Deer season is over in New Hampshire, and Long Ridge Deer Camp is now silent and cold. The best hunting weather comes just as season ends this year. It was 6 degrees this morning and is 14 degrees as I write this afternoon. Perfect! We had three really cool camp weekends this year, all for firearms. Only five of our group got deer, and I was not one of them! I hunted a total of 38 days, which included bow, black powder, and rifle. I saw plenty of deer, perhaps 30 or so, but early on decided to take only a good buck. Mistake. Confident that should things get a little tight later in the season I could always sling an arrow into an easy doe from the Far Stand, they fooled me completely. By mid-season the deer were pretty well nocturnal. The does we saw late in the season are off limits, so that cut our take also. I did hunt faithfully for two weeks after the last camp, with bow, but none were within decent range of a 60 pound Fred bear...oh well, I still think I enjoyed this season more than any other. Now, what will I do differently next year? First, I'll start hunting in September when bow season opens. This year I started in mid-October because I didn't want to hunt when it was warm. Mistake. Second, I will take a doe with bow first thing, for the freezer. Then I can get fussy, and play in the woods for the next two months. Other than that? No changes. The mast was heavy this year and the deer never hit the fields or plots until late. Next year may be different.
Below hunters are gearing up for a hunt during second camp.
Late evening camp shot...
Evening campfire scene - a skunk talking to a fox...
Venison - what else?
There are dishes to do in every deer camp in the world!
There are as many opinions at this table as there are stars in the universe!
Don't go without your Scent Killer!
December 15th, last day bow hunt...saw nothing, and tossed all my gear from the ATV to be sorted out later. I was beat.
Last page of 2011 hunters log..in upper right hand corner each page maintains the number of deer seen while hunting...31 this year.
Below are some camera pictures from late in the season. Below a takeable buck on the Far Ridge Stand, but in the dark!
Up on the mountain where Fish and Game folks planted these shrubs for the turkey and deer that abound, we found this three foot high hornets nest. These are the big black and white ringed ones that startle us with their aggression if disturbed. Imagine bumping into this thing in hot weather? Yeesh!
The buck below was on the Far Ridge during daylight. I hunted the East plot that day!
Lots of does on the Far Ridge too.
Meanwhile, on the East Stand, we have a buck at 2 PM. I hunted that stand that afternoon but got there at 3 PM. They are smart, we are stupid.
Three hours after I left this stand. This buck would be in my twenty yard pin!
Guess who always shows?
This traditional hunter is unknown to me, and apparently does not know he was on camera! Nice long bow!
More after hours visitors!
I can't tell if this ear belongs to a buck or a doe, but obviously did not miss the camera like the hunter above. I also note that this was a daytime takeable deer.
Here I am coming up from Walkers stand an hour later having seen no deer down there. They are smart, we are stupid! (and I love it!)
More shots of the East Stand...
The picture below is interesting because it is actually three different ones, a gray fox and a doe and whatever in the third. I don't know how this Cuddeback does this but it happens every so often...
The hunter who put in the most hunting hours at camps this year won this Long Ridge T-Shirt. Undoubtedly, he'll wear this next season and get three deer like my Wisconsin huntress friend!
So, fellow hunters, normally I would say see you deer season. But no, see you in January! We have so many coyotes here on camera, and suffered such a fawn loss this year that I am determined to thin them out. We may even do some night hunts! In any case, I give thanks for a wonderful season, and wonderful company which I already miss terribly. Of course, now I have to start gearing up for my next favorite time of the year, which is snowmobiling! I'll keep you posted. Any ideas for a neat T-Shirt contest? Let me know! Have a wonderful Christmas, and a wonderful 2012! Jack