Thursday, October 27, 2011

Big guy and a little deer....MO mini down

I've been hunting the north KC management property pretty hard over the last ten days. I've seen a lot of buck movement, but I couldn't buy a doe up there lately. It was the exact opposite last year with nothing but doe sightings.

I had a couple of the hunters move their stands in on my Killing Station set and the deer movement has shifted because of it. So after my morning sit on 10/22 I moved my set over to the next ridge where I've seen most of the deer traffic shift to.

Around 6:20pm last night I spotted a deer working up the draw from the southwest. At first I thought it was the button buck I've seen in area almost every time out in the past week, but after getting the binos up I could tell this was no button so it was game time.

She worked all the way up the draw to around 20 yards before turning broadside. I'd ranged several trees in the draw, but she hadn't made to to nay of them yet so I guessed her to be about 23yards out. I drew, burned the pin on her vitals, and touched off the arrow. I could tell it was tracking a touch high and on impact the mini went straight down in her tracks. I quickly got another arrow ready and put a second shot into her just to make sure she wouldn't suffer. Although the first arrow hit her high and broke her spine, the drastic angle of the shot ran my first shot right through her off shoulder. The second arrow wasn't needed, but I didn't want to chance it.

It was a good to put another doe down, now it's time to get some bone on the ground!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Pile of Ducks In MN

Logan and I woke up to clear skies, a 10 mph wind out of the south/southwest and temp of 32 degrees on Thursday morning. We decided to hunt the Honey Hole slough since it hadn’t been hunted in nearly three weeks and a good number of divers had been reported in the area. I set out 3 dozen duck decoys and a few geese for the mornings shoot. The first duck to arrive on the scene was a hen Red and she took a hot load in the face for her kindness. For the next 30 minutes we had flock after flock of Greenwing teal dropping in and out of the slough. I put four of the little guys into the bag before the flight shutdown at 8 AM. After that the skies cleared of birds and we hung it up for the AM. The morning total was 4 Greenwings and 1 ginger head.

The wind switched to the northwest in the afternoon so Logan, Oshie and I picked up the morning spread and setup on the opposite end of the slough. The duck flight was almost nonexistent in the afternoon. We called in one flock of Greenwing and I scratched a nice drake out of the flock. Oshie made a very nice 60-70 yard retrieve on the downed bird after the wind blew it out into the middle of the slough. With that bird we had our limit for the day. We sat until sunset in hopes of a goose shoot but every goose that was in the area piled right into the north slough. A great sign for our Saturday hunt.

Saturday morning found us in the East Bay hunting with Joe and Tony P. The wind switch back to the south over night and was suppose to blow at 10-20 later in the AM. The temp was back near 32 and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The morning started off very slow as far a shooting was concerned. There was plenty of ducks flying around put we got burned a couple times from people shooting on the state property as ducks were about to set into our spread. We made a couple setup changes and the wind started to blow around 9 AM and just like that the killing began. The air filled with geese and we pulled several flocks into our spread of 36 big foot floaters and 6 snow geese floaters. When the smoke cleared we had 8 geese in the boat and three of those where cackling geese. We also added 11 mallards (9 drakes) and 2 drake green wings to the bag. We called it a shoot around 12:15. We did hunt the evening but it was mostly a bust. I added one gorgeous drake wood duck to the bag and that was it for the afternoon hunt. Of course the ducks and geese poured into the slough 5 minutes after shooting closed. Another great shoot in East Bay!

Sunday was a very strange morning. We hunted as far east on the north slough as possible. We had a west/northwest wind at 5-15 mph, cloudy sky and a temp around 48 degrees. The bird movement for the morning was near zero. Logan and I left at 9 AM because we had to be home early Sunday afternoon. We left without firing a shot on the slough. Tony and Joe hung around until 10:30 and ended up killing one mallard. On the way back to the cabin Logan spotted a rooster pheasant sitting along side the dirt road the leads from our sloughs to the cabin (200 yards from the cabin). The bird was kind enough to sit within 15 yards of the car for a good 2 minutes while I got my gun, then stepped out the car and loaded up. As soon as I was loaded the rooster gave me a nice little chip shot and we had the first pheasant of the season and got the skunk off our back for the day. A great end to Logans duck season at the cabin this year .

Monday, October 17, 2011

#2 hit the dirt in MO

I headed up to my north MO property with a couple friends from (Nick & Greg). We arrived at the farm around 11:30am and headed in to pull my trail camera card....unfortunately my camera apparently grew legs, cut the cable it was locked up with, and walked away!!! I hate trespassers and really hate trespassers who steal!

For the Saturday evening hunt I sent Greg to The Gash set and Nick to The Bowl...both of them got skunked on deer sightings. I headed up and hunted the North River set intending to do more scouting with my binos and looking for deer coming off the hills or out of the river treeline. Instead I ended up being cover up with deer coming to the cut corn. The first four deer came off the hillside about 80yrds in front of the stand and angled into 45yrds, but there is no way to get a clean shot off in that part of the field. A few minutes later I spotted two more does following the same path as the first group. While glassing the approaching deer I spotted another couple of does working in from the north behind the set. They came right down the main trail and entered the field 16yards to my right. I let the lead doe feed out a little ways into the corn and when the second doe popped into the field I was already at full draw. I quietly grunted to get her stopped and touched off the shot. It was getting pretty dark, but I saw my arrow tracking perfectly and heard the tell-tale popping of the lungs. She bolted back towards the hill and the rest of the deer just stood there; having zero idea what just happened.

I met up with Nick and Greg back at truck and we headed back down to track the doe. It had been about 45 minutes since I shot her and we located the arrow and blood trail immediately in the corn field, all signs indicated that it was a great hit. We trialed her about 60yrds up the hill with great blood the entire time, but then we heard a deer jump up and run just ahead of us. It didn't move off very far and it sounded like it wasn't moving very well. We quietly tracked the blood another 15 yards and found her first bed pooled in blood, so we immediately backed out. I was extremely surprised she wasn't dead yet since we gave her plenty of time to expire. We decided to just head into town clean up and grab some dinner to give her time to give up the ghost on her terms. Around 10:45pm we headed back to the farm to continue the search. The temps were going to be in the upper 50's and I didn't want to chance having the meat go bad on a deer I knew was dead. We quickly got on the last blood and trailed in another 60-70 yards up the hill right to a very dead and stiff legged nanny. She had been dead for a good while, but we made the right call backing out and giving her plenty of time to die. The shot was a perfect double lung hit, so that was one tough girl to hold it for almost an hour before giving up the ghost.

Sunday morning was pretty slow on all fronts. I had a few coons walk through and I located a huge scrape in front of The Beach set. I set up Scott's trial camera he sent down overlooking  the scrape and main trail in front; hopefully it's still there next time I check! Sunday evening was slow for Greg and I with nothing but coon sightings again. Nick hunted the north meadow and had 6 does and nice 2 1/2 year old ten point come out. The buck made several scrapes along the north edge of the meadow and the does stayed out of bow range.

It was a great weekend with good friends; to bad some A-hole was trespassing on the south end of the property and decided to steal my Cuddy....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wood Duck Shoot!

Logan and I headed out to the hunting shack on Friday afternoon. We bucked a calm 50mph wind all the way to the cabin. The temp on Friday was 86 degrees, windy and not a cloud in the sky....perfect duck weather. We didn't make it out in time to hunt on Friday, so we hung out at the shack then went to the fields to watch for ducks late in the afternoon. Right before dark we noticed 3 or 4 good flocks of birds cresting a hill on the North Slough and dropping into a flooded bay. Since no birds where working the smaller sloughs we decided to give the flooded bay a shot in the morning.

Saturday morning we woke to cloudy skies, a light drizzle, and southeast winds from 5-10 mph. As we turned our boats into East Bay, hundreds of ducks erupted from their roost. We had picked the right area to hunt!

Hunting with Logan and I this weekend was Tony Peterson, Jason Preusser, Chad Lundberg and Tony and Chad's boys. The morning shoot started off with nothing flying for the first 10-15 minutes. For a brief moment I started to question my decision to hunt the big water. Then a pair of Wood ducks dropped into the decoys. Two shots where fired and two wood ducks laid tits up on the water. For the next hour we had several hundred wood ducks come into the decoys; what a show! The last 45 minutes we had to just sit back and watch because we already filled our 12 wood duck limit for the day. Below is a picture of the morning shoot. Take special notice of the gorgeous merganser in the spread!

Sunday morning was a bit cooler. The temp was at 50 degrees, it was cloudy, spitting rain and the wind had switched to the northeast at 5-10 mph. Because of the wind switch we setup on the other end of the East Bay. This worked out perfectly because there was less flooded timber for the birds to get through and we could setup in a standing corn field.....perfect cover for 8 people and a dog.

Once again it took about 10 minutes for the ducks to start flying, but once they did it never stopped. The first flock of birds to come over was a group of 30-40 Blue wing teal. I took one shot and brought down three birds. While Oshie and I picked up the triple Tony took a shot at another large flock of BWT and brought down two birds with one shot. Nice start to the morning. Once the smoke cleared we had killed a 4 man limit of ducks (12 wood ducks, 5 mallards, 5 BWT and 2 Gadwall), 1 more tasty merganser and Jason killed his first ever goose. Oshie also had a great day in the marsh. She made 14 retrieves including her first ever goose retrieve. She is coming along nicely for an 11 month old. What a morning!

The highlight of the day was Logan shooting his first duck. About 30 minutes into the morning shoot I called a single drake wood duck directly into the spread. Everyone held off so Logan could take his first shot at a bird that wasn't wounded. The full dressed drake set in at 20 yards. Logan took careful aim and put a load of 6 shot right up the old Drakes head. Not one BB made it below the ducks neck, nothing but face and skull! Below are a couple pictures of the duck slayer and his first ever kill. I couldn't have been more happy and proud of him and I don't think he could be more proud of himself!

On our way home I stopped and picked up the wood duck I was having mounted from last season. I had the bird mounted by Flyway Taxidermy out of St. Cloud, MN. The bird looks great. A big thanks to Jerry Froelich for a job well done.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Got the ball rolling on the MO 2011 season

I've been putting in a lot of stand time so far this season with very limited results to this point. I've seen a lot of movement, but have yet to have a mature doe or shooter buck in bow range and present me with a clean shot opportunity. However I knew it was just a matter of time before that all changed.

I headed into the the "Killing Station" set on the north KC property I was asked to hunt again this year. Brian and I killed 7 deer out of this tree last year and it is possibly the best morning transition set I have ever hung. The bowl the stand sits in is a wicked funnel for deer heading back to bed on the property in the mornings. I was settled in the set by 6am and just sat back and waited for the woods to wake up. I spotted two does working in from the north at 7:20am and got myself in position. Every deer I've seen in the two seasons of hunting this set that came from the north have stayed on the main trail and worked right into my wheelhouse. Of course these two slick-heads didn't follow the plan and cut behind a giant dead fall to my east and worked down that ridge without offering a shot opportunity. I was beginning to think I was seriously snake bit this year, but when I caught more movement to the north about an hour later all those thoughts quickly disappeared. The nanny and her two minis followed the main trail into the bowl and right into my 20yrd shooting lane. I grunted at the doe to stop her and arrow #1 of the 2011 season was touched off. I watched the arrow disappear right behind her front shoulder and it was game over from there. The nanny only held the shot for about 33yrds before giving up the ghost; although she put on an impressive death run through multiple dead falls for the short distance she covered.

If the deer sign in the area is any indication of my season, there will be several more does that meet their maker when I'm perched in the Killing Station set this year, but it's nice to finally be on the board in 2011!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wyoming Antelope Opener

After an early morning two hour drive we arrived at our Wildlife Management Area west of Laramie, Wyoming, I was hunting Ed Nowalk. After going over our game plan for the morning we were off. Wyoming has a great system in place where they reward ranchers and businesses for allowing hunters on their property, and after this visit I will say it is going great. Essentially we had the run of the property from 7:30-9:00a.m.

As we drove around and scouted the property, we had a number of close encounters with a couple of young bucks and some small doe/fawns. At one point I considered popping a doe from that was about 20 yards away, but since it was my first antelope hunt I wanted to put in a bit more time before tripping the trigger.

As we worked our way to one of the windmills we noticed three large groups of antelope grazing and getting the rut started. After watching their movement through the binos for a couple of minutes we put a plan together to sneak up on them. We drove around the herds to a small depression about a 1/2 mile from the main herd. We parked the rig and got our gear together for the stalk. Luckily for us the land allowed for some easy movement for the first part of the sneak, we made up a lot of ground while the herd continued their morning business. To our surprise though a couple of does and big buck were bedded between us and the main group. After they popped up we were forced to take cover in the wide open, which wasn't easy. One of the does was pretty concerned about us, but after 3-4 minutes of not moving and cramping up they slowly started working away from us. After picking out the biggest of the does I set up the new Primos Shooting Sticks (thanks Scott) and settled in for the shot. She was quartering towards us and presented no angle for several minutes, finally she turned and the .300 ultra mag barked. Ol' girl was down for the count, I hit her slightly back but still caught the vitals. I had my first antelope on the dirt!

It was a great hunt and we should have finished the day with two goats, but as the temps rose into the mid 80's Ed had enough and we headed into Laramie to butcher up the meat.