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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, 4 wheeling, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON MY PHOTOS IN THE BLOG POST SO THEY WILL BECOME LARGER.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hunting Adventures - 2011

Hunting season has started so I need to start writing my blog post for our 2011 Hunting Adventures.  Brian, David, Derek, Doug, Frank, James, John, Kevin, Mike, Paul, Ray, Rick, Ryan, Stephen, and Steven are all in.

Some of the guys have trail cameras.  Here are a couple trail camera pictures that are encouraging.  These are before pictures.  I would like to add the after pictures of these also ... go get em guys ...

From Ray ...

From Ryan ... 

From Stephen ...

From Doug ... "Who needs a trail camera?"

From Mike:  “I’m gonna have to get a camera so I can show you guys pics of my does and fawns.” 

From Brian: I may have to get out in the woods for the first time this year … Where’s My Spinner? 

Ray has been spending lots of time in his tree stand waiting to take a shot at the drop tine buck from his trail camera.  While he was up in his stand he had this bear come up on him.  The bear never knew he was there.  Ray doesn't hunt bears.  I was thinking Ray ... Your moose, this bear, and the drop tine all in the same year would get you in some kind of record book here in NH.  How come I don't see Doug behind the rock anymore?

Special note ... Ray and his brother were drawn for the 2011 NH Moose Lottery.  They took a moose opening weekend.  Great job Ray!

Rick and Steve to Dave's for opening weekend of muzzle loader in NH .... hunted Red Hill Saturday. Rick saw 5 coyotes, 4 at one time within 10 yards. He said he was trying to line up a one shot, two down, kill but thought it better to hold off. He was where he wanted to be and a blast from my 50 cal would have woken up the neighborhood. He said in hind sight he should have taken a least 1 out. 
Steve saw nothing but a few earlier feeding spots. Not much sign. The next morning they headed back to Red Hill and tried to cut track in the new snow.... again just a few tracks and coyotes in hot pursuit.  They said they could see where the coyote’s got the deer running, some even up hill.  About 10:15 they headed to the “L”... lot of fresh sign. Steve busted one that ran past Rick (75 yards) doing a 100 mph. Rick said he didn't see horns but at that range and speed it would have to be a record breaker for him to pick up.  Rick dogged the track ... large with dew claw visible on every stride. It ran in the opposite direction than all other sign into the wet stuff and eventually circled back.... Rick said he lost him in a wet area next to a stream where other tracks mixed.
Steve saw plenty of sign but it was obvious that they missed them.... should have gone there first thing!
On their way back to Dave's (2 o'clock) they decided to check out the top of the “L”.   Rick said as they saw 3 deer coming off the clear cut and crossing the road.  Both got out and eventually caught up with them...  4 does, no bucks. With lots of sign Rick said they would be back to that area.

On 11/2, Ray ran this moose out of his yard before she destroyed all of the grafting he had done on his trees.  He said he was about ten yards from her when she took issue with the dog barking at her.  “The hair on her back and neck went up, her ears went down, and she charged us trying to stomp the dog into the ground.  We escaped untouched”.

On11/5, Derek was in his tree stand waiting for one of his large bucks to come by and noticed off in the distance a coyote. He stood up and grab his bow off the tree, got his release locked in on his loop and watch this thing keep coming right up toward his tree. The coyote got about 15 yards from his tree in a clearing facing toward him.  Derek started squeaking so the coyote stopped and looked up at him.  It was a good shot.  Several minutes later 3 more coyotes came in.  He took 3 more shots, one hit two misses.  With no more arrows he decided to race down the tree to fetch his arrows.  He grabbed 3 arrows quickly and started back to the tree with one coyote still barking at him from about 40 yards.  The last coyote wouldn’t come any closer.  This is the first one he took at 15 yards.  Great bow shot Derek …

11/9 Stephen finished his 36 hour hunt for this 8 point (DH boys would say 7 point) old guy the wildlife biologist said was 7+ years old.  Stephen had several bow shots connect early morning on 11/7.  He and Ryan tracked the deer that day.  Continued tracking again on 11/8 and spotted it near very populated area.  They decided to back out and wait another day.  11/9 they found a couple deer beds with dried blood and there he was.  He weighed 225 lbs dressed so a heavy deer.  And to think this wasn't one of the ones you took trail camera pics of. 

Ryan said "Stephen has taken a commanding lead in the hunt for this years DH cup with this 225 lb MA Swamp Donkey."

Kevin had no school on Friday so Rick and I headed north in NH for the day.  I dropped Rick off on Red Hill.  Kevin and I went to the “L”.    We sat for an hour.  I left Kevin and headed to the cliff in the field.  I continued near the edge of the field toward the Squiggle then looped around on an ATV trail.  I made a large rectangle hoping I would see something or push something toward Kevin.  The wind was in his face so he was in a good spot.  I saw a huge rub on a run with a porcupine up in a tree.  We headed back to that area.  Kevin wanted to see the porcupine.  Wayne in Vermont eats porcupine.  Mike says it’s like Corned Beef.  With no Wayne we left the critter alone.  We sat in that area with no deer sightings.

Mid afternoon Pam headed north to pick up Kevin.  Kevin and I went to an area we call “The Landing” to hunt the swamp trail before she arrived.  Kevin took a shot at a deer and I saw 2 deer on the same trail last year.  We walked about 70 yards from the truck when Kevin said he saw an ear.  I looked and it ended up being 2 deer that someone had taken.  It looked like they were dressed, hides removed and very fresh, and a head with antlers.  We headed back to the truck and called the game warden.  The game warden told me if someone pulls in before he arrives take a plate number, drive off, call him, but do not confront.  20 minutes later 2 game wardens arrived and checked it out.  They wrote down some information at the scene including a tag number that was on one of the deer.  It was very out of the ordinary and they appreciated the call.  We ran out of time and never did make it down the swamp trail.  Pam arrived for Kevin so Rick and I headed to Vermont for opening day.

I finished the skull cap from the deer Kevin found.  I put it on our Christmas tree.  Looks good.  I do realize it is small enough, so much so, that the tree doesn’t fall over by the weight or size of the rack.  HA … Bet Derek or Ryan can’t do that …

You see … another reason why I am so selective about the deer I choose to shoot or pass up … or in this case scavenge from my son … who also scavenged … OH NO … are my hunting habits rubbing off on my son !!!  This is why I need you guys to help Kevin, and help me help Kevin, and help me, develop better hunting techniques. 

James took a 4 point with a bow in Vermont.  I took a pic of this milkweed pod as I walked the trail.  Shouldn't I be scouting or something!!

11/12 – 13 There were 7 of us at Mike’s for opening rifle.  Stephen took 2 shots at a 6 point and missed.  Stephen saw a black bear running across a ridge and took a shot.  Lost the blood trail.  Sunday he and Mike went back to continue searching but didn’t find more blood.  I had a different 6 point in my sights, gun up, safety off, looking at the stomach and back legs (front of the deer behind 2 big trees).  It turned and for a brief second I had a shot behind the right shoulder as it moved away from me.  I hesitated looking for the perfect shot.  10 feet in front of it a clean opening through the whips.  I was ready but the buck turned just before the opening and disappeared.  I never fired … NUTS … If I get skunked this year I will regret not taking that shot and will think about that til next year.  I kept hearing “It is better to shoot and miss than not shoot at all.”  We had several misses from the group and a NO SHOT on my part.  I took another stand and thought Stephen was going to push a field for me.  As I sat a very big coyote came from that direction.  Had him in my sights but didn’t shoot thinking Stephen could have pushed a deer right behind it.  30 minutes later Stephen calls on the radio back at camp.  Turns out he said he was tired and didn’t push the field so I should have shot the coyote. 

Mike saw the perfect spike close up but no 3rd point and more doe sightings for everyone else.  Ray brought a moose roast from his New Hampshire moose for our big Saturday night dinner.

Mid week Mike spotted a 10 point on the run, took 2 shots, missed.  I would like to say I held off from shooting that 6 point last weekend for the 10 point buck but I didn’t know there was a 10 point buck in the area. 

11/16 Rick asked me about hunting with Steven and Mike in Vermont this coming weekend.  I told him I had family to pick up at the airport Friday night then off to be with family in CT for the weekend. 

Rick said “This is hunting season..... kids, wife, home, can wait! Don't you realize that this is but a moment in our busy lives... a moment to replenish our soul. To readjust, to again center and make straight the path that life so easily bends. Do you wish to walk as a blind man? If not tomorrow, then when will you answer the call and hunt. Is it next week or possibly next year? You, my friend are on a slippery slope. Make the time, follow that inner calling.... go hunting....go hunting...go.

This is our time! 

ps .... I still have to clear it with Paula.”

Steven and I headed back to hunt on 11/25.  There was 8 inches of snow on the ground from a storm.  I saw some good tracks and deer beds but I no deer.  I came out on one trail and saw boot tracks going the opposite direction from the morning.  This deer track is inside the boot track.  Right place, Wrong time ...

Steven stayed over and on 11/26 took a 5 point dressed at 92 lbs … yes 92 lbs … Mike and Lauren called it a fawn with antlers.  He ran out of bullets and was contemplating hand to hand combat to finish it off until Mike came from his stand to give him another round to finish things.

I was not there but I hope Mike closely examined the antlers.  Could they have been yet another set of screw on antlers purchased from the "DH" website?  We had a similar incident during last years’ hunting adventures.  Did you notice SMURF GLOVES Mike?
Steven’s 2012 hunting list: Carry FULL box of ammo. 
I poke fun at Steve, yet, HE GOT A BUCK.

12/1 was a big day for the group.  As I sit in my home office working I get several calls.  Ryan took a nice looking 3 point.  Derek took a big doe (112 lbs dressed) with one of his doe tags.  Stephen took 2 bucks. One was a button buck and not sure of the other.  4 deer on the same day is a record for the group.  Great job guys ... 

I hunted the following day in Moultonborough.  I jumped 3 deer but never saw them as they were in the hemlocks.  One turned and came back to me when I used a grunt call.  Still couldn't see through the trees but crashed off when I finally moved again.

Derek took this nice 7 point dressed at 145lbs.  He said it had a belly full of corn so someone in the area must have be feeding the deer.
Ryan has been waiting on a monster buck in one of his areas.  He said he was up early in his tree stand.  The deer were in the high grass.  When it got light all he could see was the deers breath in the cold air.  As they started to move around he counted 12 does but no bucks.  Sounds like a good spot to return to.

Ray emailed this trail camera picture of the drop tine buck taken on 12/8.  It made it through another rifle season.  Another nice buck, showed up on 12/9.  He can't believe it showed up during shooting hours.  The NH season ends on 12/15 so Ray is running out of time. 

The bucks are playing head games with Ray.  On 12/13 Ray left his morning stand to go to work.  An hour later this was taken. 

Ray didn't see either buck before the season ended.  Still a bit more time for MA hunting. 

12/14 Steven took two quick shots at a buck in MA.  Rick said "From the maestro and off we go....".  They follow what appeared to be a good blood trail and then nothing. The buck had crossed the road and what was a hunt became a typical day in the life of a DH hunter. Nothing like walking a neighborhood with a loaded weapon; kids playing, dogs barking and traffic.... a true urban experience.

Rick: Between the many arrows slung and the countless shots that have rang out, I've come to the conclusion that Steve is a terrible shot.

Brian: I didn’t see many deer in the woods so I have a possible solution.  Steve will spot them for ME and I will shoot them …

Rick: Well Brian, you and Steve would make the perfect killing machine if only braille was an option. Steve's shot so many times he now suffers permanent hearing loss and you can't see. The perfect hunting storm! 

Mike: Seriously, he’s got a problem…the acuity of this syndrome began to express itself last year, if you recall.  He needs to go to a shrink that specializes in “Buck AND Doe Fever”.

Brian: Not to sound the alarm but could he be the first human case recorded of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Stevens reply to all of our banter: “It is better to shoot and miss than not shoot at all.”  I have one in the freezer … Do you?

12/24 I decided to take my camera and try to take some deer pics in the woods.  I had a hill in mind in MA.  I was about 200 yards down the trail going to the hill when I spotted a hunter coming toward me. He said he had 2 buddies on the hill coming toward me.  I had an orange hat.  He had a muzzle loader and was in full camo.  Hmm … I don’t hunt in MA so correct me if I’m wrong but I thought you had to wear several hundred square inches of hunter orange when hunting in MA.  I told him I may loop around on the other side which might push something to them or I may see something coming from them.  He said I was good because I had an orange hat.  I continued in another direction and ended up by a swamp with deep water around me.  I didn’t want to continue and potentially get my camera wet so I headed for the truck then to a different area.  Only a couple more days of MA hunting left then I can try again.

Ray in NH sent me another pic of the drop tine deer.  He named it “9 Ball”.  He sent more pics of the 8 point he named "Arnold".  Check out the rippling muscles.   The steroid additives in the apples are working.  Ryan’s thought it was an unbelievable deer that looks to be about 250 lbs.

We may all have some good hunting to look forward to next year if these big guys make it through the winter. 

Our group had a good year hunting even though most of these big bucks disappeared on us during hunting season. I made a collage from some of this years trail cam pics.

I didn't get a deer this year because of my "NO SHOT".  I've decided to change my strategy for attracting bucks next year by carrying apples in my pockets, using more buck lure, and wearing this hat.

Go to: "Search This Blog" at the top of my page and type in "Hunting" to see other hunting posts.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Youth Hunting Weekend - Vermont

I had a business trip to Indiana so I missed youth weekend in NH. 

Kevin took his hunter safety course so we went to Vermont for Youth weekend.  I pulled him from school on Friday and headed to Mike’s house.  We arrived mid afternoon and drove the copper mine road, Norford Lake Road, and a few others.  We had some target practice with the 9mm.

The plan for hunting was to be up early the next morning, eat breakfast, and get out to our spot.  Mike volunteered to be the beagle to see if he could push the deer down by the swamp toward our spot.  Kevin’s request was to use Mike’s lever action, 30-30 with the iron sites.
Saturday morning we were up by 4:15AM.  Had breakfast, got ready and headed out to our spot.  Kevin and I sat and about 30 minutes after it got light Mike was on the radio and started  his push.  20 minutes after that Mike announced … One coming, get ready …

Another 15 minutes went by when Kevin spotted a deer in the thick stuff moving right to left.  I had a different angle and couldn’t see it.  Gun up, safety off, he was ready.  Then I saw the deer 70 yards out walking along the beaver pond.  It disappeared from my view again … Kevin still saw it and took a shot … 3 more deer appeared following the first … two more shots.  When it was over, no blood, no hair, a miss by Kevin.   He was pretty upset.

Later that morning we went to Wayne’s house.  We wanted to go to the range to sight in our guns.  Wayne showed Kevin his gun room.  Kevin asked Wayne if he had a Colt Python.  He had 3 Pythons and lots of others to look at.  Wayne also showed him a big box of antlers in his garage from previous years.  We also saw the bear skull of the bear he took several weeks back.

At the range Kevin shot Mike’s old 30-30 as we instructed and it shot 8 inches high at 25 yards.  It turns out MIKE AND BRIAN WERE TO BLAME.  The 30-30 has a flip up back site.  The adjusters of the rear site moves the middle post up and down for elevation.  The outside posts never move.  Mike and I told Kevin to line up the front site with the top posts of the rear site.  Typically what you do.  This turned out to be wrong.  You are supposed to line up the front site with the adjustable middle post of the rear site.  When he used the middle post he was dead on.  Kevin shot at those deer like Mike and I told him to so he was probably10 inches above his target.  NUTS … We should have taken some practice shots before heading for the woods.

While we were there I shot my .308.  I had a tight grouping and felt good about things until Kevin took MY GUN and shot a tighter group with a bulls eye.  My "Hunting Brothers", Wayne and Mike, proceeded to MOCK me.  I told Kevin it was NEVER appropriate to shoot better than your old man in hunting camp. It reminded me of an instance earlier this year with Matt and Mr. Pete.  These young kids now days ... Will Mr. Pete ever live that down?  Will I ever live this down?  Wayne and Mike said Kevin shoots really well for 14. 
In the afternoon we headed up Picknell to the benches and the apple trees.  It was a steep climb on the side we went up.  As we approached to top, Mike gave Kevin instructions on where to go so he went on ahead of us.  He used the radio to tell us when he arrived at the benches.  The acorn crop was bad this year so the critters seem to be all over the apples and beechnuts.  We were surprised to see the apples were all gone.  If we had known that we would have gone to a different area lower down.  We must have tired Mike out because he fell asleep.  I don't mind telling you I was tired also.  I carried the 30 pound pack with the water, clothes, gloves, and extra equipment.  If Mike was the beagle, I was the pack mule.

We headed down Cream Street to Stephen's stump for our evening stand.

Mike did the same push Sunday morning … he pushed 2 deer towards us … I did the blat to stop the deer at 25 yards … Kevin shot … deer ran … he shot 2 more times with the deer running through the pines.  Missed.  He was very upset with himself but Mike and I tried to lift his spirits…we told him stories of Steve which made him feel better.  It happened so quick I think he pointed but didn’t aim.

At that point I had Kevin switch to my .308 with a scope. I need to get him comfortable with a scope for next year.    Mid morning we went up Jurassic for a few hours.  I did a loop up top to try to push something toward him.  We went to the top of Sargent.  We saw another deer but too far for a shot with open sights.

We headed back to figure out our evening stand.  We took our evening stand in the Valley of the Balls.  Didn’t see anything and came out when it was to dark to shoot. 

Kevin saw 7 deer in 2 days … not bad for a 14 year old.  He loved hunting in Vermont and wanted to come back the following weekend for opening rifle.  

Kevin had a great time hunting, spending time with Mike and Wayne, and I enjoyed my father son time with Kevin. 

Go to: "Search This Blog" at the top of my page and type in hunting to see more posts.