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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: If you click on my photos in the blog post they will become larger.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Antler Hunting

I took many pictures of a big buck in my "OH DEER" post in 2008. I decided to look for antler shed's as there were 6 bucks (4 were 8 point or greater) that I know of in the area.

Katelyn, Kevin, and I went hunting for antlers on February 16. The area is just over 1 square mile surrounded by roads. I know the deer cross the road on one side were other fields are. Kevin and I went on the other side (right side of the road) a year ago and got hung up in a swamp. We kept getting pushed away from where we wanted to go because of the water so I finally told Kevin to climb on my back and I carried him across 2 different streams. The water was just over my knees.

The warm weather the past couple of weeks has caused much of the snow to melt so we can hike in the snow to look for antlers. The ice is now thin and the streams are running which makes it more difficult. The left side is the side I took my pictures on so we will look on that side of the road.

We headed into the woods following a well traveled run that crossed one of the roads. Once we were deep enough in the woods the deer sign was everywhere. One run seemed to be more well traveled so we followed it for a .8 mile as it weaved through the woods. My Garmin GPS (60CSX) does an excellent job.

The deer jumped a stream on this particular run. Kevin and I looked around and found a tree to walk cross. Katelyn was still 50 yards away coming down another run to the stream and was approaching us. Kevin and I made our plan to cross. I would carry his pack and go first to knock the snow off the tree. It was 8 feet across and the stream looked to be 18 inches deep. I was about ready to cross when Katelyn arrived and asked what we were doing. I explained our plan. She laughed and told us 15 yards down stream there a place about 2 feet wide where we could cross. We stepped across where Katelyn showed us. So much for using our Boys Time Superman outfits. She certainly showed us.

We kept following the run. Katelyn's toes got pretty cold (wrong boots) so I decided to turn and loop back toward the truck. We ended up at the big field where I took my pictures. We crossed the field and into the woods by a stream. The stream was flowing so we were unable to cross to go to the area where I saw deer beds with Kevin. I will go back there myself. We did find a deer kill. Lots of hair, blood and a few bones. Looks like the coyote had been feeding.


Kevin and I went out again on February 21. We followed the same deer run and kept going where we turned off last week. There were a couple small ridges we went up and over following the run. The first one had large rocks 40 feet up. I was on top and saw a path being used by something. Kevin went down to check it out. There was some kind of animal going in and out of an opening between the rocks. The path was icy so I couldn't see a good set of tracks. We couldn't see how far in the hole went. Before we left I stuck my camera in the opening and took a picture with my flash. When I loaded the pictures on my computer I was surprised to see the back side of a porcupine in the opening. It was about 2 feet from the entrance. I am glad I didn't stick my head or arm in there ... THAT WOULD HURT.

We continued to the next ridge and ate lunch. As we came down the other side we noticed more deer beds. We continued on the run through a swampy area that was mostly frozen. I wish I knew where these deer are going.

We had to turn back again because of the time. Found another deer kill on the way out. We will head out a third time and continue the trek. I would like to figure out where these deer end up.

I went out again on February 28 by myself. The recent warm weather melted much of the snow and caused me to break through when I walked. That combined with the ice made it more difficult to walk in the woods. My GPS said I walked 4.8 miles. More deer beds, huge runs, rubs from this past rut, but still no antlers. I was hoping I would come to a pond or swamp and have the run turn back toward where I started. Unfortunately the run I have been following has jumped a road to a new area. I love the section I am in and have more walking to do.

On March 2 it snowed 14 inches. I didn't have a chance to go out again. Once the snow is gone the antlers should look bleached a bit from the weather so may be easy to spot on the ground before the leaves come out. It is great to get out in the woods regardless.

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