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Friday, March 25, 2011

M2 Farm - Spring Scouting

Saturday was a good day. My son & I got out in the afternoon to do some spring scouting of one of the bow hunting spots that I frequent in the fall, and looked around for some shed antlers while we were there. While we didn't come across any sheds during our quick hike of the farm, we did see plenty of deer, lots of fresh deer sign, and got a few ideas on potential hunting set ups for next fall.

As soon as we were cutting up the middle of the property we spotted a group of 8 deer making their way across the distant field to our left. The wind was blowing from the direction the deer were coming from toward where we were heading, so without them being able to catch our scent, we scurried up the hill, pulled the camera out of the backpack, and tried to get into a position to intersect them. Our efforts were going in the right direction, but the deer beat us to the cut off. We still got within 75 yards to snap some pictures, but we were in plain sight and the deer weren't going to casually waltz across the opening with us standing there.

My son go a kick out of seeing just how fast this group of deer made it through the clearing.
After the deer moved on we continued towards the first bedding area I wanted to search for sheds. We spent some time walking the boarder, and checked out the fence crossings heading into the area, but didn't come across any bone in this spot. There were however quite a few rubs around, so it just has the feel of a good area to hang a stand for the November rut.

This tree was shredded on all sides. Could potentially be a sign post rub. We'll have to wait until next fall to know.
Once we patrolled the borders on this area, we proceeded to follow a funnel through a break in the overgrown fencerow that the deer frequent, and broke out into the chisel plowed field to continue working around the farm. If the crop rotation continues as it has for the past few years, this particular field should be planted in corn this fall with the adjacent field probably scheduled for soy beans. As we worked the edges, and inspected the high traffic areas at each fence crossing, we also stopped to glass the field and scan for any signs of an antler shining in the sun. 

Scanning the field for the sun's reflection bouncing off a shed antler against the contrast of the dull earth.
Although we were starting to get pressed for time, my son & I pushed on, trying to be as thorough as possible, while still making time to take each question that he fired at me as a teaching moment. And as usual, there were plenty of those to go around. Not all about deer either, but about trees, rocks, plants, crops, and everything under the sun it seemed. Hopefully these little expeditions we take continue to provide those teaching moments over the years, and hopefully that helps lay the foundation for an open door to communication throughout my son's life. There's an old saying, that if you teach your kids to hunt, as they get older you won't have to hunt for your kids. My goal; to make sure I can do everything I can to ensure that's the case for both of my children. Whether they decide to follow my path towards hunting & fishing, or choose not to isn't important. Ultimately that will be their decision to make. It's about making the time to create these special bonds, and from my experience the outdoors is the perfect vessel to do so. Just ask my Grandpa. 

Potential ground blind spot off to the left side of this fence crossing

As we moved towards the last leg of the walk we toured a block of woods that I've avoided hunting for the past two seasons I've had permission on this property. Because the area has such a dense undergrowth, I always thought I'd have to take a chainsaw in just to clear some shooting lanes. Well, that's probably the case if you're hunting from 20 feet up in the air, but not so if you're on the ground. I'll be considering a spot about 20 yards down wind of the above fence crossing to set up the ground blind this fall. Once we squeezed through and navigated the fence crossing the deer sign & paths were ridiculous. 

Checking one last area  for some sheds on the way back to the truck
And that was about it. Two & a half very quick hours spent speed scouting and shed hunting. Some quality time with my little guy hiking around and getting dirty. Checking in on the remaining deer sign to gather intelligence for the coming fall. A quick visit with the land owner to once again show my appreciation for allowing me to come out and bow hunt. It was definitely great to get out. Saturday was a good day.

3 comments:

  1. Just started following your blog. It's very interesting. I just started shed hunting this winter. I have never done it before. In 6 afternoons I found 22 sheds so far!

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  2. Thanks Martie. Hope you continue to enjoy it! By the sounds of it you're doing pretty darn good finding some sheds. They're like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes!

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  3. Found 4 two days ago. If you can locate their food source, you will find tons of sheds. I'm working on bedding areas now and am having very good luck. It's very addictive!

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