Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Afternoon Deer Hunt/Scouting

I hadn't been out since the big Saturday hunt so I decided to head out this afternoon to a place that I've yet to deer hunt. I went over to Seven Lakes State Park where we duck and goose hunted earlier this season. I had seen that nice buck near the boat launch a couple of weeks back so I wanted to see what the area was like around there.

I got a little late of a jump on the hunt not leaving until around 2:30pm, good thing it is only a 10 minute drive. I jumped into my camo and grabbed the shotgun and keys, then it was out the door and into the snow! We have got about 4 inches of snow in the last day so I knew that any tracks I would come across would be fresh. When I got to the park they had the roads plowed but they were still icy and slick, so I dropped the 'ol truck into 4 wheel drive and punched it! YeHaw! With a little slipping and sliding I made my way to the boat launch. They didn't waste any time taking the boat dock out! it was up on land and the lake was already starting to freeze over. As I pulled up I could see a flock of geese on the ice right out in front of our duck and goose blind! You can see the duck blind just to the left of the tree roots sticking up on the shoreline, it is the darker brushy area right on the water's edge.

Notice the ducks just under the small tree branch on the left

Man does that figure! I wouldn't be able to hit them anyways so I don't know why I'm complaining! There must have been over 100 of them with a couple of groups of ducks thrown in for good measure, a few pictures and I was on my way to the woods.

This is the second photo of three that it took to get them all

When I parked there was another truck there already so I knew that at least one person was in the woods. When I looked closer I could see two sets of foot prints in the snow and they went right to the trail I wanted to take! Dog Gone It! Oh well I got out late so first come first serve. I headed down the road to another access point and began my walk in. As I hit the trail I slipped three slugs into the trusty 'ol Remington 870, it sounded good to slide the action close and hear the "CLICK". That means it is show time!

The wind was blowing out of the west and I knew that it wouldn't be good for me to use that trail but I had no choice. The snow was still coming down, but now it was a little finer snow and it was almost like sleet. With all the gear on it wasn't too bad cold out, but I walked slowly as not to break a sweat. The snow packed easily as I walked so I virtually made no sound walking in. All I could hear was my breath. I could see some older tracks in the snow, which looked like they were from the night before so I pressed on ward.

It was neat walking in an area I have never been before, I was like a kid in a candy store. I was taking it all in looking for any sign of an area that might hold deer or even a squirrel for a later small game hunt. The only problem was I wasn't seeing any tracks or any good spots to sit. The trail became really brushy really quick. But I could see a nice opening ahead so I kept moving towards it.

As I reached the opening it dawned on me that it was a power line right of way. I've seen these before and they give a good long look at a possible place for deer to cross from one wood lot to antoher. I walked right out into the middle of it and looked right, nothing, then I looked left! I saw something, but the problem was that it was pumpkin orange! It was another hunter and it looked like he had the same idea I did. As I watched and looked closer, it appeared that he was squirrel hunting. He kept looking upward into a huge oak tree. The last time I checked deer didn't climb trees.

I walked back out to the trail an tried to slip past him so I wouldn't disturb his hunting. I almost got by him when he noticed me, so I just raised my hand to wave at him and he returned the wave. By now I had walked for about a half hour and was starting to warm up a little. I knew I needed to find a place to sit and post up for a while. The trail turned and went down into a depression with a small creek at the bottom of it. On the other side was a ridge that looked somewhat open, that was going to be my resting spot.

Spot over looking the creek

I crossed the creek and found a nice tree to post up on up on the opposite ridge line. I could see the lake we goose and duck hunted earlier this year from that position. By now the snow had stopped and it was actually quite nice out. I took a few photos from here and rested a while. I was hoping a deer might come out and cross my path, it looked like prime deer woods to me. After about 20 minutes I thought I would walk another 10 to 15 minutes or so down the trail to explore some more.

Cool photo of the snow

As I walked down the trail I noticed that the old foot prints had disappeared completely. I was all by myself on the far end of the lake. This was going to be good I thought to myslef. I approached a nice stand of large pines and thought this would be my turn around point to get back to the truck before dark. It also looked good for deer but nothing showed any signs of deer or any other animal for that matter. Maybe it was the snow we have been getting for the last 24 hours that has made virtually every animal there disappear. After taking a few minutes to rest and take a photo of myself I turned back to head in the direction I had came.

Hey it's me out in the pine grove

As I approached the spot where I posted up at, all of a sudden I hear a loud BOOM! Someone has just shot! I tried to think of what it might be. It came from the area I wanted to explore first but the other guys had went in that way. Great I'm thinking to myself, this is probably the deer I saw at the boat launch that day and they just shot it. That is what I thought anyway. I kept walking and it wasn't another minute or two until another BOOM! Ok now this is making me think now. Did they just finish off the deer or are they squirrel hunting? It really didn't matter either way, so I kept walking.

As I came back up to the area by the power line I noticed another hunter in a different spot and it wasn't the same guy I saw the first time. As I walked back to where I saw the first guy I saw another hunter on the power line. They must be hunting together I thought to myself, so I kept moving down the trail so I wouldn't disturb their hunt. Maybe it was the two guys who went in on the trail I wanted to use originally. As I made my way back down the path I noticed a fresh set of foot prints and they were walking back to the vehicles. Ok now I'm really confused! Thinking to myself, there are too many pumpkins walking around here to be safe, I need to get back out of the woods and head home. It was getting late anyways, so I made it back to the parking area only to see that the truck I saw first had left and another vehicle had pulled in.

As I got back to the truck I noticed that the geese and ducks had taken off. I looked around the lake and didn't see them, they must have went to their nightly roosting spot. While I was looking around the lake I noticed the pine grove I stopped at and turned around. It wasn't as far around the lake as I thought it was when I decided to head back. I thought I was almost half way around the lake, only to find out that it wasn't even close. It is deceiving when your slowly walking through a new area as to how much ground you actually cover. Oh well that leaves more new ground to cover the next time I'm out there. I can't wait!

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