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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mid-Season at Long Ridge Deer Camp

It has been an interesting season in this part of the state. For beginners, I began to note early in the summer that most does had no babes, and if they did, only singles were seen. I have three cameras out 24/7  and was amazed at the lack of deer numbers compared with other years. In addition I noted not a single picture of a really good buck anywhere near our camp. These cameras were placed over mineral licks, clover fields, under apple trees, on food plots, and on well used deer trails. Maybe one six pointer over the summer, that was it. A five pointer on a regular basis, and on every camera I have up, no matter where it is placed, he manages to find it. So far only four of our hunters have scored, all does with the exception of an arrowed eight pointer. The last several weeks have been bucks only and we have seen none. Twenty eight deer have been seen by hunters from our stands so far, but all were does or undentifiable/no clear shot. This is not to say there are not great bucks out there. Below you see a great NH buck taken just East of here by an employee of one of our hunters. He took this deer by bow in an unscouted, unhunted new area! A great buck by any standards!
The parking lot below is beginning to fill up. It is nearly my favorite part of the hunting season, to be in camp when hunters are arriving and unloading gear, ATVs, and vittles. 
First night at camp, settling in after a great meal, drinks, campfire and company. 

Below, this hunter is on his way up the mountain to hunt, but not before looking wistfully (hopefully?) at a picture of a 2010 Long Ridge buck we had put on a banner to welcome hunters.
We always enjoy an hour of chat, cheese and drinks while potatoes bake and venison grills...

Catching up on a years news- oh, and don't be fooled by the water!
No pictures to add yet. The fourth hunter to score took a wounded deer, and  had to take a head shot so a picture would be out of the question. Head shots no problem for that veteran SWAT team member...
A late evening shot of camp.
This tree rub is NOT very impressive being only an inch through. But as I said, no major mature buck signs at all. I would bet this is by my little five pointer. Usually by this time of year we have major rubs on the edge of our old Christmas tree plantation. This year? None..
This is a wonderful place to sit. It looks out over a large bowl full of mature hardwoods. Shooting range close to 170 yards. I saw nothing this day except gray squirrels.
A vinegar venison stew was perfectly delicious, and had a half life of about five minutes...
While we have not been wildly successful yet this season, below you see my friend from Wisconsin, who is enjoying her second deer this year! Remember, she was the winner of last years blog picture contest where she correctly ID'ed a very blurred camera photo from LRDC. She was sent a special T-shirt prize and wore it on both hunts! Incidentally, when she finally found this guy dead, she found her Montec G5 T3 expandable blade still in the deer, and the blades had failed to open. She used the right spider retention clips, and this gal knows how to set them, so it was bad equipment. She was lucky to get this guy, and will be switching back to a fixed broadhead!
Some more wild game that was delicious. One package is Elk sausage, one is bear sausage, and wide flat one is Canada Goose sausage. All three were great, with a tad of mustard on them. I thought the Elk was the best! We also had a perfectly delicious Elk roast.
Our ground is still snow covered but we have lost most of it. The deer are hitting the fields and turnip plots at night time.

Relaxing at camp after supper. gun catalogs are always a hit!
Another crew headed to the top of the mountain!
So, while we haven't taken many deer, we've had an absolute ball, caught up on the past years events, had wonderful meals and companionship, and wonderful hunts! What could be better than that! Still one camp to go, then rifle season is over. After that I'll still have to weeks of archery season for a last ditch cold weather effort! I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Long Ridge Muzzle Loader Season Underway

Things are happening with our hunters! Three have already scored! The 1st hunter to get a deer took it with a bow on Duggers Field which turned out to be a dandy 8 point buck. Shot through the heart, he ran 20 yards. Then, as muzzle season opened, a LRDC hunter headed up Cass Mountain, while I, foolishly, headed for the East stand. Below you see my view early in the afternoon. Just to the upper left of the brush pile you can see a scrape. Next picture is a zoom in of it...

The picture below I took an hour later, when it had really begun to snow. It snowed so hard visibility was about 30 yards on my rangefinder.

While I was on stand and at a height of the storm, our veteran Vermont hunter spotted a deer on the Cass. She was 100 yards out, and suspiciously entering a field, when the round took both lungs. By the time she could be reached (she only ran twenty yards), she was almost completely covered with snow. There she is, below..

Later, when we all met back in camp, I was told that I had been called on radio for assistance in getting her off the mountain with my ATV. Alas, I did not have a radio with me, and a long hard drag was in store for this lucky hunter! You can see this handsome doe, back at camp below.
In all, we got over twenty inches of snow, and the next afternoon I took the Mid Stand, and you can see the fine view I had. I didn't really expect to see anything appear this soon after the storm, and in that light I was not disappointed!

After sitting in the Mid Stand the next day and seeing nothing I decided two days after the storm to go scouting. I found that all the deer were on the east side of the property, down low, and back on food plots and Oak stands in that area. I followed the tracks of a hunter from the day before, who was on the track of a deer. Interestingly enough, after about a quarter of a mile, the deer doubled back on this hunter and followed him for about 300 yards.  I got this picture of the deer's track on his boot print! Funny!

During this scouting outing, it got warm, nearly to forty degrees, and I had over dressed. Below I am in my snow camo on my return, quite overheated...

The next hunter to score is a veteran police sniper, who  took his doe on a quartering shot, straight through the heart. No pictures yet, but they will be coming...So far here is the board of 2011 lucky hunters in camp...

Let us know how YOU are doing out there, hunters! Jack
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