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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Almost Muzzle Loading Season, and How NOT to Book an Out of State Hunt...

Well people, this coming Saturday opens our muzzle loader season at Long Rindge. Saturday, Sunday and Monday are either sex days, and then until the regular firearms season it is bucks only...We've left the land undisturbed for the past two weeks, and yesterday for the last time for a bit I retrieved and changed both camera cards. The bear you see is up on the Far Ridge, and as the grass is about 7-8 inches tall, he is a hefty dude. Seems to come through about once a week.

The six point buck in the picture is an example of one we will NOT take under QDMS, but rather let him mature into a trophy mature animal. This is the first year I have imposed restrictions to eight pointers or up (there are plenty of them out there) so I expect it to be tough for hunters with unfilled tags at seasons end to pass on these guys. In the long haul it will pay..We are isolated enough here that pressure is relatively low around us so I am not too worried about someone else taking bucks on the interior.  In any case this coming weekend is a non-stayover weekend hunt. We'll hunt during the day, and then after dark gather at camp for hors d'oeuvres and drinks, and pictures of any deer taken, before heading out. The rules for this hunt are to be on afternoon stand no later than 3 PM, and do NOT come out at end of shooting light, but wait until dark. If a deer is taken, do not bring it out until dark. At that time, we can all assist in the chore.

A hunting friend who hunts primarily in Connecticut and the New York Catskills wrote me the other day. He had intended to get a jump on the season by booking a hunt in New Jersey, and did so, finding a guide service on the web. A relative neophyte to the world of big game hunting, he neglected to ask for references. The pictures you see above of the wooden stand without ladder,

the provided 'chair'

and the description of the area and hunting conditions are quite unbelievable. The living quarters were worse. One finds better digs at the most Northern Quebec caribou quests! I enclose in parentheses parts of his notes to me about this.
Hello, my friend. I thought I would fill you in on my latest 'hunting' adventure (nightmare) in New Jersey...although I am not even sure where to begin. The accommodations were basically a garage behind someone's house that had been outfitted to resemble some kind of a cabin. When we arrived we were greeted by our guide who promptly uttered "what kind of a$$holes show up at 11:45 pm?" We then proceeded inside where there were no blankets, pillows or anything (not that we would be inclined to use them after seeing the way the place was kept). Cigarette butts were scattered all over the floor and a half eaten frozen pizza was up on the counter in the 'kitchen' area. The running water was brown/rust colored and the sleeping area in the loft was complete with rat nests and low hanging rafters with rusty nails protruding in some spots.
The guide wanted to try some local spots so in the morning we were brought to our treestands. We were basically hunting 1/2 mile from elderly housing communities and strip malls. You could hear the car radios from nearby traffic. When we arrived at the location for my treestand it had been stolen so he decided to put me up in this...
Somehow I gut up the thing and then after my bow and gear was hoisted up I clung to the tree for dear life. I don't normally scare very easily but needless to say I didn't even get a chance to hunt as I tried desperately for two hours to figure out a way to get down...However, it was more of a situation where the guy I booked the trip with farmed out the guide services to someone else. SO, the pictures on the website, etc were not what we encountered. I have to say, though, that we laughed like hell all day and into the night. The one part of the story I forgot to tell you is that when I finally got down from the tree I decided to hunt in the same spot using a fallen tree as cover. I promptly dispensed one of my new Buck Bombs and as I did, I ended up ingesting a good 5 seconds of the blast (eyes, nose and mouth direct shot)....that just about sent me over the edge! The guys howled at that one....

I thought I would add a couple of more details to my treestand issue. The told me that there was a seat up there and to 'get comfortable'. Here is that beauty:
Finally, here is my look down (notice there is no ladder)

...Later, after I got down we were all picked up and went back to the garage. The guide decided that he and his son would try to do a deer drive (it was raining and there weren't may options left). As we got to his spot there were signs everywhere that said "CAUTION - SAFETY ZONE". We were within 450 feet of school property and any loaded gun or nocked arrow would result in a minimum $500 fine. Well, that was the end....we politely asked to go back to the 'camp' where we packed our stuff and indulged in some good 12 year scotch. We spent the night at a nice Hilton about 20 miles away and headed back to Connecticut on Friday morning.
I will never hear the end of this one from my friends....but, we will also never forget it."

He has learned! But being a bright upbeat guy, instead of brooding about it, he did the right thing..retired to a 1st class hotel, and enjoyed some good Scotch with his hunting buddy. I haven't pressed him for the name of the outfitter. That will come in time. About the time it takes me to pour half a quart of Glen Livet down his throat. In a way I envy him. He has Deer Camp fare to last thirty years. I can't match a story like that! Stay safe everyone, and good luck in your 2009 quest for the elusive Whitetail buck!


  1. Your friend really had a crazy amazing hunt....I can't believe that stand...horrible! I don't know how he got up there...what a hunting story. He has a good one to tell for the rest of his life! Thanks for sharing the pictures. That outfitter sucks! Glad they got out of there - enough is enough already!

    PS: Goodhunting to you this season Jack!

  2. Well, interesting reading to say the least! I especially loved the NJ escapade. I could picture the whole thing, and it made me laugh.
    Sounds like this coming weekend will be a great success. Wish I could join you guys for a cocktail apres hunt. Very nice blog too by the way.

  3. Nice post - deer hunting pictures ..Keep Posting

    deer hunting pictures


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