Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Scoped. Again.

Second deer with my inline this year, and second banged-up brow. Reckon I might have to fuss with the eye relief durin' the off-season.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A very successful buck opener

Not so much for me, as I decided to sleep in. I was on stand by 10:30 this morning, but didn't see a deer. Not really that surprising down here, and all things considered, I had a helluva relaxin' day.

Of course, I couldn't really catch much of a nap due to my phone blowin' up every three seconds with pictures from my friends and family. There was a lotta bucks hittin' the dirt today, and I'm very proud of my friends, family, and specifically my ol' man. I'll let the pictures do the talkin'....

The ol' man with his Bradford County 8-point
My buddy Mike's ol' man whacked this
Adams County 9-point.
Tater dropped this pig in Fulton County this mornin'... helluva buck!
23" inside spread, 24" beams... green scored at 141".

And a very successful day down home at the farm I help out at. I'm lookin' forward to huntin' with everyone down there in two weeks.

One of the neighbors with a nice 7-point

Uncle John connected on this 8-point from his deck.

My second cousin Tyler dropped this big 8-point, one of the
biggest buck to come off the farm.

I honestly don't give a damn if I don't see a deer on this trip. The ol' man connected, and I'm happy to share in the success of my friends and family. That's all I really need this time of year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Deer Eve

I'd like to formally welcome y'all to the most wonderful time of the year. Regardless of what retailers try to shove down your throat, there's absolutely nothin' finer than the Monday after Thanksgiving for us Pennsyltuckians.

As much as I love to archery hunt, there's just somethin' special about the first day of the PA Buck season; the huntin' itself is eclipsed by the trip to camp and the camaraderie shared with family and close friends. Last year, my friend over on the Main Line painted perhaps the best picture of it that I've read, and I encourage y'all to give it a read, as I just did (again).

That said, havin' my PA buck tag already filled throws a wrench into joinin' everyone upstate at Ron's for his annual Deer Eve festivities. I could have gone up and been camp bitch or bear hunted like Joe chose to do, but I decided to get some much needed solitude and mental health by headin' down to Maryland's Eastern Shore to try to whack a deer or two. Some good family friends have a retreat home on 11 acres that they graciously allow us to stay at and hunt at our leisure, with a manageable lease payment of a case or two of Natty Lite, a bag of Martin's Kettle-Cooked potato chips and some Reese's cups.

We've never seen a vast number of deer down here, but we've all killed our fair share and have made some fond memories down here. Jesse took his first buck from what we call the Kid's Stand, and Dad has taken two exceptional bucks, one from the Kid's Stand and the other from a gem that we call the Death Trap. Joe's second (or third?) buck came from a ladder stand set up near the Death Trap. I've only ever got one shot at a buck down here, and managed to shank that one due to rushin' the shot with an unfamiliar gun. Hopefully I'll be able to make amends sometime this week and put my first Maryland buck on the ground. I reckon a big doe doesn't want to walk by either since we can shoot whatever we want down here.

It never hurts when the property owners find stuff like this layin' around in the field next to the house...

On that note, it's time to get my shit together for the mornin' and head to bed. To everyone else that's headed out in the mornin', good luck to y'all.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Centre County bruins

Last Sunday found me en route to Centre County for my annual trek to chase the bear. Dad had hunted with the group on Saturday and had to be home on Sunday, so I was the lone family representative for Monday's hunt.

About 30 minutes into our openin' drive, three shots rang out in front of me as I stood in wait of the drivers movin' ahead of me. The drive stalled, and cousin Randy left his post above mine and headed down the hill to join me. After a few anxious minutes of tryin' to unscramble the radio traffic and strainin' our ears to decipher all the hollerin' goin' on a few hundred yards away, we finally heard the words we were waitin' for... "Bear down!"

Congratulations to Smally on his first bear. It's always nice to get that icin' on the cake, especially when I only get one day to hunt 'em a year.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ducks and days to remember

I've been huntin' ducks for a long, long time and have piled up a few of 'em over the years, but I've never had two days of duck huntin' quite like the last few days.

Wade gave me a call a few days ago, wonderin' what I was doin' on Friday. Well, it'd been almost two years since I dropped the hammer on a quacker, so I figured it'd be in my best interest to go smack a few ducks with a good buddy. A plan was struck for Friday, but after a scoutin' mission on Wednesday evenin', he called me up and convinced me that Thursday was the day to be there.

Me 'n Tater with Thursday's harvest.
Thursday mornin', with the help of two other gentleman that showed up at the pond, we rather quickly and easily filled a four-man limit. With the ducks rainin' down at first light, it was damn near difficult to keep shells in the gun. We finally had to stop shootin' just so we could take stock of what we had. It was incredible... we were out in the middle of the pond fetchin' ducks and had piles of 'em swarmin' around, with a few even droppin' into the decoys briefly. After the feathers had finally settled, we had 19 ducks in the first half-hour of shootin' light. Cooler still, we had four different species of ducks, includin' mallards, shovelers, teal, and one other oddball hen that we couldn't readily identify. We had a few more scattered ducks show up over the course of the next few hours to help us get to our limit of 24 ducks.

Wade and I were back at it again on Friday mornin', and although we didn't have near the insanity we had at first light the day before, we had plenty of excitement and consistent shootin'.

A little back story here... over the summer, our buddy Matt had picked up a few gun raffle tickets for all of us, and a good day was had by all as we ate, drank and enjoyed doin' nothin' for most of the day. As luck would have it though, one of the tickets he'd picked up for me was the first one to hit, and I became the owner of somethin' that I'd have never bought for myself. Matt broke the cherry on her bustin' some clay birds while we were upstate, but I hadn't gotten around to chasin' any critters with it. That bein' the case, I decided that it needed a proper introduction to the huntin' world.

The first group of ducks that came in Friday mornin' was a group of four teal, and the very first shot outta the Citori dropped a beautiful drake green-winged teal in full plumage... an absolutely beautiful duck. Once we had all of 'em anchored, we discovered that all four of 'em were drakes. Talk about a special memory with a great friend.

Wade and I promptly decided that a trip to the taxidermist was in order for both of us, as one of the ones that he'd dropped was also in full plumage.

By the time I left about 10:30, we had 10 ducks in the bag, includin' another shoveler and a handful of mallards. Wade decided to stay for the day, as another friend of his was thinkin' about joinin' him in the afternoon. I still haven't talked to him to see how the rest of the day went for him, but he did send me a picture of a beautiful drake wood duck that didn't escape his Super Vinci. Given that we both consider the drake woodie to be one of the most beautiful birds in the world, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if his taxidermy bill doubled once he got that.

One thing that surprised me... we bagged five shovelers and saw at least twice that, but we never saw a drake. I didn't realize that they were that prevalent in our area, but what we saw the last few days certain goes against that train of though.

I am forever indebted to Wade for invitin' me along... it'll be real tough to top a pair of huntin' days like that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday Grind

What's better than a good live song? A whole frikkin' bunch of live songs.

Filmed live on 23 January, 1991 in Brazil.

Horns Up!   \m/     \m/

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bowhunter's Weekend and some geese

I've been tryin' to post this for most of the week, but keep findin' myself with my hands in other cookie jars. I've also been tryin' to steer clear of the interwebs due to the vast amount of hellfire and brimstone related to the farce that was Tuesday's presidential election. I'll limit my personal observation to one of my favorite Denny-isms: "BOHICA!"

But on to more entertainin' subjects, like our awesome weekend upstate.

I swear to God that my little brother is the luckiest bastard on the face of the earth. Friday afternoon, I left him 300 yards from his spot with ladder steps, a hang-on stand and his bow at about 1:15pm. By five after two, the little bastard was on the phone with the ol' man, requestin' help for trackin'. After a whoppin' five minutes on stand, a big ol' brute strolled by lookin' for a doe to bang, and wound up with a 100-grain Muzzy takin' off the top of his heart instead. He was a fat booger, too... weighed in at 180 pounds field dressed, which is around 230 pounds live weight. That's a big ol' boy just about anywhere south of Canada.

After Schlongie and I gave him a hand with trackin', guttin' and draggin', I headed out to another part of the same property. Wandered up onto some turkeys, and after a half-hour wait managed to shank a 20-yard shot through a small gap in a blowdown. Busted my arrow in half in the process too, damnit.

I kept goin' to where I wanted to set up, only to find deer already in the field about where I wanted to be. I was surrounded by deer sign where I stood though, and since I couldn't think of anything more intelligent to do I just planted my arse at the base of a nearby tree.

About a half hour later, I was happily allowin' my mind to wander when a six-point magically appeared a mere 10 yards away. As soon as he went behind a tree, I drew, and as soon as his vitals hit my red pin on the other side of the tree, the arrow was on it's way. I called up and got Joe headin' my way, since it was gettin' dark. Thankfully, it didn't take long to find the buck, as he only went about 80 yards. Total time from initially seein' the buck to him pilin' up... less than a minute.

Ron wrapped up our success for the weekend by whackin' a jenny hen the next mornin'. Anytime he can take away some competition for the gobblers in the spring, he's a happy guy.

Needless to say, we spent the better part of the weekend with good company, eatin' very well and dousin' ourselves with various spirits. If anybody leaves Ron's place hungry, it is most certainly their own damn fault.

Joe's stuffed venison tenderloin. I guess he's good
for something after all.

A light showin' this year but still a great time!

That lucky bastard.

Our buddy Dave, who's usually with us up there for Bowhunter's Weekend, couldn't make it up this year. He did manage some time in the woods at home though, and wound up punchin' his tag on a nice buck of his own.

Back on the home front last night, we managed to get into the geese a bit. It's been awhile since I've been in on a good shoot, and it had the added bonus of being on one of my favorite ponds. We used to pound the piss outta geese on this pond back in the day, but it's been several years since we've even set it up. Of course, we set it up tonight with a few extra guns, but didn't see a damn thing. That's okay though... after cleanin' geese last night and finishin' the butcherin' on our bucks today, Joe and I didn't feel like cuttin' up anymore meat.

On that note, this is a rather long-winded post for me, and I'd rather be fallin' asleep in front of the VA Tech-FSU game. Y'all have a good night.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Honky Tonk

After two and a half days of hard, fruitless huntin' in the rain and cold and half a dozen Lagers, I've decided that tomorrow mornin' will be a phenomenal time to sleep in. I will wake up whenever I damn well feel like it, then either pot hunt Ron's "pet" deer behind camp or sniper some of the local turkeys with the ol' .223. Fuck, maybe I'll keep drinkin' beer and catch up on some of my readin'. I'm on vacation, damnit.

In the meantime, I'll play this in honor of my big brother, who took in his monthly allotment of country music with this song on the way up to camp tonight. I ain't much for this newfangled "country" music, but I reckon it'll do for now.