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Days 5 and 6… and so it ends!!!

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For me a successful hunt is if I could have killed something with a rifle. J-

Day 5

This morning I snuck into a little pinch point so I could check a camera and hunt a new spot.  This spot is/was about .5 miles from the road and has a nice little spring in the area.  This area is great for rattling because any deer that come in are funneled thru a bottle neck and then it opens up to a little meadow. Once they hit the meadow it would be easy to get a shot.

I got to the spot in the dark, pulled the SD from the camera and this is what I found…

and then these two jokers on New Years Eve….

And then this… I need to reserve judgment because if you look real hard you can see an OLD road thru the area… But he spun my camera around so I didn’t get to many more pictures…  I just wish people would leave stuff alone but that is all part of hunting public land..

After looking at the pictures and waiting for the sun to come up I took a quick little walk around the area… There was NO deer sign but it was obvious that that cow had been in the area for the entire week and there was a mountain lion in the area.  I should have taken a picture of the track but I just forgot.  The thing about pinch points is that everything is funneled thru them… Just not deer.

So I stuck it out until 9:00 am then I decided to do a little still hunting and use this opportunity to do a little scouting… The plan was to cover .25 miles then sit, let the area settle just a little and then do some calling to see if I could get anything to come in.  Did it work?  Well I stayed warm and I found out that most of the rutting activity (i.e. scraping) was along a very particular ridge.  There must be a buck running in that area.  I setup a trail cam over a scrape line so hopefully I will get a picture of the deer that is king of that ridge.

Day 6

The last day of the season…  I decided that I needed to give the scrape line that I sat the first day one last try.  I got there at sun-up and I started the wait. As I walked into to my little spot it was obvious that there was still a buck working the area.  Most of the scrapes had been freshened in the last few days and nobody had been in the area.  I had high hopes that I would be able to finally get a chance at a buck that I wanted to take.  Well, needless to say it was a slow morning.  I did have two does come by but that was it.  I think that this little knob really has some potential, but I just need to learn how the deer move in the area.

Sooo with that my season end….  Where does that leave me?  Well, more determined that ever…. I need some time to gather my thoughts… But I promise I will give them to you…. After I check my cameras…

J

Days 3 and 4 – DEER EVERYWHERE!!!

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It has been said that the love of the chase is an inherent delight in man-a relic of an instinctive passion. – Charles Darwin

Wow what a great quote…  I pulled it from my Runners World.  Hunters love the Chase.

Day 3

WOW… Great Day, I must admit that I have always hunted hard but I haven’t always put myself in the best position to succeed because I haven’t been aggressive enough or I didn’t have confidence in a spot.  This year I am in a new unit and I have nothing to lose.  SOOOO  What happened?  Well, I hope I don’t regret it but I passed on a 75ish buck this afternoon.  I think that there are some real monsters in this little area and I just need to be patient.  I am hunting a scrape line that was an old wagon trail.  You can still see the ruts from the wheels. It is a pretty neat area.  What I have found is that the deer in this area use these old roads as travel corridors and really make alot of scrapes along them.

The morning started out COLD and slow….  20 degrees and nothing was moving.  If you have ever hunted Coues deer you probably know that these deer just don’t get moving until the sun gets up and the weather gets a little warmer.  So I was praying for a calm sunny day and that is just what happened.  About 10:00 am I had a group of does walk up the scrape line so things were looking good.  My only concern is that they were not dragging a buck behind them.  That usually means that the rut hasn’t really kicked off or the bucks are on LOCK-DOWN.   So I decided just to stick it out.  Sooner a later a buck was either going to use this trail to scent check does or to check his scrape.

SOO the wait was on.  Sometimes I hate, hunting from the ground and today was one of those days.  For some reason I was just not liking the setup but around 1:00pm I heard a buck raking a bush so I got ready.  If the buck came up the trail it would be a easy 35 yard shot. Very doable.  Before I knew it the buck was crossing my shooting lanes, I saw that he was maybe pushing 75 inches so I decided that it wasn’t his day to take a dirt nap.  As he crossed my shooting lanes I grunt at him and drew on him for practice.  It could have been over but this buck at this time wasn’t right.  If I get the chance later in the week will I let an arrow fly at a similar or smaller buck?  I don’t know, but today this buck walked.

Day 4

Same spot as the day before, I have a good feeling about this little area.  It just seems to funnel deer. Before sunrise I packed and setup a ground blind.  Hopefully, it would be able to stay a little warmer and be a lot more comfortable.  Again it was cold as hell…. 16 degrees. brrrr… Oh well…  You are only cold until you go numb.

Again the wait was on.  Around 8:30 I started a calling sequence of buck grunts and doe bleats.   A  little buck came running in like a love sick puppy dog.  I love to watch these little young guys during there first rut, they don’t really know what to do or how to act.  This guys acted like little dogs chasing a ball.  He came in jumping around looking for a hot doe but all he found was a lot of nothing.

How about a view from the blind???

So the good thing is that I am seeing deer, the bad thing is that I am not seeing the deer I want.  That is okay, as far as I am concerned it has been a successful hunt,  I know that I could have killed the 75 incher.

So what are my plans?  Well, I really need to go and check a trail camera and I want to take spend some time in another funnel.  I just don’t know if I am going to make it in there before the season ends.

We will see….

J

PS… I have only been hunting the mornings because I need check in at home, but mom is doing a lot better.. Thanks for everybody’s support..

Days 1 and 2… Rough Start!!!

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Perspective –

  • The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance: tried to keep my perspective throughout the crisis.

If you guys have been tracking some of the events that have been going on in my life over on Facebook you will have noticed that I haven’t really had a chance to hunt like I would like to, but in the in grand scheme of life it is no big deal.  I am just glad my mom is doing better and that she is going in the right direction.

Before my mom got sick, I was able to get out twice.  The plan was to sit a nice scrape line that I had found in some really thick cover.   This spot was tight and the shots were going to be close and quick.   Below is a picture from my ground blind.  The blind itself isn’t anything special just a bunch of juniper and mountain mahogany branches cut and placed in a semi-circle.   Some people like to build small fortresses when they make blinds but I like to let my camo work.  These deer really pick-up on when there habitat has been altered. When you hunt country like this you just need to really be on your game and alert… These little deer just show up… No warning,   If you are lucky you will catch the flicker of the ear or maybe a tip of an antler.

You can’t really see it in the picture but there are three scrapes under that little alligator spruces in the center of the picture.

So how did it go? Pretty well, I had 4 deer come thru, 2 bucks and 2 does.  The bucks were little forky’s, could I have killed them?  Yeah probably, but it just wasn’t there day to take a ride in the back of my truck.

Overall, it was a good hunt.  This is a little spot that I will return to.

DAY 2

I usually don’t like to hunt the same place two days in a row so I decided to sit a water tank that I had a nice deer coming into.   A few days before the season I went in there to pull the card from my camera and I found that the tank was iced over… Brrrr… Poor animals couldn’t really get a good drink of water.  So I opened up the ice, DANG it was cold.

This spot isn’t too far off the road but it is really tricky to find.  So I like to get there just at sun-up so I don’t make too much noise.  Below is a neat little picture that my trail camera picked up of me breaking the ice.

I look like Harry Potter with a wand…

This is what my spot looked like once I got settled in.

So how did it go?  Well, I got a nice tan.. NOTHING came in.  Pretty rough but I am not ready to give up on this spot, bucks are going to need to water and this is a great little spot.  So, I might visit it later but it just wasn’t meant to be on this trip.

What are my plans now?  Well, I am going to be pressed for time but there is a another ridge line that I might hunt.  I just need to put in my time and get lucky.  The good thing is that I am not seeing a ton of mule deer and I think that the rut is a little late in my area.  I just need to put myself in the position to succeed… That means putting in my time.

STAY TUNED…

J

And so it begins…

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If you guys have been tracking my blog will have probably noticed that for me the best part of Coues deer hunting isn’t the killing of the deer but the  process of trying to get close to North America’s toughest animal to kill with a bow.  This year I spent over 60 days running around the mountains and my GPS tells me that I have covered over 300 miles on foot.  If you want to be a successful Coues deer hunter those miles are all part of the process.  I have often said that bow hunting has saved my life, it has given me a reason to be able to get off the couch, on my feet and out the door.

So where am I hunting this year?  I know and old man that we call, “The White Rat”, that has probably killed more Elk in Northern New Mexico than anybody else.  I once asked him how he was always able to find animals, he would always laugh and say “They are where they are”.  As a young guide I never really knew what he meant but as I get older it all starts to make since.  What he was trying to say is that we can scour maps, spend hours climbing mountains and try to find the best habitat but when it comes right down to it animals don’t really care about that stuff.  As along as their needs are met they have no need to move.  If you want to be a successful hunter you need to figure out where the animals are during the season.  Last year I made  mistake of scouting like a mad man during the summer and the fall but once the “whitetail lull” and the rut kicked in I lost all of the big deer that I was tracking.  It was a real eye-opener, I was two steps behind the deer.  The last day of the hunt I picked up, headed into the high-country and I found deer.  I passed on 3 smaller deer.

This year I spent a lot of time learning new country but I knew that it was just fun and games because the real scouting would start a week before the hunt.   So what happened?  Well, I found a spot early in the summer that I was really looking forward to hunting but there is way too much snow back there, to get in there safely.  I might take the 4 wheeler in one of these days during the hunt just to see what is going on.  Who knows it just might be worth it.  To get to the area it is about a 45 min drive from the house, then a 45 4 wheeler drive and then a 30 min hike.  It is a lot of work to get in there but I am sure that there are a pocket of deer in there that die of old age.  So before the season a good buddy suggested that I look at a spot that he had seen deer before and that he felt might have a good pocket of deer.  Given the chance to learn a new spot I was all over it…  Like usual, I downloaded every map I could find and I started downloading waypoints to my GPS. The race was on.

I like to start by looking for water sources then I look for likely travel routes from the water sources to bedding areas.  So I hung a few cameras to see what I would pick up.  If you scroll down thru some of my previous posts you will see some of the deer, but this is the buck that I would really like to kill.

He probably goes low-90’s.

What you can’t see in this picture is that he is with a doe.

If I don’t’ get a chance at that buck I might see if I can stick this buck that is coming to water.  I cropped the picture alot because this spot has some real potential and I don’t want a million hunters in the area.

The above buck is a little busted on the right side but that is okay…. I like his frame…

Sooo… What am I going to do the first morning?  Well, I am going to hit that spot that has a ton of scrapes… I just want to see what is happening in that area…

So cross your fingers and stay tuned…

J

More Intel….

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As I type this we are getting hit with a ton of snow…. They think we are going to get another 6 inches in the lower country.  To be honest, as long as I can get to my hunting spots I really don’t mind the snow….  I really try to refine my clothing selection so I can stay warm and dry during the hunt.  This year I wearing some stuff from Buckwear and StormKloth.  So far so good, for me the the key is not getting too hot while walking into the stand.  Some of my spots are pretty far in and you can really work up a sweat so I need to make sure that I don’t start the hike with too much clothing.  If case you are wondering Max-1 is the camo I usually wear…. I trust it.

So what have I been seeing out there???  Well, there is alot of snow and all the water sources are frozen.  The deer are also starting to scrape pretty heavily.  I found what looks like an old mining road that has about 8 scrapes in about a 200 yard line.  I think that is going to be my Number 1 spot.  It is on the top of a little knob….

The Road and a Glove… :)

A Scrape

Scrapes in a bedding area

I also found a pretty cool little Corral in a different area that has a little spring next to it…. I put a camera in this spot… Hopefully something shows up….

The Corral

The Spring

How about a mule deer that I picked up on camera???

Things are picking up!!!!

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Things are starting to pick-up!!!  I wanted to see if I could find some Coues Deer in some lower country so I strapped on my boots and went for a little hike… My GPS said I covered 4.2 miles but it was in pretty flat country so it wasn’t too bad.

The picture below is from a little area that gets very little sun, it is in a deep canyon.  I have seen deer in here before but for some reason there was very little sign.  Maybe a Mountain Lion moved in, I am not sure but those deer are GONE – GONE, not just gone..

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SOOOO  I bailed out of that area and decided to hit a spot in the Black Range.  Let me first say that there are spots in the Black Range that has never seen a human footprint.  It is rough BIG Country and no matter were you start walk everything is STRAIGHT up or STRAIGHT down.  I personally think that there are deer in there that die of OLD AGE.  It is great country but it is just very tough to hunt.  I have seen deer but I can’t figure out where or if they scrape.  I think it would be a nice area for a rifle hunter.  Anyway, below are a few pictures.

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Okay so enough of that stuff!!!! How about some deer info???  Well, deer are starting to make rub lines, if you have never seen a rub line below is a picture of what they look like.  Pretty small, aren’t they?

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NOW have about some scrapes…  The particular scrape below wasn’t hit in the last day or so it probably isn’t a primary scrape but it is along a nice trail.  In two trips into that area I have found a total of 5 scrapes and they are all in the same general area.  So there definitely a buck working in the area.  SNC00097

While hiking around I also found this nice skull.  I took some pictures, then wrapped in a plastic bag so I could pick it up legally after the season.  It probably goes around a 100 inches…  NICE…

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There is another area that I scouted all summer that I am still thinking about hunting but the only problem is that there is alot of snow up there and we are expecting a foot of snow tonight…  I still might try to make it up there but it is a huge commitment to get in there…45 Minute Drive, 1 hour on the 4 Wheeler and then 30 Minutes hiking….

J-

Category: 2009 Coues Deer