Archive for the 'Hunting Stories' Category

3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
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Published by WayBeau on 27 Sep 2008

Taking Stock

Let’s face it, everyone has been effected by the current economic “crisis” in one way or another.  But how have hunters been effected?  In the past, I have been the kind of guy who would go out and “restock” before each and every season.  Now, when I say each and every season, I mean EACH and EVERY season.  Dove, waterfowl, deer, turkey, squirrel.  It didn’t matter if I could use the same shot shells for dove and squirrels, or if the camo that I wore duck hunting the timber would be just as effective hunting deer on the mountain.  For some reason I always needed different gear for every season and critter.  As a result I ended up with a lot of “stuff” that I probably didn’t really need.  When I got married, not too long ago, my wife asked me a question that would put a lot of things in perspective, “What do you need all of that stuff for?”  Well, I tried to answer but simply couldn’t find a response that made sense to me, let alone a woman who has most definitely never set foot deep in the woods (well maybe when she was younger and crazier, and definitely not for the reason of hunting or being close to nature).  As a result, I took stock of what I had in my hunting closet (yes, she actually lets me have a WHOLE closet for my hunting stuff).

From that day forward, a lot of my gear hasn’t seen the light of day.  I came to realize that the things that I “had to have” weren’t really making me a better hunter.  So I simply didn’t take anything out to the woods that wouldn’t really help me, or I thought wouldn’t help me, in my goal of bagging whatever animal I was after.  The recent economic troubles our country is facing have made me take even a further look at what I’ve got.  Actually, it’s a little more than just what I’ve got, it’s how can what I have make someone else’s hunt better.  I had to ask myself whether there was anything in my closet that I didn’t use, that someone else possibly could.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make myself look like some sort of saint here.  I love my “stuff” and the last thing that I ever thought I’d find myself doing would be giving it away.  But that’s exactly what happened.  If I didn’t use it, or it didn’t have any kind of sentimental value it was out the door to the local outdoor store where they would find someone that could use it.

When I started going through my closet and cleaning out the things that I no longer used or needed I found that my closet was truly just a drawer.  Everything I needed and used would all fit neatly into a drawer.  The other thing that I found was that making due with the bare essentials makes one come up with new ways of doing things.  So instead of spending money on a new ground blind, that blown down pine tree became my new best friend.  Within a matter of about a hour there was a freshly built ground blind that looked more natural than anything you can buy in the store.  The scent elimination products that everyone seems to crave, once again that pine tree and a bunch of fresh acorns did the trick. The thing that is truly the most amazing part of it all is the level of gratification that you can get out of doing things this way and saving your money (which I’m sure our spouses appreciate as well).

And if you’re having a hard time getting through the process of taking stock and cleaning out, ask yourself this one simple question, “What did our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers all do without this stuff?”  They simply hunted. . . .and probably were a lot better at it.

4 votes, average: 3.00 out of 54 votes, average: 3.00 out of 54 votes, average: 3.00 out of 54 votes, average: 3.00 out of 54 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5 (4 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
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Published by WayBeau on 26 Sep 2008

Why we do what we do

For many of us, myself included, the stories that are told in a hunting camp, living room, or at the dinner table could serve as the only form of entertainment that we need.  It’s not whether the story is entirely true or not, it’s how the story is told that matters.  So as many of us have done in the past, the story teller may embellish the truth.  The statement “no harm, no foul” most definitely applies in this situation.  Anyone who can say that they don’t embellish when they get deep into a good story is no friend of mine.  It’s the story teller that embellishes that tells the best story.  That, my friends, is why we do the things we do.  The more the story gets told, the bigger the size of the fish, animal, cliff, etc.  Seriously, who would be impressed if someone told you that they shot a spike buck that fell ten feet down a three degree slope?  It’s the need to impress and entertain that drives the story onward to its ultimate shape and destination.  That buck mysteriously grows fourteen more points and falls down a one hundred foot rock face only to get caught, by the antlers, in a 60 foot pine tree, with no lower limbs, thirty feet off the ground.  Now which story would you rather hear?  That’s why we do what we do.  It makes for more enjoyable times.  No one does it out of malice or ill will, they simply want to tell a good story.  But in order to be able to tell a good story, one must first put themself into a position to experience a jumping off point for a good story.  Which leads me to my story.

When I was twenty years old, I had the good idea to pack my Ford Exploder, yes I said Exploder not Explorer, and drive to Wyoming with the hopes of doing something exciting and adventurous.  I won’t bore you with the details of my drive west from Virginia, but along the way I did fly a plane, see a cathedral on a prairie, and almost pick up two hippies and their dog (I simply didn’t have room in my Exploder for the hippies).  For the first week that I was in Wyoming I did a lot of driving around the areas between Dubois and Jackson trying to find employment due to the unfortunate fact that I wasn’t independently wealthy.  Late summer in Wyoming may be one of my favorite things about my time there.  But I digress, eventually I found a job as a cook and a wrangler with a local hunting guide in Dubois (if you want to know which one you’ll have to contact me).  Two days later, the adventures began.

To start off, the only hunting I had ever done to that point was a whole lot of waterfowling on the eastern shore of Virginia.  There had never been an occassion for me to saddle a horse or lead a pack train, both things that I was required to do on a regular basis.  That first ride, ten miles into base camp, was like nothing I had ever experienced.  Being the avid horseman that I was how was I supposed to know that you shouldn’t hold onto the saddle horn?  We made it into base camp, my home for the next 23 days and started setting things up.

For the next two months, I would see things that most may never see in their entire lifetime.  I rode over the Continental Divide several times on horseback, and a few times in the Exploder.  I literally climbed straight down a rock face to help retrieve a sheep that a hunter had shot, only to climb straight back up the same face with about 40 pounds of sheep meat on my back, all in a blowing snow storm.  And there was the day that I incidentally got within 12 yards of a cow moose , but the most memorable experience I had during my time in Wyoming was sitting around the camp table listening to the stories that all of the guides and hunters had to tell.  Many of the stories seemed pretty far fetched, but every one of them was entertaining.  The sixteen point buck that fell down a rock face and got stuck actually isn’t far from the truth.  The actual story (I’ve seen the photos) was a six by six elk slid down a snow bank and went tail first over a cliff getting caught by the head in a crack.   The point is, the story was one that I will never forget.  Granted the man telling it could have simply said, “I shot a six by six that slid down a bank and got caught by the head in a crack.”  Instead he embellished a bit, and the story took on a whole life of its own.  It is the embellishment that makes the story what it is.  From my time in Wyoming I have many stories that could easily be told without embellishment.  The thing is though, if I add just a touch of embellishment the story gets a lot better.

And that is why we do what we do.

6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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Published by bowhunterswife on 24 Sep 2008

Meat for the Freezer

As the wife of a bowhunter, I have a slightly different viewpoint than he does of hunting.  For me, it is about providing food for the family.  When Donnie comes in with a deer or a turkey, I am ecstatic because I know he is providing for us.  The Lord gave him a talent for hunting and he has developed this talent into a finely honed skill.  The man can hunt!!!

This past week he went deer hunting and usually he takes his cell phone.  However, with a new baby and gas prices so high we disconnected the cell phones (yes, this means something to this story).  So he is out in the field, sees the deer.  Sometimes in the past he will call me and say, “Honey, it’s a four pointer.  Should I shoot it?”  This is because as a seasoned hunter he is constantly looking to hunt deers that are bigger and better than what he has hunted before.  One day I remember he called about shooting an piebald deer that was a spike.  I told him to go ahead and shoot it because he had never shot a piebald before.  He chose not to because he was hopeful it would grow bigger.  Later he wished he had gone ahead and taken that deer because he never saw it again.

So …back to the story.  No cell phone to call on. The evening wears on.  I am in the dark about how the hunt is going.  The phone rings.  He is at his dad’s …with a deer. 

“I wouldn’t have shot it because it is just a little buck,” he says, “but I thought of what you might say if I had called.  I figured you would say to shoot it because we needed the meat.”

“You were right!”  I affirmed happily.

He was willing to take the jibes and ribbing from his hunting buddies, all of the “bloodthirsty” taunts, in order to provide for our family . And now we have a freezer full of deer burger and steaks!! Yummy!! Thank you, honey, for loving us enough to deal with the ribbing and give us the meat!!

What a hunter!! What a man!!

4 votes, average: 3.25 out of 54 votes, average: 3.25 out of 54 votes, average: 3.25 out of 54 votes, average: 3.25 out of 54 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5 (4 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5)
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Published by ryalred on 23 Sep 2008

The Bloodtrailor Deer

Fog, mist, dark, dreary—perfect deer hunting weather. There wasn’t a leaf moving. It was the last half of muzzle loader season in Southeast Oklahoma and I had already killed a nice buck with my old Jukar smoke pole, but I had taken a week’s vacation and bow season coincides with the primitive arms season, so I thought I’d make the most of my time off and hunt with my bow. And, besides, I was anxious to try out these new Blood Trailer mechanical broadheads (they were new then). I had always had trouble getting my broadheads to fly like field points. I hadn’t yet learned the, what now seems so simple, steps to arrow tuning, and this promise of a broadhead flying just like field point was extremely appealing. My only concern was the killing potential of the Blood Trailers. I’m not a physicist, but the principles behind the mechanics of the Blood Trailer seemed reasonable to me, but the cutting blades seemed a little flimsy, but their ads had been very convincing, so, I’d give um a try.

As usual, I had some difficulty deciding which stand to hunt. I had almost 200 acres all to myself—the weather having scared off my brother-in-law and my father-in-law. I had the option of about a dozen stands from which to choose and the wind was no factor at all. Why I chose the one I did, I’ll never know. It wasn’t my favorite stand. It wasn’t my most productive stand. It wasn’t one that produced the largest deer or the most sightings. Maybe it was because I hadn’t hunted it in quite some time, or maybe the fact that the stand was close to the maximum range I had imposed on myself from the trails the deer usually used. This would be a good range to see just how good those Blood Trailers flew and their down range penetrability. Whatever the reason, it was the most fortuitous choice I had ever made in choosing a location to hunt.

I got there about three hours before dark and climbed into my stand, expecting a couple of hours of waiting before the deer started moving. I had carefully hung by doe in estrus scent bombs in three positions around my tree and now I was ready. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear any deer coming my way because everything was so wet from all the fog and mist. I nocked an Easton 2117 aluminum arrow on the string of my old Ben Pearson compound bow and sat back for the wait. I daydreamed a little about new bows, something with more than 50 % let off would be nice, and those carbon arrows would be great, too, but that would all have to wait till next year.

I had only been there an hour when I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye. Whatever it was, it was already pretty close and I hadn’t removed my bow from its hanger. It also wasn’t on one of the main trails past my stand. But, I remained motionless for what seemed like 30 minutes waiting for whatever I had seen to step out in my filed of view. Then the wait was over but the excitement was just beginning. The largest whitetail deer I’d ever seen while hunting walked right out into view, maybe 18 yds from my tree and quartered slightly away from me. He stops and began to look all around and he held his head high in the air as if to catch the scent of something, but he didn’t appear to be the least bit nervous—he wasn’t scenting me. He was smelling my scent bombs and was looking for the doe giving off that wonderful odor. He looked to be a 10 pointer with very heavy beams and a massive body. My heart was beating so hard, I was sure he would hear it. He just stood there scenting and looking. I ever so slowly removed my bow from its hanger and clipped my release onto the string. All the time I just kept thinking, “He’s so close—if I miss him I’ll be just sick.” I also kept thinking, “I sure do wish I had a Thunderhead on my arrow instead of that flimsy looking Blood Trailer,” but it was going to have to do. I slowly drew my arrow and aligned to peep and top sight pin to just behind his front shoulder and hit the release. It was a good release and a good shot. I saw the arrow hit almost exactly where I was aiming. It also made that wonderfully sound of an arrow hitting the heart/lung area. Instantly the monster buck turned and ran out of sight.

It was the longest thirty minutes I had ever waited to get down out of my stand, but I had made it a rule a couple of years early to not leave the stand for at least thirty minutes after I had shot a deer with my bow. (I would wait longer if I felt the shot wasn’t too good.) Upon reaching the ground, I walked to where the huge deer had been standing when I shot, thinking I’d find my arrow stuck in the ground where it had passed through, but no arrow. Worse yet, there was no blood. I slowly walked in the direction he ran, looking for blood after each step. I walked 15 steps and found one small drop of bright red blood. I was sure that within the next few steps I’d begin finding large amounts of blood, but not so. I only found a couple more small drops of blood. I marked each spot with a sheet of toilet tissue so I wouldn’t loose the trail and I could get an idea of the specific direction the deer was taking.

I was beginning to worry with all kinds of questions racing through my head. “Did I not make a good shot—was it too high?” “Did the Blood Trailer fail and only cause minimal damage?” “Why, oh why hadn’t I had a Thunderhead on that arrow.” I looked and looked in ever expanding semi circles in the direction I had seen the buck heading, but no deer, and even worse, no blood! It was about to get dark, and I had gone about 50 yards from where I had shot the deer. It was going to be cool that night so I decided to go in and begin searching again at daylight the next morning. I really thought I had killed the deer and it was out there somewhere and I was going to find it the next day.

I could hardly sleep that night and off and on that night I could hear it raining—there would be no blood trail. I was up before daylight and packed my backpack with snacks and water—I was going to make a day of looking for this deer. Upon arriving at the spot where I’d shot the deer the blood, what little there was, had washed away, but the toilet tissue was there, though a little water logged. I decided to make complete circles about ten yards apart beginning at where I’d stopped looking the night before. I thought he could have turned back so I didn’t want to look just in the direction I last saw him going.

By 10:00 a.m. I had made ever widening circles out to 100 yards from the spot of the shot and still no deer. I decided to take a break from that procedure and walk to two nearby ponds since I remembered that injured deer will sometimes go to water, but no deer. I was beginning to feel really sick about the possibility of loosing the best deer I’d ever seen, much lest taken a shot at. The fact that he had been only 18 yds away made me feel even worse.

I decided to try one other thing before I went back to making the every expanding circles—thinking I’d go out to at least 200 yards with them. I went back to the spot of the shot and got a line with the three sheets of toilet tissue I’d used to mark the blood spots. I decided to walk in a straight line, that direction, for at least 300 yards. At 150 yards I looked up ahead and there in a large area of grass—could it be—yes it was, the deer of a lifetime. He had run as hard as he could go and then just fell in a heap. He had been dead before I left the stand the day before.

Upon investigation I found that the arrow had penetrated the upper chest, just behind the front leg and had passed through both lungs, but had not exited on the other, lower side. My Thunderheads would have passed through and there would have been gushers of blood. Yes, the Blood Trailer had done its job properly but had fallen short of its name—leaving no blood trail. (I would never use one again.)

The deer was so huge I could not move it. I had to get my father-in-law to help. The buck’s field dressed weight—a whopping 185 lbs (for Southeast Oklahoma that is huge). Its rack was a wide, heavy beamed 10 point that I have never had scored. I’m extremely proud of it. It larger than most deer I see hanging in guys’ living rooms AND I GOT IT WITH A BOW!!!

3 votes, average: 2.67 out of 53 votes, average: 2.67 out of 53 votes, average: 2.67 out of 53 votes, average: 2.67 out of 53 votes, average: 2.67 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 2.67 out of 5)
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Published by Buckeyehunter12 on 21 Sep 2008

My First Deerhunt: Whether to cry, laugh, or just soak up the moment.

  Well my first deer hunt was different I suppose you could say.  Everytihng and anything that you could imagine happening happened.  There was near death, a chance at a buck of a lifetime, blood, tears, and most of all a great memory that will never be forgotten.

       Lets start at the beginning shall we.  I was 12 when I received my hunting license.  I had squirrel hunted a couple of times and enjoyed it, but it was nothing special.  I figured I had at least a couple of years before my dad would allow me to deer hunt but boy was I wrong.  One night when we were sitting around the television watching football my dad asked me if I wanted to go hunt the early season muzzleloader hunt.  I thought he was kidding and was even in disbelief but sure enough he was serious.  Of course I screamed yes and started dreaming of what it would be like to see a deer in the wild.  The hunt was in southeastern Ohio at a wildlife area my uncle had hunted before.  He told my dad the general area of some spots he had as we pulled out of town.  The drive was long but when we finally got there I was in shock.  The wildlife area was covered in massive hills and ravines.  I thought how in earth are we supposed to hunt with that kind of terrain?  We got  there just in time to do some scouting before dark.  We had walked about a mile or so into the timber when the worst sound I have ever heard in my life went off.  We were headed up a rocky hill when a very loud rattling noise sounded out.  My dad froze and said son, dont move!  I froze and listened for further directions.  He told me to back away slowly and I followed his command.  After I was back aways he jumped backwards.  My dads foot was right above the head of a timber rattlesnake.  It struck at him as he jumped away but missed.  If he would have been bitten it would have been sure death, as I would not have been able to help him out to the truck, or drive, or even find my way to a hospital!  After that hairy incident we decided we should call it a night and head back to the truck.  My dad had a couple of spots in mind for the next morning and there was no need to go further.  That night was among the longest in my life.  I could not stop thinking about that hunt (not to mention the cot that my dad made me sleep on, while he was in a comfy bed, was nothing to brag about).  Finally, morning came after a slim couple hours of sleep.  I was so excited.  I could not believe I would actually be deer hunting!  We ate breakfast at a local tavern and headed to the woods.  The morning hunt was uneventful until later in the morning when a couple of does came feeding through the timber on the way to a thicket behind us.  The deer presented many shots for me but I could not seem to get them in the scope!  Finally they moved on out of sight and I did not get a shot.  My dad began talking to me saying I need to try hard to get them into the scope.  I realized I may never get another chance like that this year!  Just as my dad stopped talking to me there was a huge ruckus in front of us.  A deer was running towards the thicket but I could not see what it was.  Finally as he ran past us I could see it was a monster buck!  Back then I had no clue exactly how big he was but today I can tell you that he was well past 160″.  Obviously the deer had heard my dad talking to us and had taken off.  I began to tear up but realized I did not have time as I caught movement in front of me.  It was three does working their way towards us.  The lead doe finally turned broadside and I had her in my crosshairs.  I jerked the trigger ( I know your not supposed to but I was young!) and smoke filled the air.  Leaves were rustling and all heck was breaking lose!  When the smoke finally cleared I was looking directly into the sky.  I, being 100 pounds and no muscle at the time, had been blown backwards off of the five gallon bucket I had been sitting on and onto the ground.  My dad was in tears laughing and I couldnt help but laugh too.  Finally when we could breathe we got up and went to the spot where I had shot at the deer.  There was blood covering the ground and we began to track her.  Finally about 100 yards into the tracking job my dad looks at me and says that the blood is drying up.  I looked at him and asked wahat in the world that meant. He said the deer may live.  He told me to take the trail.  My heart sank as I began following the blood trail.  Almost 30 yrds later I looked up and there she was.  I turned around to look at my dad and he was laughing again.  He had lied to me.  A huge smile spread across my face as I ran up to her.  I could not believe that I had killed a deer.  After all that we had been through that weeked I actually got a deer.  My dad had almost been fatally bitten by a rattlesnake, we had missed an opportunity at a buck of a lifetime, I had been physically abused by my muzzleloader, I had been tricked, and finally I had been rewarded with my first deer.  The weekend was a rollercoaster of emotions, a rollercoaster that I would gladly ride again if I had the chance.  That weekend is what hunting is supposed to be about!  I will never forget that weekend!

6 votes, average: 3.17 out of 56 votes, average: 3.17 out of 56 votes, average: 3.17 out of 56 votes, average: 3.17 out of 56 votes, average: 3.17 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.17 out of 5)
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Published by Klyph on 18 Sep 2008

The call…

     The day had finally come for the long awaited phone call and the ten year old boy could hardly believe his ears. His father had called home to tell him that he needed to get to bed early that night so that he would be able to get up in the morning in time to go hunting. You see, the father had worked nights the boy’s entire life and the boy lived for the time he was going to be able to spend with his father on the weekends. He understood his dad’s passion for hunting and knew that during hunting season the weekends that he would be able to spend with his father were few and far between, making this call one that would change everything.
    You can only imagine how excited he was to get this call and know that he was going get to see his dad the whole weekend. The son knew he was supposed to be getting to bed early, but the anticipation was too overwhelming. When his father got home around midnight the boy was still awake as he lay in his bed dreaming of the day that was about to unfold. The father didn’t know that his son could hear every word he said from just a few rooms down the hall, and the son heard him explain that he was too tired to hunt the next day. Now the boys’ mother interjected, because she knew how excited her son was. She explained to the dad that his boy was already in his hunting clothes and that he had had her set his alarm 15 minutes early, “just to be safe.” The tired father simply said, “Really? Well, I’d better get to bed then.”
    The next morning the son smiled from ear to ear the entire 45-minute ride to his dad’s favorite hunting spot. From the time they entered the woods, the son was extremely focused and wasn’t about to let his father down. He had listened to his dad talk with his friends and had heard the same hunting stories hundreds, if not thousands of times. He remembered every detail and piece of advice as he followed close behind, stepping only where his dad had stepped a few moments prior, trying so hard not to make a sound. Every time the father stopped to peer through the trees, the son was right behind him trying to see where his dad was looking. Well, they didn’t see anything that day, but no one would know it from the stories the boy had to tell that night and for many nights to come.
    You see, this is my story, and for the last 18 years I have tried to re-live that day every time I go hunting. I try to recreate those childhood moments in the woods with my father.  I have never been one to hunt just for hunting’s sake. Rather, I hunt to fulfill the great need every boy has in his heart; the need for his father to take the time to pour his life, values, and beliefs into him. 
    But the story doesn’t end there. Since then I have found other men with similar stories and my passion for hunting has never been stronger.  Instead of trying to relive past memories, I now take every opportunity to head for the woods, taking someone with me, knowing that in the next few hours we will create memories that will last a lifetime. Hunting for me is more than just about tagging an animal; it’s about living life the way we were created to live it, making the most of every opportunity with those around us. I thank God for parents who love their kids well, and for a pastime that gives them an opportunity to pass down memories that will last for all eternity.

10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5 (10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5)
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Published by Acts 10.13 on 13 Sep 2008

Most Unsuccessful Hunt of a Lifetime

The final day of deer hunting with my grandpa before his death was largely unsuccessful. 

Not unsuccessful because of a lack of deer-sightings or unsuccessful because of an off-target arrow that took flight.  Because to me success is not merely harvesting an animal.  Success is being able to fool your quarry.  To sneak into their woods, their home, their turf and to fool their eyes, ears and nose into believing that you’re just another piece of normality.

My last hunt with the man who passed his hunting heritage to my father and I was unsuccessful because I didn’t listen to him.  My beekeeping Grandpa put me into what I would ironically call his “honey hole.”  And he gave me very loud, very specific instructions when he and my dad dropped me off.  (Much like my father and my father’s father, I have little to no awareness of the volume of my voice.  Just ask my wife.) 

“Go into the woods until you hit an ‘ol fence layin’ ‘cross the ground.  Cross that fence and go about fifty yards up the side of that mountain.  To yer right is a big ‘ol rock.  Sit on it and don’t move until the deer come down the hill in front of ya on yer right.  They’ll give you a perfect qwarterin’ away shot before they head out to the field to feed at dark.”

The mean, old grump’s plan was simple enough and easy to follow.  But I ignored it.  Well, not all of it.  I did go into the woods and I did cross the fence and I did walk about 50 yards into the woods. But it was the sitting-on-the-rock part that I ignored.  I HATE sitting on the ground and I HATE even more sitting on the ground on top of a chilly rock in the middle of winter.  Because no matter how many icy hours you endure sitting on a rock in the middle of winter, it never seems to warms up.

So, what did I do?  I moved just a few yards to the left of the big, uncomfortable rock that my Grandpa told me to sit on and perched myself in front of an oak tree.  Okay, it was more than just a few yards.  It was more like fifteen or twenty.  Most would say that it was my young, naive pride that caused me to ignore my elder’s instructions.  They would be mostly correct.  The truth is I was carrying a brand new lock on seat that I was just dying to try out.  Like I said, I HATE sitting on the ground.

So, after twenty minutes or so of fidgeting with this brand new, fandangled lock on seat and surely scaring off every woodland creature for at least a county or so, I settled into my lock on seat for a night of doing things my way. 

Now, I should say that my Grandpa’s hunting style was very old fashioned and VERY solidified, at least in my mind.  In all my years of hunting with him, he never scouted.  Not once.  His philosophy was that he had hunted that property since God made it and by golly he had these deer figured out by now!  His schemes were tried and true.  So, had he known that I had ignored his instruction and set up in my own little sweet spot, he probably would have marched up into the woods and let me have it – curse words, chewing tobacco, spit and all.  Heck, I’m pretty sure that he would have left me and my noisy, unnecessary lock on seat at home were I not the only hunting grandchild of his that wasn’t locked up at the time. (My only hunting cousin was in the hokey for leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence, fleeing from a police officer, kicking a puppy and numerous other immoral acts that I dare not mention.)

I sat on my brand new lock on seat for about 10 minutes before I decided that it was the worst thing that had ever happened to a man’s hind quarters.  (I have since rid myself of it by means of a yard sale and a two-dollar wielding old man who probably hates sitting on the ground just as much as I do.)  But I endured.  I endured to prove to myself and my ritualistic old grandpa that although he thought my new lock on seat was a waste of metal and cushioning, change can sometimes be good.

And a fantastic change occurred after I had endured an hour or so on the lock on stand from Helena.  I began to hear the pitter patter of little hooves behind me up on the side of the hill.  And the great thing was that they were coming right at me.  I slowly placed my hands at the ready on my bow and waited for the deer to close the 40 yards or so between it and I.  But as an eternity of footsteps progressed closer and closer to me, I began to realize that something that initially brought me great excitement was now quickly causing worry to overcome my mind like hunger on an all-day rut hunt.  The fact was that the deer was coming right for me.  No really, RIGHT FOR ME.  As I sat there, as still as stone, I shot a glance as far left and as far behind me as my eyeballs alone would allow.  It was this glance that made me realize that in the midst of my lock-on-seat-excitement I neglected to notice the VERY prominent deer trail that sat a mere 3 or 4 yards to my right. 

I wish I could say that the wind was blowing directly across my chest and that the deer leisurely strolled right past me and offered the “qwarterin’” away shot that my Grandpa had talked about.  But the truth was the wind was kind of non-existent at that moment in time.  So, my scent, much like smoke when left alone, was kind of just bulging out and up around me.  I wish that I could say that I was decked out in Scent Lok or Scent Blocker and that the deer sniffed my right armpit and still strolled right on by.  But hey, I was a newlywed fresh out of college, which means that I wasn’t exactly a high roller.  I wish I could say that the particular deer in question was born without a sense of smell.  That away I could put an end to his years of suffering a few moments later.  But just when the footsteps sounded as if the next one would fall directly on top of my back, I heard that familiar noise deer make when they’ve called your bluff, “PHWOOOH, PHWOOOH,” which every experienced hunter translates to mean, “I know you’re there, you moron!”

I turned my head to watch the deer’s white, pointy tail bounce through the woods back up the hill and out of my life forever.  I sat there dejected for another ten or fifteen minutes before I heard the familiar pitter patter of hooves again, following down that familiar path, right up to my familiar tree.  This time I turned my head away from the trail, to the left, in hopes that if it couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see it that maybe it wouldn’t smell me.  (See no evil, smell no evil right?)  As I sat, waiting on the deer to close the distance to my tree I realized that I was staring directly at a big rock twenty yards or so away that I should have been sitting on.  And in that moment, as the deer began yelling at me yet again and again, “I know you’re there, you moron!  I know you’re there, you moron!”  My grandpa might as well have appeared magically on top of the rock and said, “You should have sat here, you moron!  You should have thrown that lock on in the fireplace, you moron!”

Four or five months after that hunt, my dad began to notice that when my grandpa walked across the yard after he pulled up to his house that he stumbled around a bit.  Over time the stumbling got worse and worse until one day he stumbled and lost his glasses.  Where he had lost them he didn’t know because his memory was fading as well.  The breaking point was when grandpa was squirrel hunting that next Fall on that same piece of property, he fell down pretty hard and had to hobble out of the woods in the dark without his flashlight or his hunter’s orange vest while using his rifle as a crutch.  Good thing he had hunted that property since God created it.

A few doctor’s visits later and we learned that he had a spiderous, cancerous brain tumor that was causing a lot of swelling and pressure in his head, hence the loss of balance and memory.  After an all-day surgery and some chemo, the cancer seemed to subside.  But only 3 or 4 months after his final dose of chemo, I began to notice that he was asking me if I had seen the surgical scar on his head three or four times per visit.  Others began to notice the familiar memory loss again.  And a little while later the loss of balance returned.  The cancer was back.

The stubborn, old codger decided that he would not have surgery or do chemo again and that he would live out the rest of his days as best he could, as happy as he could.  He was bed ridden within a month or so and required constant care and attention shortly after that. 

The hardest part about his final weeks for me was the diapers.  And I have a master’s degree in diapers thanks to my two little girls.  But there was something about seeing such a strong man, such an able man, refined to sucking water from a straw and eating blended mush twenty-four-seven and then in turn wetting and soiling himself time and time again.  It was as if every time I removed his diaper and changed him I wiped away another little piece of his dignity and pride.

The last hours I spent with him were typical for he and I because they revolved around the one thing that united us all my life – the woods.  I went to care for him one Saturday to give my dad and his sisters a break.  We watched a few deer videos.  Then he napped while I shot my bow in his front yard.  Then we watched a few more deer videos.  The entire day he said not one word.  But as I took out our last deer video, only ten minutes or so before my dad showed up to relieve me, he looked at me with his usual grin of orneriness and said, “You wanna go huntin’?”  I smiled and said, “Grandpa, we can’t go huntin’.  It’s July.”  And I thought to myself that even if I did break the law to give my dying, bedridden Grandpa his last hunt, that we would become the hunted as we were eaten alive by mosquitoes. 

Those were the last words I ever heard him say.  Over the next few days, his breathing became labored to the point where he was taking one breath about every 45 seconds or so.  Grandpa passed as peacefully as one can when they’re gasping for a single breath each minute.  And as sure as the sun, the typical funeral-time turmoil reared its ugly head as my family fought over funeral arrangements and the handling of his simple estate.  If he were a fly on the wall for a few weeks following his death, I’m sure he would have had some fly-size chewing tobacco to spit at a few of my family members as he gave ‘em what for. 

Grandpa was a simple man.  He had thousands and thousands in his bank account when he passed but yet chose to drive a nearly antique pick-up truck that he bought used and lived in a handed down house that was so old the electrical wiring was run outside of the stud walls.  His life revolved around two simple loves – his love for his family and his love for the outdoors. 

And on the last chance for me to ever soak up some of his love for the outdoors and some of his whitetail wisdom concerning a patch of property that my Father and I still hunt, he told me to sit on the stinkin’ rock.  And I didn’t listen.

13 votes, average: 3.15 out of 513 votes, average: 3.15 out of 513 votes, average: 3.15 out of 513 votes, average: 3.15 out of 513 votes, average: 3.15 out of 5 (13 votes, average: 3.15 out of 5)
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Published by theGhost on 13 Sep 2008

You know… Right?

There are times in my life where I feel the need to perch in a tree, feel the wind on my face, and watch the world pass me by. I dont say anything, and if I did who would hear me? I just sit in the tree and unwind, eyes scanning the shadows for a flicker of white, ears listening for the soft crunch of leaves. I love the early morning strategy sessions with friends, and the anxiety of which stand to hunt. I love walking in the moonlight with a best friend, to a place where the trail splits, the quiet “good lucks” and “shoot straights” as we head to our stands. I love taking a new hunter out, and putting him in my best stand, knowing that he could be a few hours from one of the best feelings in this world. I love seeing a missed text on my phone near primetime- that usually means something good!!I love meeting up with other friends that hunt for lunch during the week and comparing notes, sharing photos and high fives over successful hunts, and sharing each other’s heartaches over the monster that slipped away. I love a lot of things about hunting, some of them can be described in words, but some of them cant… you know what I’m talking about? Right? Good luck everyone, and shoot straight…Ghost

10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5 (10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5)
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Published by AdvanTimberLou on 09 Sep 2008

It could only happen at Deer Camp!

The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I have been going to deer camp for the past 15 years and each year something new happens.  More often than not, more beer gets drank than deer get shot but its not always about success but the laughs and friendships made.  What happens at deer camp usually stays at deer camp but I have to share this one.  I still don’t believe it myself.

Deer camp consists of going to my buddy Ralph’s place. He has a 100 acre homestead that was given to him by his grandmother when she passed on. On it, sits a nice old farmhouse that is roughly 40 years old. Its got the basics that a group of 8 or so guys need.  Beds, kitchen, bathroom and a card table to pass the bull and share stories of work, women, deer, & jokes. 

Now this year’s deer camp had a new visitor. He was a friend of Ralph’s and seemed to be a very likable guy. Then again at deer camp, all the guys get along and take in whatever straggler who wants to be part of it. The only requirement, you do your fair share of the cooking and know what areas of the land you can venture out too and this is purely on the sake of safety.

Now after the day’s hunts Ralph and the rest of us would wander into town to the local watering holes. The parking lots would be filled with cars and during deer season most if not all were out of towners trying to see what the nightlife gave off and maybe hunt deer of the two legged kind. This is a two town bar and as soon as you enter one of them, all eyes focus on you until you sit down and the waitress takes your order. So when 8 of us roll in, we’re lucky to even find a table.

So this takes me back to the new guy Ralph brought to camp this year. As we enter the bar he buys the first round and right away you sense this guy is alright. Within minutes of getting our drinks he meets the bartender and finds out her story. This guy is smooth, very smooth. So after a little while we decide to go to the other bar in this town. A whole 100 yards down the street. The new guy in our group decides to stay at the current bar as he and the bartender are making small talk. As we leave some in our group questions whether he will be coming home with us tonight or going to the bartender’s home. Hard to say as the night is still young but I bet he’s coming back with us!

As we go to the other bar we get the same reaction when we walk in. All eyes draw to the city boys coming up to their area for hunting. Within minutes though they are back to nursing their beers and we are yesterday’s news. As we chat about the days hunt and what tomorrow brings we realize its getting kinda late. Now myself I am not much of a drinker. I came for the hunting but with this group that appeared to be hunting for Wild Turkey on this night. I didn’t have an issue with it as the group is pretty civil even when they are drinking.  I just try to keep them from making fools of themselves.

So after spending 2 hours at this other bar we realize Ralph’s friend still hasn’t come over to this bar and must be over at the other one. The group decides that we should go find him. As we walk back into that first bar we get that same initial reaction. As the door swings open all the locals look our way and we try to find a table and our buddy. Well at this time the place is full, its standing room only for us. We find Ralph’s buddy who is still mingling with the bartender and has made a few new friends and now understands what winter wheat and what an International Harvestor is.

We can tell its time to go as his speech is slurred a little and we know if he’s going to make the 5AM breakfast call he needs to go to bed soon. As he stumbles out of that bar he wishes everyone a good night and the group is headed back to deer camp.

Now from this point it seems like everyone would be ready to find their beds and crash for the night. I call it night when in reality its 2AM and in 3 hours its time to get up. This will separate the men from the boys. Ralph’s friend decides though he wants some food and makes himself a late night snack in the kitchen.  So after his snack he crashes in his bedroom.

Myself, I am on the sofa in the living room. That has been my official spot for about 5 years now and I like it because I usually fall to sleep with ESPN on. Well as I settle in most of the gang has found their beds or sleeping bags laying on the living room floow and its lights out for all except for the TV being on. A long days hunt will wear you out so within minutes of your head hitting that pillow your out.

For some odd reason I heard something in my sleep. The sound of a stream of water but not like a faucet splashing water in the sink.  As I adjust my eyes to the darkness I can’t believe what I am seeing. Ralph’s friend is standing up and peeing on the Lazboy chair about 8 feet away. I am caught off guard and I call out his name but he doesn’t appear to answer and at this point it appears his bladder is done. I can’t believe what I had just seen and with 2 hours left of sleeping before we get up I am not sure what to do. Either go back to sleep or be the next piece of furniture to get pee’d on!

I opted for option #2. I lay on the sofa with my eyes towards Ralph’s friend’s bedroom making sure he doesn’t have another urge to go again.

Well before I know it, its time to get up for the another day of hunting.  I am the only one getting up for the days hunt.  The others are deep in sleep and hungover.  I open the door to Ralph’s room and tell him to avoid the Lazboy as his buddy peed on it.  He says “what” but doesn’t comprehend and goes back to sleep.  I am off for the days hunt myself. 

When I return about 5 hours later for lunch I see my buddy Ralph sitting in that chair.  Staring at him I asked him if he remembered what I said about that chair?  He says, “no” I then tell him to feel his left leg which should be a little damp.  By that point I am laughing about it and telling others what I witnessed last night.  Ralph’s friend can’t believe it but said he tends to sleep walk after a night of hard drinking.  As my buddy decides what to do with the chair I simply laugh and say it can only happen at deer camp!

3 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 2.33 out of 5)
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Published by NYBOWHUNTER.COM on 08 Sep 2008

Potential New York State Record Buck

It was a brisk morning in May of 2007 when Keith Levick stepped into the woods with hopes of tagging a longbeard. While Keith waited for a gobbler to strut by his ground blind a group of deer began filtering into the field in front of him. The group of deer including six bucks and one of those bucks was the biggest Keith had ever seen in New York.

Keith is a chiropractor by trade, but also an avid bow and muzzleloader hunter. In addition to hunting his home state of New York, Keith also regularly hunts Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois for whitetail, which he admits, is a lot different than deer hunting New York. Keith’s favorite state to hunt is Iowa – with 30,000 hunters, a short gun season in December and bow season beginning in October who could blame him!

I asked Keith about the location where he first spotted the buck and he told me, “It’s a farm where everyone hunts. I don’t do too much deer hunting there because the place gets pounded.” Soon after seeing the buck, Keith placed a trail camera on the property and started getting pictures of the deer. Knowing that the deer’s home range included a portion of the farm he approached the land owner and gained permission to deer hunt the property. Surprisingly – or maybe not for a deer of this caliber – the buck was mostly nocturnal showing up to feed between 1:00am and 2:00am.

Being the only person with permission to hunt the property, Keith took 10 days in November to hunt the bruiser during the rut. He had hunted the deer all bow season, but only saw the buck once as the deer chased a doe in the distance. Keith did not expect to see the deer again, but thought he might be back during the late season to visit the bean and corn fields.

It was the 20th of November, and Keith sat perched on a treestand overlooking a wheat field surrounded by a five acre pussy willow thicket. Out of the corner of his eye Keith noticed movement and slowly grabbed his muzzleloader. As the doe crossed by at 35 yards, Keith took aim. Right before squeezing the trigger, movement 10 yards behind the doe caught his eye. A drop tine gleamed off the antler and right away he knew, “Oh shoot! It’s him!” Keith quickly turned his sights on the brute and one shot with his smoke pole had the buck lying on the ground. The massive whitetail had over 20 points and scored 231″ – Keith had put down the New York State record buck!

I asked Keith what his secret was to bagging the monster buck. He hunted this deer as he hunts all deer – with a little cover scent and then some deer scent to stop the deer in his shooting lane. His favorite scent – a fresh tarsal gland off of a previously harvested deer. Keith suggests cutting the tarsal glands off any deer you harvest and placing them in Ziploc bags in the freezer. This allows you to have fresh, natural deer scent from your local deer herd.

So when your sitting in your treestand or ground blind this fall and you take aim at that doe, look behind her to see if anything is following her, it could just be the next state record. For updates on this buck and its status as the new NYS Record Buck check NYBOWHUNTER.COM for updates.

 

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