Zem18

In the Zone with Zem 2016

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Getting a late start with the journal this year. Have been busy running around and just hadn't been feeling it once the season started. Funny how you wait 10 long months for the season to start up and sometimes when it gets here, it just doesn't feel right. Maybe it is the nicer weather that has had me putting it off, not sure.

I sat for the first time last Saturday, October 8th. Forecast was 100% chance of rain for the morning so I slept in. Woke up and saw it was dry of course. Ended up hunting the afternoon. Pulled my trail cam card on Thursday and does were moving in the evening and had two small bucks that came through in the morning during the week. I was in my stand by 330 and sat til 6 when the skies opened up. Called it early and went home. No deer sighted.

 

Oct 15th - My mom's birthday

Woke up at 6 and got dressed. Made it to my stand by 630 and all was quiet. As it started getting light I could see a deer 70 + yards feeding near the neighbors. It started to wander away from me and I lost sight of it for 30 seconds and then I saw it running back my way but up into the woods behind me. I waited and he never appeared. It was a chilly 31 degrees and the fog was rolling in and out as the breeze kicked up. All I could hear were the leaves raining down as the frost was heavy this morning  and they could no longer hold on. I continued to scan all directions and nothing was moving. At 9 I had to get down to head to a soccer game. I looked and saw no movement around me so I climbed down. The fog in the woods was thick. I got to the field edge and looked out and saw nothing. I proceeded to my trail cam to retrieve the card. Once I finished I headed out a trail through the field edge. I was only 20 to 30 yards from my stand and two deer exploded out of the field past me and headed right into woods were I had just exited. I swore under my breath and shook my head as I made the walk of shame back to the in laws house. 10 more minutes and they would have come right to me on a string.

Beautiful morning and hope I didn't screw up the area too bad or educate those deer too much. I plan to hit the same stand in about 30 minutes and sit until dark. Cam card revealed all the does were now moving in the morning and in the middle of the night and bucks were moving just before dark this past week.  Stay tuned.

Edited by Zem18

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October 15th PM hunt

Got in the stand by 430 and sat until 630. Only saw squirrels last night. Actually watched one schuck a black walnut for over 15 minutes about 15 yards away on a stump. Pretty cool to watch.  Took the kids out spotlighting some fields. Drove 3 roads and counted 96 deer and a red fox. Saw two nice 8's, one which dogging a doe,  and some smaller bucks. Full moon had them herded up as we saw groups of 10 to 15 deer in the same field which we usually don't see around here as it's not agricultural close by. 

October 16th. 

Slept in til 730, woohoo! Left at 930 to head to the cabin with my BIL, FIL, my son, and my niece and nephew. Spent the late morning and early afternoon mowing, cutting fire wood, and cleaning things up and making general repairs for the gun season. Life is so busy or I would try and bow hunt down there but no water or electric and an hour and a half drive one way crushes that idea along with my wife's plans around here. Was hot out there today so hunting was not high on the list of to dos today. 

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October 22nd

Got up and it wasn't raining so was ready and out the door by 645. Got to the in laws and spotted a deer on the fridge of the field and I stopped. Guess it wasn't soon enough as the other two I didn't see, already saw me and all three took off running. Got to the stand a few minutes later and settled in. Saw a few gray squirrels and  that was it. Rained on and off and heavy winds. Started coming down in buckets so I called it a morning at 915. May sit letter this afternoon weather permitting and definitely tomorrow morning.

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I stayed up late Saturday, actually Sunday morning as my wife and son didn't get home until 1230 am. The forecast was for 25mph winds with gusts up to 40.  I did not get up. My buddy texted me around 10am and he shot a beauty 8pt And his Dad shot a 4pt. This is my buddies biggest racked deer and biggest bodied deer. Ran some errands and met my him at my in laws garage to hang and process the deer. Got both skinned and quartered in about an hour and a half with just the two of us. Had issues with the come a long so took a bit longer. 

Checked the cam from yesterday and should have been out there this morning. Pics below.

 

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Yes he's eating something. No apples on the crab apple tree so no idea what he's munching on.  Fitting as I was sleeping in. Still disappointed but ill be out there this weekend.

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Great8


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"The sportsman lives his life vicariously. For he secretly yearns to have lived before, in a simpler time. A time when his love for the land, water, fish and wildlife would be more than just part of his life. It would be his state of mind."

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10.29.16 am

Arrived at the in laws at 630am and still plenty dark. I got my gear settled and headed in. I hate going in as I have to cross a field to get to my stand. I wasn't two steps into the tall crunchy grass and I could hear the deer trotting through the leaves inside the woods by my stands. I just kept moving and got up the ladder as fast as I could to get quiet. I hunt my bow and I can hear something coming at me in the leaves. I am perfectly still and a red fox walks right under me and I'm only in a 10ft ladder stand. Was pretty cool to see him sneaking on by. Only way I know he is red is I have cam pics of him. It was still pretty dark at 640 when he went by. 

I pretty much boogered up the spot walking in so expectations were not high and I wasn't disappointed. Sat til 915 as my son had a soccer game at 10. 

Getting my stuff together now and going to try an afternoon sit. Not much cam traffic in the afternoon but it's too Damn nice out to be inside right now. It's 59 right now. Crazy ass weather for sure. Will report live from the stand if all goes right!!

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10.29.16 pm

Left the house just before 330. Walking the trail through the field and almost make it to the tree line and up jumps a deer to my right about 10 to 15 yards away. Scared the crud out of me but no shot and looked small. I high tailed it to the stand as I had a feeling the deer didn't go far. I was right because I saw it about 10 minutes later while I was in the lower stand. It ended up coming out of a thicket and fed under my upper stand for about 15 minutes and then it disappeared. 

Fast forward to around 545 pm. Two squirrels are messing around the field edge by my stand behind me as I am looking back into the woods. All of a sudden the leaves erupt and I look behind me and a deer is running at my stand bawling as it passes by me and then stops at 10 feet behind the tree I'm in. It was a little button buck and he did a complete 360 around the tree I was in eating every green leaf he saw. Never knew I was there even with the wind blowing from me to him. After taking pictures and a few videos of him, his head snaps up and looks back to the woods behind him. I reach for my bow and he bolts about 40 yards to meet up with 2 other deer coming to get him. Now it is 605, past shooting time and these 3 are right under my upper stand. I watched as they fed and made a few noises to get them to shoo without giving up my location and it worked. 

10.30.16 am

My buddy and I made it to both stands at 635 am. Still plenty dark and warm so not noisy, or so I thought. We split up and as I headed to the upper stand I could hear deer running away in the leaves. CRAP!! Climbed up and waited for light. 5 minutes later, I hear a deer blow twice in the direction they ran and knew it was not going to be a good morning. Tried some bleating and grunting with some rattling and no dice. Packed it in around 930. Have a new scrape opened up right in front of the cam. Only 27 pics overnight so I left the card til next time. 

 

Did get a nice 8 on cam last week but all nocturnal action. Will post a pic or two later. 

 

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11.5.16 am

Wind was blowing pretty good on way in but didn't hear anything crashing off. Climbed up and settled in. Scanning  the woods revealed a small buck about 60yds out at 8:50am. Sat til 10:30 and headed to down to see my MIL and help her get some wood stacked. My FIL is in Colorado on an Elk/Muley hunt which started today. Ate lunch shot the bow and then headed back in at 1:30. Thought to myself, something  has to move this afternoon. Swirling winds were noisy but the would die down once in a while. I heard some noise behind me and look to see a flock of turkeys about 30 yards away scratching and pawing at the leaves. This was about 2:30. Sat until 6 and got down before any deer decided to keep me in the stand late. Very slow day today but 8 hours outside is better than 8 hours inside at work. 

Plan to hit it at first light tomorrow until 9 and then to the dome for soccer. 

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11.6.16 am

Got into the stand about 545am and settled in. Wind was squirrelly and knew I had to depend on my eyes. About 6:10am the wind died a little so I turned my head towards the field and heard a deer take a few steps. Then I see momma and a little skipper in the field. They walked the same trail as I did 20 minutes ago so not 100% sure if they saw me move or smelled my scent on trail as they came in upwind of me. Either way, they didn't stay long and bolted. I did hit the grunt as they were running away but they ran faster. Should have used the bleat can instead. Hunted til 830 and then had to go to soccer with my daughter. 

 

Been watching and reading Live from the woods and getting pumped up for tomorrow. I took the day off so plan to sit all day if needed. Hoping something is moving tomorrow. I bought some doe in heat spray and plan to lay a scent trail behind me on way in tomorrow and will walk past my stand and spray a bunch on a branch within range in hopes if anything is cruising through it will follow. Haven't been successful with scents in the past but reading on this site has given me a few tips to try. Thanks everyone for the tips. Clothes are washed and dried and everything is loaded in the car but me. Time to hit the sack. Will post on Live thread in the morning.

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11.10.16 

What a beautiful morning it turned out to be. I was heading in on the trail and got my doe in heat spray out and proceeded to spray behind me as I walked in. It was crunchy and I heard a deer bounding away in front of me. I continued on and got within 15 yards of my stand and laid down some more spray. It was still dark but when I turned to go to the stand I saw the white tail and heard the deer crash away which was right next to my ladder stand. 

Had a weird occurrence at 7am when the in laws neighbor came out of his house screaming and running around in his underwear. 3 hours later the State Police and an ambulance showed up. No clue what happened but I'm sure he was strung out on something. 

At 9am I had a small bodied 4pt come down out of the woods. The wind was changing directions and it was blowing forme me to him. The scent trail I left was between us. He stopped at 40yds and started sniffing the air. Then he put his head down and walked away. No good shot opportunity and I never picked up the bow as I'm looking for something different. I was on stand until 1130 and decided I needed a break and I headed down to get the card out of the cam on my way out. Checked it and nothing but the button buck the past few days. Went to store and was headed back in by 1215. Stopped to put card back in and reset time due to daylight savings. Closed cam and turned towards woods and there is a 6pt staring at me. He saw me move and he turned and bolted. I grunted a few times to see if he'd come back but knew better than that. I switched to the upper stand for the afternoon and it was uneventful. 

Forgot to mention I did see 12 turkey run by early around 815 from the lower stand. Saw them again from the upper stand around 130. Also saw a grouse and a squirrel running side by side this morning. That was first for me. 9.5hours out there today and I'm whooped. Back to work tomorrow unfortunately. Plan to hit it hard this weekend as it will be my last chance with the bow. 

Buddy showed me some pics from 3 to 4am this morning at another property we can bow hunt. 3 different 8pts , a 4pt, and spike were harassing 5 does for an hour in front of the cam. One of the 8's is a slob with a high rack. He's hitting that property tomorrow and we will try it Saturday together. 

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11.12.16 am

Arrived at another property at 6am. It seemed very light out even though sunrise wasn't until 651am. We headed in and man was it crunchy. 3 steps from the tree line and I hear deer scattering away from us to the right. Too dark to see in the woods so we just kept going  to get in stands and stop making noise. My buddy got to his stand and I continued on to the new stand he put up yesterday. I knew the general area but had a hard time finding it in the dark. After a few minutes I saw it and made a bee line for it. Climbed up and had to screw in some hooks to hang things. Just as I get the first screw in and hang my bow, I look left and hear steps in the leaves. My eyes are adjusting to the small amount of light in the woods and I can make out a fox sneaking past me about 15 to 20 yards out. He was stealthy in those crunchy leaves. 

At 644am I can here something off to my left again. This time I could see and hear it was larger than a fox. It was a small bodied 3 point wandering around in circles about 40 to 50 yards away. Eventually he headed off away from me in no big hurry. Buddy texted me and that deer walked past him at 12 yards before heading up towards me. I saw two pilliated woodpeckers within 30 yards of me. Man do they work hard on those trees making lots of racket. 

Around 830 my buddy texted me this - 4 does. And that was it. I texted back where? And no response for 20 minutes. Finally he said Under me. I laughed as he is in a 10 ft ladder stand so they were close. One actually bedded 30 yards away and was there for over 40 minutes watching, sit, stand, sit back down, stand back up. Funny stuff but all were small. Live decoys but no bucks came in. I walked down to him to leave and we bumped the bedded one in another spot as he thought she had moved on. 

Had brunch with my folks for my Moms birthday which was October 15th, yeah we've been busy. Made plan  to go out around 3 with my buddy back to the in laws.

11.12.16 pm

I headed up early around 1pm. Instead of my normal route to the stand, I took a different way to see if I could sneak in better. It worked and I didn't bump anything, although it was still crunchy. Ended up watching squirrels and amazingly 2 grouse walking around my stand. Was cool until the squirrels scared otherwise and then I jumped as they took off. My buddy texted me and asked if I was in the stand. I said yes but didn't realize he was on his way in to join me. I look back and see a 4pt crossing behind me. I hit the grunt tube and he stops on a dime. Stares for a few seconds my way and then turns towards me and is coming closer. Just then I hear something behind me. I look and it's my buddy. I say out loud, Stop. I hit the grunt again and the deer is hung up and then turns back. He continues on about 40yds away walking horizontally to me. Was fun to interact with him but had no intention of shooting. Buddy got in stand below me and settled in. He sends me a text and says he just jumped a 6 or 8pt  just as he entered the trail I didn't take earlier. The started at each other for 10 seconds in disbelief and the buck bounded the opposite direction instead of up into the woods towards where I was sitting. 

I was getting my stuff together to get down. I had put my quiver on the bow and picked it up off the hanger. I reached for the arrow I had knocked and heard something heading my way. I took the quiver back off and peeked around the tree to see a buck heading horizontally to me but at only 20yards. I clipped my release to the d loop and then assessed the buck. His antlers were almost pure white and he was fairly wide, just about outside the ears. He has a fork on his left and then long spike on the right with a tiny brow tine. The decision was easy. I hung up the bow and the tried calling him back in as he walked away. No dice. Great day out there today. Saw 3 small bucks and 1 small doe. Hoping to see a mature deer tomorrow as it is my last bow hunt in the morning. Have errands and soccer in the afternoon. 

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11.13.16 am

Was excited about Sunday mornings hunt after all the action on Saturday. Woke up slightly hungover as wife and I went out Saturday night with friends and got home at 1am. Alarm went off at 5:15 and I did not want to but forced myself to get out. Was chilly in the valley and a heavy frost so dressed in layers. Made it up on the hill and there was zero frost but plenty of wind yet again. I can't remember a bow season with this many windy days. AnywAys, the wind actually blew and then would die down but when it busted, leaves were flying everywhere. And that's all I saw for 3.5 hours were leaves and I wasn't amused. That super moon had the deer up all night according to the cameras. 

When I got home I packed up my bow in the case and put it away in the garage. I hate that feeling but I did get the gun cases out in preparation for this weekend. Should be at least 6 of us at camp this weekend. Friday can't get here soon enough. Good luck to all still  bow hunting. 

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11.18.16 am

Sitting here at work living vicariously through Live from the woods and wishing everyone good luck on their last bow sits. It is beautiful out there this morning with a little fog and a light frost. Wish I was out the there versus here. I am getting out early today at 2:30 but have a Dr. Appointment at 3. Then zip home and get the last of my stuff packed for camp. FIL is swinging by with his truck to pick me up around 6. Those 2 hours of waiting will be torture and then the hour an a half drive. Couple other guys will be there early so the cabin will be warm and then we can play some cards and shoot the chit.

Be safe out there tomorrow and most of all enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.

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My FIL picked me up around 615pm on Friday night. We stopped to pick up a pizza he called for. We got there and they forgot to write up his ticket. We sat to wait for the pizza to be made and had a meatball parm sub and soda. Walked out with our pizza 20 minutes later and headed to camp. Everything was "on the house" BTW. 

My BIL and his friend were already there and 3sheets to the wind as there were beer bottles and shot glasses out. We ate and then they wanted me to drive up the road to visit some other guys about 1/4 mile up. We stayed there from 9 to about 1130 and had a great time. Got back to camp and played cards til 1230 and then hit the bunks. Alarm went off at 530 and amazingly, everyone, especially myself, got right up. It was about 35 degrees and very foggy. I headed out the door of the cabin about 630 and made the climb up the mountain to my favorite spot.

It was quiet so I felt like I was making a ton of noise moving the leaves next to my big Hemlock tree I stand under. The leaves were damp so walking wasn't too bad on the way in but those dry ones under the tree were amplified. I settled in and scanned the woods but visibility was limited due to the fog. It would roll in, and then a slight breeze would clear it out. At 750 I saw something moving  and it was a squirrel. He was on a mission and I paid no attention to him. A minute later I heard a noise in the leaves. I look and see the squirrel and then I see the tail end of a deer walking past the squirrel just behind him. I get the scope on the deer and see he meets the AR requirements but I am on the wrong side of the tree. I switch to the right side and get a better look and see his body is fairly large so I prepare to find an opening. The deer is now 45 to 50 yards away and he stops. I can see behind the shoulder in a small opening. I decide to "thread the needle" and ease the safety off and squeeze the trigger. The buck bounds twice to his left and is behind a tree looking past me to see where the noise came from. I missed. He steps out from behind the tree and I'm shaking but settle the crosshairs and again it all looks clear so I squeeze. He just stands there. Then he turns quartering away and is looking to run straight up the hill but is now free and clear of all the beech trees so I aim at the back of the ribs and squeeze as he steps and he jumps. This time I hit him but it was a high back leg shot found after he fell.  He then turns right towards me and is running full speed at me and his back end on the left is dragging and he is crashing into saplings and trees but runs by me at 15 yards and I put another in him quartering away and it hits true taking out the bottom of his heart. He stumbles once and then goes straight down. All this happened within 20 to 25 seconds but felt like an eternity. 

My right leg was shaking so bad I almost couldn't stay standing and my heart was racing. I waited about 5 minutes and gathered my back pack and spent brass and headed over to him. He was 25 yards away so no blood trailing was needed but there was a lot of it. Not proud of my shooting choices and those little beech twigs disappear in the scope but my third and fourth shot hit. The first two were definite misses. He has 7 legal points and the 8th just wouldn't hold my wedding band, which slipped off inside him while find dressing. That could have been bad.

Felt like he weighed 1000lbs as he got hung up on every rock and twig on the drag back to the cabin. At one point he had two 2" branches stuck in his rack like an X and I couldn't get him to budge a 1/4 inch. Shot at 7:55am and had him dressed and drug back to the cabin by 10am. Had a beer, took a nap, hung him around 12:30 when one of the guys came back for lunch and to see who took 4 shots, and cleaned up the cabin.

Went back out at 2 just to walk around and see if I could kick up anything to all the other guys. Nothing  panned out there. Ran to town and stopped by to see a member from here but he wasn't home. Went back to camp and played cards til 10:30 and fell soundly asleep. 

Slept in til 8 and was out the door hitting the snow covered hills by 820 Sunday morning. Got about 3 inches overnight.  Worked a few flats up the mountain and never cut a fresh track. Only hunted til 10:30 as we were heading home around noon. No one else shot anything but we did see a spike and a four point and 10 doe between 8 of us on both days plus my deer. Great weekend for sure and I feel good that the freezer is stocked back up. 

Almost forgot, this morning in the snow I saw this dark brown/black creature moving swiftly through the snow. I scoped it at over 75+ yards and all I could think of was a badger. It looked to be close to 30lbs. I had no clue what it was until I got home. It was a HUGE fisher. From the pics on the net, I had no idea how big those things can get. Says males are largest from 7 to 13 lbs but this thing was double that. Freakin cool as Heck to watch. I have pics on my trail cam and they are much slimmer and longer. This one looked like a badger or wolverine. 

Ill add pics from my phone in a minute so come back if they aren't in the post. 

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Edited by Zem18
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Nice job Zem. Congrats on a nice buck.

 Way to follow up on the initial shot. I get the shaking leg syndrome almost every time! Sorry we missed you guys. Next year? Lol

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Thanks Sean. Beautiful picture.

About 10 years ago my FIL and I hiked up but didn't make it to the ledges as we stopped when we got to the posted part of the trail owned by some gun club. We knew we could continue on but veered off to check things out. The land we are on now was sold and the new owner didn't know us and we almost lost it so we were exploring the state land as an alternative. 

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Thanksgiving day

Hunted at a friend's camp Thursday. We do drives so it was a 9am start time. Long story short, saw 10 deer today, 9 doe and 1 hurt large buck. I bumped the buck going in to sit on watch but had no tag. I could see he was hurt and should have mercy shot him to end his suffering but I didn't. I regretted it instantly. 

Made a plan for Friday morning to see if we could get back on the hurt buck. 

Friday 11.25.16

Was in a stand on my second bow property my buddy and I hunt. We have lots of cam activity and plenty of does which I am after. Was in a ladder stand by 6:30 and waiting for Sun up. About 7:45 I saw a doe about 80 yards out heading my way. At 70yds, she turned up hill and went away from me. A few minutes later two more followed her and then a fourth. No shot opportunity where they appeared and then disappeared. Sat for 2 hours and headed up to the camp from yesterday. Couple guys were already there sitting on stand so we worked out to them and pushed the area we saw the hurt buck yesterday. Within minutes he was bumped from his bed and the group was able to accomplish what we set out to do and end this deers suffering. 

Ill add a pic of him in a few. 

Went with the family and cut our Christmas tree today. Fun times waiting for the wife to make a decision. Thank goodness the local tree farmer asked me to do a shot of BlackBerry Brandy with him when I went to pay. I have a new favorite place to get my tree now. 

Processed a deer as well after dinner tonight. Took a few beers up and now I'm whooped. Back at it in the morning for a doe. More drives at 8am and then a hunters lunch at one of the camp members house. Love this time of year. 

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11.26.16

Third day in a row the wife hasn't "totally" nagged on me for hunting, of course until I got home. There were 10 of us this morning. I sat as a watcher on the first and fourth drive and was a driver on the second and third ones. I bumped 3 doe on the second drive and only heard them but never saw them. Fourth drive hadn't even started and a shot range out from the stand just below me about 100 yards. A 14yr old grandson of one of the members took a small doe. Only 8 doe seen today by all 10 of us. They had some good hiding spots today and we didn't push those to give them a little rest. Had lunch at one of the members houses afterwards. Beer, venison hotdogs, tenderloin, chips and some homemade Vodka. I was a good boy and sampled everything!!!

 

Taking tomorrow off to work on some DIY Christmas gifts and working on my 7pt Euro mount. Also have the 9pt to flesh out as it may be going to the bettle bin Tuesday. If it can't go there, I will boil at home and finish it up.  Ill post pics of all the progress here doing the Euros. Should be fun.

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