2015 Opening Day Recap

I woke up 15 minutes before my alarm, 5:15. Went down stairs and I made my coffee. Thank goodness. Ate my bowl of honey nut cheerios, checked work email and then it was time to get ready. I was just about ready when my dad pulled in the driveway. He told me where I was going, where everyone was sitting also, and sent me on my way.

My dad’s .243 over one shoulder and my seat over the other shoulder I started off. The trail walk was quiet and easily to maneuver. The field portion was crunchy. I have come to realize I’d rather walk in the rain or snow where there is hardly any noise made. I entered the woods and found the perfect spot to sit. At 6:43 I head the first shot.  Now it was light out, but not light enough to shoot I would say. The shot did not come from our land so that was a good thought at least. Around 7:15 I had roughly 23 does and fawns ranging from 50 to 170 yards from my seat. I think I chose a dang good spot. I was waiting though, I want a boomer this year and a first shot clearing the woods should not be of a doe unless certain that’s all there is. Luckily I didn’t have to wait, they sniffed a coyote that was passing by and spooked. Then my brother in the next woods over shot another coyote. First kill of the day for us and not even a deer. From 7:30-8:30 the neighbor farmer shot at the end of the woods and spooked all 23 deer plus whoever they picked up to my end. My brother then shot a doe while they ran to him. During this I took a single shot at a doe at 50 yards. Clear on its shoulder and I have no idea where it went. To be honest I was swearing up a storm in my head. If I had my shotgun I would not have missed that deer but for a gun new to me using it in the field and not on the range for the first time I’m chalking it up to non-experienced use with the rifle. After that my dad called and with multiple misfires I was swearing out lout.  I was able to take a shot at 170-190 yards at a doe and I got her, twice, and she ran. She was lost, injured and dying, which I hate and is not wanted, but she is dead now.

With all that fun I got out of the woods and went to my parents’ house to see Zoey and to get more coffee. The rest of the hunting group arrived from their morning sit locations and we went to push woods. The first set was unsuccessful no shots fired and a few small bucks spooked up from the start. From there we went behind the farm, which was also unsuccessful. A few shots were aimed at some does and a 3 year old buck we call “boots”. He’s called boots because he has four white “socks” and is a standout if he’s in the field.  He’s a 7 point, very high but not as wide. He would score around 115-130.

After the farm we went in search of my morning shot doe. We spooked up roughly 50 doe and out of that 2 were shot. Which is kind of bad, but at least one was taken. To be truthful this set of woods has never had a successful push. The deer run different directions every time and unless there are men on ever side and every corner and every long range post nothing successful would happen.

From there it was called lunch time. We then went and pushed by the thruway, spooked up 5 does. One was taken by Gary and I shot at another and missed. The final push was behind my brother’s house.  We left with 2 more does I shot one but she kept going and my cousin finished her. She was of good size.  Lou shot the other and she ran into the neighbors brush so he got permission to track her down.

My dad and I went to talk to the neighbor to get permission for Lou and then we went to the shooting shack to watch the corner of our big woods for a 9 point that likes to hang out around 300 yards. He never came out but we ended up seeing 2 Bald Eagles.  We left the shack and went to the other side of our gravel pit to see if anything was in the valley.  Crawling up a hill we saw there were 9 nice size does. We army crawled into position with my dad’s rifle and my shotgun in tow. My dad lined me up to shoot at a large doe. I was low, very low, so he reset it and I shot again. This time we believe I was high. My dad then took back his gun, which I don’t blame him and we shot after the 9. They were running in circles as the shots were echoing off of the hill at the other side of the valley. I was ready for him to shoot, but my ears weren’t. After his first shot without my ears plugged they were ringing with dust in my eyes for a good moment.  My dad took 3 more shots and ran out of bullets because we didn’t bring many at all, definitely not expecting this. I then used my shot gun, and failed, which didn’t surprise me with the day I was having. We ended up taking 2 more does and at the same time my brother took 2 more does. We walked and scoured the field to make sure we didn’t miss anything with all of the commotion and as far as we can tell we didn’t.

I went to get the truck while my dad cleaned them and back to the house we went. We had to strategically plan our hanging so we wouldn’t break anything. I ran the winch while Nate showed up with his two and then we started to put them up. I posted a photo and you can see that it was a great day for our group. We utilize everything we kill in some fashion and it keeps our freezers full until next year. By doing this we not only help the local farms with population control, we also are eating a healthier leaner meat and cutting down on the grocery bills.

Not only do I do it for the food, I hunt for the love of outdoors and watching nature come to life. I also hunt to hang out with my dad and brother.  Not being on the farm anymore I don’t see them as much and getting to spend an afternoon with them, just being outside, not working, not around stress, just sitting, is one thing I always love.

Opening Day Photo Recap

I want to write about this weekend because I think it was probably one of the funnest weekends I have had hunting in a long time. Through bad shots, faulty ammo, there was some great views in nature, Bald Eagles, and plenty of bonding with my dad and brother.  So for now here are the photos I have taken from Saturday and Sunday…I found the panoramic setting on my phone 🙂

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20151121_063816[1]Morning Day 1

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Morning Day 1

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Can you spot the squirrel?

20151121_063733[1]Morning Day 1

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My lunch date

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Doe shot by Jerrod and myself

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Afternoon view day 1

 

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Sunset day 1

20151121_152738[1]Bald Eagle #1

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Bald Eagle 1 & 2

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8 hanging, 10 shot total, 1 lost day 1. 

20151122_055223[1]Good morning for day 2

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My lucky antler from a dear friend

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Good Morning day 2

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Sunrise day 2

Be Prepared for ALL Activities and Weather

This post has been a few weeks in the making. A lot of hemming and hawing and how to work things appropriately. Well today I’m saying eff it to appropriate wording and I’m just giving my opinion on this subject. This weekend is opening day of shotgun/rifle season for white tail deer in New York State. Which is where I live and hunt. I am thrilled and excited as this weekend is my weekend, it’s my Christmas. I am extra excited as this is the first year, in my 16 years hunting on my own that I have 100% my own clothes and not hand me downs!

Over the past few years I have been compiling my own hunting wardrobe. Long johns were always mine, but pants, coats, shirts, suits, boots, gloves, hats, they were all my dad’s then my brothers and followed onto being mine. While I felt pride to wear the dirt stained well-worn hunting clothes, I was ready to wear something that fit. Not big or bulky, something that I had to wear 3 extra pairs of socks to not walk funny in.  Most of my hunting attire came from Under Armor as is for men, but that doesn’t bother me.

My personal clothing collection started with a light coat and some new camo long johns. Two years ago my brother bought me scent locker hunting pants for women for Christmas and I then bought myself a hunting coat.  I then bought myself some new hunting thermal and thicker shirts as well as a safety orange ear warmer thing; which d I have no idea where it is and need to find it ASAP.

This past year though, was the pièce de résistance, I bought boots. Not steel toe work boots as I’ve been wearing the past 3 years but real hunting boots. I was very excited for this purchase, almost as excited as I am when I get to buy my birthday shoes.  So the only thing I’m dreading is that I didn’t break these puppies in, but I’ve dealt with blisters and sore feet enough from crazy shoes I’ll be fine with some new boots.

Anyway the main point of this post is not the fact that I finally have a 100% new to me hunting wardrobe, it’s the hunting wardrobe options out there for women. There is camo this and camo that, camo everything really. From underwear, to leggings, to swimsuits (which I’ve owned so I won’t bash too much) but what is really hunting appropriate. You have these female hunters who are younger in age (to me at least), not married, no kids, that duck hunt in swim suits and try to shoot a deer in leggings and a bra. The overall perception is they are doing this to grab attention which they are, but it makes the rest of the female hunter populate look bad.

A rule in my sorority was “be prepared with all activities and weather” which I still follow to this day. This includes hunting. Don’t be a moron and freeze your butt off to look good.  The deer don’t care, they care if they can smell you, see you, and hear you. Chattering your teeth, smelling like whatever body wash you use and being stark white against a tree will cause the animals to run away from you, not to you.

Now I don’t want to say that all camo clothing suppliers are like this, fish cute and deerly beloved are two great camo attire suppliers, but there are a bunch that are.  These camo suppliers also aren’t changing the game in hunting wear, they’re not designing clothes for the negative wind-chill, snow, or rain. They’re designing clothes for daily wear that fits the camo fad of the hunters girlfriend or groupie.  This also might just be the snarky me who grew up hunting with the boys, dressing like the boys, not trying to impress anyone in the world.

So I guess my two cents on the matter is do you research, dress for the weather, not for attention.  Dress to kill, a deer that is, and the guys will admire you for shooting a boomer, not for freezing your ass off next to a tree. Save your swim suits, leggings, and skimpy cloths for the backwoods bars, bogs, and swimming holes.

 

P.S. Good luck to everyone going out tomorrow!! I hope to have some photos to show you throughout the week of my groups successes!

 

 

Don’t Leave Your House Without Making Your Bed!

I am very particular about my bed. The softness, the covers, the pillows, the temperature. The same can be said about the whitetail deer. The bedding habits of the deer are very particular as well. As I have stated before as deer age they retain knowledge over their years and become smarter.  You can teach an old deer new tricks apparently.  As a deer ages its list of requirements for a bedding area might increase; like that of a pop stars dressing room requirements.

Deer require cover, yet not too much or too little.  A backing perhaps with good visual on most sides.  This can be found by fallen trees or in overgrown brush. They want to not be seen by the naked eye, but if their visual line of sight is limited they need to be able to hear a predator or hunter coming their way.  This pertains more to the bush and overgrown areas. It is nearly impossible to sneak up on someone or something if they are laying in the brush.  Also, you might step right around then and never know it, as I have done in the past.

An area that is not 100% open to the elements is also key.  Wind protection is a highly desirable request for overnight deer bedding areas. However during the day if they are just taking a siesta then 100% wind protection may not be needed. Case in point is the small 1st year buck who decided to take a nap in my yard this past weekend.  His back was protected by some shrubbery and my shepherds hook. His entire front though was open. I know this because when my daughter yelled in the house at the movie he would perk up and look at us.

So they want partial cover and wind protection.  They want some place that they feel secure and safe and can easily escape as well. Just in case a predator, hunter, or per Saturdays events a toddler, decide to venture upon them.

The key thing with hunting is trying to find a bedding location, without giving away your location.  Creatures of habit, as deer are, will continuously return to a safe bedding location if not discovered or destroyed. This means that unless you know of a prime bedding location your best bet of finding one is during the off season or during a woods push. With the off season locating of bedding areas, you need to start looking for sheds. Once you have found low lying bones on the ground, aka deer antler sheds, you want to check your surroundings. Is there a well-worn area? Does it look like a deer was there regularly? If yes, then woo hoo you have found a bedding area of a buck.  If not don’t despair, you are still in a prime location and need to make a mental note of it.

The other time you find bedding areas is during a woods push.  As you walk through the woods, bush, fields, you make jump a deer. The location if in the open is more of a siesta location. However jumping a lying deer in the woods means this might be a more permanent bedding location.  These are the spots again that you want to take note of. Location, cover, protection. Can you get here from your stand or trail? If so, I would set up shop at that location in a few days after the push has calmed down and the deer have returned.

One thing I hate to do is to rewrite articles. I see that all the time, someone just says the same thing that another person posted a few days ago. So, here and here are some bedding area hunting articles that I found useful.  Also, if you want to help create a warm and cozy bedding area for deer I would check out this and this.

Again, with my posts I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel of whitetail deer hunting. I am just trying to throw at you some thoughts you may not have considered in your day to day hunting rituals and life.

Weekend Recap

This past weekend I was drinking my coffee watching “Inside Out” with my daughter when this little guy decided to take a power nap in my lawn.

Views are shot from the love seat in my living room.

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I told him I was out of coffee. Hopefully he didn’t mind and will come back again soon.

Also can you spot the doe? She’s in the wide shot and while I’ve seen her before, it’s nice when she comes around.