfortable to wishing I had my insulated jacket and hand warmer. On top of freezing my marbles off the woods were dead. The tree rats (squirrels) weren’t even moving.
I got news from Pete and Brian via txt that the deer were moving down in MO. That helped keep my mind off the cold for a while. Complete school boy on my part not bringing extra clothing. I guess I figured with it being October 10th I wouldn’t need my winter gear. Like I said, school boy.
I had told myself I was going to stick it out until 9:30 AM. At 8:45 I was just going to send Pete a txt saying I didn’t now if I could make it to 9:30. At that moment I glanced off to my northwest and saw a deer stand up from behind a deadfall about 50 yards away. When the deer first stood up I could only see its body, I had know idea it was a buck. I slid my phone back in my pocket and grabbed my bow. Making it to 9:30 would be much easier now.
As I watched the deer standing in the cover I noticed another big bodied deer working down towards the first deer I had seen. The second deer stepped into a clearing and I could tell he was a big bodied 8 pt. I recognized this deer from some pictures I had earlier this summer. The first deer then walked up to the 2nd and I could tell he had a nicer rack than the 2nd deer. After staring each other down for a minute the big bodied deer worked away from me and the 1st deer started towards my stand. It was kind of a cool sight because both deer's backs were covered in snow. I was having trouble telling how big the 1st deer was because of how big the 2nd deer’s body was. I could tell it was a good deer and did have a larger rack than the big bodied 8 pt. Within a minute the deer had worked his way directly in front of me. He turned broadside and started on a trail that would bring him 23 yards from me. Once he got into position I gave him a soft grunt to stop him and released my arrow. My arrow slid through the back part of his shoulder and lodged into the off shoulder. "Lung Buster!" The deer took off and was plowing snow within 10-15 yards. Ole boy went ass over teakettle on two deadfalls before piling up within eyesight of my stand. At that point the adrenalin kicked in and the temp seemed to drop another 20 degrees. After the shakes finally stopped I snuck out of the woods to go get Logan for the track job.
Logan and I returned to woods around 11:30. As soon as I got up to the big fella I immediately recognized him as the 12 point buck I had trail camera pictures of this summer. I am glad he walked out with the big bodied 8pt so I couldn’t tell how big he actually was. This was the deer I wanted to shoot this fall and I got my chance without even knowing it was him. He was well over 200 pounds and I am guessing his rack will score P and Y. The big guy made me work getting him out of the woods. Thank god I only had to drag him 150-200 yards. Below is a picture of Logan with the "Big Boy". I also added a couple of Before and After pictures of the 12 point from this year.
10/10/09 - BS 155, NNW 15-30mph, 34-41 degrees
I met Brian at the BS155 around 5:45am. There was a brisk wind and we had our first frost of the MO season on the ground. I sat in the Killing Tree set and Brian sat his newly positioned ladder set. Action was slow to start and I was freezing my boys off getting blasted in the face by the NW wind. Around 7:30am I stood up to stretch and spotted a good 2-3yr.old 10 point feeding about 150yrds across the field. He was a good deer and looked very similar to Brian's buck, but I decided I wasn't going to shoot him if he came across the field. After about 15 minutes of glassing the buck a doe and mini popped out in the same corner and fed about 30yrds out from my set, I let them pass hoping bucks would be moving with the chill in the air. Around 8:30am I got a text from Brian that he'd shot a doe, but the hit didn't look good. We decided to sit until 9am and then we'd go move some stands before taking up the trail. As I was packing up my gear to get down Scott sent a text saying he'd shot a good buck in MN....little did he know it was the deer he'd targeted early in the summer (story coming later). I met up with Brian and we decided to give his doe several hours before taking up the trail. We moved Brian's ladder set and then headed back to the trucks to pickup a couple new stands. It was the MO Urban doe season, so we loaded up the TC smoke pole just in case. After getting my new ladder stand set we headed over to the Killing Tree to cut a few limbs. I was finishing up the last cut when Brian said "deer, coming out across the field". We crawled out to the TC which was about 15yrds out in field with the cart and other gear. The 2 deer were feeding in the same corner as the buck was earlier. We belly crawled about 30yrds more into the field and I raised up for the shot. Brian was videoing with his digital camera (see below) and ranged my deer at 139yrds. I took a deep breath steadied the TC and let the smoke roll. It was a perfect shot and after watching the doe try and hold it for about 15 seconds, it was lights out.
10/11/09 PM Hunt - 70Farm - 45-39degrees, NNE 8-10mph.
10/11/09 - BS155, 37-43degrees, NNW 8-15mph, overcast I bow hunted my new ladder set in the AM, but the action was pretty slow. I had a doe and 2 minis cross out front of me about 70yrds away. Around 8:30am 7 turks came into the field south of my set, but never got closer than 55yrds. We looked for Brian's doe for another couple hours and still no sign.
Shana and I headed out for her first hunt of the 09 season. We set up int he ground blind on the 70 farm with high hopes of having her harvest her first deer. Around 5:45pm a big doe fed into the field about 60yrds out. Shana was getting ready to take her when we spotted a mini-mini feeding right behind her. Shana elected to pass, because of the mini and we just sat back and enjoyed the show. About that time a swarm of black birds lit into the tree above us and spooked the deer out of the field.
Since I had the day off because our furnace was getting replaced, I decided to slide out for a quick evening sit. I choose to setup in the ground blind Shana and I sat the night before. After getting settled in a finishing the first Harry Potter book, I was getting worried I wasn't going to see any action since it was already 6:40pm. Right about then I spotted deer coming into the field. A big mature doe and several smaller does and minis started feeding out in front of my setup. I had the video cam with me so I sat back and got some good footage of them first. As camera light was fading I settled in on the biggest doe and let the smoke roll one more time. The whiteout blinded me for a bit but as the smoke cleared I saw the deer clearing the field to the east. I got everything packed up and after 15 minutes headed out to take up the trail. As I got to the area where the deer were feeding I as completely surprised to see my doe laying right were she stood. The TC & 300grain bullet put her down in her tracks with a perfectly placed shot. I was pretty jacked up because not only was I working the camera solo but the footage turned out great, and I had deer #4 in the freezer for the 2009 season.