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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas eve bowhunt

Lee & I returned to the "G" farm to try and stick a deer on the morning of Christmas eve. He would be situated in the ground blind with his crossbow and bi-pod shooting stick, while I would press further back and hunt near the backside of the property, and to the north of the boot's inside corner. Weather conditions were fairly mild for our hunt that morning with the temperature in the mid 30's to lower 40's, and the winter winds of December barely blowing at all. When they did push through the barren branches of the woods they were streaming in from the WSW.

There was good sign right in front of the trail camera with the trail pounded from fresh tracks of various sizes, so hopes were high as we parted ways and exchanged "good lucks" about a half an hour before the sun's light would be scheduled to crest the horizon. And that's about it.... really. We sat vigilantly until about 9:45 when I shot off a text before climbing down from my perch. I met Lee again a short while later as he climbed out of the blind, and we confirmed each other's observations that squirrels can be a pain in the butt, crows are migrating like crazy, and the geese weren't honking that much as they flew seemingly just over the tree tops that  morning. "Shoulda brought the guns and shot some squirrels."

A quick swap of the memory cards showed that deer actually did inhabit the woods, just mostly in the afternoon, and early evening. Not in the mornings, when we've decided to be there. Oh well. That's hunting when you've got other obligations, and family matters to attend to. You just try and make the most of the time you have, and pray that the deer Gods just help put you in the right place, at the right time, at least once this season. So far though those prayers to the deer Gods have gone unanswered. The good news is that there's still time.

And I shall call him Narf. The name was the first one that popped in my head when I saw this buck.
The picture that dubbed this guy as "Narf"
Narf with his good buddy "Newman"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Following through with the Second Half

The extra weekend of gun season came & went without firing a shot, let along seeing a deer. Well, I can say that I did see a flicker of what appeared to be a whitetail's white tail off in the distance, through the gray brush, as the minutes of legal shooting light ticked away on the clock. The subtle flicker that a deer will make to signal everything is alright is what it looked like, but I was never able to clearly see a body attached to the flickering white. Granted, I hunted Sunday afternoon, which by then I didn't expect deer to be just roaming the woods in a care free manner like they do in say June, but I always try to keep an optimistic outlook when I'm heading out.

The weather conditions on Sunday: The low for the day was 34, with the afternoon high reaching 39 degrees. The light snow from Saturday was still present on the scattered logs laying throughout the woods, but it was already melted away just about anywhere else. Winds were mostly out of the west between 5 to 13 mph, but there were times that they blew from the south, and times that they blew from the north. Overall pressure was at 30.20 with fairly clear, bright blue skies.

With my expectations positive, yet realistic, I headed up to the "G" farm which I haven't hunted since the last day of the regular shot gun season. The overall plan was simply to get another ground blind set up, hang a trail camera back out, and if the stars all aligned, shoot a deer. Although as I drove around the perimeter of the farm, I could tell yet again that somebody else had likely done a deer drive through the property, so the percentage chance of accomplishing the third objective was probably a low one. Muddy tire tracks, and boot prints were again present at the north & south end pull offs.

I walked along the bottom edge of the woods, cutting in at roughly the half way point, following a drainage through the timber for roughly 80 yards to the predetermined area that I would set up the ground blind. The area has quite a few heavily used trails that intersect here, along with edge habitat that changes from thick under growth with select cut tree top remains, vines, and briars that intermix with slightly rolling terrain in the open woods.

The damp forest floor made it a somewhat quiet job to clear off the area where the blind would sit, as well as for dragging over branches and such to try and brush things in. The small saplings that I clipped off at their bases while creating a few shooting lanes were all carried back the the blind and stuck in the ground in an attempt to help conceal the new house in the neighborhood.

The intersection of trails, plenty of fresh sign, tracks, and transition habitat looked like a good spot to set things up for the afternoon, and to leave the ground blind in for the rest of the archery season. With the blind situated on the top of a small knoll, there is a 15 yard shot directly to the heavily used trail to the south.

This trail intersects another trail that runs north to south, that is located 20 yards to the west of the blind.

Another slightly used trail branches off of this trail, and dog legs behind the blind at 10 yards before angling back to the north west toward the more open section of timber.

We'll see if things pan out over the next month and a half, and if the deer can settle back down after the past few weeks of gun hunting and deer drives that have taken place. If anything, I'll have a comfortable place to take my son out for a few more bow hunts & checks of the trail camera.

The view from a deer's perspective at 15 yards. A trail camera is set up 5 yards behind the trail from which this picture was taken.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A day outdoors - Sunday 12/11/11

Just some pictures and notes from nearly a full day spent outdoors with family and friends.

We hunted for geese in the morning, but with bright, sunny, bluebird skies it was difficult to find any birds that wanted to come and play. We saw a few ducks, and a fair amount of Canada geese that waited until a few hours after sunrise to get up and spread their wings, but nothing fell from the skies.

The rest of the local wildlife was on the move however, with several deer being watched from our layout blinds tucked in amongst the cut corn stubble...

After the deer moved through, a curious coyote kept coming out of the standing corn, cutting across a bean stubble field, and hunted along the fence row. The coyote did this about 3 times before Troy decided that the lack of birds in the sky meant that now was the opportune time for him to make his first coyote kill. With the wind in our favor, he stalked down the edge of the corn, and laid prone in the weeds for a good 20 minutes, laying in wait for the coyote to make one more last approach through the open field.

Well, after waiting it out on the frost covered floor, he had enough and returned to the layout blinds. As we stood around watching empty skies and sipping on steaming coffee filled thermos lids, guess who popped out into the field again? Not 30 yards from Troy's ambush spot. Yep, the coyote... Figures.

Later in the afternoon, my son was in tow as I wanted to head out to the M2 Farm and get a ground blind set up along one of the heavily used trails that cuts through the center of the property. We got to the farm, gathered our gear and headed out for the afternoon. It would be his first deer hunt.

The action was slow. Actually non-existent would probably be the best way to describe things, but we had a good time despite not seeing any deer. Well, I never saw any deer. My son on the other hand claims that he saw a few deer, but they were way off in the woods and out of sight every time I leaned forward in my chair to look. Oh well, deer or no deer, we had a good afternoon together.

Dad, there's deer right back there, way in the woods! I'm serious. I saw 'em!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gun Hunt at the "G" Farm 12/04/11

With the final day of the week long gun season arriving, weather looking like it would cooperate at least for the morning, and no good waterfowl scouting results, I was finally in a position to get out & deer hunt this morning. I've missed the woods quite a bit, and was going to be sharing them with a very good family friend who also hasn't been able to get out lately for more than a few quick hunts. One on opening day and another once the weather cleared up mid week. Both of his hunts were uneventful in that the scoped 12 gauge's safety was never clicked off, nor was a finger pressed against a trigger.

There's nothing like watching the world come alive to make you feel alive.
Weather conditions for today's hunt: Above average temperatures for early December with the low around 45 and steadily climbing into the mid 50's as the day progressed. Winds were blowing steady from the S during the entire hunt, with some gusts upwards of 20 MPH. Barometric pressure was hovering right around 30.06 for most of the day.

Lee & I arrived at the "G" farm well ahead of legal light, allowing us plenty of time to walk through the cut bean field, staying above the northern edge of the still standing corn, and into the woods where we would post up in hopes of putting a deer on the ground. With the winds blowing steady from the south we would stay up wind of the larger section of woods where most of the deer travel from, and hunt along a 175 yard wide strip of woods positioned to the east of the corn. I left Lee near an inside corner that contains some very heavy trails entering the field, in hopes that he could squeeze the trigger today and fill his tag. I slowly cut a course through the woods, heading toward the softly glowing eastern skies where I found a nice pile of fallen trees to make myself comfortable for the morning sit.

Where's Lee at?
The plan was to sit tight until about 9:00AM and then if the action was slow, I would walk the eastern edge of the property all the way to the far southern border, then turn back north to make a slow push through the center of the woods to see if anything would flush north so that it could then meet up with one of Lee's unspent slugs. We followed that exact script, except for the whole thing about a deer meeting up with one of Lee's slugs. That part didn't happen.

Time for a walk.
What did happen however, was I was able to take in some more of this new property that I've been hunting this season. For the most part I've tried to only hunt the conditions, and not the property, taking a very cautious and low impact approach throughout the archery hunting season so as not to put deer on alert that they're being hunted. Now that gun season is in, and there appear to signs that somebody might have already pushed this property this week, I was putting caution aside and getting some in depth scouting accomplished.

What I found was additional ammunition for the remainder of the archery season. The far west edge of the woods is covered in good buck sign. I'd walked this edge once before and noticed some good trails, with a few rubs here & there, but never pushed myself to hunt on this side of the farm.

Several rubs of this size were located on the western edge, and connect through the center of the woods.
The far SW corner of the farm is a double inside corner. I've hunted it only once, and noted good sign with fresh rubs & scrapes, but so many times conditions with S winds kept me hunting elsewhere in the woods this season. Hopefully, the winter winds can help give some more days with W or NW winds so that I can get into this area and hunt. I'll also be planning on setting up a ground blind here in the very near future. The trails I found in here are heavy, and so is the cover. Hopefully this will be a good set up to bring my son along too as the season rolls on.

A well worn trail with several rubs in the distance cutting through the double inside corner.
So, although not a shot was fired by Lee or myself today, there were several positives to take away from the hunt. First off, at least one deer was spotted throughout the morning. Yes it was coming out of the corn and too far for Lee to pull off a clear shot, but a deer was spotted. Secondly, I was able to follow through and do some more in depth scouting of the farm, providing some ideas on future set ups, and a good spot to place one of the ground blinds for the rest of archery season. And lastly, I was able to spend time outdoors with a very close family friend, who is almost like a father to my wife, and a man that I've always enjoyed spending time with over the years. We've talked about hunting for many years at family functions, and now have finally made it out to the deer woods together. There's no doubt I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do that again.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gun Season & second half adjustments

With the start of Ohio's shotgun season upon us I've been thinking about the unfilled tags, and strangely empty freezer that taunts me each day I walk past it. I haven't participated in the gun season for the past few seasons due to work obligations. This year however, has the potential to enlist me back into the Orange Army, marching back to the deer woods, and taking part in the very hunt that started fueling the hunting fire that only seems to burn stronger with each season.

Without having a picture of this deer since August I had written him off. Hopefully I was wrong and he's coming back to winter on this property now.
Even with the possibility of getting out during the shotgun season, my thoughts can't help but fall back into the pattern of a bow hunter, what are the effects that gun season has on the deer herd, and how that will change the way I deer hunt for the second half of the game. Going back into the woods with your archery equipment after a weekend of the youth gun season, the full week long regular gun season, extra bonus shotgun weekend, and then mixing in muzzleloader season makes arrowing a whitetail extra challenging. So, I've been thinking about this in terms of a football game with the first half coming to a close at the end of the week long gun season. Going into the locker room, you know that some second half adjusts are going to be needed if those tags still need filled before the season comes to a close on February 5th.

The first halftime adjustment for me is going to be focusing on waterfowl hunting more. Now, what the heck does that have to do with deer hunting? Well, in order to give the deer woods a little bit of time to rest after the onslaught of hunting pressure that they're about to receive this week, I'm planning on backing off for a bit. The change in hunting pursuits will also give me some time to think about late season strategies even more, while recovering from bowhunting every chance I got during the entire month of November. After a few weeks have passed I'll be planning on putting my trail cameras back out to take an inventory of what deer are still around. With that camera placement in mind, putting the cameras on, or near the winter food sources is going to be the thought process and focus for my hunting efforts in the second half. Once the colder weather starts to roll in the deer will be moving to feed heavily for the approaching winter. Find the food, and hopefully I'll find the deer.

The second adjustment that I'm going to be making is more of a self-imposed one. I'll be setting up a few ground blinds on the hottest food sources that I can find at the close of gun season. Hopefully, by making this move at the close of gun season that will give the deer a few weeks to settle back down and get used to the blinds. The gun season will already have the deer stirred up quite a bit, so I think that making the change at this particular time will be less intrusive than waiting a few weeks for the woods to settle. My reasoning for setting the up blinds in the first place is to get my son involved in a few bow hunts before the close of the season. He's shown enough of an interest in going deer hunting now that I think he can start to be introduced to hunting from the ground as long as the conditions aren't too terrible. Time will tell.

The last adjustment to is be selectively and cautiously aggressive. The deer have been hunted since the end of September now, and although I feel that my archery hunting approach has had a very low impact (meaning I've only hunted a stand when the wind dictated, I've rotated stands & properties each hunt, stayed mobile, and have not had any deer blow me out yet) the deer have still been hunted in surrounding areas and will be on high alert from here on out. However this is no longer the time to sit on the edges and wonder about "What if?" I have to not be afraid to make an aggressive move at this point in the season. Again, these moves will need to be strategic, while still paying attention to detail (wind directions, entrance & exit routes, etc.), but when the opportunity seems to present itself, and the deer exhibit a killable pattern, I will hunt like the season closes tomorrow in order to try and fill the tags in my pack.

Hopefully the adjustments being made along with the continued thought process behind what the heck I'm doing will lead to a great second half come back this season. Right now I'm down, but there's no way that I'm out just yet. There's still plenty of ticks on the clock, and if I'm able to make the right moves with the time remaining in the game I have the confidence that success is always a possibility.

Not sure about this guy. He's a good looking deer but if he can make it through the season he'll be even better next season. Then again, if he walks by and I'm hungry...
I don't think this is the same buck pictured directly above, but again, he's probably tempting if walking within bow range during the second half. I wish I had some more pictures to look him over better.
Another good looking buck with some potential. I just don't know if the neighboring properties would let him develop another season. And I am getting hungry.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Introducing a future Huntress

Sunday afternoon was going to be the day. My daughter has been able to experience one so-called hunt this season, but that giant debacle was more of an exercise in managing my temperament than having anything to do with hunting (see my post titled The 870 lives on). No, this time around it was going to be her first hunt with just Papa & Timber, and she was ready.

We had the afternoon all to ourselves, so after running an errand or two we returned home to start loading up the truck, gathering snacks, and layering up our clothes in preparation for a few hours of sitting vigilantly along the water's edge in the steady drizzle. She was certainly excited to be going out despite the conditions, and worked right along my side, carrying gear to the truck, jumping up in the truck's bed to pull bags of decoys around, and making sure there was room for Timber to lay down.

In terms of waterfowl hunting success, we had a completely uneventful afternoon watching the empty skies pass by, but the abundance of snacks she stuffed into the blind bag managed to keep us busy nonetheless. Conversations varied across so many different topics that it's hard to keep them all straight, sitting still for more than 2 to 3 seconds was a daunting challenge at times, and with about 45 minutes left to hunt the winds & temperature both took a turn against us. Despite it all, she hung right in there, still had fun, stayed fairly dry, and kept warm all the while. I think she even got somewhat annoyed with my frequent questioning of her level of comfort, "Yes, Daddy, I jus toll you Um warm enuff. Why do you keep askin' me da same quwestions?"

A lone Rudy duck (of all the things) even provided the opportunity for a spot & stalk jump shot to be taken, allowed Timber to make a very nice blind retrieve across the water, and gave my little girl her first duck in hand. She proudly carried the little diver back to the truck at the end of legal shooting light, and requested that we hang it on the wall rather than have it for dinner. We were both proud that day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The 870 lives on

A few weeks ago during a comfortably warm autumn afternoon, the winds were blowing calmly out of the south, the skies were that brilliant shade of October blue, and I was planning on taking my two hooligans out for their first duck hunt together. My son has been going out with me a few times each year since he turned 4, and now that my daughter is 4, she's been eagerly anticipating her turn to get camoed up. With Mama out of town that weekend, the setting was perfect to take out the little ones and Timber for an evening sit along the woodie pond.

Now anytime I'm taking a youngster on a hunt I'm going into it with a certain mindset. The hunt has to be fun, it has to be comfortable, and it has to be on their terms. Meaning I pack lots of snacks (usually consisting of things that they normally don't get to indulge in), I try to only take them during periods of dry and somewhat warmer weather, and when they're showing signs of boredom or want to go, then we wrap up the hunt and head for home. The last thing I want to do is make the kid's hunt a miserable experience so that they find no pleasure in tagging along with dear old Dad.

Excitement filled the truck as we made our way around the back roads discussing  the way we would hunt this particular spot, and reviewing the three rules we have for any shooting or hunting related functions:
Rule #1 - Safety first.
Rule #2 - Listen to Dad.
Rule #3 - Have fun.

Both kids can recite those rules, and we usually refer to them throughout out outdoor adventures. Point is, as long as you abide by rules #1 and #2 then rule #3 is just going to come naturally... most of the time.

We pulled into the field discussing the privilege of being able to hunt on private property, and the importance of being responsible when you were hunting on another person's property. I put the truck in park, opened the gate, pulled through, parked again, and closed the gate behind us before driving down the dirt two track towards the oak tree lined watering hole.

As the front end of the truck cleared the cattails off a little ways to our right, I made a point to ease along until the truck crept slowly to a halt. Surveying the overhanging branches of the oaks I could see splashes coming from the area I suspected the wood ducks would be dining on the floating buffet of acorns. The kids and I discussed a game plan to pull the truck past the pond, parking it behind the block of trees and out of sight from the birds, while I would then try to pull off a stealthy shotgun sneak attack. The kids elected to stay behind and watch from the front, unbuckling from the back booster seats, clamoring across the armrest and into the front of the truck, their eyes glued on me as I slunk down attempting to use the large tree trunks as cover between the feeding frenzy and my approach. Well, despite my best attempt at a ninja like navigation through the block of woods, the ducks had sensed danger and flushed before I could cut the space any closer than forty yards. No shots were fired.

I hustled back to the truck, unloading the unspent rounds of  steel shot from my gun along the way, so that we could finish the drive up to the pond's edge and unload our gear. The kids questioned me about the blown sneak attack as the truck rolled over the two track's final bumpy yards to where we would set up. My only thought was to move as quickly as possible, unload the gear from the bed of the truck, return the truck to the previous parking spot, throw on the waders, set up some decoys, position the kids, paint some faces and prepare for the return of the woodies.

As soon as the truck was in park at the spot we would hunt I cut the engine, instructed the kids to stay put, and began the task of unloading the small amount of gear we decided to bring along today. With everything piled to the right of the tailgate, I grabbed my 870, laid it at about a 45 degree angle against the six slot decoy bag that held and protected my own hand made, custom painted, burlapped decoys. Back in the truck now I fired up the engine, checked the side view mirror as I was backing up, careful not cut the wheel too soon and..... CRRRRRUUUUNNNNCCCCHHH.

No. I didn't just. No. There's no way. No. Putting the truck quickly back in park and jumping out, I immediately rounded the front end as my eyes witnessed the carnage of what happens when you back a full sized Toyota Tundra over the wooden stock of a Remington 870 that was placed perfectly in line with the tire's path of reversal when the wheel was cut a tad bit too soon.

So, here I am, standing in front of my truck with my two children peering out the front wind shield wondering, "what is Dad going to do?" I know they could see the look on my face and read my body language. Neither is saying anything very nice right now. I'm holding the broken remains of the first gun that I had ever bought. The gun that I shot my first deer, duck, goose, pheasant, and rabbit with. I'm furious, speechless, beside myself, yet somehow my thoughts went back to the two little hooligans over my right shoulder with their faces nearly pressed against the glass that safely separated us. How can I turn this into something other than what it was? How can I make this into a teaching moment, rather than losing my mind and exposing my kids to the raging maniac that wants to scream to the skies, kick the ground, and launch into a cursing and cussing tirade right now? Somehow I did.

I set the gun back down on the decoy bag (which now also held two crushed mallard decoys) and returned to the truck.

"What's rule #1" I said as I sat down in the driver's seat.

"Safety" they replied.

"That's right guys. Safety first. Did you see what just happened?"

Not sure what, or how to answer, the kids starred back at me, looking for some sort of guidance. on how proceed from here. "I was in too much of a hurry, and didn't pay attention to what I was doing guys. That made me forget about safety just for a quick second, and you see what happened in that second? I wasn't careful and I broke my gun. It could been much worse. That's what rule #1 is Safety first."

My son was a little too quick to chime in with my wounds still being very fresh, but he did anyway now that he could sense there was no immanent danger, "Yeah, and Mom's probably gonna be really mad when she finds out because guns are probably gonna cost a lot of money if you can't fix that Dad. Do you think you can fix that Dad? And are we still gonna hunt tonight Dad? How can we still hunt if you just broke your gun? You should really be more careful."

We decided to stay for a while. After all, we really had just got there only minutes ago, Dad cooked chicken nuggets, packed chocolate milk, BBQ potato chips, string cheese, and cookies. We might as well make the most of it, smear some camo paint on our faces, and see if some ducks come back around to have their picture taken....

And no worries about the fate of the 870. It lives on with a new stock & forearm. I was fortunate in that only the stock was broken along with the stock screw being slightly bent. The mechanical workings of the pump gun were still in good working order. I was able to order replacement parts through both Cabela's and Remington in order to have the ole 870 as good as new in only a matter of a week or so. Someday I'll be able to hand down that gun I ran over to my son or daughter. That's a memory that they'll be able to look back on and laugh about, but also hopefully learn from.

Unbreakable huh? We'll see about that. 
Good as new... although I'll miss the character of that worn & weathered wood stock.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11/08/11 Morning Hunt & another camera move

Returned to the G farm where I had left my stand in from the night before. I had been watching the weather forecast and figured on hunting till late morning, climbing down, moving the cameras, then making the call on whether to stick it out all day, or head home for an afternoon with the family. With the deer action all but nonexistent, temperatures pushing mid to upper 60's, and my snack supply looking sparse, I headed in for lunch.

Weather conditions: Morning lows were cool and in the upper 40's but the heat rolled in about mid morning and continued to climb up into the upper 60's by the time I was walking out to the truck. Winds were out of the S between 6 and 15 mph. Barometric pressure around 30.14 with mostly clear skies. The full moon is two days away.

Really not much to write up about this hunt. Even the squirrels were loafing around and not their usual selves. If it wasn't for the weather being so damn comfortable for a morning spent 20 feet up in a tree, and the thought that it's still the rut, and anything can happen at any given moment, I probably wouldn't have stayed in the woods so long. The only highlights were listening to two owls hoot back & forth to one another as the sun was lighting up the sky, and the flock of wood ducks that came screaming over top of my tree like a set of fighter jets.

Wednesday is preparation & packing the truck day, with the rain probably making for a long day to sit in the tree anyway. Then after dinner with the family, it's off to deer camp for a few days with the weather looking like it's going to taking a turn for the colder and better. Let's hope so...

Too hot to hunt... pack it up.
For the cameras I moved one over a primary scrape that is still seeing some action. Not sure for how much longer the bucks will be hitting this one up, but figured I'd freshen it up a bit myself, hang a camera and see what happens. This scrape is located on an outside corner. Standing at this scrape, to the west is a bean field, turn to the north and there is standing corn. The deer have a path mowed down going into the corn, and they're definitely going in, knocking down the stalks and devouring some corn.

Freshened scrape, facing west with standing beans beyond the trees.

Walking north from the scrape and into the corn. It's mowed down in here the whole length of the woods.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Camera Check then an Evening Bow Hunt 11/07/11

Headed back up to the G farm for the afternoon sit. On the way up I did manage to stop off at the M farm and pull the trail camera that was set up along the center fence row for the past month or so. The pictures dropped off completely once the beans were taken off on 10/30/11, but I did manage to catch a pretty cool fight sequence with one decent looking buck. No further sightings from G3PO however. He must have shifted to his fall range which has him spending more time elsewhere. Hopefully he's just waiting for me to be on stand before he returns to the M farm. Here's some pics from the fight sequence that went on from 4:54 AM through 5:37 AM. I bet these bucks sparred up and down the fence row with the camera catching them intermittently. It would've been a heck of show to watch...

Lockin' up!!
1st & last time I have pictures of this particular buck. He must have been just out lookin' for a fight that night.
Who wants some more!?!?
Beans coming off and deer pictures greatly reduced after this date.
With the camera pulled, I was on the way North to the G farm. Tonight's weather conditions: Temperatures were bouncing from the mid 50's to close to 60 by around 3:00 PM. Winds were blowing between 2 - 7 mph from the SSW for most of the hunt. Just after sunset the wind was non-existent. Barometric pressure was around 29.95 with clear blue skies once again.

For this sit, I approached the spot I decided to hunt from the north end of the farm, keeping the wind in my favor for my approach. Checking the edge of the woods along the way in I came across a few more scrapes that were freshly opened, each one having multiple licking branches showing signs of being worked over. I'm planning on moving one of the cameras after tomorrow morning's hunt over some of the fresh sign to see what I've been missing.

My Lone Wolf sticks & stand were hung in a nice, sturdy split trunk tree by around 3:30 PM. Here's a couple picture from my surroundings. I'm basically in the middle of the section of woods on a slight hillside that has a small ridge running where my stand is. I noticed that all the deer I saw on Saturday morning came across this area, so I figured there must be something to the terrain here that they like.

View to the NW, thick with the creek winding through. Standing corn beyond the woods here. 

View to the East. Inside corner to the top left of the picture. Cut bean field beyond the timber.

View to the South. Thick bedding area. All of the bucks skirted the edge of this area and worked into the open area where my stand is hung today.
The combines were again involved in this afternoon's hunt. This time taking another section of beans off just before dusk. I was hoping that they'd send some deer moving my direction but that just wasn't the case. I have a feeling that tomorrow morning they'll be in there again taking off the last field of beans, which is right next to the standing corn. That could be a very good thing if there's deer bedded down in the corn. I spotted 3 does tonight, 2 traveling together that came from the south, then hit the inside corner, and exited into the corn. Then a single doe who came from the thick stuff to my south, working her way north about 50 yards from my stand. I kept waiting for the Big Boy to follow her, but he didn't get the memo. Oh well, time to fight another fight in the morning....

Creeping along through the timber.

Tonight's sunset from the stand.