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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.

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