Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Final Countdown

Well, this is it, the final three days of hunting season. I’m hoping to get to hunt these next three days and I’m hoping to bring home a doe or two for the freezer. This season has not been what I wanted it to be but it has been a good one! I can’t complain one bit, unless it’s about some of the bonehead things I’ve done. I hope any of you Virginia hunters out there that are trying to get a final hunt or two in have the best of luck! I also hope you all have a happy and safe New Years Eve, and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hunting Journal 12-26-08

When the 5:00 AM alarm went off on 12/26/08 I did not want to get up. I turned off the alarm and lay there for several minutes trying to justify staying in bed. I used every excuse in the book, including the fact that I would probably not be successful. The only thing that got me up that morning was thinking that I would hate myself the rest of the weekend if I didn’t go. It was to be the last day I had free to hunt that weekend and if I didn’t go I know I would regret it. I finally crawled out of bed, had a scent-free shower, a little breakfast and then headed out to hunt. I had decided to return to a buddy’s farm that had recently come available for me to hunt. I had only been there twice before and I didn’t know the territory very well. I had explored it a little bit and knew that at this point in the year catching a buck there with my limited knowledge would be slim. I decided that this would probably be more of an exploration than a hunting trip but with time running down on the season anything was better than nothing.

I arrived at my spot a little before light would be coming up. I got dressed quickly and started on my hike. I had decided to take an old logging trail that led up to a power line clear-cut. I had walked about half a mile and the sun started coming up. As I neared the top I jumped two does that I believe I had seen a day or two before. I settled the crosshairs of my Traditions Pursuit II on the bigger doe and the perfect broadside shot she presented was very tempting but unfortunately it wasn’t a “doe day” so I had to lower the gun and watch her walk cautiously away. I calmed myself down a little and forged on up the trail. When I reached the top I was greeted by some of the most beautiful views I’ve seen in a while. It looked like the “sheep country” you see on TV. It was spectacular, huge, tough, rocky, and I loved it! The wind was blowing a strong, cold wind against me but it couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. I continued on along the path until it eased over in to the forest that run along the left side of the ridgeline I was traveling. It didn’t take long to realize that this was prime deer territory and my thoughts were soon justified when I jumped a decent group of does. I continued down the path for around a mile and the deer sign just kept getting better and better. I saw several more groups of does and located several spots to set up treestands. I finally realized that I had learned most of what I needed to see on this initial exploration and realized that I was accomplishing nothing more than spooking the deer at this point. At that point I turned around and eased my way quietly and happily out of the woods. I spent the rest of the day enjoying hanging out with my family and knowing that I had found a great hunting area for the future.

I was so happy that I had gotten out of bed that morning because I located a prime hunting spot! I could have lain in bed all day and accomplished nothing. Every time entering the woods will not produce a kill, but if you pay attention you can normally accomplish something. I knew starting the day that I was most likely going to leave the woods empty handed. However my initial negativity of the morning evaporated and I had a great day! I hope to hunt the area I found soon but I will have to wait for the right wind. I could have pressed further on and explored the area more but I found out enough to hunt it when I have the opportunity. After the season I’ll go back and explore it further but as of now I’m just happy that I overcame my laziness and negativity and got out there and had a great time exploring and scouting the woods! I’ve always heard that you can’t take an animal if you’re not in the woods but you also can’t learn much about your hunting area if you aren’t out there either. It’s really tempting to stay in bed some days but most of the time it’s worth getting up and getting going!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Blog Format

I’ve decided to change the format of my blog a little. I’ve been thinking about what my goals for this were and I don’t think I’ve quite been accomplishing them. I started this as a way to not only track myself as I grew as a hunter, outdoorsman, father, and person, but also to help others learn some things along the way as well. Too often we, myself included, get caught up in all we see on TV and think that we should all be experts and trophy hunters. While I’m sure some of you are, most of us are not. It takes a long time, and a lot of work, to get to “expert level” for most people. Despite my wishes, it’s certainly looking like it’s going to take me a long time to reach that level as well. However, the thing to remember is there is no shame in that. Most of us don’t live in prime trophy habitat anyway and to get caught up in that and not enjoy hunting should be a crime. If you don’t hunt because you enjoy it then maybe it’s time to find a new hobby. No one will enjoy every hunt, and part of why a lot of us love it is for the challenge, but my biggest message to anyone would be to go in to the woods and have a good time enjoying God’s great creation!

I’ve gotten caught up in trying to go from amateur to professional myself and have not been to forthcoming with my shortcomings! From now on though I’m going “TO TRY” to start posting all of my hunts, scouting trips, and everything associated with my efforts. I’m going to give everyone a backstage pass to the effort that goes in to trying to become the best hunter that you can be. I’m going to post all of my blunders and my successes. If the hunts go well there will be more details but when they don’t, unless I learn an important lesson, then they will only be long enough to give out the pertinent information. I hope all of you enjoy what I have upcoming and learn along with me! Please let me know how you like this as things progress!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Quick Late Season Tips, and Happy Holidays!

Sorry I haven’t been writing much but this has been a super busy time for me. I was sitting here thinking about Christmas and I really hope that all of you have a great one, and a happy holiday season in general! I’m working on a story about late season hunting but it’s going to take a little bit to get finished. So, until my whole story is done here are a few tips for those of us still out there hunting hard in the late season!

1. Food – Look for good quality food sources, the deer are recovering from the rut and battling the cold. Green fields, corn, winter wheat, trees with active acorns, soybeans etc are great food sources.
2. Cover – The deer are still nervous from the firearms season and they need protection from the cold, look for the thickest nastiest cover you can find.
3. Pressure – If the area you’re hunting has had really heavy hunting pressure then food and cover may not be enough to find, you may have to go further back in the area away from where other hunters have ventured or find a small spot that other hunters have overlooked.

I hope these quick tips may give you some ideas! If you have any questions contact me at Take care, happy hunting, and happy holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lessons Learned: Things have to go really well when bowhunting!

As someone fairly new to bowhunting I know it is tough, and that things have to go really well to close the deal. Well, recently I had a lesson taught to me about how truly easy it is for even a sure thing to go wrong when you have a bow in your hand.

I started off the morning by getting up nice and early. I knew the basics of the area I was going to be hunting but I didn’t know exactly where I was going to hang my stand. I wanted to get to the spot at least 30 minutes before sunrise so that I could find a tree and be up in it before the sun came up. Everything went well that morning except for the sky started getting light 30 minutes before it was supposed to. For some reason it always works that way when I’m hunting by myself, however if I’m hunting with others the sun always seems to come up later than it is supposed to. As soon as I got up in the tree and had my bow and pack hung up, the woods came alive! I quietly stood up and grabbed my bow while trying to see if I could see what was causing the noises. There were different areas of movement all around me and every pocket of noise seemed to be coming from the thick cover areas that surrounded me. I was really excited as I was hoping it was deer returning to bed down. I felt pretty sure that even if I didn’t get a view of them first thing. then I certainly would as they did a little late morning browsing later on. The longer I sat there though the more I started to think it was probably squirrels instead of deer. After a while I finally started seeing squirrels and my fears were realized. I knew though that I was in a good spot and I was going to sit there until I had to go pick up my son later in the morning. The spot was surrounded by trails and bedding areas and I was very confident that, given the time, a hunter would see something there. My only worry was that I would have to leave the woods too early that day, but there was no way I was leaving any earlier than I had to! I stood up most of the morning because I was so cold and so anxious about getting ready in case some of the noise turned out to be deer. Around 9AM I sat down to rest my legs for a bit, but I started hearing some noise around one of the many laurel thickets surrounding me. I looked up and I finally saw what I was waiting for, deer moving my way! I eased my hand back and grabbed my bow. I brought it to me as slowly and quietly as I could but I caught my broadhead on a leaf by my tree. I was able to extract it without too much noise or movement but my heart started racing even faster due to the near error. Looking back toward the trail, the deer were coming down, I was able to verify that it was two nice size does. The first was the biggest, and they were heading down a trail that would pass right by me at around 12yds. By now my heart was thundering and my blood was pumping but I was still shivering from the bitter cold. The deer continued casually toward me and I waited until they got their heads behind a tree and I tried to draw my bow. To my surprise I couldn’t draw it straight back the way I wanted to because I was just to cold and to be honest hadn’t been practicing as much as I should have been. As disappointed as I was in myself I knew I still had a great chance and I decided to wait until the first doe went by and then draw the bow by pointing it up and bringing it down on the second animal. I would still have a great shot on the second doe and it may have been the safer choice from the start. However when the lead deer got about 20yds away from me, she was behind a tree and I had no shot, she smelled something on the ground and jumped up in the air. She landed back a few feet from whatever she smelled and she eyed the spot for a few moments. She then looked up the trail like she was considering going ahead, but after a bit she started heading back the way she came.

As I watched the two of them slowly make their way out of there I was thoroughly disappointed. I was excited to have a chance to be so close to them, and be able to watch them, but I had really wanted to put some meat in the freezer that day. The one thing I wondered about is what did she smell? The land I was hunting was private so no one should have crossed the path they were on and I hadn’t been up that far in the woods for weeks. The only thing I could figure out is that someone had trespassed or a predatory animal had been through recently, either way I was eating tag soup that day. I sat there for about 45 more minutes and then I slowly climbed down and made my way back out of the woods. As I climbed back in to my truck I realized I was smiling and thinking about what a great morning I had been a part of!

Bowhunting is an incredibly rewarding experience and I thoroughly enjoy doing it, however you have to be willing to go in to the woods knowing that if things don’t go right you will not be bringing any animals out of the woods with you. There are great challenges with any type of hunting, anyone who thinks otherwise should try it, but bowhunting certainly provides challenges like nothing else. I have heard it said before that anything killed with a bow is a trophy, and I for one agree!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Traditions Pursuit II Review by Cody Altizer

Check out the great Traditions Pursuit 2 Review by fellow Mossy Oak ProStaffer Cody Altizer over at! I'm even quoted in it a time or two!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Deer can truly be dangerous!

Deer gets revenge after hunter shoots him
The animal appeared dead but rose up and attacked the man
Associated Press
updated 9:02 p.m. ET, Mon., Dec. 1, 2008

SEDALIA, Mo. - A hunter bagged a big buck on the second day of firearms season, but the kill caused him a lot of pain. Randy Goodman, 49, said he thought two well-placed shots with his .270-caliber rifle had killed the buck on Nov. 19. Goodman said the deer looked dead to him, but seconds later the nine-point, 240-pound animal came to life.

The buck rose up, knocked Goodman down and attacked him with his antlers in what the veteran hunter called "15 seconds of hell." The deer ran a short distance and went down, and died after Goodman fired two more shots.

Soon Goodman started feeling dizzy and noticed his vest was soaked in blood.
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So he reached his truck and drove to a hospital, where he received seven staples in his scalp and was treated for a slight concussion and bruises.