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Tilting at Windmills--Part III


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Billy , in Mass , in my neighbors yard behind my house , the other day during the storm . 

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OK!!  I am NO LONGER the worst deer hunter in Massachusetts!       Well.......  actually---- I guess I am just a good guide.   As mentioned above, my young nephew has a n

I sat in my spot for a couple hours yesterday afternoon.  Nothing was moving, but there were lots of tracks around.  I have a few more days to go.   On my way back into the house, I picked u

"Tilting at windmills" Verb: (intransitive) To attack imaginary enemies. (intransitive, by extension) To go on a wild-goose chase; to persistently engage in a futile activity.  

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sharptail grouse
1 hour ago, gunsrus said:

Billy , in Mass , in my neighbors yard behind my house , the other day during the storm . 

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Did you shoot him ? :D

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Talking Northeast/New England and even then deer behavior can change state to state, county to county depending on a number of factors. Moon, cold, snow, rain, ice, pre-rut, peak rut, post-rut, whatever. We will never fully understand and figure out Deer behavior. The best way to kill a deer is to be out after them whenever possible. Do some bleats every 15 minutes or so followed by a few grunts, if only to break up any boredom. That doesn't spook deer and might, just might, draw them in out of curiosity or challenge a nearby buck. Your odds increase the first hour of legal light in the morning and the last hour in the afternoon before end of legal light. Sure Deer get killed all day long but they move more at the beginning and end of day...unless spooked or pushed....and roam all over the damn place in the dark. That I know.

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sharptail grouse
9 minutes ago, Brad Eden said:

Talking Northeast/New England and even then deer behavior can change state to state, county to county depending on a number of factors. Moon, cold, snow, rain, ice, pre-rut, peak rut, post-rut, whatever. We will never fully understand and figure out Deer behavior. The best way to kill a deer is to be out after them whenever possible. Do some bleats every 15 minutes or so followed by a few grunts, if only to break up any boredom. That doesn't spook deer and might, just might, draw them in out of curiosity or challenge a nearby buck. Your odds increase the first hour of legal light in the morning and the last hour in the afternoon before end of legal light. Sure Deer get killed all day long but they move more at the beginning and end of day...unless spooked or pushed....and roam all over the damn place in the dark. That I know.

I would only add - find a good pinch point of cover, a creek or a well used trail and sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Prepare to sit and then do it. Bring in xtra clothes, food, a comfortable cushion, hand warmers -  whatever. I use shooting sticks and situate myself such that the rifle is set up in the sticks - all I have to do is lower my cheek onto the stock and click the safety when a buck shows up. Put in your time and let them come to you. My best days have been the ones where I was miserably cold - up until I wasn't because I was standing over a nice buck. I think a lot of deer hunters move around too much because they are bored sitting in one place. If you can overcome this and put in your time you will see nice deer during the rut. I like using a bleat call even more than the grunt tube. The one I use is a very simple to use bleat "can" call. It works amazingly well. I think mine is a Primos, but there are likely others.If you haven't tried this type of call its worth doing.

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Samuel Hoggson

Wind matters more than any other meteorological variable.  Start of a storm can be golden.

 

Time out there - that's the elephant.  But I'd much rather miss the first hour of light, than the last.

 

Mid-day can work, if you know where they are and have enough room to shoot.  Such places are typically some distance from food sources.  Tough to sneak into where they're intermittently bedded or inactive, tho.  So best to stay on such a stand all day.  Which means bringing clothing layers.  Snacks/liquids.  Book to read.  Pee bottle.

 

Put differently, if you focus too much on hunting over food sources you'll only see them early and late.  I hate watching the clock. 

 

Too much is made of tree stands.  Ground works fine and, if anything, your scent radius is smaller.  We used lawn chairs and shot off bipods for years before the Boss built us the Taj and the Box.  A blanket breaks up your silhouette as well as a portable ground blind.  That assumes you can be motionless.     

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Always enjoy this annual thread because until last year I was there! Since I get one every 20 years, I will be 90 the next time!

 

However.....apparently you are looking for a big one because I would have made an attempt at the ones in the pics!!!

 

Best wishes!

 

Tom

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16 hours ago, Samuel Hoggson said:

Time out there - that's the elephant.  But I'd much rather miss the first hour of light, than the last.

 

Yeah, me too on this...SelbyLowndes

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Two out of three of my biggest Maine rifle bucks. (Over 200lbs dressed and well racked) were taken at the last scintilla of legal dusky light. A switch goes off and the big boys step out a lot of the time. The third was taken within the first few minutes of legal light in the morning. But generally I would agree that although first thing in AM is prime time. Late afternoon is the magic time. All of my bow deer have been taken in late afternoon, but then again, I hunt more in afternoon than morning with bow. Taking a deer in the morning makes the whole ordeal so much easier. You can take your time blood tracking if needed, you can take your time field dressing, and dragging and tagging etc. In late afternoon I'm gutting with a headlamp on my head or a flashlight clenched in my teeth and scrambling to find a buddy to help drag, (you can't leave a deer in the woods overnight on the ground, around here, coyotes will find it.) and often times the tagging stations are closed when I finally get it it out so it stays in truck all night and looks like a pretzel hanging the next day after being tagged.

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Michael Stenstrom

Keep at it. I would say the rut is pretty much done. Some fawn does might cycle in if they have gained enough weight, but that tends to be further south, though you are further south than me. Focus on those oaks and acorns. Last light is probably best, though I like early morning best for the same reason Brad stated. I will say I had a couple of forkhorns show up to bed around 8:30 last Saturday so they will feed for a while after dawn once it gets colder and hunting pressure drops. 

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Freaking work.....

 

I did make it our for a couple hours this afternoon.  Absolutely beautiful in the woods but nothing stirring.  Perhaps moving at night in this bright moon?  I did see a couple sets of tracks in the area which is nice but nothing on the trail cameras.  Looks like Saturday will be mostly a washout but there could be a break in the afternoon.  Muzzle loader starts Monday--I sure would like to get one with a patched round ball! 

 

 

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sharptail grouse
On 12/9/2019 at 7:57 AM, Brad Eden said:

In late afternoon I'm gutting with a headlamp on my head or a flashlight clenched in my teeth 

Now add the knowledge that there are grizzlies still nosing around trying to "fill in the corners" before they go to sleep for the winter....🐻:o     I like shooting animals in the morning too!

 

Atticus - I'm going to be pretty disappointed if you don't come up with one

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1 hour ago, sharptail grouse said:

 

 

Atticus - I'm going to be pretty disappointed if you don't come up with one

 

HA!  To quote Wesley in the princess bride --get used to disappointment.

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OK!!  I am NO LONGER the worst deer hunter in Massachusetts!

 

 

 

Well.......  actually---- I guess I am just a good guide.

 

As mentioned above, my young nephew has a new found interest in hunting.  He has been bird hunting with me and has come out deer hunting 3 times now.   That's right, 3 times. 

 

He had to work this morning and arrived at the house just as the rain stopped.  We headed out behind the house at 145PM. I gave him the choice of areas thinking he may want to walk around but we decided on him being in the spot on the hill 200 yds behind the house and I'd go to the second spot a couple hundred yards away across the brook.   We both saw new tracks on the way in.  Sure enough 20 minutes after I got settled, I saw movement heading towards his side of the brook.  I could just make out a couple does in my binos.  I texet him there were deer heading his way.

 

Boom.......boom......boom. 

 

I laughed out loud and sent him a text asking if he got anything.  I then texted Sharon in the house that it was our nephew who was shooting.  She responded with a text saying she could see three does running through the woods.

 

A minute went bye.  Boom.

 

Then my phone rings---Uncle Billy I got a 4 point!  Great! I said.  I'll walk over. 

 

I called Sharon on the way and said he had shot a 4 point.  She said she was on her way out to see.

 

I walked up to my nephew and his deer along the brook--he was pretty excited and so was I.  Then I noticed his deer was a very nice 8 point! He didn't know we count both sides.  He had only been in his spot for 30 odd minutes when the gave a bleat with the can and heard a grunt in reply.  He looked up and saw the buck at 25 yards at the bottom of the hill and shot--missed-- deer took a step--shot--missed--deer stood still--shot again and hit /  the buck leaped in the air and took off running but went down inside 50 yards.  He applied a coup de grace but it wasn't really needed as we soon found out.  He had made a heart shot.

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Time for a pic (I'm not putting his face out there)

 

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Then we field dressed the deer while Sharon went into the house and grabbed a sled and other gear (I sent her back and fourth 3 times for stuff) and she also grabbed one of the trail cameras. 

 

There he is a minute or two before the action started. 

 

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There were a few does following him!??

 

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We dragged him back to the house --greatly assisted by the sled Sharon brought out and the snow and loaded it onto his truck.  Unfortunately the checking station was closed so he couldn't get a weight. He'll run it into his local butcher tomorrow.

 

So maybe my real calling is as a guide?

 

I have 2 more weeks to fill my own tag but I don't think I've ever enjoyed an afternoon of hunting more that today!

 

 

 

 

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