Monday, October 25, 2010
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.
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
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 station...one 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
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
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
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
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"
- Gross Score: 126 6/8
- Net Score: 113 P&Y
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
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.
Saturday morning found us heading down to Logan's Honey Hole. We had clear skies and a light northwest wind from 0-10 mph. We arrived at the slough around 8 AM (for some reason only known to the MN DNR the season doesn't open until 9 AM on opening day) and had the decoys set by 8:40. Our spread consisted of 2 dozen mallard, a six pack of teal, 7 goose floaters and a couple wood ducks. There where quite a few birds buzzing around as we waited for the clock to strike 9.
The season started with Pops and I dropping a double in redheads. Minutes later another double on redheads was dropped. Redheads would be the story of the weekend. We had wave after wave of redheads commit to the decoys all morning long. It was fun to watch, but frustrating because we are only allowed 2 redheads per day. Below is a picture of Logan and his favorite duck, a drake woody.
Around 10 AM the geese finally started to move. I called a nice flock of 15 birds over the slough but they wouldn't commit. They did make the mistake of flying directly over head and I put a nice head shot on a huge honker. Minutes later a single made the mistake of coming to the call and goose number two was beak down in the water. Below is a pic with Logan and the first two geese of the season.
Things slowed down a bit after that. We started getting small flights of birds every 15 to 20 minutes. Pops but a great kill shot on honker #3 of the morning. His goose came down stone dead back in the thick cover so we didn't find it until later in the afternoon. After much searching the big goose was added to the bag. Right before quitting time we called two more geese into the decoys. Right as they set their feet down we let them have it....sort of. My goose came down hard enough that I was able to dispatch him with a finishing shot on the water. Pops bird was dazed for a minute but somehow pulled it together and flew back out of the slough. That was one tough hombre. We ended the hunt at noon. Our bag consisted of 4 redheads, 2 mallards, 1 spoonbill and 1 drake woody (1/2 a drake woody). Pictures of the total opening day kill are below.
We spent the rest of the day shooting clay pigeon, .22 and smacking a couple pigeons. At sunset we set up in the field and scouted Logans Honey Hole and the cabin slough. We watched several hundred Mallards and Woodducks fly into the slough. Next Sunday the birds are going to be in big trouble when we can hunt until sunset.
Bill and Ryan Burns joined us for the Sunday morning hunt. We had clear skies and the wind was blowing from the south/southeast at 15-20. The spread was similar to the saturday morning other than I flipped the goose stools to the left and the ducks to the right. The morning started out a bit slow but things picked up after the first 20 minutes. For the next 30 minutes we had woodducks bombing the spread. Around 8 AM things slowed before the flights of redheads showed back up. We had a couple spoonbills and mallards mixed in for good measure, but the redheads stole the show.
The morning ended shortly after 10 AM. Logan said he wanted to leave after we killed one more animal. I have never been more proud. 5 minutes later Bill and I called two canada geese across the slough. The geese broke off to Pops and my side. One shot each and both birds where on the water. It was a perfect way to end the weekend. Below are a couple photos of the weekends total harvest.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I arrived at the farm around 4:30am and was greeted by 50 degree temps and a stiff north/northeast wind. I'd planned to hunt the "stolen set" which I rehung about 30yrds southwest of the mineral lick. I was settled in by 5:30am and waited for day break, which came and went with zero sign of deer movement in the area. Around 9:15am I caught movement to the south and watched a little 6 point cross over the ridge into the deep west draw. I shut down the morning sit around 10:15am and went to pull the card on the lick camera. Roger had been cutting corn all week and the amount of pictures (10) for the week, proved that the deer pattern in that area had been disrupted by it.
For the evening sit I decided to hunt the new set I hung this summer at on the east end of the road. I thought that the deer may have moved north into the bean fields, since the corn was being harvested on the south end. I encountered 9 turkeys in the top end of the meadow on the way into the set, but the strong wind allowed me to get around them without spooking them. They were all hens, so they got walking papers from me.
I reached the new set and was settled by 4:15pm. I was pretty concerned with the wind because it kept swirling through the bottom, but around 6pm it finally settled down and starting coming consistently out of the north. At 6:15pm I caught movement to the west of the set down by the "Beach". I spotted two does browsing on some of the underbrush while they worked in my direction. I was already standing, so I decided to double check yardages of several possible shooting lanes since this was my first sit in the new set. When I looked back to the west to check on the ladies the original two had multiplied and now I had a group of 5 does headed right at me.
The lead deer was about 25yrds in front of the group and was coming in pretty quickly, so I prepared for a shot on the closest trial about 14yrds in front of the set. To my surprise she actually cut up a wash directly on the west side of the stand at 12yrs. I had to do a little quick maneuvering to get into shooting position and one of the trailing deer must have spotted me, because she snorted once started to stomp. All her commotion actually worked to my advantage. The lead doe stopped to look back at the group and offered me a perfect shot at 11 steps. I touched off the shot and watched my fletchings disappear right on the shoulder crease. The ol' girl mule kicked and bounded up the embankment 20 yrds or so took 3 steps and it was lights out. The other deer stayed in the area for about twenty minutes before moving off and I was able to make a quick recovery and get her out of the timber without much commotion.
I hunted the south ridge set above the "gash" Sunday morning. I didn't see any deer movement but I did have 5 hen turkeys and 3 otters work right by the set, so it was a pretty entertaining sit.
Friday, October 1, 2010
After draining my boots twice I finally made it to my stand at 6 AM. I was hunting my money set again. As soon as legal shooting time arrived it started to rain hard. Nothing was moving for the first hour. At exactly 7:30 AM a doe and a mini came through the bottoms. I thought about filling another management tag with the mini, but it stopped just behind some brush at 40 yards. After milling around for a couple seconds both deer walked off to the southwest directly past my ladder stand. Nothing else moved the rest of the morning other than a mini raccoon who ran right under my stand. To bad the season isn't open yet! Below is a picture of the doe and mini I saw in the AM.....I think.
Sunday, September 26. I took the morning off to catch up on some sleep. I made it to the woods around 3:30 PM. I decided to pull my camera card from the Northwest corner of the property prior to my sit. I wanted to make sure the camera was working and also see if any deer where using the area during daylight. The camera did have some deer on it, but nothing since the heavy rains earlier in the week. I did get a photo of a nice 2.5 year old 8 pt. that I will post a pic of later this year. I left the camera and the card in the woods for now.
I made it to the ladder set on the east side of the main woods around 4:50 PM. The wind was blowing from the southwest at 0-5 mph, no clouds and temps around 60. It was a perfect fall afternoon. At 5 PM I noticed a small tree moving to my west. minutes later I saw a young 8 pt walking towards me. The 8pt walked up to 13 yards and wandered around next to my stand for several minutes before walking off to the northeast. At 5:45 I had a young 7 pt come in from my east. He walked into 20 yards before working his way towards the main corn field to the west. Below is another pic of the 7pt. The pic at the top is also of the 7 pt.
That was it for deer movement the rest of the evening. Overall another fairly successful weekend of sits. Next weekend is MN duck opener. Logan and I will be in Western MN and hopefully kill some ducks, geese and doves.