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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.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Hunting Adventures - 2015 / 2016

I didn’t do a post for the 2015 HUNTING SEASON so thought I would combine a recap with this season.  I had a few good trail camera pictures to post.  The critters are out there.

Friday afternoon we headed to Mike’s house in VT for opening day the following morning.  Anthony was with me in my truck, Kevin in his Jeep and Seth in his 4Runner. (They wanted to go 4 wheeling and get muddy as well as hunt).  Seth’s dad Steve MC arrived around 8PM.  Doug and Stephen K arrived around 8:30PM, Rick and Steve M soon after that.  James arrived also.  We had 11 heading out for opening morning and yes we had 3 Steve’s.

Up at 4:15AM, breakfast, and everyone out the door to their spots.  I dropped Anthony off and headed for Cream Street.  I parked my truck and headed in. 

I started up the ridge when I heard a Shot close by.  I thought it was Stephen K at his stump so I quickly came off the ridge to get a better shot if something came to me.  4 or 5 minutes later another shot close but a bit further away.  I thought Stephen K was in pursuit.  I started heading the same direction.  When I stopped I looked up at the top of the ridge and saw 2 does running the same direction I was going.  I waited a few minutes then headed up the ridge quietly.  I found a good place sit and stayed put for an hour or so.   I finally started moving at the top of the ridge and jumped 2 does.  (Most likely the same 2 I saw running earlier)  I waited awhile and continued toward a big field.  Close to the field I saw a Spike but it didn’t see me. There is a 3 point rule in VT so couldn’t shoot it.  Good size though.

It was cold so late morning I headed over to pick up Anthony for lunch.  Before I arrived Doug and Stephen pulled up and said Stephen shot an 8 point and they dragged it to where I parked. We turned around and picked it up. 

I went back for Anthony.  Anthony fired the first shot I heard that morning.  He had an 8 point come up the hill and walk by 30 yards away.  He raised his shotgun, fired and missed.  The deer took off down the hill and he didn’t get another shot.  Stephen shot 4 or 5 minutes later at his stump. 

He said he was sitting there and an 8 point came running up the hill right at him.  The deer didn’t see him and ran within 8 feet of him.  He said it happened so fast and the deer so close when it ran by the only thing he could do is point and shoot from the hip.  Neck shot with the 30-06 and the deer went down in 20 yards.  Different antlers so wasn’t the same deer Anthony took a shot at. 

We continued hunting the remainder of the day.  Around 4PM Rick shot a 6 point above the VOB.  He was 700 yards from the road and was on the radio looking for help dragging it out of the woods.  Mike, Doug, Anthony and I headed to the area and into the woods with flashlights to help with the drag. 

I must admit it feels strange being in the middle of the woods at night with just flashlights.  I knew the area a bit but couldn’t see past the beam of my headlamp and flashlight.  I couldn’t see the landmarks I know were there because of the darkness.  I did have my GPS and a compass so wasn’t an issue but still felt strange.  They always say if you get lost in the woods don’t panic, remain calm, AND THINK. 

That night we exchanged stories and had 2 bucks (8 point 150lb and a 6 point 160lb) hanging from the deck.  Mike took 2 does during the season.

Rick hunted Red Hill in NH also.  He was up high and saw a stream.  He put his gun down and was on his stomach drinking when he looked up and saw a buck crossing the stream 15 yards away.  Rick got up, gun up, and fired.  He said he must have hit a branch.  The deer ran 75 yards and stopped, turned around, and stood there.  He said it acted like it didn't know where the shot came from.  Rick raised his gun to fire again ... nothing ... forgot to advance another round into the chamber.  (I pause here to say Rick is taking up the bad habits of his brother Steven)  With the gun still up he chambered another round and immediately fired.  A hit to the chest and the buck dropped.  It was a 7 point buck and 135lb dressed.  The second buck this year for Rick. 

On a side note Gary G. keeps telling me to go with them to Alabama and hunt on Beth’s family farm.  He said the deer are like rabbits down there.  Gary’s son-in-law hunts there.  Here are 4 pictures of a buck Tim took; buck in velvet, buck out of velvet, buck in back of truck, buck on the wall.  Gary said come on down. 

I did do a post on Hemal Nodes you can check out.

The 2016 HUNTING SEASON had its moments this year.  The guys were bow hunting then muzzleloader season.  Finally rifle season for me. 

Steven and Rick went to Red Hill for muzzleloader.  In the afternoon switched spots and Steven ended up on the swamp trail.  (I had a big buck encounter in 2014 on the swamp trail which didn't end in my favor.)  Late in the day this big 11 point with a drop tine came off the hill and down the trail right at him.  He had a headshot.  Nice deer dressed at 180lbs.  Steven called me and told me he was on the swamp trail by the big rock and asked me if that was my spot??  NICE … Since I was waiting for rifle season I hadn’t started hunting yet.  Steven also took a 4 point buck in MA.  He headed to Vermont with Rick for the last weekend of rifle season to work on a 3rd buck for a trifecta.

Ryan had trail camera pics of a double drop tine he was trying to take during bow season.  He is a meat guy and ended up not being able to pass up this big buck.  This was a 7 point as one point was broken off and dressed at 199.5 on a digital scale. 

Continuing with muzzle loader season Ryan was in his tree stand and decided to use one of his doe tags.  4 or 5 does below him so he shot.  A doe went down and surprisingly the others stayed there.  

Ryan started reloading which can be tough in a tree stand and he couldn't get the percussion cap off.  Rick said on that gun he's had to use a multi-tool in the past.  As Ryan was working on getting the cap off the double drop tine buck showed up.  He finally popped the cap off and put on a new one as the buck was walking away.  He took a 25 yard shot and said when the smoke cleared the buck was just standing there.  Starting to reload again he said the buck took 2 steps, a little wobble, then fell over.  This is a 13 point, double drop tine, and dressed at 180 lbs.  Impressive Ryan ...

I headed to Mike’s with Kevin and Anthony for opening weekend in Vermont.  Anthony was going to the spot last year where he took a shot at a big buck.  Kevin was hunting off the copper mine road.  Doug was to go to Stephens stump.  I was going to the stone bridge.  Mike, Steven, and Rick were heading to Jurassic Ridge. 

I saw 3 does coming off Jurassic toward me on my way in.  A couple hours later Doug pushed a 6 point off the hill and by me.  I heard it and was crouched down looking under tree branches when I saw it.  I couldn’t get my rifle on it.  I saw 4 more does.  Rick took a shot at a buck and missed.  They were moving the deer around at the top of the ridge. 

While bow hunting Stephen took this coyote from his tree stand.  

I spent the rest of the season hunting in NH.  I had 2 doe tags for one unit and a buck tag.  That unit was either shotgun or several calibers of pistols.  I decided to hunt with my .44 magnum as I can hit 12 inch plates at 50 yards with my iron sights.  

I enjoyed hunting with a pistol.  The first day I heard a deer in front of me and called it in with the doe blat and grunt call.  I saw its neck through the hemlocks and branched.  A couple more feet to the left and I would have had a shot.  With the branches, I didn’t have a shot.  It ended up walking off so didn’t see it again.  I’ve been second-guessing my decision not to shoot through the branches.  NUTS … 

Another morning while pistol hunting I spotted a bull moose 75 yards up the hill in front of me. I watched it for 15 minutes then it disappeared.  I continued up the hill and jumped him again. He took off to the right at the top of the ridge I was to go on. I didn't follow because I wasn't moose hunting and after a few minutes, I heard him drop over the other side of the ridge and double back to the left. 

That worked out well for me so I continued to my hunting spot to the right. 

An hour later crash, crash, crash … I had my pistol up and ready. Standing there I saw dark brown (a deer’s winter coat is grey. I thought NUTS … the moose again). coming straight at me and closing. I took one step to the left so I could see better only to see a moose calf stop, a cow stop right behind it, and the Bull Moose stop 30 yards from me. (A mature male moose is called a bull, a mature female a cow, and an immature moose of either sex a calf.) 

All three were looking right at me.  I kept my pistol up as they stood there looking at me.  I moved my upper body twice to make sure they knew I was there.  It made me a bit nervous being so close. 

Cows are very protective of the calves and the calf was between us.  The Bull Moose was behind and appeared to be chasing the cow as it was near the tail end of the rut.  I thought to myself if the ears on the cow or the bull go back and they decided i’m a threat, it would only take a few seconds for them to close the 30 yards so I didn't want to holster my pistol to get my camera.  Eek …  

Let me pause here and take a quote from NH Fish & Game about moose.  They say the following ...

"SAFETY FIRST!  While watching or photographing moose, NEVER approach them or allow them to approach you. Always keep a good distance from them and always have a good stout tree or your vehicle nearby. Moose are large, potentially dangerous animals that can run as fast as a galloping horse. They do not always show their displeasure or give any warning before attacking. If they do feel threatened or angry, moose may raise the hackles on their neck, lay their ears back, jerk their nose at you, roll the whites of their eyes -- or just run at you, knock you down, and then stomp on you until you stop moving."

Knowing this, I was next to a rock.  The nearest small tree was 8 feet away and not much to hide behind.  I would hate to have to shoot a moose in self-defense.  I wasn't worried about the calf.  If the cow or bull moose started to come at me I would send a round over their head and head for that tree.  Hopefully, the flash and big noise from my fire-breathing Redhawk would cause them to turn and run off.  If not, oh my ... 

I had 5 rounds in my .44 and another 6 in a speed loader that was in my zipped-up jacket pocket.  NICE …

After about 30 seconds of staring at each other, there was no distress on their part.  The calf then turned left heading away and started back down the hill.  The cow followed the calf.  As the cow started the bull hopped as if to try to mount her.  The cow didn’t stop and the bull followed both down the hill.  Crash, crash, crash, off they went.  All three looked very healthy.  It was exciting seeing the three of them together, and a rush to see them so close to me in the woods. 

The purpose of a wheel gun speed loader is to quickly reload multiple rounds (in my case 6 rounds) at one time into an empty cylinder.  That proved to be irrelevant since my speed loader was in a zipped-up jacket pocket.  Needless to say, the first thing I did when the moose headed down the hill was to go for my speed loader and put it in a more accessible location thinking they could return.  

I did have a camera with me.  I would have had some spectacular pictures but there was no way I was about to holster my pistol.  They were so close and the potential to turn ugly was there with a calf in front of me, a cow staring at me,  and a bull moose still in the rut.

No deer sightings this weekend.  30 turkeys but they don’t count …

James hunted in Iowa and took a nice big buck.  Corn fed I’m sure!

Mike had fresh bear meat in the freezer as Wayne's daughter Emma took a bear in Vermont.  Great shooting Emma!!!

I hunted the remainder of the NH season … the high winds were not in my favor.  My season ended.  I really enjoyed pistol hunting so will try again next year.  I may return with my camera and look for those moose.

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

OH Deer - Deer Antler Growth

Over the years I have taken my kids to watch deer in some fields near where we live. I drove to one field with my son and we saw 3 deer. We watched for a few minutes and decided to go to another field down the road to see if we could see more deer. When we returned, there were 18 (yes eighteen) deer in the field. This was in March so no deer had antlers. A couple deer had larger bodies so I assumed they were bucks. The back side of this field is 360 yards away. I took pictures sitting in my truck resting my camera on my window for stability. It was somewhat difficult to keep still with a large zoom. As the light started to disappear I would adjust the aperture, shutter speed and the ISO in various combinations to try to get the best shot at that distance.

One year I went back in June and started taking pictures. One buck caught my eye. It was a very large 8-point buck. He was heavier than the other deer and had the start of a huge rack. There is also a 9-point buck that is very nice. I focused on the large buck. Notice the progression of his antlers, weight, and even fur color as it gets later in the season. The 2 pictures on the left were taken (June 20). The picture on the right was taken (June 30). Notice the antler growth since June 20.  With this I thought I would frequent the fields and take pictures of this deer's antler growth.

(July 25) It was very bright out. The deer were in the shade browsing and resting.

(August 7) The way the big buck was strutting around it was clear he was the dominant buck in the area.

These pictures are from (August 11).

Because of other commitments I wasn't able to get out to look for the deer. The field was also fertilized and the deer don't like that. I did go a couple of times but didn't see any deer. I thought they may have moved to a different area. October was the next time I get out to see deer in that field.

I arrived at one of the fields to look for the deer as I hadn't had time the past few weeks. It was (October 23). Just after 4:00PM several deer came out into the field. I saw a small buck and another buck with 4 points on the left and no antler on the right. Must have been fighting. I kept watching with my camera ready and the blinking light saying my batteries were low. I noticed several deer start to look in the trees at the back of the field. I had my binoculars up scanning the woods. Suddenly I saw movement of a very large rack. I knew it had to be the big 8-point. I quickly replaced my batteries so I didn't potentially miss some good shots. Then I saw him. He came out of the woods 30 yards from where I saw the rack move in the trees. OH MY ... he had put on some weight, his neck was much larger due to the rut, and those antlers ... OH MY again ... There ended up being 15 deer in the field.

I was able to get 11 of the 15 deer in one shot. The big 8 point is in the back row on the right next to the woods. He didn't seem to venture out into the field like the others.

My plan is to go shed hunting in February/March and see if I can find this 8-pointer’s headgear. I have a couple random shots of other deer taken at different times below.

Above are a few random pictures.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quick trip to Boston, MA

Pam and I headed to Boston to connect with Kirsten & Alan (Elmo) for some fun and relaxation.  We parked at Wellington Station and took the subway in to the Marriott Long Wharf.  K&A were waiting for us when we arrived around 10AM.

We checked in and decided to take an early afternoon “Boston Duck Tour”.   We had some time so walked by the harbor which was nice.  We walked back by way of the Rose Kennedy Greenway with many statues and art works along the way.

The Boston Duck Tour was fun.  We cruised through the Boston and over to Cambridge to enter the Charles River.  The tour guide was full of historic facts about the different buildings along the Charles.

The hotel had a very nice outdoor deck/landing just off the pool.  It had nice views of the harbor looking east toward Logan Airport.  For those of you that know me I had my camera and decided my mission would be to take some time laps photos.  Why I didn’t decide this before we left home was a mistake.  No Tripod … Because of this I would need some Tripod Creativity.

For dinner we decided Italian in the North End.  Kirsten likes Lasagna so that was a must on the menu.  We made a reservation at 6:30PM.  Several restaurants didn’t have openings until 8:30PM and even 9:30PM.  I have never been able to figure out how people can eat that late at night but that’s just me.

Returning from dinner we headed for the outdoor deck.  Looking toward the airport the planes were landing over the water.  No kidding … once I thought about what I wanted to do they shifted and started landing on a different runway. 

The rails were rounded over and the tables didn’t clear the top of the rails.  Tripod Creativity - I ended up leaning out to set my camera on top of the light fixtures hanging beyond the rails.  I was told several times not to drop my camera.  It wouldn’t survive a 4 story fall so I kept my lanyard around my wrist the whole time.

I took pictures from 1 to 15 seconds.  Increasing the exposure time increases the amount of light or brightness of the picture and shows object movement so experimenting was fun.  Here is a day picture and a night picture to compare.  The horizontal lines on the horizon of the night picture are planes descending into Logan airport.

Next we headed to Faneuil Hall and I took a couple pictures.  Tripod Creativity - used the side of a flower planter and a phone charger to point the lens to get the right angle.

There were several wedding parties and a reception at the hotel.  As I was looking down from the fourth floor to the first floor I took a couple pictures of the colorful panels near the escalators.  Also, there were orange colored ornamental lights hanging down from the high ceilings.  They were open at the bottom to project light down toward the escalators.  Still in my experimental mode I decided to take time lapse pictures (pointing my camera straight up) of those lights with different camera settings while going up and down the escalators.  Because I was moving it was tough trying to point and hold the camera straight up.  I did receive some rather perplexing looks while doing this.

Tripod Creativity - I used the hand rail of the moving escalator to try to hold the camera straight up pointing at the lights.  Note to Self … The inside hand rail of the escalator going down at the Marriott Long Wharf moves at a slower speed than the steps you are standing on?  I found that out in my experiment.  It’s something to watch out for next time you are in Boston!  hehe ...

Sunday morning up at 5:15AM and off to take more time lapse pictures.  Tripod Creativity - I used a table and my wallet to prop up my camera at the right angle.  At one point I set a chair in the middle of the road and set my camera on that.  Not much traffic that early in the morning.  The red streaks were from the side markers of 2 panel vans going past me when the shutter was open.

Boston is great and full of history.  I decided to think more historic so headed up the street to “The Old State House”.  This is one of the stops on Boston’s Freedom Trail.  The plaque on the building says:  “The Old State House, Boston’s oldest public building, was built in 1713 as the seat of British colonial government.  Here the Royal Governor and Massachusetts Assembly debated the Stamp Acts and the Writs of Assistance.  The Declaration of Independence was first read to the Bostonians from the east balcony on July 18, 1776.

The building served as the State House until 1798, and was also Boston’s City Hall from 1830 to 1841.”

My pictures show the east balcony where that took place.  The headlights and tail lights are from cars as they passed by me.  Tripod Creativity - My camera was resting on top of the corner garbage can lid while using my lens cover to get the right angle … really!

I headed back to catch the sun rise out of the east over the water and started to wake people after 7AM.

Once everyone was up and moving we found a place for breakfast and ended up at the Boston Common by the pond.  We enjoyed the rest of the morning, checked out around noon, and headed for home.

We had a great time and decided New York City may be next.  OH, next time tripod too …