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!