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My 2011 Deer Hunts

Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:16 pm

For Hunt 21, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Bullie's deer camp on Grenada Lake, Saturday, October 29. We squirrel hunted all morning until lunch with Jiggs, a very good mountain cur squirrel dog. It was a cold, crisp morning with no wind, great for squirrels and Jiggs made a least a dozen trees. We managed to make 7 of the squirrels run out of their hiding spots to give us shot opportunities. We put four of the tree rats out of the seven we saw on the ground for Jiggs. One of the squirrels who was injured but not dead wrapped himself around her snout when she tried to fetch him and gave her a bite on the nose. After that, Jiggs was pretty ticked off at the squirrel kingdom and wanted to find every one of them in the woods for us to kill.

On the way into the woods early that morning, when we turned a corner into a green field, we flushed three bucks out of the treeline who fled across the field. The middle buck in the lineup was probably a legal shooter but the other two were not.

Although I hunted in a very pretty mixed hardwood and pine open bottom where the ground was littered with acorns for the afternoon deer hunt, there were no hungry deer in my territory. Bullie however saw three does about 100 yards out in a food plot he was watching.

It was a great day overall which I truly enjoyed because I was hunting in my original home territory where I had many pleasant memories of past hunts. For the squirrel hunt, another forum member, MIB, joined us and I got the pleasure of meeting and visiting with him. It's always fun to hunt with forum members and to get to know everyone better.

An added bonus was that the hunting camp was made from a very old, primitive log home axe hewn out of solid timbers. I "married into" the original family who first settled the territory when it was still Native American land. In fact, the Yalobusha County (from which Grenada County was carved out) history book records that one of my ex-wife's ancestors was the "first white child" born in that territory. Many of the place names from that period were named after her ancestors as they were the ones to establish those early villages. How all this relates to the hunting camp is that the deer camp was built by tearing down the "Leverette homeplace" then moving it to the deer camp site and rebuilding it for a deer camp. That house was the original homestead of the great grandmother of some of my ex-wife's cousins who still live in the area. It's a really cool deer camp for sure!
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:26 pm

uploadfromtaptalk1320003063253.jpg


Hunt 22, Sunday, October 30. Cold, calm winds, and quiet. Great day for deer movement and today there was plenty of deer on their feet and browsing for acorns. My hunting partner, Sam, was in the woods about 6:30 but due to some leg cramp trouble yesterday, I was "slow moving" and was a little late getting to my stand. Sam had seen three does Friday afternoon on the north end so he set up again there, hoping for a repeat. He did see two does feeding in the back yard of one of the homes bordering my east property boundary about 10:45.

At almost the same exact time, I saw three deer step into the new shooting lane down on the south end where I was. These were all different deer. My deer were in view at 10:46 AM and so were were both looking at deer feeding at that weird time of day in broad daylight. My three deer were a large healthy mother doe and two decent sized fawns. Like the other deer, they stepped out first into the backyard of one of the subdivision houses fringing my land and a vacant lot which had two oaks dropping acorns everywhere. There is no fencing at this location and the new shooting lane give the deer a great entrance to and from my land, along with lots of fresh dirt to make seeing the acorns easy. They don't have to paw through any leave.

In the photo, only two of my deer were visible. I could never get all three of them in the same photo. The mother doe did slowly start heading my way coming down the shooting lane which is exactly what I wanted them to do. However she stopped at about 60 yards out and would not come any closer. For the compound bow shooters she offered a challenging but completely broadside standing still shot several times. For my traditional recurve, she offered nothing except photo opportunity. That is what makes traditional archery such a huge thrill. You have to be patient to get those close up shots you need.

The deer did not feed on down the lane toward my food plot. Instead they moved south into the woods. I kept waiting for them to perhaps head toward the creek or otherwise come into an area where I might get a shot. However by that time Sam's deer had disappeared and he left his stand to walk my way down the north trail. Sam did not see any of the text messages I frantically had sent him telling him to NOT come out of his stand at the agreed upon 10:30 time frame. So on his approach into the food plot, the mother doe busted him, snorted twice, and I heard all three deer run off. We did not see them again.

That brings my sightings on my land up to 8 deer so far. Definitely getting better with the colder weather, the new moon, and "acorn rain!"
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:30 pm

Friday. Nov. 4. Wind gusting briskly. Cool. Lots of leaves on the ground and some fresh tracks in the moist dirt. In the stand at 5:15 pm. First hunt since last Sunday so the deer have not been pressured.

The rain has helped my plot green up again and grow some. It looks much better. Would be a good time for a deer kill.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:39 pm

The wind finally laid down, with only a light breeze now and then. Hunt 23 then got much better. I took Mija with me this afternoon just so she could enjoy the outdoors and she roamed the woods, the food plot, the ravine, and even went off down the north trail a ways. She is about 7 months old now and pretty much knows the routine of my hunts as well as the territory. She also enjoys hunting now on her own for whatever things she can catch. Since she can climb up and down into the tree stand, I just allow her to go where she pleases. At dark she knows I will be leaving so she returns on her own without me having to call her.

At 6:15 pm two does stepped out to feed at the end of the new shooting lane. They were feeding under the two oaks in the backyard of one of the subdivision houses. This was the exact same spot where I saw the doe and two fawns feed last Saturday morning. The deer are wearing out the oaks they prefer and this is a hot spot. It does however really endanger the deer to be as visible as they are from the houses or the street. A passing SUV saw them feeding, stopped, backed up, and watched them for a minute. There are unfortunately a lot of folks in this neighborhood that will take pot shots at deer from their vehicles if they think they can get away with it. Of course, the deer are no safer if they had come into my food plot to eat as I would be shooting at them there. They just live in a high hazard area!

I watched these two feed for a full 45 minutes. They occasionally would retreat about 20 yards down the shooting lane or go into the woodline for a few minutes but they soon came back out and resumed gobbling acorns like crazy. In fact, I had to wait until after dark before leaving my stand as they were still feeding when shooting hours were over. I could see their outlines as they occasionally moved into the path of a floodlight on the house. They did not come my way however so I did not get a shot.

I guess I am going to have to offer to rake my neighbor's yard for free and carry all the acorns over to my food plot in order to get all these deer to stay out of his yard and eat in range of my stand!

This does bring my total up to 10 deer that I have personally seen so far this season on my land. It's still running lower than previous years but I have begun seeing more deer since the weather turned cooler and the moon phase changed. The shorter daylight is helping bring them out earlier too.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:41 pm

Hunt 24 was a non eventful 2 hour hunt saturday afternoon from an improvised ground blind. Too windy and noisy. Saw no deer.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:48 pm

Hunt 25. Sunday afternoon And back to normal time. 73 degrees. Wind gusting to 20 MPH. Not good conditions but bumped one walking in. Hope to see more.

On a high embankment sitting 20 yards inside the woods from the NE corner of my food plot. Got an overlook of bedding and cover for the deer. Might catch one moving through.

uploadfromtaptalk1320619959960.jpg
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:39 pm

I envy the deer for being able to see about 300 degrees while standing in one position. Humans cannot see more than half that amount of what is going on around them at any one time without moving their head. However, I have long believed humans possess a "sixth sense" and can, at times, become aware of what that sixth sense is saying.

Along about 5 pm, for some unexplained reason, I got this odd sensation there was something behind me. I slowly turned my head in time to see a deer strolling across the plot from east to west and on into the woods. There was too much brush in the way for any kind of shot and of course I had to stand up and turn around in order to be in position in case the deer headed my way. By the time I did that, she had moved on into the woods headed down to the creek. I did not see her any more but that brought my total of deer seen this season on my land up to an even dozen with two so far seen today. Had I been in my stand instead of in a different spot today, I probably would have gotten a shot opportunity at her.

I resumed hunting, thinking this was not so bad after all despite the wind. Actually, the wind had begun to lay down and things were much calmer. An inquisitive squirrel circled until he got to the tree I was leaning against and then jumped into it, peering down at me from about 15 feet above. This was the second time this same squirrel had repeated that same pattern. I made a mental note to put him in the stew pot soon.

At dark, I packed up and moved quietly back into the food plot, carefully easing up to a point where I could see down the new shooting lane where the deer I have been seeing feeding typically have been. Sure enough, one big fat doe was down at the very end of the shooting lane browsing under the moonlight and the light of a floodlight on the house bordering my property. I stood behind a tree where she could not see me and watched her for a while. When some people pulled up in a car across the street, she went back in the woods and I used that as my chance to cross the clearing and head on home without her seeing me.

At least I got to see three separate deer this afternoon bringing my total up to 13 deer sightings, even though I was just not in the right place at the right time for a shot. My time is coming when one of them is going down. I've got this feeling it is about to happen soon.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:03 pm

Hunt 26 was Monday pm from a ground blind in easy range of where the deer have been feeding nearly every afternoon....except this particular day! Saw nothing at all.

Hunt 27 is a 1 hour hunt from my main stand this afternoon. Light winds gusting from the SE and very warm. I am providing dinner for several mosquitoes. Cool front and rain coming so hoping deer will feed early.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:52 pm

Hunt 27 was Tuesday under windy condition. Bumped a doe going in then got a glimpse of a doe walk across the food plot later...course I was in a ground stand in the woods and had no shot. On the way out a fat doe was feeding at the end of the shooting lane. Three deer seen but no chance of a shot.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:58 pm

Hunt 28. Friday Nov. 11 @ 4:45 pm. Very calm and 64 degrees. Lots of acorns on the ground and the food plot looks much better. Just need some deer. Saw a doe with 2 fawns in my side yard at noon today. That makes 16 deer seen so far on my land.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:17 am

Hunt 29. Saturday November 12. Trying a different approach today. I downloaded an apparently for my. Galaxy phone called Time2Hunt and am trying the peak noon hunt period it suggests. The ad supported version is free. I really like this app so far.

Very pretty day. Huge amount of acorns in my food plot. So far only light winds. Just relaxing and having fun hunting today. Sure is nice.

Here is the view out the east window down the shooting lane.

uploadfromtaptalk1321114935648.jpg


And a view out the back window to the south.

uploadfromtaptalk1321114706810.jpg
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:23 pm

Shortly after writing that the wind was not bad yet, someone flipped the switch on the wind machine and a mini-tornado started blowing. Leaves and acorns were raining down everywhere. I am very glad to see the leaves being blown off the trees as this is making the woods much more barren and the game more visible. The downside is the deer know they are more exposed and with gun season now open and more noise and humans in the woods, they become very nocturnal. It only gets harder from here to see deer during daylight until the rut begins.

I closed up shop in my stand and left shortly after 1 pm. The wind was just way too intense. But it was a nice, warm day so I used the free time to finish up the construction of Blind #3 which I was building at Rattlesnake Crossing. I got the plywood cut for the floor, the iron frame drilled, and the plywood screwed down.

I took Mija with me so she could have fun romping in the woods. She loves to go and races down the trails at 90 mph leaping anything that gets in her way.

As usual, I got out to the blind and forgot something I needed...my drill bits. So I hiked back, fetched the bits, and returned. Altogether I made three round trips to and from my stands today, all walking. Normally that is not a problem for me but I suffer from heel spurs and my left heel was giving me a lot of trouble today, making walking unpleasant. This is when I need my ATV!

My maintenance guy who works for me got the ATV a couple weeks ago and has gotten it back running again. The carb was the major problem. It's the same problem I had with a lawn mower carb...damaged from using gas with Ethanol. I bought this ATV used and it is quite obvious the guy who owned it put a lot of ethonol gas through this machine. But it has been cleaned, a basic tune up given to the ATV, and a new battery installed. It's running again and I hope to get it back before gun season opens, although there are a few more things we are doing to it to get it in peak shape. Fortunately there is a station nearby that still sells gas without ethanol. I will NEVER put anything else in any engine with a carburator in it as I have seen first hand how that stuff destroys the seals and cruds up a carb.

By the time it got dark, I had the floor installed in the blind, my bucket stool in place, and two sides of the stand draped with landscaping fabric for concealment. Brush pretty much conceals the other side and one side will be mosty open for a small entrance into the blind. However, I may add some more fabric tomorrow and some carpet padding for the floor to muffle any sounds.

I'm pretty pleased with this blind and really expect to kill a deer from it. It's in a good spot overlooking the crossing and will be good anytime the wind is from the north which is often in the winter. If the wind is calm in the morning, I may give this new blind a shakedown run.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:42 am

Squirrel #1 dies at 7:25 am on Hunt 32. Tuesday November 15. Mija and I have been in the stand at the food plot about an hour. No deer so far so I remove the tree rat for amusement. Mija is restless and hungry despite wolfing down an entire can of cat food before the hunt. She serves as a hated decoy to lure the squirrels out of hiding and it works well.

It's calm with only a slight breeze moving my wind streamer 20 yards out. About 65 degrees. Hearing more squirrel chatter so am hoping to put a few in the pot today.

Hunt 30 was a walk to the food plot Sunday afternoon. A nice sized deer was standing in the plot as I arrived at the footbridge. I could not be sure but it may have been the young spike Buck I saw a couple weeks ago.

Hunt 31 was a short set up in a ground blind on the shooting lane. No deer seen.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:53 am

Breeze is picking up to about 3 MPH from the SE. Everyone but me is at work so it is very quiet. Got a little doe pee on a scent wick to help out. Good time for deer to show up.

Mija is finally taking a nap.

uploadfromtaptalk1321365505610.jpg
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:06 pm

Hunt 33 was a non event 45 minutes sitting on the shooting lane before dark. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Hunt 34. Wednesday November 16. Left the house after rains earlier today and walked down the west trail today. The west trail is much wider and runs along the upper creek bank. With the wet leaves I was able to skirt the woods and get to my stand from a seldom used direction. 10 to 15 MPH wind blowing hard from the north pushes my scent behind me. Hope this lets me be in my food plot stand completely undetected. Put out my scent wick also. Maybe some deer will move before dark.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:42 am

Wow. It is easy to get behind on journal posts. Hunt 35 was a Thursday am hunt with no deer seen.

Friday was a heavy work day but Sam my bow hunting partner saw six deer feed under his climber. All were too young except a mature doe that kept her distance. That made me have to sneak out in the pm for Hunt 36 but I saw nothing.

Hunt 37 was early am Saturday for gun season. Despite hunting nearly all daylight hours the wind was not helpful and the closest I got was in the late afternoon.

I put out doe pee at my new #3 blind and had one coming in on a string in 30 minutes. Likely a Buck but brush was too thick to see. I could hear him walking in toward me but he spooked as I move to get into position. Four snorts later he had put 100 yards between us never to return.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:13 am

Sunday November 20. Wind starts up immediately after dawn and is gusting up to 10 MPH. Hunt 38 looks to be another discouraging day. But I am up at 4:45 and take a stand anyway.

Not happy with the wind I decide to return to blind #3 and watch the creek crossing as at least the wind wont be as big a factor. It is swirling from several directions but mostly from the south taking the doe owe scent up the creek. That is OK.

Within minutes I hear four footed animals steps headed in to the scent. I say a little prayer for a clean kill and get ready to drop the Buck from yesterday. Several footstep now say there are several animals headed down the bank to cross. I'm ready and can soon see the yellow head of the first lab mix appear followed by a female of like kind and a overgrown yorkie mix.

I scope out all three house dogs but only one is collared. They don't find any deer here and so the return from where they came. It is 8:03 am. Not good known loose dogs are prowling for deer.

When I arrived today I discovered the start of a new beaver pond 10 foot north of the crossing. The lazy beaver has made fast work by using branches and limbs I cut for shooting lanes. Here is a photo of his work.

uploadfromtaptalk1321801434084.jpg


About 10 minutes after the dogs leave I catch a glimpse of the beaver gliding through the water. I snap off a quick shot and hit at the water line near his belly. All that is visible is his back above the water line so I may have let some air out of him. I'll check at the end of my hunt. Hopefully I got him.

Things have been quiet since then but no deer yet. Lots of wind is not good. Might go check out the beaver just to stretch my legs. Mija is asleep at my feet so I know nothing is moving anywhere nearby.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:16 am

Another hour has passed and nothing has moved...except me. I moved into Blind #2 which I reconstructed 4 years ago. It is an open air platform about a 12 feet up but on the west side of rattlesnake crosswind. It is about 50 yards up the creek from my new blind but has a great view south down the creek. It looks right over the new beaver pond. Here is the view.

uploadfromtaptalk1321805142199.jpg


The beaver was no where to be found so I likely missed. But from this blind I wlll be shooting fish in a barrel. I may let him live a while and build a nice pond as this is a great location for one. I can then kill him after he finishes the work.

I want him to cut and remove a lot of the. Vegetation along the crossing saving me from having to do it. Plus wood ducks use this spot each winter so a pond would be good for them. The best benefit is it would provide an all year easy crossing for me below the dam.

I did some minor work on the blind and will clear the shooting lane a bit on my way out. Did not bring a snack and will be ready for lunch whenever the pizza Guy can find my stand.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:50 pm

ARGG! :bash: The dang smart phone keeps changing words I type, but misspell, to other words. Very annoying!
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:17 pm

I'm tired, but I did have a complete weekend with NO WORK or NO PHONE CALLS to deal with. I think this is the first complete weekend off to where I could simply kick back, relax, and hunt in months. It wasn't the best conditions for hunting but I got in plenty of time in the woods anyway.

This afternoon it really got just plain HOT. I did not even wear a shirt into the woods as my mesh camo was enough. I hate sweating while trying to deer hunt. Needless to say that makes busting me easy for the deer despite showering with scent away soap and doing other things to reduce my scent. I did not see any deer this afternoon.

But I did attract a squirrel and a bobcat with my deer scent this afternoon. So far the deer scent has been highly effective in luring in any and everything that smells it. It brought in a buck yesterday but I never got a shot and today it brought in three dogs, a squirrel, and a bobcat. It may have even brought in the beaver that I shot at.

Since I forgot my smartphone when I went out this afternoon, I got bored sitting on the stand and decided to finish flagging the rest of the north trail. I had about half of it left to flag. While I know the trail well, it is a long walk back after dark and much harder to spot the landmarks with my small LED flashlight that I use. But after flagging it well, I was able to easily walk completely out tonight in the dark without using any flashlight at all. I prefer walking out in the dark anyway as it attracts very little attention and gives me practice in night manuevers. I believe it also puts a greater fear in the animals that live on my land of me in that they don't know what to make of a human that walks through the woods at night as they do without any lights, never talking, and who knows every single inch of my woods as well as they do. They are so accustomed to noisy humans, humans using lights, and humans stumbling and crashing into things at night that they have to notice I am very different. I like to keep the animals on their toes!

I also found a great spot for a natural ground blind and did a little work on setting one up. The blind faces a large buck rub that was very actively used last year and is on a main deer trail. It's in a location where my hunting partner saw six deer Friday morning so I am eager to get it set up and try it out.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:14 am

Hunt 40. Wednesday November 23. My hunting partner and I were supposed to meet up before dawn and take position on the north end but he could not make it. I was thus delayed a little waiting on his no show. But I made the trek to new blind #5 and set up there. 10 MPH gusty and chilly winds are not helping. It 10 am and no deer so far. I did reduce the tree rat count by one however.

This spot is promising and I think it may pay off before season's end. Below is a view toward a Buck rub.

I have bought a phone app called Recon Hunt sold under Cabela's brand. It's not half bad. It is at least designed for hunting which is nice. Has a neat built in GPS based blood tracking program with labels for shot, hit, etc. Marking blood spots and tracking at least gives you a way to resume if you have to pull out and return later.

For anyone keeping count Hunt 39 was a short afternoon wait after the rain yesterday at the food plot. No luck.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:17 am

uploadfromtaptalk1322064987486.jpg


View from Blind #5 looking SW at Buck rub.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby FireCloud » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:06 pm

Aparently a lot of forum readers at least look at my Hunting Journal posts as there are now 502 views recorded since I started this jounal about 6 weeks or so ago. Oddly, very few give me any comments. Perhaps there are a lot of lurkers out there that just read the posts. Hope you at least enjoy my journal.

Because my favorite aunt died a couple days ago, I'm going to keep this short as I have some things I need to get done before leaving for the funeral this weekend.

HUnt 41 was an afternoon hunt Wednesday which, like the morning hunt, was very windy and unproductive. I did bag another tree rat that day however.

Hunt 42 started a little later this morning than I would like but the woods were very nice and it was dead calm. It was crispy cold to stort Thanksgiving morning but when the sun came up it got warmer pretty quickly. Mija was eager to go, since I snuck out without her yesterday afternoon, so I let her go with tme today. We did not return home for lunch until noon and she got a good, long time in the woods.

I did a little squirrel hunting mid morning and dropped one of a pair that were cavorting around a den tree. She was wandering around but when did come up to where I was, she quickly smelled the squirrel on the ground about 5 yards away. She I did not move from my position and let her find it on her own. I think I can make a pretty good squirrel tracking cat out of her. She hates squirrels and gets very excited when she finds one I kill. She throws it in the air, kicks and bites it, and generally goes crazy clawing and playing with the squirrel. She has caught on to what I am doing when I squirrel hunt and occasionally looks in the trees for them when she sees me looking where one made some noise. Just like a dog, she can tell when there is fresh squirrel scent at the base of a tree where one ran up. Since she is silent you just have to watch her antics as she digs and paws through the leaves, jumps around, etc. to know what she is doing.

The wind picked up a little and the warm afternoon made hunting conditions less desireable. Tons of people were out all day in the subdivision thus there was way too much noise everywhere. Twice this week, someone in the subdivision that adjoins my land has practiced his trombone while either myself or Sam were trying to hunt. I don't think the deer care for the trombone player any more than we did! But that is just part of the challenge of hunting urban deer on lands adjoining developed areas. Obviously, I did not see any deer.
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby jbullard1 » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:54 am

That's something you don't often hear while hunting 'A Trombone" :shock:
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Re: My 2011 Deer Hunts

Postby LadyHunter » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:57 am

Firecloud I enjoy reading your journal but did not think it polite to comment since it is a journal! :)

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