Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meeker Co. Massacre

With both boys out of school for Christmas break, we decided to head out for an afternoon pheasant hunt. The weather has been brutal in MN for nearly a month, but today we had temps in the mid 30’s and a light wind. With the good weather, deep snow, and the prospect of another storm hitting MN tomorrow I figured the pheasants would be on the move. We had to do most of our scouting from the car and then walk ditches because all of the grassy cover in the area is under 3 feet of snow. Not the ideal pheasant hunt, but we had to make do.

I turned onto our first gravel road at 2:15 PM. A half mile down the road we spotted a group of 7-8 hens sitting in a bush. We pulled up along side of them and got to watch them for nearly a minute before they flew off into a cattail swamp. As we started to pull away a rooster flew into the cattails on the other side of the road. I parked, loaded up and walked in after him. A few minutes later I had 10-15 birds erupt from the cattails and brush around me. I made a clean shot on the rooster closest to me and held off on other shots as the birds flew over thick cover and I didn’t want to risk a lost bird. Plus the snow was up to my waist (literally) and I was spent pretty after three minutes of walking through it. I was shocked the birds held so tight. Below is a picture of Jake with rooster #1.

A couple minutes later we drove along a brushy ditch that ran along some stubble corn. The road was covered up in tracks, so we parked the car and started to walked the edge of the ditch. As soon as we got into the thick cover the air erupted around us as 7 roosters flushed within 5-10 yards of us. Three shots later and I had two roosters laying face down in the snow. The boys each made a retrieve in the deep snow and our hunt was done in 15 minutes.

We drove around a bit more and saw several other big groups of birds. It was fun seeing all the birds, but with all the snow and lack of cover in the area they could be in big trouble by the end of the winter. We might sneak out for one more hunt on Friday and that would put an end to my 2010 hunting season. Although if it ended today, it will still be my best season ever! Luckily Minny-Mo gets to start the 2011 hunting season off with a late February hog hunt in Oklahoma, so stay tuned. Hopefully 2011 is as good to me as 2010.....

12/31/10- The rain and sleet held off this morning so the entire family made a quick trip back to Meeker Co. before todays storm moved in. Just like Tuesday, we pulled onto the same road and immediately saw 20+ pheasants run out of a corn field and into the same brush/swamp I shot bird #1 on Wednesday. This time the birds flushed a bit more wild and kept the majority of the brush between us. One rooster got a bit to high in the air for his own good and I was able to whack pheasant #1 less than 5 minutes into legal shooting time.

Minutes later Logan made his first ever spot on a rooster that was sitting down in some cattails along the shoreline of a swamp. I was able to walk within 10 yards of the bird before he even moved. The bird flushed up into the cattails and got himself tangled up in the mess of grass. I felt like I was shooting a pop can off a fence pole. 1 shot and a cloud of feathers. I am guessing #2 load might have been a bit heavy for this shot. Logan was one proud hunter when we retrieved the bird.
We saw several more birds but they either spooked as we approached or held up in areas we couldn’t hunt. Either way it was a fun morning. 2010 season is officially closed!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MO Firearms Hunt 2010

Pete and I met in Macon, MO on Friday, November 12th for the start of the 2010 Missouri firearms opener. We woke up on Saturday morning to cloudy skies, temps around 30 and winds blowing from the south at +20 mph. I chose to hunt the beach set and Pete hunted the ridge top set on the south end of the property.

Things started quickly for me. around 7am I grunted with my VECtor call and followed it up with a couple bleats from The Can. Within minutes I had a nice 9pt standing 30 yards from my stand. Shortly after that I had a big doe and her mini walk down the draw to my left. After checking to make sure she there were no followers, I settled in and squeezed off the first shot of the MO season. I punched out ol' girls heart and she was dead 80 yards from the stand. I had a button buck come in around 9 AM and that was it for the morning. Pete had one young 8 pt under his stand and a face full of stiff wind to show for his morning sit. Below is a pic of doe #1.

The rest of Saturday's hunt was pretty slow. Pete sat in the "Poachers pond" set and I sat in the "Illinois Ladder" set. Pete got skunked other than turkeys and I had two yearlings come out of the draw to my left at last light. Both of the little guys feed to within 10 yards of my stand before I finally blew at them, so I could get back to the rig.

Sunday morning Pete choose to hunt a new set he hung earlier this summer. It’s located on the edge of a bedding area that has a natural funnel of timber on the west edge of the it. I hunted the "Bowl" set which is located in the bottom of a ridge that drops off a green field. At 9am Pete heard chasing from behind his set and turned to see 2 does getting dogged by a little forky. The forky pushed the lead doe inside 15yrds of the set before he was able to get her stopped. After the shot she only made it 20yrds before piling up and that is when the real action started.
The forky proceeded to grunt, gore, stomp, mount, and kick the downed doe for the next 2+ hours. Several other small bucks where drawn in by all the commotion and the little guy chased every one of them off… like he was the king of the woods. It was a pretty amazing encounter and some of the deer vocalizations Pete heard were very educational (those where Pete's words.....NERD!) and will be used in the future.

Around 10:45am a mini doe came onto the scene to investigate, so Pete made quick work of filling another antlerless tag. Even with another shot being fired within 35yards of the forky, he still wouldn’t leave the downed doe. The forky actually didn't run off until I walked over around 11:15am to help Pete sort out his girls.

Neither of us saw much movement Monday other than some does and small bucks. I did get to hammer a coyote at over 200 yards while hunting the "Perch" set, it's probably the best shot I have made to this point with a rifle.

On Tuesday Pete slid into a small 2 acre patch of timber that is located in the middle of a hay pasture. There is a small pond located inside the west edge of the timber and we figured deer would be hiding out in this sanctuary after the first couple days of the boom-stick season.
Pete set up south of the timber about 80yrds away from the pond in a row of hay bales the farmer keeps there. There was no movement early, but about 15 minutes before Pete was supposed to meet up with me to butcher our does, a spike crested the hill and ran into the west edge of the timber. As soon as the spike hit the timber edge Pete heard several deep aggressive grunts and the little guy turned and hightailed it back the way he came.

Pete grabbed his rifle and his VECtor, got the wind in my favor and started to sneak through the wood lot from the southeast. Pete was about 40 yards from the west edge of the lot when he spotted a small 8 pt and a spike bedded just below the pond dam. Pete gave them a couple of loud aggressive grunts on the VECtor and both deer came flying out their beds looking for a fight. The 8 point ran out into the pasture, raked some leaves and an overhanging tree limb, and was grunting like crazy. Pete hit him with two more grunts and the buck came charging back into the timber right at him. That’s when Pete heard the grunt he was waiting on. A huge bodied buck stood up out of his bed about 20yards north of the first two bucks. He had a small doe bedded with him and was not happy about all of the commotion being caused by the younger bucks.

The big buck charged both of the smaller bucks and chased them out into the pasture. Pete hit the VECtor a few more times and the big guy turned and headed back towards Pete and his doe. When the buck got back to the edge of the cover Pete hammered him with .06. Fatty didn't even want to hold it and he dropped right next to his original bed. He’s is the largest bodied whitetail Pete has ever killed in the Midwest, his neck measured 27 ½” after being caped out.

Tuesday night was a slow sit for us, but the weather report for Wednesday had Pete and I going to sleep with high hopes. We woke up to 29 degrees, NO WIND and clear skies. The weather report was also calling for a rain/snow mix to move in around noon.

Pete finally got the correct wind and was able to hunt the "North Ladder" set and I slipped back into the "Beach" set. We were settled in by 6am and waited for legal shooting time. Around 6:40am I thought I heard something moving through the bedding cover that sits about 80 yards to the east of the stand. This is the same area the 9 point came out of during the first morning sit. I watched the area for several minutes with my gun resting in my lap, but never picked up any movement. After several minutes of not seeing or hearing anything I sat back and relaxed a bit. I kept my gun resting in my lap because it felt like something was going to happen, I just had that feeling.Five minutes later I spotted a tall rack walking towards me from my left. I got my scope on the deers, so I could try and determine how big he was. After a couple minutes he finally turned and looked my way. I could tell he was tall, wide and pretty heavy. Ol' boy kept walking the edge of the creek bottom and when he was directly in front of my stand at 30 yards, I softly grunted at him and the buck actually grunted back at me. That's when I squeezed the trigger and hit him with a round out of the Soul Snatcher! The buck reared up on his back legs, spun around and just dropped in his tracks. Thirty minutes into the sit and I had killed my largest buck. That buck also put the finishing touch on our 2010 MO deer hunt.

We're already counting down the days until our 2011 Missouri hunting trip!

Monday, November 22, 2010

MO-Archery kill during the firearms season

With family obligations on Saturday I was anxious to get out on Sunday for what would probably be my last sit during the 2010 MO firearms season. I'm that guy...that has a hard time making decisions on where to go, what stand to hunt, etc...So finally I decided to roll the dice and hunt Pete's killing set at our management hunt property.

I was greeted Sunday morning the worst November hunting conditions you could possibly ask for with +60 degree temps, full moon, and winds from the south from 10-20 mph....."it's seems like I've been snake bite this fall". With Pete having so much success from his killing set and with him taking the weekend off after tagging out for the firearms portion of our season, I decided to set up in his stand.

Pete told me that whenever you hunt that set don't expect movement until after 8:30am, so finally around 9:10am I spotted movement from the NW. Three mature does and two minis were heading my way, so I grabbed the Hoyt and was ready to let an arrow fly. The does came right into my wheelhouse and at 15yards quartering away I let the arrow go and it found it's mark perfectly with a complete pass through. The Big Momma ran off about 40 yards before taking a dirt nap right on the walking trail! I was pretty jacked up with this being my first archery kill of the 2010 campaign and first ever bow kill during the MO Firearms Season !

After getting down from the set and finding the arrow, I picked up the blood trail and it was absolutely amazing that even I could follow it!!! The new Spitfire Maxx Broadheads are my new best friend and a big thanks to Scott for the recommendation, I appreciate it brother!!

After Thanksgiving I'll be back after it and hopefully I'll be able to connect on a MO Big Boy, but I'll have to do from my own set since Pete will be back on the prowl.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 MO Firearms Opener (Marshall, MO Farm)

The 2010 MO Archery Season has been really tough for me this season. After getting a wicked case fo poison ivy that shut me down from hunting for a month, I was ready to get the MO Firearms season started. This year I invited my friend Levi along with me to hunt our Marshall farm. Levi is a good friend of mine that owns the house at LOZ where we go snagging every year March, so I decided to return the favor this year and bring him deer hunting.
11/13/2010 – Opening Day!
The opening morning hunt was pretty much a bust for the most part. A neighbor unleashed hell on a good buck firing 14+ times (no Joke, I counted) and wounding the buck that they couldn’t find. Levi had a good buck come out 20 yards from his location, but his gun wouldn't fire and the buck moved on. At that point we decided to head back to the house and sort out Levi's rifle and eat some lunch before heading out for the afternoon sit.

After arriving back at the house we found out that a neighbor had killed a giant 16+ 12 pointer and another buddy from Marshall, connected on a good 10 pointer.

Without much luck on the first farm we decided to change it up and try another smaller farm with more timber in the area hoping to see more action! Around 1pm we headed out and got settled right in. Levi was sitting on the west set and I was on the east set. Around 2:45pm I heard Levi shoot and come to find out he missed a really big buck with a broken rack after shooting through some brush. The buck came by me but did not offer a clear shot so I had to pass, hoping he would come back by later that evening. Right at last shooting light I heard Levi shoot again and this time he connected on a great 110" 8 pointer. He was fired up because this was his 3rd biggest buck and first deer killed in 3 years!
Right after Levi shot I picked movement in the bean field to the west of me and spotted a mature doe standing in the field. After waiting a couple of minutes I decided I was gonna take a shot. I ranged her at 181 yards, settled the scope on her, and unleashed a 180 grain bullet to eat. My shot connected and after 20 yards she was done.

11/14/2010 – Sunday
With my buck tag still in hand and Levi sitting on a antlerless tag we headed out for the morning hunt. It was partly cloudy and cold temps in the upper 20’s. We ended up seeing a couple of does and small bucks but nothing we wanted to shoot. Sunday afternoon pretty much mimicked that morning hunt, so with both of us having work obligations on Monday we headed home.

Monday, November 8, 2010

2010 MN Rifle Opener

I arrived up at the shack just west of Pine Center, MN around 5:30 PM on 11/5/10. After heading to town for burgers and beers we called it a night. We woke up to clear skies, a temp around 30 degrees and a strong south wind at 10-20 mph. The area was extremely wet so the wind had a very moist bite to it.

I snuck into my area and crawled up into my stand at 7:10, Legal shooting time was 7:30. Even in the low light conditions I could tell the area was filled up with deer sign. I came across several rubs and scrapes on the trail that leads to my stand. Since I hadn't been to the woods all year I was pleasantly surprised.

Shortly after settling in, I had a small 6 pt buck come out of the swamp to my east (left). He milled around for a couple minutes before getting on the main trail that heads to my stand and walking it out of site. I am hoping the little guy takes advantage of his pass and doesn't walk under someone else stand. Things settled down after the early buck.

At 8:40, I caught movement to my south coming through the heavy brush. After a couple seconds I saw a mature doe running through the thick stuff to the west of my stand. I was able to yell/grunt her to a stop, but my shot didn't make it through the brush. As I chambered another round I caught more movement from the direction the doe had just come from. Two bucks where hot on the doe's trail and didn't pay any attention to my shot. Once again I was able to yell the bucks to a stop. They actually stopped within feet of where the doe had stopped. I picked out the larger of the two bucks, settled my sites on his shoulder and touched off a shot. I could see the brush in front of him move, but I could also tell he was hit hard. The 8pt buck trotted off to east acting like he was hurt. 10 minutes later I snuck up to the shot area and found a blood trail. Because I wasn't certain of the shot I marked the area with an extra orange hat and backed out. I climbed up in my stand and planned to sit until 11:30 before taking up the trail.

5 Minutes after crawling back into the stand I caught more movement to my southwest. Two deer where walking directly at me. A settled my scope on the bigger of the two deer and let them walk in as close as possible. At 45 yards I had waited long enough. The Doe settled into a a clearing and I anchored her in her tracks. No track job needed. Minutes after that I had another mature doe standing in my clear cut for several minutes. I figured I would save some deer for the rest of the party and just watched her in the bino's for a couple minutes. That was easily the best sit I have ever had up in Pine Center. Two tags punched and some cleared brush away from having three.

The buck I shot only made it about 80 yards before settling into his grave behind a huge deadfall.

The only deer I saw the rest of the weekend where jumped on my way out of the stand. Another member of the party shot a huge bodied 9 pt buck late saturday afternoon and he also killed a 1 1/2 year old 4 point on sunday. Overall a good opening weekend in northcentral MN.

Friday afternoon I head down to MO for the first 8 days of their gun season. Hopefully Pete and I can punch several tags in the next 8 days!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nov 6th Colorado Duck Hunt

Saturday saw the 2nd split for waterfowl open up in Colorado. I found myself back in Hillrose, CO with my friend Matt(new to hunting, just along to watch) and one of my students Devlin. The weather called for 75 and sunny by 11:00 so we wanted to be done by then. Upon arrival it was 34 degrees and to my surprise our pond had lost about 50% of the water it was holding 2 weeks ago. We quickly kicked about 50-60 big ducks off our spot and quickly got our 2 1/2 dozen decoys, 2 mojos and jerk string set up and proceeded to have ducks drop in and out of our spread.

7:00 a.m. hit and there was instantly ducks everywhere. The first bird of the day was a Drake Mallard that the pond behind us swung and missed at. I put a perfect shot on the mallard from about 45 yards and the morning was going good. After then missing on another flock of mallards 2 wigeons came in on a death plunge from about 200 feet up. 1 shot, 1 more duck for Chad. After that duck for about 20 minutes we had 100's of birds working the spread. With the water down it was tough to convince big flocks into our small spot. After come up empty handed after all this and the wind shitfting directions I moved some decoys around, put mojo about 10 yards in front of us but landing away from us. That was all we needed. Soon after Devlin had his first ever double, making a nice 2 shots on a Drake and Hen combo. Yogi went with to retrieve the susie.

We constantly had birds working our spread, this lead to another wigeon meeting her maker as she hovered above me looking for a spot to land. This was quickly followed by Devlin getting his 2nd Drake of the day. This was when Yogi made her first legit retrieve. She watched the Drake drop down and waited for me to release her. It was great to watch and hopefully a sign of things to come. I later added another Drake that made the mistake of swinging too close to me.

The day ended with me getting a double with the hen first coming down and then her mate meeting his end.

Monday, November 1, 2010

MN "Monster" Goes Down!

I took a half day of vacation time on 10/29/10 to take care of some halloween stuff with the kids and then get out for an afternoon hunt. I made it to the woods around 2:15pm. It was a perfect fall day. Temps in the low 50's and a light southeast wind at 5-12 mph. Perfect wind for my money set.

After checking a couple areas for deer sign I made my way to my set. Just as I stepped onto the trail that leads to my tree a deer jumped from his bed (which was located directly under my stand) and ran about 80 yards to my south. I immediately dropped down to my knees and got next to some brush. At this point I was just hoping the deer would wonder off with out making a scene and I could make it to my stand (which was only 20 yards away) for the remainder of the afternoon.

After starring in my direction for 10 minutes the young 8 pt finally started to settle down. To my surprise he started to work back towards my location. At this point I figured I would try and close the distance on him and see how close I could get. For the next 10-15 minutes the 8 pt and I played cat and mouse with each other. Every time he would step behind a tree I would slide a bit further to my west and a bit closer to the trail he was walking. I had to keep sliding West because the deer was now interested in finding out what I was, where I was and trying to scent me. By sliding West I kept my sent away from him as long as possible.

Finally the deer got behind a huge blow down and I was able to sit up a bit more and relieve my cramping knees. This also allowed me to setup for a potential shot opportunity. At this point I had decided to take the young buck if he gave me a shot because I had invested close to 30 minutes in this stalk and the whole experience was extremely cool to watch. I have never been able to sit and watch a deer act like this for so long. Filling my deer tag would also allow me to spend the weekend at home and take Jake pheasant hunting on wednesday.

I could tell the deer finally decided I was no threat after not being able to smell me or pin point my location and he put his head down and started walking back to the original spot he jumped from. I quickly slid a couple feet to my right and prepared for a shot. I didn't have time to range him because the deer was now walking without a care in the boy! The deer stepped out and I softly grunted him to a stop. I guessed him at 30 yards, settled my pin and released the arrow. The hit looked great, but when the deer ran off the exit wound was way back. I was a bit shocked because the deer was completely broadside on impact. I was able to watch the deer run off 60 yards or so and then stop. He started to wobble and then laid down. I laid in the spot I took the shot from for the next 30 minutes before slowing working to my tree and settling in my stand. Once I got up into the stand I was able to track a massive blood trail all the way up to the deer who was dead 40-50 yards from the hit. Below are some pics of the blood trail. These pics where specifically taken and posted for our friend Nissan.

I was also able to smack a young coon before pulling my deer from the woods. Little guy didn't even try and hold it, just a little whimper and gave up! Sissy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Killing Continues

10/23/10 - I was settled into my new "killing tree" about an hour before legal shooting time and was optimistic about the morning sit. The forecast had called for rain all day, but luckily the storms never manifested. The morning was overcast with a strong SW wind. I was skunked for the first time all season at the north KC property, but another hunter had smoked a nice 2 1/2yr old 10pointer and I helped him track it and drag it out. It was his first deer with a bow and he was all kinds of wound up about was fun to see.

Shana and I had to baby sit for some friends Saturday night, so I mailed in the evening sit and spent some quality time with Mia and the wife.

10/24/10 - Found me back in the "killing tree" for another morning sit. The warm temps didn't slow the deer activity down any though. I saw 10 deer from 8:30am - 10am, but nothing inside 50yrds. I hunted until 10:30am then headed out for a bite to eat, nap, and watch the Chiefs game. Since the Chiefs decided to pour it on the Jags, I didn't have to wait until the game ended to get back in the woods. I was back in the saddle by 3:45pm and enjoyed an awesome fall evening on stand. Around 6:15pm I flicked about 20 acorns I'd picked up under the tree earlier into the dry leaves out in front of set. The wind had totally laid down and you could hear the leaves pop all the way down the draw. About 5 minutes after I'd flicked the last acorn I heard footsteps to the west of me. It didn't take long to spot the two mature does working down the ridge to my location. I was amazed when they made a bee-line to the same area as all of the acorns I'd flicked landed. I'm not saying that's why they came in, but it was more than a coincidence in my opinion. The bigger doe of the two started to work up the draw just to the right of my set. She was 6yrds from the tree when I came to full draw. A quiet "eeerrp" stopped her cold and I put a perfect shot on her. She only held it for about 35yrds before the lights went out on the party and MO doe #6 was on the ground.

I'm so looking forward to the next 4-5 weeks of hunting. The bucks are going to come unhinged in the next 7-10 days and hopefully I'll be able to put some bone on the ground as well. It's been a great season so far, but now it's time to get after a MO buck.

Final MN Duck Shoot of 2010

Logan and I arrived at the cabin around 10:45 PM after I had to work late on Friday afternoon. I woke up Saturday morning to pouring rain and an under the weather Logan. This meant Logan and I would be sleeping in and taking the morning shoot off. After waking up around 9 AM we drove into town to scout for birds and hopefully catch up with a pheasant or two. By the time we returned to the cabin we had seen very little duck and goose activity and no pheasants. So far we had a great start to the weekends hunt!

Around noon we walked down to the North Slough to see if the wood ducks where still holding up in the flooded brush. We did jump a few Woodie’s, but nothing like two weeks ago. One flush presented a shot and we had our first duck of the weekend.
Before heading out for the evening hunt Logan and I added another Pigeon to bag. Nothing makes the boy happier than seeing a pigeon go poof!

By 4 PM we where setup in Logan’s Honey Hole for the evenings shoot. Joe Salato from Wingwavers Decoy Co. and his lab Buck joined Logan and I for the evening hunt. We had a Northeast wind at 5-10 mph and rain. It continued to rain off and on all afternoon with a couple down pours mixed in for good measure. We setup on the north end of the slough about 30 yards east of our location on weekend #2. We had action consistently all evening long but the divers would not make the final commitment to the blocks. We finally had a small group commit and two drake Ringbills took a death bath. We ended up taking three more Ringbills the rest of the evening. The story of the night was the lack of puddle ducks and the divers not making the last commitment to the blocks.

The highlight of the evening was Joe calling in three greater canada geese from well across the field. He managed to turn the three birds and bring them right into the spread locked up and feet down. The geese broke off to my side of the spread and I was only able to bring down one bird after pumping 3 loads into that tough SOB. Watching those geese lock up and drop right into the slough was one of the prettiest sights from this fall.
It continued to rain all evening and the following morning. Logan still wasn’t feeling well and our gear was soaked, so we slept in for the 2nd day. On the way home we hunted pheasants just east of Glenwood, MN. We had a couple birds put the slip on us but we finally caught up with a rooster on the back side of a deep ditch the butted up to a cut corn field. Some school boy shooting cost me a double but it was nice to get into a pheasant again. That most likely put an end to our 2010 waterfowl season. With some cold weather moving in this week hopefully the MN whitetails will be moving around and looking to hold some arrows.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Tough MO Swamp Donkey

10/20/10 - I had the oppurtunity to go in late to work today, so I took full advantage. I headed up to the North KC property that Brian and I were selected to hunt on by the local PD. I've had deer well within shooting range during every sit on the stand I hung last Friday, so with a perfect SW wind I was pretty optomistic going into this morning's hunt.

Around 8:20am I was ambushed by 4 does and a yearling that had managed to slip in from directly downwind and on the back side of my set. Everyother deer I've seen come from that trail has walked almost directly under the left side of my set and offered easy shots out front, so thats what I prepared for. Unfortunetly the deer cut west directly behind my tree and with 10 eyes and ears within 5 yards of me I couldn't get turned in the stand for a shot oppurtunity on the other side of tree. After they worked out of the area I started a ratteling & grunting sequence and I was thrilled to see a little 4 pointer come charging onto the scene. He was looking for a good fight and everytime he'd turn to walk off I'd give him a little bit of the VECtor grunter and he'd come back in raking saplings and grunting, it was a pretty cool show. While the little guy was acting like the biggest buck in the woods I spotted a doe and mini crest the east ridge of the draw. They were coming down the same trail as the first group of does except this time I was already facing the right direction. Momma cut behind the set about 6yrds further up the draw from the first does, so when she hit my shooting lane at 11yrds it was go time. I grunted her to a stop and put an absolutely money heart shot on her. Her and the mini both tore off to the west, so after giving her 30 minutes I got my gear sorted out and started on what should have been a short track job. Over 300yrds later I was finally rewarded with doe #5. The ol' girl piled up under a huge cedar tree about 90yrds from the rig....nice work girl! I have no idea how she held the shot for that distance...after field dressing her I examined the hit and the shot was dead center through her pump of the toughest swamp donkeys I've ever encounter, thats for sure!

I'll be back after them again Saturday morning to see if I can continue knocking down the MO deer population!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2nd Week of MN Duck Season

Logan and I arrived at the cabin around 7 PM on Saturday evening. I wasn't able to hunt saturday because of a prior commitment, but Logan and I would both be calling in sick Monday morning so we could get two days worth of hunting in.

10/10/10- Sunday morning found us back in the Honey Hole Slough. Conditions where not exactly ideal for duck hunting. The wind was blowing out of the south and 0-5 mph, no cloud cover and a temp of 60 to start out the day. The temp would climb to near 80 by the afternoon. On top of the high temperatures the mosquitoes also decided to return. To make matter worse, the duck movement was very slow. I managed to scratch out one full dressed drake mallard while Pops and Mike teamed up on a young drake Mallard and Redhead.

10/10/10 marked the first day we could hunt until sunset in MN. Logan and I slid into the slough around 4 PM wearing t-shirts and bug spray. The wind switched to the north at 10 mph so we moved to the NW corner of the slough. Duck movement was almost zero until around 5:15 PM. At that point we had a nice flock of wood ducks work the slough. Logan give them a couple whistles with wood duck call and the birds started to work our spread. They circled several times but never committed, that's when I picked out a Drake and let the Browning sort things out. Duck #2 was in the boat. 10 Minutes later we had a mixed flock of ducks commit to the decoys. Three shots later and I had three ducks floating on the water (2 Redheads and a Ringbill). I finished the day with a chip shot on another Drake Wood duck. Pops and Mike poked a couple holes in the sky and got to watch Logan and I knock birds down. Below is a pick of Logan with a Wood Duck and my triple!
10/11/10- We headed back to the Honey Hole Slough for the morning shoot. I wasn't expecting much after jumping in my rig and seeing the temp at 70 degrees and it was still 5:30 AM. Logan, Mike and I set up in the same location as Logan and I had hunted Sunday evening. We had clear skies and a light 10 mph north wind. Duck movement was almost zero. We picked up decoys at 8 AM and headed over to the flooded timber on the south slough after hearing wood ducks screaming all morning long. Logan and I crawled up to a patch of flooded brush we saw a group of wood ducks fly into. Once we got to 30 yards the brush exploded with Wood ducks. I folded up two gorgeous drakes and had to sit and watch hundreds of others fly off. It was fun to watch and made the weekend.

We finished with a total of 10 ducks on the weekend. 4 Drake Woodducks, 2 Drake Mallards, 1 Ring Bill and 3 Redheads. Logan and I will be back after it the weekend of 10/23. That will be the last duck shoot of the year, then it is back to the whitetail woods.....finally!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My first weekend hunting the MO Zoo

10/15/10 - Brian and I were selected to participate in a special deer hunt in north KC. The property is privately owned, but holds an extremely high number of deer per square mile. Because of the high number of auto vs. deer accidents on the main road through this particular city the local police department enlisted some local hunters to help manage the overpopulated herd and luckily we were selected to the killing crew!

I've been allowed to hunt the property previously, but under a very restricted format. That is not the case this time around however. We have free reign on the majority of the property, so I went in Friday to get a couple of initial sets hung based on my previous hunts. I located Brian's set towards the SE corned of the hunt area and actually saw 9 deer within 100yrds of the spot while trying to find a suitable killing tree. After getting set #1 hung I moved over to the NW side of the property to an area I knew would funnel deer through it, based on my previous observations. I was not disappointed by the amount of sign in the area once I started to kick around. There were huge trails running through the entire draw and several good rubs lines were already being worked on both sides as well, so I hung set #2 about 3/4 of the way towards the top were several of the trails intersected or passed within 40yrds of it.

I was settled in to my stand at 4pm and at 4:02pm I had my first deer show up on the scene. Unfortunately for me it was a button buck, so he got walking papers from me. Little did I know that he'd stay in the area all night working back and forth through the bush, causing me to be on edge every time he'd show back up. Around 6:40pm the little guy finally worked over the edge of the draw to my east, so at 6:42pm when I heard foot steps coming off the west ridge I know it was a new deer. The light was fading quickly in the timber but I could tell this was a mature doe, so when she eased into my shooting lane at 30yrds I was already at full draw. A quick errrrp! stopped her cold and the Hoyt took care of the rest. The doe didn't take two steps before piling up in the shooting lane.

10/16/10 - Since I was able to get the doe from last night drug out of the area without much disturbance, I elected to hunt the same set in the morning. The wind was still great for the setup and I had high hopes of seeing some good deer movement, unfortunately there were several deer right around my set as I walked in. Only one of them blew at me, but I could hear 3-4 of them walking in the brush. I got to the property earlier than normal so I was optimistic things would settle down before legal shooting light and I was right. Around 6:45am I heard a couple deer work off of the west ridge and drop into the draw, but it was still to dark to see. Around 8am I spotted a spike coming in from the west also. He actually worked in to 8yrds and proceeded to rub a sapling for about 2 minutes. It was pretty cool seeing him work the tree over so close to my set. The spike hung around for about 20 minutes before moving off and it wasn't 10 minutes later when I spotted the next deer. A doe and her fawn were coming into the draw from the NE and their path took them directly under my set. I let the doe get about 12yrds out and when she turned broadside I slid my arrow right behind her front shoulder. The ol' girl couldn't hold the Montec and after a short death run she piled up within sight of the set.

I hunted the morning of 10/17 as well, but only had small bucks and button bucks working through my area so no arrows got released. I was really hoping to go back, to back, to back days with a kill, but I can't really complain. I've been lucky enough to harvest a mature doe every weekend of October so far...I just hope that killing streak continues for the next six weeks. This new property will be jumping in about 10 days!!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

More MO backstraps in the freezer

10/9/10 - I traveled to central MO this past weekend to hunt with my new father-in-law on his property in Callaway county. The forecast was calling for temperatures pushing 80 so I wasn't expecting a lot of deer movement, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of action I saw Saturday morning.

We reached Ralph's property around 5:40am and after getting our gear together I headed to the new northeast ladder stand that we setup this spring. The black oaks on the property were raining acorns, so my walk into the set was covered by the constant racket they made falling to the ground. I was settled in my stand by 6:15, so I just sat back and soaked up another awesome MO morning as the timber started to come to life. It didn't take long before I caught movement to the south of me. I saw flash of movement out of the corner of my eye, but after picking the cedar thicket apart with my binos I couldn't locate the source. I continued to check the thicket every couple of minutes and at 7:18am I finally picked out the legs of a deer standing about 40yrds inside the edge of the cedars. Two mature does exited the cedars and started feeding down the hill behind my set. I had to turn completely around in order to get a shot and by the time I was in a good position the first doe was already entering the only shooting lane I had on the back side of the tree, so I elected to let her walk and try to anchor the second doe. She was about 15yrds behind the lead doe and on a trail that would bring her into my shooting lane at 36yrds. I was already at full draw when she hit the shooting lane and apparently she knew the game plan, because she stopped perfectly broadside right in the middle of the lane. I settled the pin right on the shoulder crease and touched off the shot.

This is when things started getting interesting....My top cam actually hit a bow hanger Ralph had left in the tree and that I didn't notice until then. The contact my bow made with the hanger caused my arrow to shoot left about 3-4" and the arrow smashed through the doe's front left shoulder and stopped when it hit the off shoulder blade. She dropped like a rug was pulled out from under her and proceeded to snow plow 50-60yrds down the hill. I knew both shoulders were broken along with a double lung hit, so I just let the woods calm back down since I could she her piled up under a giant cedar tree from the stand.

Around 8:40am two minis came tearing into the draw from the north and soon were followed by a nice 1 1/2yr old eight point, who proceeded to dog the minis for a couple minutes. After the buck walked off the two mini went crazy and started chasing each other, jumping, and bucking around all through the draw. After several minutes of watching this circus they finally tore off to the northwest. By that time it was after 9am so I got my gear together and headed over to recover the downed doe. To my utter surprise when I got about 20yrds from her she raised her head, snorted, and plowed another 40yrds through the bush. I may have actually dribbled a bit in my drawers, because I was not at all expecting her to still be alive. Since both front shoulders were torched I was able to quickly catch up with her and put a finishing shot into her.

I'm not sure how the ol' girl held the first shot for two hours, but after getting her field dressed I examined the hit and both lungs were torched. Apparently she just didn't want to give up the ghost that easily!!!! Regardless MO doe #2 of the season is in the freezer and I'll be back after #3 later this week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2009 MO Archery Bucks....Scored for P&Y Qualification

The 2009 MO archery season was pretty solid for Pete and me. We'd scouted our Blue Springs farm all summer and had several P&Y shooters in the area which included one 160" + typical 10 pointer.

Unfortunately neither of us was able to connect on the big10, but after passing a nice 2 1/2 yr. old 8 pointer September 18th, I was able to connect a great 3 1/2yr. old 10 pointer two nights later on September 20th.

Pete was fortunate enough to shoot a good 11 pointer on October 23rd out of a set 80yrds. south of were I killed my buck.
My cousin is an official P&Y scorer so I asked him to come by the house on Tuesday and score both of our deer. My buck was first up to bat on the measuring table and after further review, I have my first official P&Y MO bow kill!
  • Gross Score: 130 4/8"
  • Net Score: 126 6/8"
After the excitement of my buck making the book,  it was time to put Pete's buck too the tape. With a 7 x 4 frame we knew the deductions were going to be huge, and unfortunately the buck came in well under the P&Y minimum after it was all said and done. We were hoping to see both bucks make the book, but it one is better than none!
  • Gross Score: 126 6/8
  • Net Score: 113 P&Y
Now it's time to put a couple more MO Big Boys on the dirt!!!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

CO Waterfowl opening weekend

Saturday morning @ 5:00 a.m. I was back in the familiar town of Hillrose, CO for another opening weekend. I was hunting my favorite state land that had been flooded by the D.O.W 2 weeks prior. The weather was forcasted to be 70 and sunny, both false. As I began to set up the teal were buzzing the decoys early, in all we set up 30 mixed bag decoys with two Mojos and 1 jerk-string. Shooting time was supposed to be 6:20, but us and every other group was forced to wait about 15 minutes longer due to some fog and thick cloud cover.

The morning started off with 3 teal making their way through the decoys at about 85mph, after a swing and a miss by yours truly 2 other teal inexplicably got up from behind and flew right at me, BWT #1 was down. After that it seemed every 2 minutes or so new birds were in the area. The next ducks of the day were a hen gadwall and drake mallard that came out of the same flock on 3 shots. Soon after that I put the vector duck call to work calling in a single Drake Mallard for about 3-4 minutes, finally he made the mistake of cutting his turn a little short, one shot, another Drake in the bag.

The final 2 ducks of the day were a GWT and BWT that split the two mojo decoys and were dealt with swiftly. Yogi made her first official retrieve on the BWT. Clearly she needs a lot more work but she is still learning the game. Overall a great opener again, just waiting on the big ducks to increase in numbers.

Sunday found me back at the same pond with a couple of kids from my high school for my little hunting club I have started. Again we were set up early and the rest of the time was spent teaching Devlin the basics of duck hunting(as I know them to be at least). Since it was Devlin's first ever waterfowl hunt, he got first crack at the birds. Well that lasted about 2 minutes as 4 teal buzzed in from over head, turned the corner and split the mojo's again. Devlin didn't see the turn so I decided to put 2 BWT down after calling the shot and neither boy shooting. About 5 minutes later another 2 teal passed through the decoys, this time Devlin did not miss, 1 shot, 1 dead teal. After that the day slowed dramatically. besides the occasional big duck it was a lot of sitting around. Just when it was about time to pick up 3 mallards started listening to the Vector call and as they settled into the decoys, the drake split off to the right, and was dispatched by the 1187, unfortunately he tried to hide in the tall grass, after a solid tracking job he was found, trying to make a run for it, no luck there.

It was another successful opener, just need a cold front to come on through and get the birds out of the north.