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2013 Deer Season Journal

2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:35 am

Wow! Where to start? It's hard to believe deer season is just days away but it is.

I've been super busy all summer long doing work on my land and projects to make hunting better. I've built a nice deer skinning rack, two foot bridges on my main trail, a covered trough style deer feeder, and am about to finish a new permanent stand. I will now have five permanent stands. With my climber as a "floater" stand, I have a lot more hunting locations to deal with different winds or deer patterns.

I've cleared, prepared, and planted my main food plot with a mix of Austrian Winter Peas, Winter Wheat, Elbon Rye, and Bob Oats. Although they won't do much this late in the season I pitched in what black eyed pea seed I had left from my summer garden. Might as well give the deer a little "candy" to entice them. I got the plot planted two days before a nice, soaking rain so the timing was excellent.

I also refreshed my mineral station at the first of the month and the deer are tearing it up. I am using a different and more expensive "cattle mineral" supplement as part of my mix. It contains 24% salt and a lot of trace minerals. I add in dicalcium phosphate to the mix. The deer have already consumed about 20 pounds of the mix. I usually put about 100 pounds of mix at the station and it lasts several months but at the pace this is going, it will all be gone in about two months or less!

This year I got lucky and was drawn for an early season archery hunt at Mahannah WMA. My dates are October 9-11. There won't be any other seasons going on then, except possible some minor dove hunting so it should be a low pressure hunt. I'll be camping alongside, Bullfrog, a new forum member from Natchez, who was also drawn for the same time slot. The two of us and Roadranger are comparing notes. Roadranger goes on the 27-29th of October. Between the three of us, and with help from others who have experience hunting there, we hope to learn enough about the territory to increase our chances of success.

Because I live less than 60 miles away, I went over this afternoon to scout out the area. I hiked a total of about 6 miles checking out two different portions of the WMA. It was a nice pleasant afternoon and I really enjoyed exploring the area. But I had to pay a $100 fine for killing over the bag limit of mosquitoes! :D

And, this ugly fellow was blocking my forward progress down an ATV trail.

- 016.jpg
Cottonmouth at Mahannah


I only saw one deer at a long distance in a grassy field but I am convinced from the tracks and the environment there is a decent amount of deer at that WMA. For those who have not ever been to Mahannah, here is a photo of the woods, which are relatively open, flat bottom land hardwoods. I'm thinking of carrying a pine cone or two over there because there is not a pine tree for miles.

- 010.jpg
Woods at Mahannah


I'm not a big fan of delta land for deer hunting but the soils and crops do produce some big deer. I hunted a lot when I lived close by at Malmaison WMA. Delta land is hot, filled with mosquitoes, snakes, alligators, hogs, and other nuisances. And it has mucky gumbo mud when it is wet. And the sloughs everywhere, like the one shown below, keep you from crossing the land in a straight line.

- 017.jpg
Cypress slough


Overall, I am excited at the prospect of having a three day hunt at Mahannah. The only deer hunting allowed there for all but the final two week primitive weapon season is by draw permit. Some really big deer, including a deer that for several years was the state record non-typical have been harvested at Mahannah. Now that my health has improved, I intend to do some hunting with my recurve again. Last season I had to switch to a crossbow and did kill a 16 1/2 inch inside spread buck and two does with it. But this season I'd sure like to arrow a 140's class or better buck with my recurve. Mahannah has the ability to make that wish come true!
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:39 pm

I walked out the backdoor onto my patio at lunchtime today and came face to face with Mr. Bill, a young spike buck that was standing broadside about 35 feet away near the corner of my yard. He is a frequent visitor to my yard and seems to enjoy living close to my house. He recognizes me, having seen me often since he was about six months old.

He has now rubbed off all the velvet and I could see his spikes well. They are only about four inches long and one of them is slightly pronged near the tip. I spoke to him and he trotted back to the woods and stopped. I walked through the fence gate and he was standing broadside watching me again but this time only about 25 feet away. When I spoke to him again, he flipped his tail a few times and eased off further into the woods. I'm slowly training him to be more accustomed to my presence and not be alarmed. That will make it much easier to arrow him in a couple more years when he has a decent rack.

With hunting season fast approaching, Bullfrog, Roadranger, and I are having to get busy making our draw hunt plans. We are making good progress, although we cannot get in touch with the rangers to ask any questions. They are never available to answer the phone and don't return messages. That is not providing very good service to the hunting community because it is essential to make plans ahead, especially regarding the camping arrangements.

Bullfrog and I are each pitching tents and working out arrangements for who should bring camping supplies and gear. Primitive camping for three days reminds me of the many days I spent at Camp Tallahah, a boy scout camp in North Mississippi. We did have cots there which made it better than sleeping on the ground. But I have done that dozens of times too, so it is nothing new for me. It's the cold showers early in the morning that are, how shall we say, "eye opening?" I did not see any showers at Mahannah so we will have to rig up a camp shower of our own. Bullfrog wanted to know today if there was a place to plug in a cell phone charger. Something tells me he has not done a lot of primitive camping in the woods. :D

Mahannah is going to be a real challenging place to hunt, for sure. We will attack it with gusto however and, with a little luck, we may bring home some venison...and maybe even some bacon with a hog or two. If any of you have ever hunted Mahannah and have any advice, please feel free to share tips with me.

I was not happy to not see a good mast crop at Mahannah yesterday. I only found ONE single acorn in the woods, despite looking carefully for mast in several locations. Things are bone dry over there and I am wondering if the acorn crop just did not make. I've got acorns starting to drop in my main food plot from a 32 inch oak that always produces. But my land is a streamside zone and thus has more moisture available than what I saw in the Mahannah gumbo.

Frankly, I am not impressed with the harvest data from Mahannah. While about 250 or so deer are harvested there during a season, that only works out to about 2 deer taken off every 100 acres, on average. Or, put another way, only one deer is killed on average from every 100 acres each 60 days of the season. To me, that is extremely poor hunting results for a place that is supposed to be one of the top WMA's in the state. But the potential for 140's and up class bucks is clearly there, as Mahannah has a 16 inch inside spread minimum or a 20 inch main beam. I am told all the surrounding hunting clubs are on DMAP and have an 18 inch minimum. So, other than youth hunters, no one is dragging small racked bucks out of those woods. The bucks killed are BIG over there so that at least if you do kill one, it will be a decent buck to be proud of.

Speaking of big bucks, here is a photo of a state record buck killed by an LEO officer in Starkville. I was doing an inspection during my work of his apartment and when I saw the deer I just had to get its picture. This buck scored 192 and was simply an AWESOME animal.

Monroe County Buck Scored 192.jpg
Monroe County 192 Buck
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:01 pm

The days are getting a little shorter now. I don't have nearly as much time after work to get things done outdoors before it gets dark.

I checked the main food plot this afternoon to see if there was anything germinated yet. I finished planting it last Wednesday, September 11, and we got a third of an inch of rain shortly thereafter. Nothing is up just yet. The soil was bone dry and there really needs to be another good soaking rain before much will happen. Fortunately that is in the forecast for Friday night.

The mineral station is definitely being worked over. At this season of the year, it's likely being used by lactating does. Here is a photo of the mineral station on September 7 immediately after I refilled it.

2013-09-07%252017.03.43.jpg
BEFORE - Mineral station on 9-7-13.


Here is a photo taken this evening. The holes they have pawed out are about 6 inches deep and they have done that in only 10 days.

- 014.jpg
AFTER- Mineral Station on 9-17-13.


I have had a mineral station at this stump for several years so a lot of deer in the area have learned where it is. Once they know it is refilled, they do come use it. Mine is located 11 yards in front of my stand. Even if they visit it at night, the deer get accustomed to seeing my stand and pay less attention to it.

Here is a photo of four deer visiting the mineral station a couple years ago.

-359.jpg
Four deer at mineral station.


If you don't have a mineral station on your land, get one. They do attract deer!
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:02 am

I planted my main food plot on September 11. Yesterday, 8 days later, some of the faster germinating seeds such as the Bob oats and Elbon rye are up and doing well. In the moist areas where the water runs off, the germination is fairly thick and the shoots are about 3 inches high already, despite only 1/3 an inch of rain last Thursday.

I planted a mix of Bob oats, Elbon Rye, Winter Wheat, and Austrian Winter Peas, about equal portions of each. My main plot is about 0.13 acre as it is a small bow hunting plot, not a gun plot. Thus it does not take a large amount of seeds. I did add about a pound of black eyed pea seeds left over from my summer garden. They will get nipped off by the deer as soon as they emerge but that is ok. It will act as "deer candy" to get a few deer into the plot for the opening of bow season.

With this long, soaking rain tonight and tomorrow, any left over seeds should also germinate and what is already up should grow rapidly. I am expecting it to be nice and green by opening day, IF the deer don't mow it down too fast. They will most certainly attack it however and they can cut it down low very quickly due to its small size.

But the largest oak at the plot is dropping acorns, as are many other of the oak trees on my land. The acorns are still small but after this rain the ground will be littered with them. When the acorns are available, the deer hardly touch the food plot crops. But they will pig out on the acorns like crazy. I have at least 100 oaks on my 20 acres, with more than a third of them producing acorns every year. So the deer have plenty to eat and they work on them regularly until they are gone. That gives my food plots a chance to grow enough to hopefully stay ahead of the deer when they start browsing them heavily.

I do have to constantly thin out the abundance of useless acorn thieving tree rats that raid the acorns before they can fall down to the deer and turkeys. In a good year I can usually kill around 100 of them and help keep the population from getting out of control. I had a nice meal of two baked squirrels earlier this week and fed the backbones to my cat. Mija hates squirrels when they are alive and enjoys eating them after I kill them.

I've still got to get two more food plots prepared and planted. The rain should add some moisture to the soil and make things much better. Those two plots are a little larger this year and help take the pressure off my original plot. Here is a photo of one of those plots last December.

- 003.jpg
Food Plot #2.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:25 am

Since I did not keep a journal last year and was not active on MSDeer, I am using this opportunity to post an update of the results of last year's hunts.

I did not gun hunt at all last year, hunting bow only all season, primarily on my own land. Because of my health at the time which prevented me from using my recurve, I purchase a Parker crossbow and used it as my weapon for the entire season. After having learned how to use the crossbow, I really like it. Although I am eager to hunt with my recurve again now that I am able to do so, I likely will use the crossbow some too. However, I probably won't gun hunt unless I get invited to hunt somewhere that guns are the best weapon.

Here are photos of the three deer I put the SAME arrow through last year. What else but bow hunting will let you reuse your ammo? You gotta love that! :)

2012-10-26-Doe #1.jpg


The first doe ducked at the sound of the arrow release and so the shot hit several inches higher than my point of aim. However it managed to cut spinal cord and it paralyzed the back two legs of the deer so that she could not get up. She never made a single step after being hit but simply collapsed where she stood. The tip of the Grim Reaper head did penetrate the upper part of one lung and that may have killed her eventually. But to help end the suffering I put a second arrow through her once I got to her.

2012-11-19 Doe #2.jpg



I shot the second doe from a makeshift natural ground blind in a brush pile of tree limbs. Because I was at the same level with her, this doe spotted my slight movement getting ready for the shot and she stopped dead still at 15 yards for an easy shot. She ran about 20 yards and fell off the edge and into the bottom of a 15 foot ravine. I think she did not want to make it too easy for me. The blood trail she left was huge but I did not need it as I heard her crash.

2012-12-20 17.29.07.jpg



The 8 point buck came into my food plot #3 and wandered closer into my #2 plot but arrived from the side. I was in a tree stand and needed to change position for the shot. By the time I managed to ease around into a shooting position he had closed the distance to about 18 yards. I made a perfect shot into the middle of the kill zone just as if shooting a practice target. He ran about 20 yards, stopped at the wood line to look back to see if he could spot me, and after standing still for about a minute, just fell over dead in his tracks.

Last year was a fun season and one that produced plenty of deer meat for the freezer, as I also accidentally hit a deer with my car shortly before season opened. This year I am hoping I kill all my deer in season without using my vehicle!
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:31 pm

If at first you don't succeed...try, try again. I'm going to have to do just that and replant my main food plot. I visited the plot this afternoon after the heavy rain last night. As you can see from the below photo, only a few spots germinated solid enough to be suitable as deer browse.

- 005.jpg


in the spots which did germinate, the young shoots are already several inches high, lush, and doing well, as you can see from the close up photo below. If the entire plot had done this well, I'd be set for business.

- 004.jpg


The soil was parched dry when the seeds were planted and that was not good. The small amount of rain that fell right after planting did not really bring enough moisture to germinate the seeds on a widespread basis. The only spots which did germinate were the lower areas where water run off congregated. The rain last night might bring up a few more seeds but I don't think it is going to be thick enough to make a good plot. So I am going to overseed before the next rain predicted for midweek and see if I can improve things.

Here is how the plot looks right now.

- 002.jpg
Food Plot 9-21-13


It was planted 10 days ago on 9-11-13. For what did germinate, the 10 days of growth has produced nice, thick growth. The problem here clearly was lack of sufficient moisture in the ground. So, it's back to the seeder again!

I am continuing to prepare for deer season and especially for my upcoming Mahannah bow hunt. I inspected my equipment this afternoon and noted some things I need. So I paid a visit to Bass Pro Shop and picked up a new package of Grim Reaper Whitetail heads. They will go on my crossbow bolts. I also got some replacement pins for my climber as one of them had become lost. The new ones are completely rubber coated to keep them quieter which I like.

I picked up a new box of deck screws and tomorrow afternoon I hope to finish the new deer stand I have been building. This will be permanent stand #5 in a new area that the deer always visit every year. It is a natural wildlife opening, not a man made one, and the bucks always make rubs on many of the small saplings in the area. The main north-south trail and an east-west creek crossing trail intersect there. The deer, and all other animals, use both trails all the time.

I was going to clear the opening and develop it as a food plot. However, I am now thinking I may simply develop it as a natural food plot by burning off the existing grass and duff layer under the trees. I'll do that next February and let the opening regrow in natural early succession browse. The deer and maybe a few turkeys should really visit that area if I manage it correctly. I may plant a few native grasses and forbs in the plot too. It borders the creek so I may even plant a little millet or other grains along the creek bank because wood ducks use the creek as a nesting site every year.

I'm going to try my hand a building a few wood duck boxes because nesting cavities are always in short supply. But that is a project for after deer season as I don't have time right now.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:24 pm

Its an awesome day outdoors here in Central Mississippi for the first day of fall. Nice and cool this morning in the low 60's early but it has warmed up to about 79 this afternoon. What a way to start off fall with some nice weather!

I've been working on completing Stand #5 this afternoon and am making progress. All of my stands are "design and build" on the spot based primarily on what materials I have available and the nature of the stand location.

Hunger got the best of me so I took a lunch break. Here is what it looks like so far.

2013-09-22 14.23.00.jpg
Tree Stand #5 Under Construction


When seated on the paint bucket stool, eye level is 10 foot off the ground. If standing, eye level is over 12 feet high which gives enough height to see well. The platform is 44" x 48" and will have enclosed sides 32' high and a metal roof overhead.

As usual, Mija went with me, although she was not eager to go today. She has learned when I take tools into the woods I am probably going to stay there a while. If it delays her feeding or nap time, she is not a happy camper. But when she got out there, she did have a good time. Here she is playing in a tree.

2013-09-22 14.22.04.jpg


She loves to climb trees and can scoot up or down an tree she wants to climb. I only had to get her down from a tree once when she was a baby kitten but after she got bigger she mastered the art of tree climbing and limb walking. Now that we returned home, she is taking her afternoon nap so she won't return with me to finish the construction.

Better get back to work. it isn't going to construct itself!
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:30 pm

Only 8 days left until opening day! Wow, time flies when I don't have everything done that I wanted to get done before season opens. I have been working diligently all summer and have managed to get a lot done. However, due to my heart condition, I cannot go at the intensity level and for the duration I once could. So things get done a little slower now days.

I had hoped to finish Stand #5 today but I did not do so. I did get two side panels cut and the door cut. I have to carry everything into my woods by hand so I only got the two sides installed. I had to stop early because I had some other things to do this evening.

I did whack down a lot of the scrubby saplings to make a couple of shooting lanes. I need to do a lot more clearing of the area but that will have to wait. As usual, not everything gets done before season starts so I wind up having to use a day here and there once season opens to finish everything. Usually there is a really windy day or something when I don't mind not hunting.

This summer I built a couple of footbridges which have proven to be very convenient. Here is a photo of one of them.

2013-07-04 13.20.44.jpg
Foot bridge


I built a covered deer feeder too, which is being visited fairly regularly by spike buck. Some may have already seen this photo of the feeder but here it is again for those who haven't.

- 057.jpg
Deer Feeder


Finally, the crown jewel of my summertime projects was construction of a deer skinning rack. It turned out extremely well and I cannot wait to skin a buck from it. Here's the photo for those who have not seen it.

- 094.jpg
Deer Skinning Rack
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:35 pm

I went to my main food plot about 6:30 this afternoon to overseed it with a second dose of my seed mixture before the rains arrive tomorrow. A little more germination has occurred and things are looking better. But the plot is mostly still barren right now. However, the big 32 inch oak along the east side has dropped a large amount of acorns on the ground, all in plain sight due to the smooth, barren earth. The deer could not have it any easier.

On the way in, just as I arrived at my new footbridge, a deer jumped up that was bedded down in the rough first year early successional growth on a shooting lane built last year to the east of my main plot.. As always, the deer pick the very best vantage points where they can see down the trails and, in this case, watch the food plot to see anything entering it.

My deer are urban deer so they see and hear the activity of people every single day of their lives. This deer was not spooked by my approach but just trotted off about 10 yards further away and stopped. It peered from behind some brush to see what was coming down the trail. I stopped and knelt down, engaging in a Mexican stand off watching the deer. It appeared to be a doe, as I did not see any antlers. When Mija, who was following me, caught up, the deer moved on off at the sight of the cat’s movement and noise. But she did not run; she just flicked her tail a couple times and walked off calmly. For whatever reason, deer seem to be unafraid when they see a human and a cat traveling together in the woods.

The deer had probably been visiting in the food plot earlier, as I noted a lot of pawing had occurred at the mineral station once again. I suspect the deer had a nice meal of the acorns too and maybe some of the new shoots that have already sprouted in the plot. It’s only one week left before opening day so I am glad to see this deer using the plot. At least I know it is working.

This is one of “my deer” for sure because she knew exactly where to go into a wet slough to escape my view and circle around behind me. There is a hill that prevents anyone on the trail from seeing the deer once they enter the slough. The slough makes a “U” so that the exit point allows the deer to cross the trail behind anything that has already come down the trail. The few inches of water in the slough makes it difficult to track them and they have all learned how to use the terrain to their advantage. It is a fool proof escape route to get away from me hunting alone and the deer take it every time. The deer play “dodge the hunter” every day when I go into the woods and most of the time they win. I’ll surprise the deer using that escape route one day this season by being in my climber up a tree overlooking the slough when they come sneaking through.

I prefer hunting from my permanent tree stands instead of a climber because of the safety issue. However last year I did get an Ole Man climber from the forum member who sold me my crossbow. The stand did not come with a safety harness so I only used it a couple of times and then kept the height down to no more than 10 feet. But this year, I bought a surplus harness on Ebay and it arrived a couple of days ago.

My efforts to strap the gadget on my slightly too large frame were sufficiently humorous to cause Mija to stop sleeping and watch. I am confident she was laughing under her breath. No instructions came with it so I had to figure out how to disentangle the many straps, get inside, then connect everything up correctly. After consulting some internet sources, I think I figured it out. In years past, when I used climbers, like most younger hunters I was “not going to fall” so I never used a harness. But I am older now, and hopefully a lot wiser, so I won’t climb without one any more.

It’s hot, bulky, and not comfortable at all. Plus the tether has a strap so short it’s nearly impossible for a tall guy like me to move around enough for some shots. But it is a necessary evil if I am to use the climber so I will put up with it on the few occasions I do make a climb. I will be relying upon my climber on my 3 day archery hunt at Mahannah WMA in a few days so I need to get adjusted to the feel of the harness.

I closed out the day taking some shots at my target with my crossbow. The scope is still sighted in correctly from last year and is dead on the money at 25 yards. With this bow, that distance allows me to aim “point blank” at any distance up to 30 yards and still hit the kill zone. Although I will take my recurve, due to the wide open spaces and larger distances at Mahannah, I will likely use my crossbow when I hunt there unless I really find a good spot for using my recurve. The shot distance is the big limitation for a recurve and I like 30 yard or less shots when I use it. The crossbow is just as effective at that distance but gives me a better chance than the recurve if I do need to try a 40 - 45 yard shot. The 4X scope is helpful too. And with the big bucks known to exist at Mahannah, I would hate to miss a 45 yard shot shooting my recurve via instinctive aiming only on a record book buck like some that have come out of Mahannah.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:35 pm

I went to my main food plot about 6:30 this afternoon to overseed it with a second dose of my seed mixture before the rains arrive tomorrow. A little more germination has occurred and things are looking better. But the plot is mostly still barren right now. However, the big 32 inch oak along the east side has dropped a large amount of acorns on the ground, all in plain sight due to the smooth, barren earth. The deer could not have it any easier.

On the way in, just as I arrived at my new footbridge, a deer jumped up that was bedded down in the rough first year early successional growth on a shooting lane built last year to the east of my main plot.. As always, the deer pick the very best vantage points where they can see down the trails and, in this case, watch the food plot to see anything entering it.

My deer are urban deer so they see and hear the activity of people every single day of their lives. This deer was not spooked by my approach but just trotted off about 10 yards further away and stopped. It peered from behind some brush to see what was coming down the trail. I stopped and knelt down, engaging in a Mexican stand off watching the deer. It appeared to be a doe, as I did not see any antlers. When Mija, who was following me, caught up, the deer moved on off at the sight of the cat’s movement and noise. But she did not run; she just flicked her tail a couple times and walked off calmly. For whatever reason, deer seem to be unafraid when they see a human and a cat traveling together in the woods.

The deer had probably been visiting in the food plot earlier, as I noted a lot of pawing had occurred at the mineral station once again. I suspect the deer had a nice meal of the acorns too and maybe some of the new shoots that have already sprouted in the plot. It’s only one week left before opening day so I am glad to see this deer using the plot. At least I know it is working.

This is one of “my deer” for sure because she knew exactly where to go into a wet slough to escape my view and circle around behind me. There is a hill that prevents anyone on the trail from seeing the deer once they enter the slough. The slough makes a “U” so that the exit point allows the deer to cross the trail behind anything that has already come down the trail. The few inches of water in the slough makes it difficult to track them and they have all learned how to use the terrain to their advantage. It is a fool proof escape route to get away from me hunting alone and the deer take it every time. The deer play “dodge the hunter” every day when I go into the woods and most of the time they win. I’ll surprise the deer using that escape route one day this season by being in my climber up a tree overlooking the slough when they come sneaking through.

I prefer hunting from my permanent tree stands instead of a climber because of the safety issue. However last year I did get an Ole Man climber from the forum member who sold me my crossbow. The stand did not come with a safety harness so I only used it a couple of times and then kept the height down to no more than 10 feet. But this year, I bought a surplus harness on Ebay and it arrived a couple of days ago.

My efforts to strap the gadget on my slightly too large frame were sufficiently humorous to cause Mija to stop sleeping and watch. I am confident she was laughing under her breath. No instructions came with it so I had to figure out how to disentangle the many straps, get inside, then connect everything up correctly. After consulting some internet sources, I think I figured it out. In years past, when I used climbers, like most younger hunters I was “not going to fall” so I never used a harness. But I am older now, and hopefully a lot wiser, so I won’t climb without one any more.

It’s hot, bulky, and not comfortable at all. Plus the tether has a strap so short it’s nearly impossible for a tall guy like me to move around enough for some shots. But it is a necessary evil if I am to use the climber so I will put up with it on the few occasions I do make a climb. I will be relying upon my climber on my 3 day archery hunt at Mahannah WMA in a few days so I need to get adjusted to the feel of the harness.

I closed out the day taking some shots at my target with my crossbow. The scope is still sighted in correctly from last year and is dead on the money at 25 yards. With this bow, that distance allows me to aim “point blank” at any distance up to 30 yards and still hit the kill zone. Although I will take my recurve, due to the wide open spaces and larger distances at Mahannah, I will likely use my crossbow when I hunt there unless I really find a good spot for using my recurve. The shot distance is the big limitation for a recurve and I like 30 yard or less shots when I use it. The crossbow is just as effective at that distance but gives me a better chance than the recurve if I do need to try a 40 - 45 yard shot. The 4X scope is helpful too. And with the big bucks known to exist at Mahannah, I would hate to miss a 45 yard shot shooting my recurve via instinctive aiming only on a record book buck like some that have come out of Mahannah.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:16 pm

I found this one today at the base of a pine tree where one of my stands is mounted. Its one of the many king snakes on my land. It's a beneficial snake that will eat poisonous snakes along with rats and mice. So after showing him to a couple of my neighbor's boys, I let him go back into the woods.

uploadfromtaptalk1380259476202.jpg


I’m getting my second food plot ready to plant and that consists of mowing the grass as low as possible, bagging all that I can of the clippings, and then raking the entire plot by hand to remove as much of the duff as possible. One purpose is to reduce competition from any remaining grass that might still try to grow in the next few weeks before colder weather begins to kill it off. Another purpose is to expose and “scar” as much of the soil as possible.

I don’t own a tractor and disk, nor even a decent tiller. And I don’t have the extra funds to rent any equipment. But I do have a mower, bagger, rake, and the energy to do the work by hand. It is good exercise and I can always use as much of that as I can get. This method is cheap and works well. I can do a 25 x 35 yard plot in one full day of labor working alone. As a senior citizen with congestive heart failure, if I can do this anyone can do it. It is easy to develop good food plots using this method with hand tools only at any location, even in the most remote spots. I have created good food plots year after year using this technique.

Here are a couple of tips for anyone trying this technique. The plot I am about to plant is an open field with nothing but grass in it. But for a wood land plot or a plot with natural weeds and growth, it helps to weed eat the entire plot after mowing. Basically, what you want to do is weed eat down to bare dirt. With a weed eater, you can take out all of the growth, then after raking, you will have a completely bare dirt plot.

When raking, use a solid rake that allows you to put a little pressure on the rake tines to bite into the dirt, “scratching” the surface. This provides enough penetration and loose dirt to cover many small seeds such as clover or even Winter Wheat and Elbon rye which doe not have to be planted deeply. If the seeds are planted in advance of a decent rain, the rain will also help pack the seeds into the soil. What is necessary for germination is seed contact with the soil. The seeds don’t actually have to be buried to germinate but it weakens the young plants considerably to not bury the seeds. The root structure simply does better if buried.

The last step once the plot is prepared in this manner is to apply fertilizer and pelleted lime, if needed, both of which can be applied using any sort of hand spreader to broadcast these materials. To plant the seeds, I use a cheap plastic small hand spreader. It works great. The trick when broadcasting seeds in this manner in a “no till” situation is to apply seeds at 2X to 3X the recommended rate. Some seeds wont get covered well and may not germinate or may be eaten by birds and animals before germination occurs. You have to plant extra to compensate. Because the seeds are broadcast onto the surface if germination does not produce a good stand, it is easy to simply broadcast more seeds in a second application. With enough seeds and the right amounts of moisture and sunlight, sufficient seeds will eventually germinate and grow to produce a decent plot.

As you plant, walk so that you step on as many seeds as possible pushing them it the loose soil a little. It helps to lightly brush the plot with a bushy tree limb to cover the seeds. I like turn my solid rake over and simply drag the plot with the iron bar side of the rake. That covers quite a lot of the seeds.

Here is a picture of the plot I am about to plant showing how it looked after using this planting method early last October. This picture was taken in the middle of December.

- 007.jpg
Food Plot #2 - December 2012


The final photo below shows how Plot #1 looked on October 14 last year. The bare dirt area was prepared by mowing first, weed eating, then raking. As you can see, it is clean and down to bare dirt. I prepared the entire plot that way but planted it in two sections so that new growth would occur in two separate time periods.

The green area close to the tree stand is the first portion planted about 3 weeks before the picture was taken. The seeds were broadcast and covered as described in this post. Plot #1 does not get a large amount of direct sunlight and the deer work on it pretty hard. Nevertheless, there was plenty of green browse to keep the deer coming back for more.

2012-10-14 11.15.24.jpg
Food Plot #1 - October 14, 2012
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:34 pm

Getting my gear ready for hunting season is a pain. Needless to say, stuff gets misplaced and is difficult to locate. When it is found, then I remember that when I stopped using it last season, I vowed to replace missing parts, fix broken pieces, and make other minor repairs that I neglected because it was the end of the season and I was not going to use it for a while. Of course I did absolutely none of the repairs I should have done and therefore now face needing to get them done.

Part of the problem is that everything I have in the way of hunting equipment is old.. I'm old too, so I guess that makes sense since much of it I have used for a very long time. Even things I buy sometimes are used and therefore are already old. :D

I got out the Ole Man climber I got last year as part of my crossbow purchase deal. Last season I repainted the entire stand in camo browns and greens. The paint has held up well and I don't even need to touch it up. But I did manage to loose one of the pins that locks the tree straps in place last season when bringing the stand out of the wood so I replaced both of the pins with new ones. One of the web straps that helps lock the upper section around the tree trunk is missing a buckle. So I now have to locate one of those fairly quickly.

I did make a test climb up one of the oaks in my yard and also tried out my new safety harness. The harness feels a little better than I thought it would but it is hot to wear in this weather. I decided however that the Chinese worker cut the length of material for the lineman's belt must have been considerably less bulky than me. He probably weighs 98 pounds and wears size 20 pants. For him, there may be enough length to the belt to fit around his torso and still have sufficient length to wrap around the tree.

For me, the length is barely enough to keep my nose from being pressed flat against the tree trunk. Mind you I am not saying I am too large around the middle. I'm just saying the belt is very small. In fact, the length is so short it keeps me too close to the tree trunk to be able climb in the climber because I cannot sit down on the top rail of the seat section as needed to be able to climb. Thus, I have to climb the tree with the lineman's belt off, which renders it useless as a safety feature.

Anyway, the climber and my harness are ready to use, except for finding a replacement tree strap buckle or perhaps a new section of strap. I really don't like using a climber at all and this one has the most uncomfortable web seat of any climber I have ever seen. It just cuts into your skin after only a few minutes and, if you don't occasionally stand up and move around, it will cut your circulation off. If I can figure out some way to use a seat cushion with it I may be able to solve that problem. I looked at some cushions at Wally World the other day but they are too thin and flimsy to be any good.

I will likely want to use the climber at my Mahannah hunt in some of the spots where I want to hunt. The trees in the regenerating forest sections are too small for a climber but the mature sections of forest contain trees I can climb.

This afternoon I also planted the portion of Food Plot #2 that I had ready to plant. I planted my usual mixture of Winter Wheat, Bob Oats, Elbon Rye, and Austrian Winter Peas. Hopefully the rain predicted for Sunday evening or Monday will get the seeds up and growing.

To end the day, I shot a few practice shots with both my bows. I'm not having any trouble at all shooting my recurve this year. After missing a full season of hunting with my recurve last year, I am eager to hunt with it again.

My recurve is a 45 year old bow first purchased in 1968. In the picture below you can see how basic this bow is. It is a one piece bow, not a take down recurve. There is only a stick of wood and a single string. No sights, no stabilizer, nothing. And no let off. You have to pull and hold the entire 50 pounds so you need to be able to pull, aim, and release in one smooth motion. Holding this bow while waiting on the deer to get into the perfect postion is not an option. This is about as primitive as you can get other than than a long bow.

- 041.jpg
My Bear Kodiak Magnum Recurve


I'll take it to Mahannah with me, and may hunt with it if I hunt from a pop up blind. I shoot better with the recurve if I am standing and the pop up blind would conceal my movements when standing up and drawing the bow. With the crossbow, very little movement is needed to make a shot. It can be readily shot while sitting with just as much accuracy and of course there is no movement needed to draw the bow. Less movement means less chance of the deer sensing any danger.

I like the power and speed of the crossbow, however it is still an incredible thrill poking a hole in a game animal with a recurve. There's no comparison between traditional archery and any other form of archery. Traditional archery is just plain addictive! :ylsuper:
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:39 pm

uploadfromtaptalk1380422885007.jpg


My main food plot, as the photo above shows, has begun to green up a lot more. The plot was planted 17 days ago and germination has been slow, primarily due to so many leaves being on the trees around the plot which is shading a lot of the plot from the sun. The front portion closest to the stand gets a fair amount of sun and has started greening up, with a lot of newer shoots just emerging. I over seeded a few days ago and should have a much more solid plot within a few more days as those seeds emerge.

The areas which have germinated are growing fast and are already over 6 inches tall. I placed my eyeglass case behind the shoots in this photo for a height comparison. Here you can see a close up of the wheat, rye, oats, and winter peas. The winter peas are up to 8 inches tall already, except for the ones the deer have nipped off.

2013-09-28%252015.46.11.jpg
Close up of new shoots - Food Plot #1


Each time I have been to the plot recently I have seen fresh deer tracks, although not a lot of tracks or other sign. I jumped a deer again today very near the same spot I jumped one a couple days ago. I now think this is the yearling buck (Mr. Bill) who has been hanging out on my land for a full year now. He has everything he needs here, including a little corn now and then in a feeder during the off season. salt with minerals at the mineral station, acorns galore, fresh water, plenty of natural browse, food plots, and lots of bedding cover. Deer are lazy creatures so if they can get what they need easily, they won't spend their days trekking all over the countryside for miles...except of course during rut.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:39 pm

With a little drizzle falling occasionally, I labored this afternoon trying to complete Stand #5. But due to needing some metal "strong tie" brackets and two door hinges, I still did not finish it. However, all that remains is to haul 3 sheets of tin and two support board for the roof, install them, and install the entrance door hinges.

After constructing four permanent stands over the last five seasons I thought I had become fairly proficient at building them without screwing up. But without thinking about it carefully, I leaned the plywood entrance door up against the stand as I used a hand saw to trim off some excess. When I finished cutting, I moved the door and discovered that I sawed through one of my steps on the entrance ladder. :rotflol:

It just goes to show that Murphy's law applies to hunting stand construction. However, I remedied the problem and got the stand complete enough for hunting from it opening day even if I don't get time to install the roof metal first.

I have been wanting a stand at this location since I bought the property and finally I now have one. The stand faces east and is set back from the main north-south deer trail about 20 yards. At the rear of the stand, about 15 yards back, is Trehan Creek. The stand is almost centered in a natural woods opening that is a partial clearing. The stand is in a good location where i have encountered deer multiple times every year and it blends in pretty well with the stand of pines where it is located. I hope to arrow a deer from it this year.

Here is a photo taken a couple years ago within 15 yards of my new stand location of a nice sized buck rub. The young nubbin buck in the picture visited this buck rub nearly every day for a while as I got him on my game camera several times. I'm thinking maybe his daddy made the buck rub! By now this little guy may be big enough to shoot this year and so I hope he makes a return visit.

Picture 008.jpg
Young Buck At Rub
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:04 am

It was a rough start for me this morning due to a bad night's rest. Some coffee helped me find my energy. Mija was already up and looking out her favorite downstairs window.

I decided to hunt with my recurve from stand #1 at my primary food plot. The mosquitoes were delighted to see a warm blooded breakfast show up before dawn. I'm trying the earth scent thermocell pads which work but don't smell as good to me as the original.

It is nearly calm with only the faintest breath of air moving. But it is warm and very humid at 70 degrees.

The food plot had a light green up look with enough to be attractive so I ease back in my high back swivel chair to watch for a hungry deer.

Bullie would be proud of the pesky squirrel dropping acorns down onto the metal roof of my tree stand. I know he only has 2 more weeks to live before season opens.

Here is the view to the north across the plot.

uploadfromtaptalk1380629663521.jpg
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:17 pm

Hunt 1 this morning was unproductive. But I surprised one bedded deer going in well before dawn. He did not leave the area and I bumped him again coming out.

I'm back in the same stand at 5 pm to watch the main food plot. The deer I bumped going in and out this morning appears to have moved about 50 yards from east to west across the food plot and was bedded down there when I arrived at the plot this afternoon. He snorted this time, although all other times today and in the last couple of weeks when I bumped him, he has just flagged and trotted off. I think he is getting ticked off at my interrupting his nap time.

It is sticky humid and 84 degrees with only a bare puff of a SE breeze. Not a great day for bow hunting. We Need some cool weather. My Thermocell is getting a good workout today.

It was so humid I was sweating while sitting absolutely still in the stand. My shirt became wet and I know the deer had to be able to smell my scent, despite the earth scent wafting on the wind from my Thermocell. And I had a scent wick with come coon urine as a cover scent helping out too. I took my shirt off and put it on the floor of the stand, hoping it would produce less scent that way. It was entirely too hot for even a T shirt this afternoon which is why the deer are not moving much.

Hunt 2 ended with no deer seen.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:35 pm

Got to Stand #1 at 5:30 pm due to working late. Mija came with me for Hunt 3

It is sticky humid with no air moving at all. And it is quiet which is good for hearing anything that moves.

I sprayed some cover scent and settled in to watch for a couple of hours

The plot continues to look better each day. Here is how it looks today

uploadfromtaptalk1380753937446.jpg
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby terry08 » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:45 pm

Hang in there Firecloud, I know you will score soon.

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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:37 pm

Terry, I can truly say this is the most relaxed and "not stressed" about killing a deer that I have ever been in any hunting season of my life.

Given my situation, my land is the primary source of my food, either via game hunted or veggies raised in the garden. Thus, in the past when I did not kill enough to feed myself well, I did get stressed because meat is expensive in the stores and I don't have the income to spare. But last year I made it over the hump easily, and at the end of the season had five deer in the freezer, including one left over from the year before. That was likely at least 300 pounds of deer meat or more and I simply cannot eat that much in a full year.

So, going into this season, I have eaten all the deer meat I wanted all last year but still have two complete deer in the freezer left over. In fact, I had so much deer meat last year every Friday night I ate a backstrap steak and a baked potato. I am still eating backstraps each week now. So, it only takes one more deer to provide enough meat for me for this next year, thus I am not worried about killing a deer or having enough free meat to eat. There has only been one season in the last several years that I failed to kill at least one deer. And, even if I don't kill a deer this year, I still have two deer left to give me a lot of meat to eat because one of those is a fat buck I shot last December. And I have plenty of squirrel, some quail, and even a snake to provide some variety to my menu. I'll surely add plenty more of the small game animals to the freezer this year even if I don't kill a deer.

Second, I am able to easily draw and shoot my recurve again, which after not being able to do so last year due to my heart problems, really excites me. I am thrilled to be able to resume hunting with my recurve. When you hunt with the same bow for 45 years, you really grow to like shooting it. I have decided to hunt from my food plot stands with my recurve as those shots are typically close in shots at stationary deer who are calm and unaware of my presence.

I'll use my crossbow that I bought last year in woodland stands where there is a greater chance of arrows being deflected by twigs or brush. And I will use the crossbow where the shots might be on moving deer walking down a trail or where the distance is greater. I will also use the crossbow on my Mahannah hunt. After easily killing three deer with the crossbow last year, I am confident if I really want to be sure to bag a deer, I can always hunt more with the crossbow. On my land, there are no open shots where the crossbow cannot reach and kill a deer. So, if I can just see the deer long enough to take a shot with the crossbow, it is likely going to be a dead deer. That makes me unconcerned about when or if I kill a deer this year.

So, I am just hunting now mostly for the sport of it which is a luxury I have not had in many years. I can be more selective and pick my shots at the deer I really want to kill. That said, I will puncture a couple anyway just to make points for my team because I honestly love killing things. (I should have been a hit man for the mafia! :D )

I don't know how the year will work out, but typically when there is "no pressure" to bag a deer that is when you have abundant opportunities to kill some really good deer. In any event, I am hunting "for fun" mostly now and truly enjoying my hunts much more. I've never been a horn hunter so to speak and don't have a single deer mounted on my walls. In fact, the deer skull from my buck last December is still sitting on my back patio. (You can do that any time you want when you don't have a wife! :ylsuper: ) I was going to try my hand at making a European mount but am not thinking I will probably just cut the antlers off and use them for rattling.

I have not seen a single deer on my first three hunts and yet I have come home grinning about the enjoyable time I had hunting. I hope and pray that every time I hunt, regardless of whether I see or kill anything, I can always return home happy about my hunts. That is the level of contentment that I hope everyone has this year!
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:09 pm

I quit at 4:30 today, got my crossbow and slipped out to my new stand #5 arriving about 5 pm. Its miserably hot and humid with the skeeters and squirrels being a pests.

Wind is very still but from the NW which is perfect. The creek is to my left about 30 yards and 25 yards of clearing is to my right. I'm facing north watching the main trail.

It would be a good afternoon for a shot.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:15 pm

View to my right of the clearing around my Stand #5..

uploadfromtaptalk1380839014646.jpg


Unfortunately, Tapatalk would not post my second photo, which was a view to my left, despite successfully posting the above photo mere seconds before. I got some of the same nonsense error messages I and others have been getting. Someone needs to find out what truly is wrong and then find a way to fix it because it is a frustrating waste of time to write a post out in the field and not be able to post it via Tapatalk. I have to edit these posts later on my desktop.

Anyway, back to the hunt story. I learned a lesson today to always check my thermocell fuel level before the hunt. While I carry two extra fuel cells and extra scent pads in my Thermocell holster, that does not prevent the unit from running out of fuel on the main cartridge. When that happened this afternoon, a swarm of mosquitoes began to bite me in unison. At first I did not realize the unit was out of fuel. But after a couple of minutes fighting the pests, I checked the unit only to find it cold and empty.

That is where the problem started. With my crossbow propped up on the side of the stand, I unstrapped the holster and worked the unit out of it. Predictably, part of the holster caught and would not allow the unit to be extracted without a lot of movement and noise unsnapping fasteners. More movement and noise resulted in changing the cartridge and pressing the igniter a couple of times. You would think the geniuses who make Thermocells, which are widely used by hunters, would understand the need for a quiet igniter push button and an easy access method for changing the fuel cell and scent pads. But no, the design is NOT a good one for minimizing movement and noise in the woods.

Finally, after refilling the unit and relighting it, I needed to put it back in the holster. I was fiddling with that task when out of the corner of my left eye I caught a glimpse of a deer between some trees about 15 yards from my stand. The deer had made me and was intently staring right at me. Since I had my crossbow propped up on the stand, I had to make still more movements to get my bow and take a closer look through the 4X scope. I moved slowly but in a steady motion to raise the bow.

I barely had enough time to get the scope to my eye and see that is was a spotted fawn before said fawn decided all that movement must mean danger. The fawn snorted and bolted for cover flag up. If there was a mother doe coming behind the fawn, which is likely, I never got a chance to even see her. However, the fawn was only about 3 to 4 months old, fairly small, and well spotted so I would not have shot the mother anyway. But you never know if the mother doe and that fawn might also have last year's "sister" or a couple other does traveling in the group who did not have fawns.

Next time, I will be sure there is enough fuel in my Thermocell to make it through the entire hunt. Just my luck that the very minute my Thermocell ran out of fuel and mosquitoes began eating me for dinner, one or more deer would come down the creek bank right by my stand while I did not even have my bow in my hand.

However, it was a good sign to see the fawn as I know mother doe had to be close behind. Having my land as part of a deer's "birthplace" is very beneficial to long term herd management. Since I try to be selective in harvesting of does by only taking does who are at least 2.5 years or older, the fawns all get to live a while on the land of their birth. I feel that holds them in the area much better and, of course, if you have does in the area you will see bucks during the rut.

When you own a small tract of land like I do, it is very easy to identify specific deer and get to know their habits and patterns. At the first of September while building the stand I hunted in today, I had an encounter with a young doe who watched me travel up and down the trail bringing in building materials for the stand. She actually laid down about 15 yards off the trail and watched me walk by 3 different times without even getting up. I spoke to her the first time I went by, while she was still standing up, and she did not run off. All she did was lay down and keep watching. That doe was a 1.5 year old animal and would most likely only have had one fawn.

I think she would not leave because she did not want to leave her fawn unguarded while I was there. It's now a month later and judging from the small size of today's fawn and seeing it in this exact same area, I'm guessing it was probably the fawn of the young mother doe who repeatedly watched me walk up and down the trail. If that is so, then I would not have shot the mother doe anyway because she is not old enough for me to want to harvest. So there was no real harm done by spooking the fawn with my movements, other than to make it more cautious about me.

I am glad to at start seeing deer at least. Hunt 4 was a better hunt than the other three have been in that respect.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:03 pm

Hunt 5. Friday @ 5:10 pm. Temp is 88 degrees with light wind from the NW. The wind helps a lot and allow things to cool faster when the sun dips behind the trees. I try stand #1 again at the main food plot.

I spend the first hour reading stories Bullfrog posted of his Twin Oaks hunt. I remember how dull it was sitting in the woods before cell phones and the internet.

The final hour is here and the woods are still. I think this could be a good day to fling some arrows from my recurve.

-----------

Update: Sat til dark but nothing came to the food plot this afternoon. Hopefully the incoming cool front this weekend and night time temps dropping to 50 degrees by Monday morning will get a few deer up on their feet during the AM crepuscular period at least.
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:00 am

My clock alarms at 5 am. Mija has learned that people are trained to respond whenever anything rings so she also arises and stretches. She knows feeding time is next. I put her out after she eats and she disappears into the darkness.

Two cups of coffee, some food, and a hot shower get my going and soon I am headed to my new stand.

Thursday afternoon was the only time since last weekend I have been in that area of my land so I feel it is good for a second hunt this morning. I'm at the stand and settled in by sunrise. The humidity is oppressive and I arrive from a 20 minute walk in completely wet with sweat. There should be a law against sweating before daylight.

The wind begins to blow in small gusts around 8 am making it harder to hear. The nut grabbing squirrel monkeys add a lot more rustling noises to check out. This spot has a lot of 12 inch and larger producing oaks which I am betting will attract some deer.

The sun has just topped the trees and it is a very pretty morning for a hunt. I sit back to see what will happen. I start a weeks vacation in the morning so this would be a good time to put venison in the freezer.

uploadfromtaptalk1380978552112.jpg


This is the view to my left toward the creek.
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"And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth" Genesis 9:2
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:19 pm

This morning's Hunt 6 was uneventful. Nothing except over active squirrels moved and I left the stand at 10 am.

I headed back to the woods just after 4 pm for Hunt 7. But as some hunts go, things did not work quite as planned. I was headed for Stand 3, at Rattlesnake Crossing, which I have not hunted this season. But Mija decided to go and that is not a stand where I like for her to roam about because I have seen two rattlers at that location over the years. And, after getting into the woods, I discovered I left my cell phone at the house. That was what I intended to use to follow the Ole Miss ballgame until I returned.

So I settled for altering my plans and sitting in Stand 1 at the food plot again. The plot looks much better and there are plenty of acorns, so I felt it would only be a matter of time before I was at the plot when deer arrived to eat. But nothing showed up despite being a quiet afternoon outdoors. This heat and humidity is just hurting the deer hunting a lot. But weather after lunch tomorrow when a rain and cold front passes through dropping temps is predicted to bring a much better week. I have the entire week off for vacation and am looking forward to better weather, especially for my archery draw hunt at Mahannah this week.

Mija spent her time laying on the catwalk that surrounds my stand. She dutifully watches for deer and, like me, is disappointed when nothing shows up. I am convinced that when she is unwilling to do anything except lay in the shade and catch the breeze until it gets dusk dark, that the deer and most other animals are basically doing the same thing. Right now, I think the deer are moving almost exclusively late at night due to the 90% humidity we still have at 10 o'clock at night.

Overnight we are supposed to get some rain here in Jackson so it should be some good sleeping weather and, after the rain passes in late morning, I'll be eager to get in the woods for an afternoon hunt.
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"And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth" Genesis 9:2
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Re: 2013 Deer Season Journal

Postby FireCloud » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:14 pm

Today was the first day of my week long vacation so I slept in during the morning rain. Nothing better to sleep by than the sound of rain. The rain did not move out until the middle of the morning but I am busy getting ready for my Mahannah trip so I used most of the day to gather together gear, clothes, etc. to pack. I made a run to pick up a few last minute supplies at Bass Pro also.

Because I have not used my climber since last season, I decided to give it a "shakedown" test this afternoon and enjoy some of the beautiful fall weather. I had already checked it over before season started, replaced the two cable pins, added a thick seat cushion, and fixed one of the tree straps. It is amazing to me that equipment always needs to be constantly checked and rechecked to be sure it is in good working condition. You cannot afford any problems with a climber so I always double check everything on mine. Thus, a short afternoon sit in the climber seemed to be the best way to insure I have not missed anything before my Mahannah trip.

Speaking of climber problems, I hope everyone reads Roadranger's account of a "near miss" climber accident in the Mahannah hunt thread. One of his cable pins caught on a limb while climbing down and it pulled the pin out, releasing the cable completely, and causing the bottom half of the climber to dangle useless from the connecting strap.

The problem with a climber is that BOTH parts must function or you cannot climb down. From an engineering standpoint, that is a risky design as there are no redundant safety mechanisms built in and there should be. You would think someone would make a much more reliable climber, including one with redundant cable lock pins.

What is needed is a "double locking" system where two pins are inserted through the cable to hold it in place. Thus if one pin fails for whatever reason, such as the pin breaking or being pulled loose, the cable would still be securely held by the second pin.

Obviously, another weakness of the climber from a safety standpoint is the cable itself. The cable itself could break or the mechanism where the pin is inserted could detach from the cable. With only one cable, if those things occur, the climber breaks, falls, and cannot be used to climb down.

The simply fix, in my opinion, is to manufacture climbers with a "double cable" design where two cables wrap around the tree for each part of the climber and each cable has its own locking pin. Here's why you need two cables. It's all in the common sense words of wisdom we all need to know and accept as Laws of the Universe.

Like that famous guy "Murphy" I have created a few "Firecloud's Laws" one of which is:

"If you need one of any item, you actually need two." (Firecloud's Law #1)

That is because eventually that guy Murphy applies his law of "If it can go wrong, it will" to your first item and causes the item to be lost, stolen, or broken. At that point, if you thought you could get by with only one of the item, another proverbial phrase of wisdom kicks in and you are "SOL." But if you were wise enough to have two of the item, per Firecloud's Law #1, then you just "keep on trucking."

Given the relatively cheap cost of a few more feet of cable and a cable pin, I cannot see why any tree climbers are made without a dual cable, dual pin system, if only for the safety advantage alone.

My climber passed its trial run test this afternoon without any problems showing up. I did not see any deer and didn't really expect to for Hunt 8 because it wasn't a really serious hunt. I did set up the climber overlooking the creek just west of Food Plot #1. I haven't watched the creek any this season and sometimes that can be productive if a deer simply wants a drink of water. There is a regularly used crossing at that point where deer come from the much larger undeveloped tract west of the creek to cross the creek and enter my food plot.

It was a very pleasant afternoon however and I really enjoyed my time in the woods.
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"And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth" Genesis 9:2
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