Monday, November 9, 2015

PA huntin' success

With our Colorado elk huntin' trip consumin' most of my time and thought up until mid-October this year, I really didn't do too much of anythin' at all related to huntin' around home.

Somewhere in that batshit craziness though, Tater and I were able to make plans for what has become our annual foray for ducks at the farm. In what was almost a repeat of last year, we set up the pond, and waited in the dark as ducks poured into it. Once again, our shootin' left a lot to be desired, but at the end of the day we came away with a trio of woodies and a pair of teal. The company was good, and the B.S. was flyin', so all in all, it was a mornin' well spent.

After our mornin' duck hunt, I loaded up the truck and headed up to Ron's to get some freezer meat.

A little back story here... Pennsylvania has an early muzzleloader season for antlerless deer, and you can use these newfangled inlines. You might as well give me my .30-06, as accurate as these things are. The deer are still in their predictable late summer patterns and haven't been pressured, so essentially, they're still dumb (for lack of better description). Basically, if you're competent enough to get within 200 yards of where they have been comin' out regularly, it's about as close to guaranteed meat as you can get.

I generally like a little bit of challenge when it comes to huntin' deer, but the deer are extremely overpopulated up there, and several of the farmers that give us permission each year are completely fed up with the amount of crop damage they experience. With that in mind, I had no qualms about takin' the inline out and helpin' the cause. I was able to take two mature doe out of the population in as many evenin's.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I still hadn't had any hunts with a bow in my hand, outside of a few quick sits behind the house after work. I finally had a day off on my schedule, and with the peak of whitetail rut approachin', it was time to be in a tree. Havin' had plenty of excitement in the rut at the farm over the years, I headed there and climbed in the same tree that I took my buck out of last year.

I saw a few deer early, but that was 'bout it for the mornin', sans a careless groundhog that showed up around mid mornin' and a great blue heron sneakin' down the creek.

Around 2:30, I had just finished bangin' out my post about our elk hunt when I heard some crashin' to my right. I looked down, and a scant five yards away was a doe, pantin' hard and lookin' behind her. I immediately panicked, because I was slouched down in my stand, and wasn't even remotely close to bein' ready to shoot. Hell, I didn't even have my release strapped on. Sure enough, I heard a grunt behind her, and followed her gaze to see a good buck about 25 yards behind us. Somehow, I managed to get stood up, get my bow in hand, and fish my release out of my pocket and into my palm without gettin' busted. He turned and headed down the same path the doe took, and I was able to get a good arrow in 'im at about eight yards. It wasn't my best shot, so I called Joe and gave the buck time to expire. A few hours and a short track later, we made a quick recovery of what turned out to be a much bigger buck than I thought he was. He even had a big non-typical point on the left side at the base, and some other junk stickers. I was damn near speechless when I walked up to him. I've been waitin' a long time to shoot a buck worthy of a shoulder mount, and this'n was it.

A stop at the stuffer was in order on the way home.
I'd made the decision a few weeks ago to not hold our annual Bowhunter's Weekend this year, which was not an easy decision to make seein' we've been doin' it for ten years. Instead, I'm now hangin' out at Schlongie's family huntin' cabin in Fulton County. With no more deer tags left in my pocket, I'll be spendin' the weekend tryin' to find some turkey and grouse, and hopefully draggin' out a buck for Schlongie or one of his uncles. Either way, it's the best time of year in PA, and there's no place I'd rather be than the woods.

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