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Thursday, October 27, 2011

2011 hunts Have Started at Long Ridge!

Things are happening here, finally! As I write it is snowing like crazy, and we'll get a few inches. The ground is already white. I don't expect it to stick, but snow always accentuates anticipation of cool fall hunts, cold weather, and all the things that go along with that, including toasty camps, roaring fires, and hunting companionship. Already, one of our camp hunters has taken a nice seven point buck  down below deer camp where we have permission to hunt additional property. One shot through the heart, and he ran twenty yards. That always makes it easy.I have been out on five bow hunts and have seen 13 deer which is not a bad start to any season. Last year I had seen a few more at this time, but I had been out several times more. My first hunt took place in the Mid stand, just on the upper edge of the Far field. Just before dark a nice buck literally ran from the woods out onto the field, and shortly thereafter two does followed. Usually it is the other way around. In any case, after several minutes the does got nervous and headed back into the woods. The buck paid them no attention and grazed until it was too dark to see.  Just before I decided to climb down and sneak out of there he triggered my camera on the apple tree. There you see him below. He was over 80 yards from me, so no shot possible, but it was nice to see the three deer. While I would take him with a bow, he is off limits during firearms season (QDMA).

This picture of camp was taken an hour ago when it first started to snow. Camp is ready for hunters, all the wood is in, propane tanks topped off, and bunks ready. 
Here is the same five pointer seen on my first hunt, and the only consistent buck on camera all summer and fall. He has been seen on all cameras.
On my second hunt, I went to the East stand, which is a double twenty footer up in a pine tree. About 5 PM, I saw deer slowly feeding toward me, and waited for them to reach the opening. Three good does, two with smallish babes heaved into sight. All does were archery takers, but I don't take moms with babes...I know, I KNOW, the babes by this time of year will survive..but I just don't do it. The third doe was a big one, and a taker, but never got closer than 45 yards, a distance I am not entirely comfortable shooting at. I watched the two does and babes right below me for twenty minutes or so before they scented or heard something up on the ridge and skedaddled. For another hour I could hear them around, feeding and such, but no shot presented. But what a cool hunt!

Nasty big coyote - I would wager that he took care of a good share of the fawn crop this spring. If he comes into the sights of any LRDC hunter, he is done!

The third hunt I decided to take a stand on the new East Ridge  stand, just a year old. It came in well this year, and while changing camera cards on it three weeks ago, a doe walked right in on me. She bolted when she saw me, but I just sat on my ATV and five minutes later she was back. This time I spooked her clear off the ridge. Without a doubt, bigger than the doe I took last year that dressed out at 141 pounds! A taker. So I was hopeful on this third hunt, but sat for hours, and not a single creature, not even a squirrel came in!
Ever feel like kicking up your heels like this? 

Fourth time out I took the Far Ridge stand, by far, my favorite. Not nearly as productive as the Far stand, but always unpredictable, and far out there. Sat for some hours before I heard what I thought was a deer moving through the brush toward me. I was fairly certain, but several minutes later a red squirrel came bouncing along under me and I guessed it was making the noises I had heard. Wrong! A minute later I carelessly started shooting ranges and moving with my rangefinder when I heard a snort, and then a blow. To my right I saw a deer moving away, seeing just the legs. It never stopped, and left the area. No idea how big, or what sex. The last hour of light was quiet.

Check the five pointer in the picture below, from the right side. If you blow this up, you'll see an anomaly in his right antler which explains why he is not a six pointer. Wonder what caused that!
My latest, and fifth hunt, I again took the Mid stand where I had seen the two does and the five pointer. Nothing. Four hours of chirps and squirrels and that was it. And you know what? With the Canadas passing overhead Southbound, and the falling leaves all around me, who needed deer to see beauty? 
My five pointer, on alert!
And off with him!
I name this deer 'Curious'...

Is he telling us something?

This doe has an interesting pattern on her neck, and has allowed us to ID her in multiple locations.
Hoping she doesn't choke on that apple!
East Ridge stand and the turkeys feeding in peace without that pesky buck chasing them off. 

Happy hunting folks, and good luck!
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