Home Forums Campfire Forum Good Night and More lessons learned…

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  • Stephen Graf
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    The good night part…

    So I’ve seen a few doe during the first two weeks of the season, but nothing to shoot at as there aren’t enough deer around here to justify shooting doe.  The weather has been hot and rainy, so I haven’t hunted much.

    Tonight I decided to sit in the tree stand.  As I was lazily walking to the tree I looked up and saw a tail twitching behind a big tree.  I thought it was a yearling, but what the hell, I stopped and put my glove on and nocked an arrow.  I took 2 more steps, and the deer turned around and I saw his head.  WOW! the biggest buck I’ve seen in years, east or west.

    His chest was exposed between two trees and aside from his head, that’s all I could see.  So I thought I’d go ahead and take a shot as there was nothing to lose but an arrow.  I knew he was on alert, but hoped I was still in his curiosity zone and not his panic zone.  Nope.  As I shot he switched ends and was 10 feet away by the time my arrow arrived between the two trees.  Had he stayed there, it would have center punched his chest.  I felt good about it even though I will probably never see that deer again.  It was every bit of 40 yards, probably close to 50.

    I retrieved my arrow and made it to my stand and got settled.  Less than 5 minutes later, here comes a 4 pointer (more my speed anyway).  He was on alert and knew there had been a kerfluffle in the woods.  He wound his way around, but never gave me a shot.  He left after 30 minutes.  A bit later a doe and yearling wandered through.

    As I sat there I noticed a little yellow leaf on the ground near where I had hoped the 4 pointer would pass.  There was a white branch about the size of a deer leg bone about 6 feet beyond that.  As it got to be time to get back to the house, I thought I’d shoot a blunt at the leaf.  If that went well, I’d go for the branch.  Well I hit the leaf and snapped the branch in half.  Counting steps while retrieving the blunts revealed a distance of 24 paces to the first arrow.

    That’s about as good as it get for me without spilling blood.

    Now to the lessons learned part…

    We all know animals communicate with each other.  That, of course, is the basis of the call industry that we all spend money on.  But in the last two days, I have seen the tables turned.

    The doe that came by today eventually winded me.  She let out her predictable series of snorts.  When a doe gets bored with hurling insults, she will usually bound off with a series of rapid snorts that get weaker as she leaves.  We all know that sound.  Well, this doe held her ground and made that series of bounding away snorts all the while looking for me.  When I didn’t appear, she ran off silently.

    Two days ago I was sitting in my hammock seat watching the woods when a hawk came floating through.  We’ve all heard the sound squirrels make when they sight a hawk.  They mimic the hawk noise.  This usually insights other squirrels who never saw the hawk but none-the-less want in on the gossip to start their hawk mimics.  We’ve all heard that.  Well, in this case I was sure I was hearing the squirrels mimicking the hawk, but what I was really hearing was the hawk mimicking a squirrel mimicking a hawk.  He was floating through waiting on some unawares squirrel to take up the cause.

    Dang, them critters are smart.

  • RalphRalph
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    Post count: 2499

    Enjoyed your story Steve.

    Critters been around longer than “uskind”.  To bad we’re smart enough to cause their demise eh? Perhaps we’ll be wise enough to prevent that from happening…………

  • Raymond CoffmanRaymond Coffman
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    Post count: 808

    Good story Steve- once again big bucks are where you find them! And usually not twice in a row. Sorry you didn’t get him . But now you know he’s out there! Great motivation for this fall——.

    Only squirrels near me are ground squirrels , prairie falcons like them . Had a big Falcon watching my yard today. Squirrels didn’t go to the birdfeeder much.

    Scout

  • David CoulterDavid Coulter
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    Post count: 2192

    Another good story. You hit your spot so you did your part. Deer cheated. Nothing like standing still in the woods to get a good lesson.  Ahh to be a good listener. Dwc

  • Stephen Graf
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    I wouldn’t say the deer cheated, I’d say he played his hand better than I did.  When I walk the woods and call it hunting, I feel a bit like that country bumpkin at the county fair about to spend his last 50 cents to see a “man eating chicken”.  In the woods, the joke is usually at my expense… 🙂

    We’re headed up to PA this weekend for a wedding.  My wife asked me what we should get for a gift, and I said “that’s easy”.  I told her I’d bring my bow and find some good public land and kill a nice fat doe in the morning.  Then I’d leave it on the gift table that afternoon.  My wife then asked “what, just like that?”  To which I replied “So, you want me to skin it too?”  Somehow, I sense I’m off the job.

  • David CoulterDavid Coulter
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    Steve, there are many in PA who would enjoy that gift, perhaps the groom more than the bride, but alas times have changed. Where in PA are you headed? dwc

     

  • Stephen Graf
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    Cresco is the name.  It’s a bit south east of Scranton.   Looks like there are some game lands around it, so it aught to be all right.

  • David CoulterDavid Coulter
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    Zoom in on the map and see if you can find Henryville, a bow shot to the south. There’s a nice game land in Cresco and a nice state park, Promised Land, about a 25 minute drive up 390 with some archery only land. You might get that doe on the table after all. dwc

  • David CoulterDavid Coulter
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    Ps. I’m sure your schedule will be tight, but if you have time for a handshake and a book signing let me know. I’m usually game for a cup of joe.

    I’m probably not going to be able to hunt this opener.  Took a photo shoot in Easton in the afternoon. Been such a crazy summer. I’m sure by the next weekend I’ll have my mind in it!

  • Ptaylor
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    Post count: 562

    Nice story Steve.

    Out hunting for bears  this fall we were in a place with abundant oak shrubs. Well the chipmunks had cleaned out almost all the acorns before the bears could get to them! But it was neat watching the chippers react to different predators. One morning an owl perched above us and the chippers gave a light-hearted “chuck” slow and steady. Later when a coopers hawk came through camp, the chippers dove for cover uttering that high-pitched rolling chirp with real feeling of danger, and you could hear this call moving up the valley with the hawk. Then one evening I found myself amongst dozens of chipmunks uttering a harsh high chip with all the feeling of danger but not the urgency that preceded the hawk…The alarm calls radiated out a hundred yards but the center did not move very fast…then I caught sight of a dark-brown shape slipping along underneath a fallen tree… A fisher emerged from the dead tree’s horizontal canopy for an instant then disappeared again under more cover!

    Happy hunting,

    Preston

  • Stephen Graf
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    How’d the bear hunting work out Preston?  I mean aside from the chipmunks cleaning out the acorns, did the bears still show up?  I thought maybe toward the end of the story you were gonna say the bears started having chipmunks for supper…

  • RalphRalph
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    Now whar’s the bar Dan’l?

  • Ptaylor
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    Post count: 562

    The bear hunting was still great, despite the chipmunks best efforts. Bears were able to eat some of the acorns! I had along a good friend of mine, he’s been hunting his whole life with a rifle. This was his first hunt with a longbow. And he had so much fun! Especially stump shooting. He was really waiting for a perfect shot, that broadside or slightly quartering away angle, and even when a bear was feeding 6 yards from him he didn’t get that opportunity. So no shots taken…yet. Now the white and black oaks are raining acorns, so there’s more hunting to come!

  • David CoulterDavid Coulter
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    Preston, it’s interesting to read stories of you guys seeing bears on a regular basis. Here in Eastern PA we have plenty of bears and some really big ones. Well rounded on dumpsters and birdfeeders. However, we don’t see them that often. Seeing a bears any place other than on garbage can is worth noting. Typically, folks hunt them in groups, driving swamps to try to kick them out into sight. Also, a killed bear has to be delivered field dressed, but otherwise whole to a check station, so it takes a crew to get it out of the woods and into a truck.  In fairness, PA has a terrific bear research program and they gather plenty of data at the check stations.  Good wishes on your hunts. I look forward to seeing some photos. All the best, dwc

     

  • Stephen Graf
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    I knew you would keep those bears on the straight and narrow Preston 🙂

    We have at least one breeding sow 10 miles north of us.  I am sure there are more.  Won’t be long before we have them around here I am sure.  We get the roving young bores, but nobody has taken up residence near us yet, I don’t think.

    If bears ate coyote’s, they would certainly be welcome!

  • Ptaylor
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    David- I live in a special place when it comes to black bears. One of the highest densities on the continent, plenty of public land, and a lot of food. If a guy can find food and locate sign, then its only a matter of time spent in the woods to see them. This spot we hiked into was about 2-6 miles from the truck and we were the only hunters that had gone in there during the archery season.

    That being said, I’m always amazed (and a little thankful) that so many rifle hunters out here never see a bear. But it’s steep, big, and brushy country, and not many people want to walk down into that stuff…which is where the bears are. But bears are also sneaky and sometimes they just get past you without you knowing.

    Getting a bear out whole would be impossible in most of the places I hunt. Even close to the truck it’s too steep and big unless you’re above a road. That’s a tough law. We still submit the jaw so they can pull a tooth for aging.

    Good luck this coming fall everyone!

  • David CoulterDavid Coulter
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    I agree that bears are sneaky. It’s amazing how fast a bear can vanish when it needs to and how stubborn they can be when they know whose in charge , like when they’re raiding a garbage can.

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