Hunting 2012

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SPRING TURKEY HUNTING 2012

Turkey hunting this season was a lesson in humility.  Had several ole long beards that came silently in to our calling but didn't get a chance to harvest one for some "giblets and gravy" or a Wild Turkey Breast Stir Fry and I guess that is why it is called hunting instead of harvesting.  Nevertheless, Randy Steele and myself had a great time enjoying the cool Spring mornings with a nice brisk chill in the air thoroughly taking in what God has created for all of us to enjoy!   One ole Long Beard appeared out of no where right in front of us about 50 yards out and don't have a clue as to how he got there without being seen by either of us....guess we must have blinked or something....grin if you must!  We had one Long Beard hammering away and came with 30 yards but we were positioned too far back into cover and he apparently was skirting the edge of a cutover and would not commit to coming into the woods.  He paced back and forth and we thought for sure he would come on in but it didn't happen. 

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved the outdoors and have hiked many, many miles throughout my youth trekking up and down steams and trails learning and observing many aspects of Nature of which the love of the outdoors still continues today.

The Lord willing, we will be back out there next season and give the ole Long Beards another try!

ARCHERY, MUZZLELOADER AND REGULAR GUN SEASON 2012

Opening day of our annual archery season came in on September 8, 2012 and the weather was very hot and humid, therefore elected to miss the opening day hunt and wait on cooler weather forecasted that was prompted by a cold front moving in.  Besides, now that I am retired I can go hunting when the notion hits depending on what other things are prior scheduled.....grin if you must!  My bride found it hard to believe that I did not go hunting on opening day and I guess some common sense is finally being used no doubt brought about by the date on my Birth Certificate!  The past month or two has been ones with extremely high temperatures and getting my archery equipment out and climbing my platform practice stand just didn't make too much sense although I definitely needed the practice.  It seems like it has rained about every evening during the month of August which is normally our hottest and driest month but the weather was a little cooler than normal as depicted by the Progress Energy monthly power bill. 

I practiced only a few different times during the month of August and my Matthews Drenalin bow felt like it was a 100 pound pull instead of 60 pounds but what little practice shooting I did, the arrows were in the kill zone on my four practice 3D deer targets which was a good sign.  I finally got all my camouflage clothing and equipment together this past weekend and did make it to my favorite hunting stand location on September 10, 2012 and got on stand around 6:10 A.M. and settled in for a morning hunt.  The temperature was in the low 60s with a slight breeze was coming out of the North and really felt good.  The breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay and was a most pleasurable morning.  At about daybreak, I think every song bird within hearing distance was giving thanks to the start of another day and there was an abundance of Blue Jays checking on the corn that I had placed at this hunting location during the past month to help attract deer into the area.   I stayed on the hunting stand until around 10ish and un-nocked the hunting arrow and placed in back into the quiver and lowered my bow to the ground and headed back for home. 

I checked with another one of my hunting friends, John Gaddy of Polkton, NC  and he decided not to hunt this morning September 10, 2012.  John keeps up with the peak animal activity feeding charts for wildlife that is based on the Moon Phase and prime afternoon time was somewhere around 7:30 or so and we both planned on hunting the afternoon hours.  I didn't know whether or not I would be able to sit on my hunting stand since my stomach was acting up badly with frequent trips to the bathroom and luckily I felt much better before heading out to the same hunting stand location and got on stand somewhere around 5:00 P.M. which was a little later than I had planned but prime time was a couple hours or more away so should have plenty of time.  Around 6:00 P.M. I saw a doe about 20 yards from my stand to the right and she came to a full stop with her head up winding the area and figured something wasn't kosher and didn't stay around to see what was wrong.  She didn't sound an alarm by snorting so I felt a little more comfortable knowing that the wind direction was still pretty much in my favor.

Around 7:25 P.M. I heard something slowing walking in from the left side of my stand and two small fawns emerged and went directly to the feeding area where I have been broadcasting corn.  Followed by the fawns was a doe and she was on full alert testing the wind and was about 14 yards in front of my stand and looked toward my stand and started doing the head bobble tactic to see if anything would move.  This ole girl had been around the block a few times as far as checking out hunting stands at feeding locations.  A few seconds behind the doe was a spike buck still in velvet and he went right into the corn area and starting munching  the corn and positioned himself on the other side of where the two fawns were.  Once the doe settled down, I slowly removed my bow from a hanging hook, attached the Scott release aid to the string loop, and in slow motion rotated my body (while sitting on the stand seat) at a right angle to the deer.  Once all the eyes were not looking my way, I pulled the Drenalin bow back to full draw which didn't seem to take any effort at all;  anchored my drawing release aid hand,  got a good sight picture through the string peep sight and placed the fiber optic pin of the scope ring centered in the string  peep onto the spike buck's heart/lung area letting the sight pin settle down and touched the release aid trigger of which the Easton XX78 Super Slam arrow tipped with a Thunderhead 125 grain 3 bladed broadhead headed on it's deadly course to the spike buck's vital area.  I could briefly follow the short flight of the deadly arrow by the high visibility of the yellow plastic vanes on the rear portion of the arrow shaft that was dipped in a fluorescent red paint and the fluorescent green arrow nock, whereas the arrow struck the buck in the middle of the lung area and gave loud resounding smack/thumb.  The buck immediately whirred around and headed to the left into heavy cover and I heard him crash within a few seconds about 50 yards from my stand.  After a few heavy gurgling breathing sounds all was quiet again.  The other deer were still in the immediate area but I decided to get down at the risk of spooking them and locate the buck before it got dark.  By the time I got my equipment lowered to the ground it was beginning to get dark and checked the area where the buck was standing.  My arrow was sticking into the ground apparently at the same angle that it left left my bow and covered with good lung blood which is always a good sign not to mention hearing the deer crash down.  I used my small mini-Mag flash light with about the lumens output of a lightening bug to help illuminate the profuse amount of blood on the ground that started within several yards of where the buck was arrowed and it didn't take but a minute to follow the blood trail to the downed buck.  Attached a few pixs:

This pix would not make it into a hunting magazine or show because of the horrendous blood scene but this is a part of hunting.  With such a low exit wound which is ideal, blood loss was immediate resulting in a very quick humane kill.  The pix shows the entry  side of the arrow and upon field dressing the buck, the arrow went through the lower portion of the buck's heart with a much lower exit hole.  I field dressed the buck and had a good sized ditch/branch to cross and without the aid of a four wheeler, I was pooped by the time I got this ole boy on flat ground.  The following pix at my hanging tree that I nick named Tom "Dooley" Dula since it is a White Oak tree:

There was a lot of moisture on my tee shirt as evidenced by the pix above  and that was not from falling into the creek....grin if you must!  The little buck had been eating real well since there was plenty of fat on him and the back strap aka loin strap will make some "beautimous" Venison Steak n Gravy.  It was around 9:35 P.M. by the time I had skinned, quartered and placed the last of the buck into my basement game refrigerator for aging until I can cut and grind him up.  Since I save deer urine for usage during the rut, this little buck had a full bladder and harvested the urine to add to my rutting buck urine that I have collected from a few deer that were in the rut.  I preserve the urine by adding regular table salt to it and keep it sealed in a quart Mason jar in my game refrigerator.  Pix below:

You can see those tenderloins below to the right and left of the bladder that will make some good breakfast stir fry with some scramble eggs and stone ground grits.  The inner tenderloins are the most tender part of animals and you pay a premium for farm raised tenderloins whether domestic or wild animals.  As my friend David Stewart of Ellerbe, NC would say, "Sure will look good on a biscuit".    I don't waste much of a deer and do save the hides for a few people when they want the deer hide to be transformed into buckskin leather for garments.

Web posted by Bill aka Mickey Porter 09-11-12.

AFTER THE DEER IS DOWN

Click on the thumbnail pixs below  for a larger view of cutting, grinding and vacuum sealing the venison headed for the freezer:

 

I will "guesstimate" there was 30 plus pounds of deboned ground venison which will make some wonderful meals.  I didn't grind the loin strap but sliced them for later transformation into some hand cubed venison steak n gravy.  There is one picture that shows the popliteal (flank) gland  that is located in the hind quarter that needs to be removed, otherwise if left in the hind quarter,  the meat will have a gamey smell and taste especially if the animal was stressed by a pack of dogs.  I personally do not want to harvest a deer in front of a pack of dogs due to the increased adrenalin in the deer's system and the stress on the muscles which renders some tough and smelly meat!  Any animal harvested such as stand or still hunting renders much better tasting meat in my humble opinion.   

NOTE:    I do not add any type of animal fat to the ground venison that I package and freeze.  I will later add pork trimmings, etc. when I am making summer sausage.  Venison is very lean and fat free and requires some type of oil, e.g., olive oil, etc. when used in place of ground beef.

Visit my venison chop shop page which explains the above pictures in more detail. 

The clean-up and sanitation of the processing equipment is the hard part of this job....I use a weak mixture of Clorox water to help with the sanitation.

Web posted by Bill aka Mickey Porter 09-13-12.

HUNTING ACCESSORIES

Below a pix that was taken in 2002 of the contents in my back pack and use most of the stuff in there on a regular basis such as the knife, camera, tripod, rubber gloves, tissue paper, deer drag sling, flashlights and add and take away a few things as time goes on.  I sold the Randall # 3 hunting knife as it was primarily designed to field dress large game only and wanted a more multi-purpose knife with a thinner blade.  The Randall 5 inch length knife blade was close to 1/4 inch thick and tough enough to open up a steel drum or could be used in a combat situation if necessary.   I am currently using a small buck drop point folding knife with a 3 1/2 inch length blade that I keep on my belt and field dressed the above harvested deer with it and the blade is still razor sharp.

Most of the deer I harvest are taken just before dusk or late evening and is dark by the time I get to the harvested deer to field dress them and has always been a problem to keep a light source on the deer while removing the viscera and sitting up my regular tripod for a photo.  I finally got around to rigging a small light in weight portable table top tripod to allow one to position a light source where you need it.  Below a couple pixs of what I came up with and I will insert a few pixs of the small table top tripod and light source actually in use when field dressing my next deer at night:

The above table top tripod has a base and upper support (column extension) made by Manfrotto in Italy and with the Ultra Clamp pivoting ball head part # PD05020 manufactured by Pedco in the USA.  The three leg foldable base is Manfrotto part # 209 and the telescopic column extension is part # 259B.  The LED tactical flashlight is by Remington and uses two 3 volt CR123A batteries with an output of 150 lumens and is extremely bright.  A Manfrotto 015 brass female 3/8 to male 1/4 inch adapter is required.

I made a flashlight clip adapter out of a scrap piece of 3/8 inch square aluminum bar stock and drilled and tapped it for the 1/4" x 20 tpi stud which is standard on cameras and small tripods.   I carry the flashlight on my belt in the black nylon holster that came with the little flashlight which will get double duty usage out of it.  This flashlight is about 15 times as bright as the small Mini-Mag flashlight that uses two AA batteries.  Light-emitting diodes (LED) technology has made standard bulbs obsolete as far as flashlights go and currently replacing many automotive industry bulbs as well. 

I know, this might be an overkill on the light source since I have laid a regular flashlight on the ground for many decades trying to get the light onto the deer while field dressing but change is good too!  Also, the Remington LED tactical flashlight has a strobe light mode which will be useful when tracking deer when you need to position a light source or flag at your last blood sign and need to cut a large circle to pick up the blood trail again. 

Hopefully, more pixs to follow very soon with the tripod and light in usage!

Web posted by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 10-01-12.

ARCHERY HUNTING OCTOBER 10, 2012

Weather conditions either the wrong wind direction or rain put a damper on my bowhunting this season so far.  Also, a few of  the mornings were ideal but didn't feel like getting out of a warm bed climbing onto a cold tree stand which might be an indication of the date on my birth certificate....grin if you must!  A few times, rogue dogs would start running deer at prime time; e. g., sun slowing going down below the western horizon with the shadows already very long and the evening stillness accentuating the tranquility interrupted by the barking of the dogs as deer were probably making their way to my tree stand spoiling the hunt but that goes with the turf when there are wild dogs and dogs allowed to roam about during hunting seasons.  

I had an offer to hunt a remote location in Richmond County and didn't hesitate to accept the offer.  I got on stand sometime around 4:42 in the afternoon and the temperature was very mild for this time of the year although a cold front had just gone through the area bringing a North to North East direction wind which cooled the mornings down to the high 40s and low to mid 50s making for ideal hunting conditions.  The full blown deer rut is a good month away, however deer do start their pre-rut ritual getting ready for their annual breeding by making mock scrapes and rubbing saplings and larger trees to get their neck muscles in condition for the fights that take place to ascertain who is dominant and allowed to breed!  It is this time of the year that a cautious mature and immature bucks will wonder out of their safety zones chasing those hot does ready to be bred.  Many a two legged buck has fallen victim for the same thing ending up in a casket whereas the ole four legged buck ends up being processed for the prized venison.  Back to my hunting story..........

Nothing eventful happened but enjoyed all the surrounding beauty watching the multi-colored leaves gently ascend to the canopy and ground below,  At times the falling leaves remain suspended by an updraft making them appear to defy the laws of gravity but eventually give way to the magnetic force of the earth's gravity and settle to the forest floor below for recycling by Mother Nature.  A nearby grey squirrel is hurriedly cutting white oak and pin oak acorns in preparation for the cold winter months ahead and part of Gods plan instilled in everything for the preservation of all life forms.  It was getting very late as the sun slowing descended down behind the trees and a ghost deer approached from my right of which I never heard it make any sound at all.  He was positioned about 18 yards nearly broadside but at a slight angle facing me.  I slowly drew the Matthews Drenalin bow back to full draw, anchored and got a good sight picture through the fiber optic single pin scope and applied pressure to the Scott release aid trigger and the arrow left in a flash.  I was unable to track the arrow due to the diminishing  daylight left but the arrow gave a somewhat hollow sound when it made contact with the deer which is not the best sound one wants to hear which indicates a gut shot.  The deer made a 180 degree turn and exited the small clearing into heavier woods and I never heard him fall down or make any type of sound which is another bad sign.  I quickly got down from the elevated tree stand and checked my arrow which had blood and stomach contacts on it and felt really sick since most of the time there is not a sufficient amount of blood to make a successful track even though you might take out at least one lung, the liver or a kidney which is fatal but the exit hole becomes plugged from the deer's intestines.  I went to the last place where the deer left the area and there was no blood trail to follow and only found a couple drops of blood between there and where the arrow was sticking into the hard ground.  Normally it takes about 8 to 12 hours for an animal with this type of wound to expire and the best method for recovering the animal is not to disturb it since it will go into heavy cover and lie down, therefore I left the area as quietly as possible and planned to return by day light the following morning and see if I could recover the  wounded deer.  The weather forecast for the night was in the 40s and the meat should not spoil and I definitely wanted to recover the deer if possible.  There is not a high success ratio for retrieving arrow gut shot animals but I wanted to do all I could to find the deer and hopefully salvage the meat.

The following morning, I arrived back at the hunting site around 7:30 A.M. and headed in the direction that the deer was traveling and immediately heard several dogs barking.  As I got closer to the barking dogs they ran out of the heavy cover startled by what little noise I was making.  I went into the heavy cover and didn't see any sign of a deer and cut a large circle to see if I could pick up any deer sign and didn't observe anything which took about an hour to do so.  As I made my way back to where I had heard the barking dogs, they had returned  into the heavy cover again and this time came out about 30 yards from my position and were very aggressive.  A few warning shots from my side arm sent them packing and they still didn't want to leave but stayed about 75 to a 100 yards continuing to bark.  I knew the deer was in the thick heavy cover by the actions of the dogs and planned on doing all I could to recover the deer.  However, in heavy cover you have to contend with the tight growing small saplings, briars, thick undergrowth that limits mobility and visibility adding to the difficulty to locate your game animal.  This time with a much more precise fix and location where the dogs had exited from the heavy cover, it didn't take but about 10 minutes to locate the deer which was a good 7 point buck, weight estimated at about 150 pounds on the hooves.  The deer was still warm and decided to field dress him although the meat might be a little stronger than normal since he was stressed prior to its death for sure.  The buck traveled about 200 yards before going into real thick cover which is normal for that type of wound.  I don't think I would have recovered the deer if it had not been for the dogs barking and their persistence in going back to the downed deer which gave me a good fix on where they had exited the thick heavy cover and glad I interrupted their soon to be free meal.   The side arm was definitely an asset since the dogs were more aggressive than normal which is understandable having to loose their easy breakfast.  A pack of dogs both domestic and wild are like some people I have observed over the years while working in a Correctional Environment;  by themselves they are as quiet as a Church mouse but when you get them together, "they have more mouth than a fat hogs got butt"! 

The buck hanging from our white oak tree I named Tom Dula aka "Dooley" ready for skinning and quarterly.  After skinning and quartering, he was placed in my basement Game Refrigerator to age a few days before cutting and grinding.  The loin strap will be "beautimous" with a serving of rice and gravy!

My trophy hunting friends will harass me about harvesting this buck saying, "He still had milk on his mouth" but I never have tried any deer antler soup or BBQ Deer Horns.  I think what they really do is grind the deer horns into powder and use it as an aphrodisiac!  Grin if you must!

Web posted by Bill aka Mickey Porter 10-11-12.

PRE-RUT ACTIVITY OCTOBER 14, 2012

With some free time available, I decided to check out one of my favorite hunting locations and the deer are beginning to show some sign of getting ready to rut.  The weather has been cooler the past week with the wind coming from the North to North East which  sometimes triggers pre-rutting activity.  Biologists will quickly tell you that the rut is determined by the daylight/dark hour ratio but cooler weather does get the deer to stirring around more.   Below a creek that I trapped heavily back in the mid 1970s to the early 1980s when animal fur was fetching a premium price.  I trapped many raccoons and two otter from this creek and it is beautiful this time of the year.  The slow moving crystal clear water had a reflection of the trees and the only thing that would take this creek to the next level would be native Rainbow Trout swimming and feeding in it but the weather here is way too mild for them to survive.   The below creek crosses our property line for a short distance and eventually feeds into Gould's Fork which in turn runs into a tributary of Brown Creek that empties into the Pee Dee River above Highway 109 North.

  

Click on the below thumbnail pixs of some recent scrapes and rubs made by the ole boys; well maybe made by those "Milk Deer"....grin if you must!

Web posted by Bill aka Mickey Porter 10-14-12.

MUZZLELOADER PREPARATIONS

Our annual muzzleloader hunting season comes in this year on October 27, 2012 and decided to change the point of aim on my muzzleloader scope since it was adjusted sometime in October 2001 for 125 yards POA (point of aim) and has not changed or moved since then.  I hunted on a track of land at the Anson County Airport owned by Pines Davis (deceased) and some of the fields were about 300 yards across and about 500 yards in length and needed that longer point of aim for the ole smoke pole.

I planned to hunt an area that doesn't afford hardly a 50 yard shot so decided to move the point of aim to 50 yards which should be adequate.  My bride's beautician, Jennifer Johnson at Permanet Solutions Salon gave me the ok to use their property to test fire and adjust my antique Knight MK85 left hand stainless steel muzzleloader that has their laminated wood thumbhole stock on it.  On top of the muzzleloader is a Leupold brushed aluminum 50MM 3.5 x 10 variable power scope which is stable and very clear.  The past few years I have been using Triple Seven powder and Knights old 260 grain solid lead bullets with their old black sabots which gives a .508 overall bullet sabot diameter which does well in this rifle.  I believe Knight doesn't make muzzleloaders anymore but still offers some parts, etc.  I am still using the # 11 cap and see no need to upgrade to the 209 pistol primer since I have never had an ignition problem.  I still use the granulated power instead of the pellets but would probably upgrade to the 209 if I used pellets since a little hotter ignition system is required.  One of my favorite clichés, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

After I got set up; forgot my camera, the wind was blowing pretty good and I was very unstable on the make shift shooting rest.  I was shaking like a wet dog that just fell into a sub freezing lake but the Knight MK85 muzzleloader has an exceptional light and crisp trigger pull that helped me out.  Before I loaded, I knew the POA was for 125 yards and moved the scope adjustment 12 clicks down which should put me in the ball park at 50 yards.  See target below that I took a pix of after arriving home.  Would not win any shooting matches with this grouping but all four shots would take deer easily out to 100 yards:

The first shot was in the 1 inch diameter red circle at 12 o'clock and fired the second shot without cleaning the bore which was to the left and a little high; cleaned the bore and fired the third shot which was to the left and low; cleaned the bore and adjusted the scope 8 clicks to the right and the last shot was low in the 1 inch dia. circle a little beyond 6 o'clock and decided it was close enough since I was not holding very steady even on the shooting rest.  All of the shots would harvest a deer out to 100 yards if aiming for the center of the lungs.  I would not hesitate to attempt a heart or head shot at 50 yards with this muzzleloader.   See my Muzzleloading page for the effectiveness of these solid lead bullets.  Knight called them a hollow point which has an indentation in their center to mimic a hollow point ....they do expand and create some serious trauma.

The least amount of fun muzzleloading is the clean up.  Without proper cleaning of your muzzleloader, it will misfire when you need it the most and many times you will totally destroy the breach plug and the barrel brought about by the corrosive nature of black powder and the synthetic alternates like Hodgdon Pyrodex, Triple Seven, etc.  Most of the time, you cannot remove the breach plug and even with stainless steel components, they do corrode but not as fast as the regular steel barrels.  The factories with their high tech equipment cannot remove the barrel assembly from the muzzleloader receiver when improperly cleaned and corrosion allowed to "weld" the barrel, breach plug and receiver together which renders the weapon useless. 

I use a Tipton Gun Vise which is inexpensive to assist with cleaning the barrel and receiver of the muzzleloader and use Thompson/Center Arms Co. Number 13 Bore Cleaner although there are plenty of fine products available for the same purpose.  Hoppe's # 9 is one of my all time favorite bore cleaners and it smells good too!   Attached a pix of some of my favorite cleaning chemicals and I also use Shooter's Choice and Hoppe's Bench Rest # 9 which didn't fit into the photograph:

I started out muzzleloading with a Thompson Renegade left hand .50 cal. and gave it away last year since I had not used it since 1999 when I traded some tree stands for the Knight MK85.  I grin at myself because I normally take enough accessories with me to stock a small sporting goods store but over the years, I have down sized to just a handful of items with includes several spare speed loaders with the powder and sabot/bullet ready to load; a bullet starter, a modified small screw driver to assist removing the spent cap when sometimes they give trouble to remove, bullet puller (which I have never used while hunting) and spare # 11 CCI caps stored in a loading tool.  Pix below:

I keep the caps in a plastic Zip-Loc type bag and the other items in one of my shirt pockets for immediate access.  I carry my regular hunting back pack and will include a pair of binoculars when gun hunting.  A cell phone and/or GPS comes in very handy too!  For all day hunting, proper clothing, water and a few snacks make for a very excellent, relaxing and enjoyable hunt regardless of any game harvested.  Staying warm and dry is the key to being able to hunt all day or until a game animal is harvested!

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 10-20-12.

MUZZLELOADER HUNTING

Muzzleloader season came in on October 27, 2012 and have only seen a couple deer and they did not present a shot.  Today November 1, 2012,  I invited a couple of my friends over for a Venison Stroganoff lunch and we had a great time.  Pix below of Frankie Cranford (left in pix) and Randy Steele who have taken many large bucks over the years:

We had a great time enjoying the Crock Pot Venison Stroganoff over a bed of sticky rice,  toss salad and lemon tea.  We reminisced over a few humorous hunting stories from the past and I took a little hackling over some of the very small deer I have harvested for the freezer over the years.

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 11-01-12.

MUZZLELOADER HUNTING 11-02-12

Had a chance to hunt this morning until around 11:00 and did not see anything except squirrels, one rabbit and several species of birds enjoying the corn that I have been broadcasting out regularly for the deer.  It appears that the deer are feeding mostly at night and have only seen a couple does so far this muzzleloader season and they did not offer a reasonable shot.  The beautiful autumn colored leaves were falling profusely to ground with a light frost present which is a prelude to the approaching winter.

I got on stand this afternoon around 6:00 PM which is late but my bride and myself both had afternoon hair appointments at Jennifer Johnson's Permanet Solutions Salon and the middle of the day was reserved for our daily workout at The Buff Monkey Fitness Co. which keeps the day busy with other things to do as well.

It was getting dusk dark and I heard some movement about 90 yards directly in front of my stand and a 4 Point buck slowly emerged from the shadows and walked to the edge where I had scattered shelled corn which was about 75 yards and began to take a few nibbles.  With the sun down behind the trees, the buck looked like he was about 200 lbs. and did not present a good broadside heart/lung shot since he was still facing me.  I opted to take a front head shot and placed the Knight MK85 safety in the off position and let the crosshairs settle on his head which was down at the time.  I touched the light trigger pull and the muzzleloader bellowed and the buck immediately went down in his tracks.  It didn't take too long to cover the 75 yards to the buck and the closer I got to him the smaller he looked.  There definitely was not any edible meat wasted with the head shot.  The little buck weighed about 125 lbs. at the most and was still difficult to drag out since I had to go up an incline for about 50 yards or more to access level ground.  I can certainly understand why the four wheelers are so poplar; not only to get you to and from your hunting location but haul your game out instead of dragging them out.  I am fast beginning to realize that I don't have the strength and stamina I once had and hopefully the fitness center workouts will get some strength back into the muscles that have been dormant for so long.  A State job or any job without much physical activity will do a number on you over a few decades unless you participate in some type of daily exercise program!

It took about an hour or more to get the deer out, skinned and quartered.  I can hear my hunting buddies saying,  "He still had milk on his mouth." ...grin if you must!  I hunt for the freezer and he will provide some good ground venison and Cube Steak n Gravy.  Pix below:

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 11-02-12.

REGULAR FIREARMS HUNTING SEASON 11-10-12

Anson County's regular firearms season came in on November 10, 2012 and I hunted one of my regular hunting stands of which I did not see any deer movement during the morning and afternoon hunt.  I got a call right after dark from one of my hunting buddies Randy Steele of Cason's Old Field, NC which is not far from the South Carolina line and he said he had shot a large buck and needed help in tracking him.  It took about 20 to 30 minutes to get to where he was hunting from one of his elevated box stands and we started following a very sparse blood trail right away.  Once the deer got into some denser cover, he started to bleed profusely with very large clots of blood piled on the ground where he apparently stood for a little while and we thought it would be a quick find.  However, the blood trail got cold again and was difficult to follow and over the course of three hours or more tracking, we managed to stay on the blood trail for at least  4/10 of a mile and the deer eventually made his way into a swamp area where the water was over the level of a regular pair of boots.  The buck continued a course into deeper water and we had to abandon our search for the deer due to water level and sparse to nil blood trail.  While we were tracking the buck, another hunter Steve Carter who Randy knew saw our lights from the roadway and stopped and assisted us with the tracking until the water got too deep to continue on. 

Steve went back into the swamp the next day and located the blood trail on the other side of the swamp/creek where the deer exited and then went back into the swamp and jumped the buck which had weakened but still had enough energy to stay ahead of him.  Steve said the deer would weight well over 200 pounds and had a large rack and the buck could not raise his head to a normal height when he ran off into the heaver cover of the swamp.  Randy went back into the swamp on Monday but was unable to locate a blood trail or see any sign of the buck.  Randy was totally sick over the loss of the buck.

I got a call from Randy the following week and he offered to let me hunt one of his known trophy tower stands on 11-17-12 which I know is a heck of risk by my history of harvesting very small milk bucks.  His tower stand enclosed, has carpet on the floor, swivel seat, gas heater and sliding Plexi-Glass windows offering about all the comforts one would want in this type of Condo or Hilton style deer hunting tower.....grin if you must!    A few pixs below:

Notice that Randy has a Zip-Loc bag of shelled pecans ready to roast on his gas heater of which I did roast a handful too!

The gas heater felt real good with the temperature hovering around 31 degrees and the wind blowing at times like a hurricane off the North Carolina coast.

I got into the Tower Stand on 11-17-12 around 6:15 AM and at about daybreak heard some turkeys yelping in the distance.  It didn't take too long before I spotted three (3) Hens and two (2) Long Beards coming to where corn on the cob was placed for the deer.  They stayed in the area for about an hour and at around 7:30 AM a small Spike buck came up from the South trying to locate a couple scent vents that I had placed upwind about 25 yards from the Tower stand.  He was confused for sure and and finally left the area with courting on his mind.  I took a pix but the little digital camera locked focus on a close by tree branch directly outside the viewing window or moved the camera when depressing the shutter release button which rendered a badly out of focus image and decided not to post the pix.....my bad on the pix.

I reset the camera mode to Landscape to prevent this from happening again but it was too late.  I plan to take a Canon D20 DSLR camera with zoom lens and try getting a larger framed image.

There were many, many large caliber rifle shots fired about 30 minutes before sunrise (barely daybreak) until around 8:30 AM and several were within 1/4 of a mile and sounded like a few of them had contacted something solid by the double echo effect given.  Normally, you can hear the bullet strike the deer upon impact before the full report of the muzzle blast if you are close enough and not the one doing the shooting.  I talked with Randy a couple times via our cell phones and he saw one decent 8 point buck but let him walk to hopefully live a couple more years and should be sporting a much larger rack by then.

Pix below of a couple "milk bucks" and Long Beards feeding together photographed by Randy.

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 11-17-12.

HUNTING 11-20-12

Hunted one of Randy Steele's Tower stands this morning and saw at least 9 does and 1 good 8 point buck about 200 yards at the end of one of the shooting lanes that had a very heavy tall rack but it was only about 12 to 14 inches inside width.  Most of the deer were about 200 yards from the tower stand this morning and were not in a good position to attempt to get a picture taken.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed watching them.  Later on in the morning around 9:00ish AM, a couple more does entered into one of the shooting lanes about 150 yards out and managed to get a pix before they exited.  Pix below:

I had the zoom lens on the Canon D20 DSLR camera maxed out at 300MM and rested the body of the camera on the ledge of the window for added steadiness.  I had the camera in the manual mode with the aperture also wide open at 5.6 F-stop and the shutter speed was around 125th of a second.  The sky light filter on the lens was removed due to it fogging up, however the lens did not fog up.  Hopefully, I will be able to get some closer pixs when the deer start feeding where the corn on the cob is placed.  I observed a hawk attempting to harvest his morning meal but the squirrels feeding on the corn were to smart for him:

The Hawk is perched above where the corn on the cob is placed for the deer but he did not have any luck hunting this morning and I believe he is a young hawk by his non-stealth method of squirrel hunting.

It was an enjoyable morning hunt even though I did not pull the trigger on my antiquated Remington model 700 BDL left hand .270 Winchester caliber rifle that has a tiger stripe camouflage pattern applied to the entire gun long before camouflage stocks were available on firearms other than doing them yourself like I did.  More to follow.

HUNTING 11-21-12

Saw plenty of does and a couple bucks this morning around 7:15 AM and after.  Stayed in the Tower stand until around 8:30 and had to make a quick exit for a make shift outhouse in the woods.  Randy has several urine bottles in his tower stand but this trip was far more serious than the urine bottles....grin if you must!  I told Randy that was about the only thing missing from his Tower and Box stands being a Portable "Potty".  A few pixs of the buck that I let walk that was about 60 yards from the tower stand.  He was chasing does off an on and came back in the corn feeding area a couple times and he didn't realize how lucky he was.  I think this buck's "horse shoe" is as large as Randy's!  This buck's rack is probably larger than anything I have on the wall or in my deer horn stew pot.  Randy said he had seen this buck in there before and there are larger deer in there so the rifle rested in the corner of the tower stand.  My battery went dead on the Canon D20 DSLR camera and the spare battery was in the large camera bag at home.  However, I did manage to get a few pixs of him on his first round that he made.  I brought out the little Olympus digital and will see how I did with it on a couple does that came back to the feeding station.  So much for being prepared. 

 

This bucks neck is about as big as his body.  He has been doing some serious doe chasing!

Below pixs taken with the Olympus Stylus 400 4 mega pixel antique camera...doesn't have the zoom capability of the Canon D20 with the 300MM lens but does a fair job at that distance.  Had more daylight available and the fall colors are gorgeous.  At that distance you can see a difference in the resolution of the lens of each camera.  Most of the time, "You get what you pay for."

My hunting buddies especially Quinton Thompson of Mt. Gilead, NC would not believe I could actually let a deer walk by without pulling the trigger so maybe the pixs taken will make a believer out of him....grin if you must.  I have had a tremendous amount of fun watching the deer feed and the bucks chasing does, along with grey squirrels carrying off depleted corn cob shucks not realizing the kernels of corn are no longer there.   If an ole big boy with a set of rocking chair antlers comes out and offers a chance to harvest a trophy that will be fine but if not, being outdoors and sharing what God has created for all of us to enjoy and the comradery of a hunting buddy makes it all meaningful and worth while! 

Two of the Greatest Ships that ever sailed:  Friendship and Fellowship!

HUNTING 11-23-12

Got on stand this morning around 6:15 AM and the temperature was at or below freezing with a good frost on the ground.  Below is a picture taken of the field to the South of the Tower stand at 7:54 AM:

Heard some turkeys making some tree cluck sounds around daybreak and saw a total of 5 hens than came in from the South (right) side of the shooting lane.  They were having fun chasing one another several different times and the crows had their own amusement harassing them when they would exit into the pine thicket, however the crows didn't bother them while they were in the shooting lane where the shucked corn on the cob was scattered about.

I saw a total of 5 does, a spike buck and a basket rack 8 point buck.  The 8 point buck had something on his mind and once he entered one of the shooting lanes, we had a stare down and he exited the lane heading into the cut over with something definitely on his mind and no doubt the Lady does at that.  The spike buck stayed in the shooting lane for several minutes and was feeding on some greenish colored ground moss.  The little buck would get a mouth full of the moss and it would be hanging from his lower jaw as if he had a beard!  The spike buck was a good 125 yards plus from the Tower and had the telephoto lens at its maximum 300MM setting.

The gas heater really felt good this morning and had to turn it on several times to get the Tower stand warmed up.  This type of deer hunting is really comfortable and will make it tough when I have to climb back into one of my platform stands to engage all the surrounding blusterous elements; wind, rain and of course the temperature which goes with the turf......grin if you must.

I got out of the Tower stand around 10:00 AM and had an most enjoyable hunt.  I experimented with the ISO camera setting and will compare a few pictures taken of the squirrels feeding and see if there is much difference in the image resolution when I enlarge the images six or seven times.  The weather prophets are predicting colder temperatures for tomorrow morning and might be an excellent morning to be hunting.

HUNTING 11-27-12

Got on stand this morning about 6:10 AM with a light drizzle of rain and the forecast was calling for rain during mid-day and the afternoon hours but should be ok since Randy Steele is letting me hunt one of his enclosed Tower stands.  Sometime around 7:30 AM, I started seeing a few does move and they continued to cross the two shooting lanes until around 10:00 AM, however not a single deer came to the corn on the shuck feeding area.  One ole girl came up the shooting lane and stopped about 25 yards out and then went into some cover.  The deer might be spooked from the corn feeding areas due to hunting pressure that is all around this track of land, although only one deer has been harvest from it.

I saw a total of 10 or more does and a couple little scrub bucks and a couple Long Beard turkeys.  A few pixs taken this morning:

The little buck picked up a does trail that went into the cutover about 30 minutes earlier and he was like a bloodhound on a hot scent with Love Making on his agenda...grin if you must!  The last pix taken, I hollered ank, ank ; click on the ank; there is an embedded .mp3 sound file and he stopped, attempting to get a location where the sound had come from. That little buck had a very bad rack and probably needs to be culled from the herd to keep him from breeding.  I didn't get a chance to get a pix of the smaller spike buck and he had only one cow horn sticking up and needs to be culled from the herd as well.

HUNTING 11-28-12

I got in the Tower stand around 6:15 AM and the moon was nearly full with plenty of light to walk the 300 yards to the stand without the aid of an auxiliary light source.  The first 15 to 20 minutes could have been classified as hunting by moonlight but normally on full moon or bright nights the deer tend to move around mid-morning instead of around daybreak.  However, when the rut is in full swing, anything goes and the normal can be disregarded for sure.  By the lack of bucks chasing does, it appears the peak of the rut in Anson County, NC in this area is over.

I saw one doe around 8:30 AM slowing working her way across one of the shooting lanes and she kept looking back which sometimes indicates a buck is following in the distance but not this time.  I think the does have figured out this works for them since most hunters will wait and see if anything with horns comes out....grin if you must!

The regular Long Beard turkeys and hens are coming to the corn on a regular basis and stayed into the area a couple hours before leaving out.  When the hens came on the scene, the two Long Beards started strutting and briefly swelled up and captured a couple pixs before the hens went from the edge of the shooting lane into the woods in a hurry.  They want having no part of what was about to take place; breeding season for them was over.  Pixs below:

It was around 9:00 AM when I saw a good looking 8 point buck coming down the shooting lane that has the corn on shuck and he took his time looking around and would stop briefly and survey the scene for any sign of danger and once getting to the corn, he stayed a good 20 minutes feeding without the slightest hint he was being observed and filmed too.  Pixs below:

This 8 point buck was "slick as a tick" and plenty of weight on him.  I don't think he has been doing any serious rutting.  The ole big boys have probably dept him away from their Lady friends.

I stayed on stand until around 10ish and saw a small herd of does across the cutover behind the stand about 200 yards out in heavy cover and didn't get a count on them but they were at least six...a "guesstimate."

I took a pix of a dew drop on a limb at maximum zoom of 300MM but couldn't get close enough to get the pix I was after since the limb was several feet away from the tower stand:

This morning was on the cold side but a very enjoyable morning to hunt.  Plan to stay around the home and put out some Christmas decor and lights the next few days for my bride since this is her favorite time of the year.  After our daily exercise routine at the Buff Monkey Fitness Company in Wadesboro tomorrow,  I am going to help Randy Steele remove a problem tree too close to his home. 
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