Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Deer Camp with CamoGirl 2009

Deer Camp with CamoGirl 2009
Part 1:

Well, after that exciting first duck hunt with Chico and Mike I had to put my deer cap back on (but I did hang that nice leg band from the rear view mirror) and get everything loaded and ready to go north. This was going to be a big hunt for CamoGirl (my daughter) and me, she is really looking forward to doing some serious hunting. I’ve got so much stuff to load that I had to pull the back seat out of the Bronco just to make room… Not only will we be gun hunting but we’ll be doing some archery hunting the first couple days (including getting out with a crossbow). Since plans fell through with getting up last month to set up, we need to get up as early as possible to get a couple stands placed and the pop up blind set up so the woods will settle down and get used to them. So, in go the climbing sticks, the hang on stand, two pop up blinds, two bow cases, a cross bow, two gun cases (4 guns), ammo bag, gear bag, back packs, heater, fuel, water, food, cloths, boots…..etc, etc…good thing it’s only CamoGirl and me in the truck! The Bronco is packed and parked in the garage ready to go! Now, we just need to try and get some sleep….right.

Thursday Morning;

I got CamoGirl up at 7:30…she sure got up faster than on a school day… We were already packed up except for the cold food so we got on the road fairly quickly. We were on the way North! It’s about 180 miles to Jacks place and I only had to reset the cruise twice the whole way. Jack’s place is the year round home of my buddy Ned’s mom and dad….Sandy and Jack (see, I Know Jack! Lol). I’ve been going to Jack’s place for about 16 years now with Ned. It’s more of a tradition than it is a deer convention. It’s one of those places you go to get away from the office and the noise to spend a few days with friends. In those 16 years I’ve only harvested two deer… a 9 ½ year old doe (DNR aged) and our camp record 9 point. The last few years Ned and I have started bringing our kids up as they showed interest in the trip and interest in the hunt. This is the place were stories are made and tales are created!

Anyways, we get to Jack’s just before noon. Jack is waiting for us but Sandy is in town shopping. So, it’s a quick hug for Jack and we’re off into the woods to set up the Trail of Terror. The Trail of Terror has been the all time producer of the camp. It’s the personal location of Ned and he has taken many nice does and a nice selection of small bucks from this spot. It’s also the spot were I harvested my camp record 9 point! … the first time he let me hunt it… since he had to hunt on the private land when his son first hunted before he was old enough to legally hunt public land. (His son hunted it the next year and got a nice little 3 pointer for his first northern deer) So, CamoGirl and I carry out two hang on stands and get the Trail of Terror set up. We use two stands since this is were we can sit with the kids in the same tree. It’s a split trunk, we put a ladder on one side and stagger the two stands on the primary trunk, one offset and just above the other. We’re setting this spot up first since Ned has given his blessings to CamoGirl to hunt it the first couple days with her bow… we want the stand up and settled as quickly as possible. 40 minutes later we’re back at the truck to pick up the next stand.

Our next stand to put up is called the Leaning Tree. This is a spot I set up a number of years ago on the edge of the woods over looking a small open field… in a leaning tree… I just have to add blocks to the bottom of the hang on stand to level it out. This is a great spot and I experienced one of those…”just one more step” opporunities a few years ago. Nice big buck heading for the field but stopped up behind a branch that was in the way of the bow shot…. One more step was all I needed, but he winded me and was gone. I also saw a couple of bears from this stand a couple years ago. I’m not planning on using this stand but it’s were we can put Ned’s nephew if he decides to come up this year. Done and back to the truck again.

The last task is to put up a pop up blind for CamoGirl and me to hunt out of for gun hunting. It’s a quick walk and within minutes the blind is set up and we’ve brushed it in. Time to get out of the woods.

This year we decide not to hunt our other two spots… Cone Head and the Hill of Horror… I’ll save those stories for another day.

Sandy’s back so we get in the next round of hugs, get the Bronco unloaded and grab some lunch before we gear up for some bow hunting.

First Night Bow Hunt;

After lunch and a rest, CamoGirl and I got ready for our bow hunt. Even though I had brought my bow (and guns) this was CamoGirls hunt so my bow never left it’s case. We got dressed, grabbed our gear and headed out. When we got to the edge of the woods and the beginning of the trail to the Trail of Terror, I got out a scent wick and some string and gave it a good soaking of Mike’s Magic. We quietly walked to the stand while I created a drag line with the scent wick and got up into the tree. With the stands set one above the other, I got into mine first and then had CamoGirl climb the ladder and hand me her safety strap before she stepped towards her stand. Once she was in and all secured I set up the Gorilla camera arm and got my camera ready for some action!

It was a beautiful afternoon, no wind and just cool enough to have the deer moving. Every 30 minutes or so, CamoGirl would check the area and then draw her bow to make sure she was not getting cold muscles. Unfortunately, after a few hours her arms got cold enough that she was going to need a rush of adrenaline to get that string back…just as the doctor ordred, we heard leaves being stomped into the ground. It was just getting dark enough that I was concerned that the camera would not be able to see anything and here he came… right down the drag line with his nose buried in the Mike’s Magic! This bruiser was doing his best to stop the leaves out of his way! We could hear him sniffing and snuffling as we watched him follow our trail right towards us! It was just dark enough that you could make out his rack but not count it easily…but I didn’t need to, this guy had a huge body with a thick neck and there was no mistaking that he was looking for a girl friend. He stopped about 25 yards out and eventually walked broadside across the trail heading away. Now I know that CamoGirl really, really wanted a shot at this big boy but she know’s her range with her set up at 35lbs is 20 yards. She could take the shot but it wouldn’t have the penetration she wants. So she just watched that buck walking away. A few grunt calls got him to stop but not walk back… he eventually bounded a few strides away so I tried the doe bleat. He turned right around and headed strait back! Unfortunately, by the time he got back in range I had to shut the camera off and CamoGirl had to turn off her lighted pins….it was just too dark. Now we were stuck! That monster was now within 15 yards of our stand and sniffing away…not showing any desire to leave now! We ended up spending another 30 minutes in the stand past shooting light waiting for him to leave without spooking! I can honestly say, you don’t need to have a bow in your hands to get buck fever! I think I was shaking more than CamoGirl!

We finally got down from the stands and I realized that I had forgot one thing… a flashlight! Oops. It’s not that dark and we’re not that far from the house so we start walking back. I don’t remember that many little trees in the field but I’m sure we found them all, the hard way. CamoGirl did make a comment about being glad she was not a boy with all those waist high thick tree/bushes we ended up walking “over” … gee thanks. Remember me, walking behind you….thanks for the warning.

Well, the first night has been a success as far as I care. We made it north, got our stands set up and had a very exciting first night of bow hunting…and my daughter is really excited about the whole thing!

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