Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Day Follow-up

Well, as much as I'd like to say me and my family are all tagged out, truth is we didn't see a single antler yesterday at all. Plenty of baldies, but we were hunting in a WMU that is buck only for the first week so we had to let them walk.

All things considered though, we all had a great day. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise and sunset, and great weather in general. We all saw deer, and I saw a big ol' gobbler and had two hens roost right in front of me, as well as a fleeting glimpse of a coyote. That's only the second dog I've ever seen, so that was a treat. He snuck in on my right and was gone before I could even think about getting the gun around on him.

Although we didn't have too much success where we were, my buddy Matt's ol' man, Jesse, and brother-in-law shot an 8-point and 5-point respectively, and Schlongie's ol' man whacked a coyote. Interestingly enough, Jesse's buck lost its antlers shortly after he smoked it. When he first picked up the head after he got to it, the one side fell off, then when he started draggin' the other side went. I'd have to think they were loose to begin with if that happened. Usually they don't start to shed until well into December and January.

Matt also told me about a co-worker's acquaintance in her mid-twenties who shot her first buck yesterday... a 14-pointer with a 20" spread that dressed out at 200lbs. That's a hell of a first buck!

Well, we got another week and a half, so there will be more updates. We can start whackin' does upstate on Saturday, so I expect the ol' Full Rut camp to have plenty of venison on the ground.

Good luck and happy hunting in the meantime!

Y'all take care, now.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One of the best days of the year!

Opening day of the PA buck season... Need I say more? I've seen several doe, but no buck yet. A few more hours left in the day, so I'll hope for the best. Updates to follow after dark...
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Geese

I'm not sure exactly when it started, but as long as I can remember, Dad has taken us boys out for a waterfowl hunt on Thanksgiving Morning. We've had a few stinkers, but for the most part there's been a lot of action and some awesome memories. I can only think of two or three occasions where one of us has missed it. It's a much of a tradition for us as the turkey is for everyone else.

We did well this morning. Joe started off by dropping a drake woodie that snuck into the decoys. We wound up with seven geese and four ducks. Another exciting and memorable hunt for the books.

I should have put this picture in the initial post, not sure why I didnt...

I was doing my best imitation of a retriever dog and got stuck away from the pond when a nice group of geese came in, so I whipped out the phone and took some video. I'm usually too busy wieldin' the ol' meat stick to take video, so it was a nice, rare treat to get some footage. It's grainy, but overall not too bad for a cell phone.

Well, i'm gonna go snag some turkey at the grandparent's house and then head off to spend my afternoon milkin' the cows.

Y'all take care, now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What a weekend it was

So bear hunting was quite exciting this year...

After going at it for six years, I finally had my first chance at a Pennsylvania bruin.... and whiffed.

When I heard the twig snap on the edge of the thick shit, I was expecting an ol' whitetail to come barrelin' out. Low and behold, it was a bear. I was completely shocked, but I managed to let loose with the ol' Winchester 30-30, but didn't connect. Put a hell of a hole in a couple different trees though.

But all was not lost. The second drive of the second day, we pushed this 300-pounder (dressed) past one of our gang. After lot of shooting and then an hour up uphill dragging, it was time to celebrate.

Look at the grill on this sumbitch...

It turns out out that it was a research bear, with a collar, ear tags, tattoos, the whole nine yards. That didn't make him dumb, and certainly not easier to kill, just means he went into the pipe to eat a few doughnuts. After getting checked out PGC Wildlife Biologist Steve Rapaski, it was determined that the boar's live weight was around 354.

I took some video at the check station. It's a little long, but it's cool to see the process.

All in all, a tremendously exciting hunt and more great memories for the ol' noggin.

Now, time to switch gears to the buck season opener on Monday. Stay tuned for more...

Y'all take care, now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

PA Bruins

Ahh, nothin' gets me in the mood to stomp the laurel than a good bear huntin' story.

I also stumbled upon some tips and facts whilst I was beatin' around the interwebs.

When one hunting season ends, my brain automatically shifts gears and starts mentally preparing for the next season. When the sun set on the early archery deer season this past Saturday, I was already starting to get geared up for this coming Saturday, the first day of the rifle season for bear.

For those that haven't done it, bear hunting can be one of the most physically demanding days afield. Some people have been known to climb onto their stump in the dark and sit there all day. My friend never hesitates to rub it in that two of the last three years, he's shot his bear from a treestand about 300 yards away from his camp. Not us, though.

I started goin' up to Bear Camp with the ol' man five or six years ago. I wasn't sure what to expect, but as I stumbled my way into the truck for the ride home on Tuesday after two hard days of hunting, I knew I'd be damn sure prepared for next year.

Our group puts on drives... That's just what they've always done. A group will head out one direction in a truck and start dropping off watchers, and a gang of pushers will jump in another truck and head the other direction. The pushes are usually a mile or so across a mountain face, so you're walking at a downhill slant the whole time. Not only that, but once ya get into the laurel thickets, you're forced to either squirm across the ground like a snake or climb over it like a monkey. Another joy are the low swamps that are clogged with thorn and thistle bushes, or areas known as slashings that are basically hundreds of thousands of saplings growing in very close proximity. Good drivers get into the thickest stuff they can find and plow their way through it, knowing that they won't get a shot themselves but they might push a bruin past other drivers or to the watchers.

By the time four or five drives have been done that first day, it's well into the afternoon and everyone's pretty much bushed. When ya wake up the next morning, your body lets you know that you know you got a good workout the day before. It's rough enough that I don't even put my good deer rifle in the truck to make the trip anymore. It just takes too much of a beatin'. I strap on a Ruger .357 Security Six when I'm pushing and I have a beat-up ol' Winchester 94 30-30 to haul around when I'm watchin'.

It's a lot of work, but it's worth it when you have the whole group gather around that big ol' bruin that didn't manage to elude us.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Adams County WCO Killed in the line of duty...

Some sad happenings in Adams County last night...

Being a WCO is a thankless job, and doesn't pay enough for the risks involved. Some of them are a little rough around the edges, dickheaded if you will, but this wasn't the case with Officer Grove. From what I've heard in the past and have been reading all morning, he was not only a professional, but also a fine gentleman and overall nice guy. He was out to do his job to the best of his abilities, and was more about protecting wildlife and helping people than busting their chops for the small things.

I regret that I never got to meet Officer Grove in person. When I'm not skirting the fine line between legal and illegal, I genuinely enjoy the company of our law enforcement officers and hearing their stories.

Please pray for the Grove family today, and hope that the culprit receives a quick and just penalty.

On that note, I heard over the scanner a little while ago that they may have the main suspect in question collared, although that's not official or confirmed. Shame the little asshole didn't resist arrest and spare us taxpayers the cost of a lengthy trial.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cuttin' up...

It's true what they say; when the hammer drops, the work begins.

The ol' man was kind enough to take care of the fun stuff on my first few does, but he finally showed me the nuts and bolts of cuttin' up a deer many moons ago when I shot my first buck. I'm now to the point where, although it's time consuming, I take my time and make sure that I do this process right. With all the time, money and work that goes into whackin' a deer in the first place, it's not somethin' that I want to screw up. I also posses a fun little personality trait that causes me to generally hate to pay someone to do something I can do myself. I've also heard horror stories about what comes back from the processor. When I cut a deer up myself, I get to choose how long to age the meat, how I want to cut my steaks, all that fun stuff. I will take my scrap meat to a reputable processor to be turned into pepper sticks, sausage and bologna, but only because I'm not in a position to buck up the money to get all that equipment for myself.

Thankfully, this day in age, the internet is full of great resources. I'm pretty comfortable in my process, but I still like to learn a few things here and there. I stumbled across this forum the other day, and felt it was worth sharin'. This is very similar to how I cut mine up, although I did pick a few more tricks up. It's a great resource if cuttin' up your own is somethin' you ain't done but want to try. Check it out, ya might learn somethin'.

On a side note, I've found that it's a good idea to keep a dry-erase board on the freezer, especially with a chest freezer. Every package that goes in is labeled, and then documented and dated on the dry-erase board. That way, one look at the board will tell you if there's something that should be used. When I take something out of the freezer, I simply scratch it off the board. I won't lie; when I lived with the folks we'd have some meat go to waste because it wiggled its way to the bottom of the chest freezer and wasn't found until it was too late. Perhaps that's why I'm so anal about keeping the freezer organized now.


Illegal Download of the Post

This song was actually, believe it or not, my first legitimate, legal purchase from the iTunes store. It's a good tune, hard, crisp and fast. This is a tune that I wish I had when I played ball... it'll definitely get some use before our next pickup game. Probably NSFW, so put the headphones on.

Song: My Dark Place Alone
Artist: Murderdolls
Album: Women and Children Last (Special Edition, 2010)

Y'all take care, now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What an amazing weekend!

To me, there's nothing more enjoyable than spending a weekend hanging out with all my buddies and doin' some hunting. So needless to say, I had an awesome weekend! My little brother, Joe, and my best friend's Uncle Tony were lucky enough to fasten their tags on some Bradford County buck ass. Everyone had plenty of excitement, as there were many close calls and tons of good stories from the woods.

The shin-dig afterward was just a great time. There was plenty of cold beer to go around, and the food was top-notch... Hand-picked eye-roll steaks on the grill, grilled sausages and peppers, venison pepper steak, and plenty of other awesome dishes were just what the doctor ordered after a long day afield. There was plenty of good ol' boys and gals there and everyone had a blast. It took some time and money to put together, but it was well worth it.

We also went spottin' up there on Friday night. The difference in the number of deer we see while spottin' up there as opposed to down home is simply staggering. Without too much effort we saw well over 100 deer, including three slammer bucks. It's not the best night we've had spottin' up there, but it was pretty exceptional.

I don't have many good pictures from the party, but dead animal pictures are always awesome...

One thing we try to do is get a group picture for special weekends like Bowhunter's Weekend. It was great to have some critters on the meat pole this year to add to a great picture.

This is my little brother Joe with his first bow buck and his first Bradford County buck, a big-bodied six-point.

This is Schlongie's Uncle Tony. It's far from his first bow buck, but it's also his first from Bradford County, another big-bodied six-point with no browtines.

Oddly enough, these two bucks were harvested within two minutes of each other on different properties.

So now, with one week left of bow season and the rut in full swing, this is the last chance I have to arrow a buck. I may make it out a few mornings this week, and I'll definitely be out Saturday morning before a wedding we have to go to.


Illegal Download of the Post

Sometimes I go for the good ol' random pick. That's where I open up iTunes or Pandora and give ya the first song that comes on. This is one of those days, so here's your pick, courtesy of Pandora...

Song: Simple Man
Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Album: Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd (1973)

Y'all take care, now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Camp... at last.

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It's gonna be a great weekend...

It's purty much a crappy day out there, but I'm about as excited as I can be. Why? The ol' truck is loaded down and ready to head upstate. Two full days of hunting with my best friends during the peak of the rut, with a huge party to follow. What more could a boy ask for?

I started a little thing we call "Bowhunter's Weekend" a few years ago as a way to get my best friend, Schlongie, and his ol' man, Reds, upstate for a day of good hunting. The three of us went up, had a hell of a time, and Reds managed to arrow a nice 6-point. Now in its fifth year, there will be 12 or 13 of my closest friends and family heading up to bowhunt and/or fall turkey hunt. Ron has graciously hosted us every year, and he puts on a great hunting camp for us. This year, he decided to combine our weekend with a fall party, inviting friends and landowners to come share in the festivities. As you might guess, everyone has been looking forward to this for a long time.

And the rut is definitely turning on. Schlongie and I went spotting around the area last night. We didn't see a lot of deer, but one field held six or eight deer, including a bruiser of a buck. We watched the big boy run off a smaller buck several times, then wander over to the treeline and work over his scrape and licking branch.

And if that wasn't proof enough, I got an e-mail from Ron last night, sent to him by a good friend...

This is the buck Rich and I found behind the barn Sunday evening.
A 2nd buck was hanging around and we were trying to see how close we could get to him before he ran.
They must have got in a fight and the other buck was admiring his kill.
Notice his  eye is poked out.
The other buck was a smaller 6pt. This buck was a huge 9pt.

So needless to say, the deer up there are actively rutting and fighting.

I think we'll have a great hunt with lots of success and stories, and the party's gonna be awesome!

I'm sure there'll be pictures to follow, so stay tuned...


Illegal Download of the Post

What can I say? Steady Teddy is my drink of choice when I'm getting ready to head to the hills.

Song: Stranglehold
Artist: Ted Nugent
Album: Ted Nugent (1975)

Y'all take care, now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Today is the day. Do your civic duty.

It's election day. That means in a few hours, I will go stand in line at the municipal building, then go stand in a tiny little booth that's too small for my fat ass, and try to decide which dude on the ballot is going to screw me less (or use more lube when said screwing commences), make my mark and hope for the best.

But hey, it is our civic duty to help make the decisions regarding the people making the decisions. That's a privilege that a lot of people in the world don't get, so I'll partake. And besides, if it makes all the ridiculous campaign advertising stop, I'm all for it.


Illegal Download of the Post

These guys wrote a great deal of politically-motivated rock, and they definitely lean far, far to the left. I lean considerably more to the right. However, it stays with the theme of the day, and they made some great angry music. I relied on these guys heavily to get jacked for football games back when I played.

Song: Wake Up
Artist: Rage Against the Machine
Album: Rage Against the Machine (1992)

Go vote! And remember, Republicans, Libertarians, and Tea Partiers vote on Tuesday. Dimocrats vote on Wednesday.

Y'all take care, now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's lonely at the top...

I am fortunate to have a deer stand that I can get to quickly after work, when the neighbors are kind enough not to steal the steps. With the looming time change, this will more than likely be my last week to hunt it. I never see a lot of deer, but it's quick and allows me to reenergize after work.

But I digress... The wind is perfect and it's primetime. I'm goin' huntin'.

Y'all take care, now.
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