Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

retch sweeny
 
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Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby retch sweeny » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:39 pm

Sat. Morn Sept. 17. 34 Degrees, faint NE wind.

The alarm went off at 5:15. Its was cold enough that I wore longjohns and a stocking cap and used hand warmers. I was hunting the site I have been calling the crossroads site for my deer scent trials. Its been dry for the last few weeks so walking in quietly would be a challenge. When I got within 50 yards of the edge of the woods, I heard a deer busting through the underbrush but it was still dark so I could not see anything. When I got to my stand I hung my bow from the rope and then walked out in front of the stand and placed some of the homemade scent on the back side of a nearby tree and on some of the lower vegetation and then headed up into my ladder stand.

It was cold enough to see my breath which told me the wind was perfect for the direction I expected the deer to come from. I assumed they would be on a neighboring property eating acorns and then would filter back into the woods, cross the small stream and then into a beading area. That’s exactly what happened. At 7:02 I caught the flick of an ear in the distance. I could see it was a doe. I grabbed the camera instead of the bow. The first video is her approach. She eventually gets down wind of the scent.
(You can improve the video quality on Youtube by selecting 720P HD at the bottom right of the viewing pane. Click on where it says 360p)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyIElqyfALQ


At the end of the first video she had reached the scent and stops. The second part of the video is after she reaches the scent and starts sniffing and licking the vegetation. It would have been more than long enough to provide a shot but I was not interested in shooting this doe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHeh_lcIM78

In the last video, she walks off unharmed and unaware that I was above her and that I opted to shoot her with a camera instead of my bow.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7AqraVTU38


At around 8:00, another doe approaches from just west of where the first doe was. This put her right in front of my trail camera. I snapped a frame from the video and you can see the bungee cords that hold the trail camera on the tree.

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After hunting I pulled the card from the camera. Here is the picture it took as she passed by. Today’s technology is impressive. This doe was being photographed and videoed and she never knew what was going on.

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I think she knows she is late getting back to bed and she seems in a hurry. She never gets down wind of the scent but instead passes by it from the up wind side and never stops moving. Both deer splash across the stream and head into a bedding area.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHf_ludZEU0

I hunt until 10:00 am and then head back to the farm.

When I got to my parent’s house I learned that my 11 year old Nephew had killed his first deer in the first hour of his first bow hunt.

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I had posted a picture of him here back in 2008 at age 8 practicing with his bow.

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This young fella and his siblings have been raised in a bowhunting family. Here is a picture of him and an archery kill his mom made while pregnant with their little sister.

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After I got cleaned up, I headed to a small family get together. At 3:30 I headed back to the woods to sit another stand. While approaching the spot, I rounded a corner on the field road and spotted a doe.

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After a brief stare down, she walked away.

The wind was not the best and I should not have sat this stand but instead should have returned to the stand I used in the morning. The evening passed by with a brief sighting of a doe on the other side of the stream.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fr-WRA9f_k

At last light I heard a sound behind me and turned to see a spike buck 30 yards to my right rear. It was too dark in the cedars behind me to get a video. After he passed by, I climbed down and headed back to the truck.

The forecast for Sunday was rain with South Winds. Neither are very good for where I hoped to hunt so I slept in after waking to the sound of rainfall. I ate breakfast with my parents and then headed home. While no game was harvested, it was a great opening weekend. As I write this I became aware that I saw several adult does but none of than had fawns with them. Likewise I did not have very many pictures of fawns on the trail cameras either. This has me concerned.

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kellory
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby kellory » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:21 pm

Nice shooting there Tex! And congrats to your nephew! Well done!
The only real difference between a good tracker and a bad tracker is observation. All the same data is present for both. The rest is understanding what you are seeing.

Dan Salmon
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby Dan Salmon » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:22 pm

Congrats to your nephew!

Where about are you hunting? SE WI? Interested also that you are not seeing fawns in the woods or on the cameras.

retch sweeny
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby retch sweeny » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:45 pm

Central WI, 25 miles from Stevens Point.

Dan Salmon
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby Dan Salmon » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:33 pm

What are you figuring? Predators, poor spring/summer weather? Was the winter that tough in that area? Over hunting? What do you think is the cause? I'm interested to hear your ideas.

retch sweeny
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby retch sweeny » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:06 pm

Not a tough winter. The farmers in our area and our group (covering 1,5 square miles of land) have been managing the herd ourselves (since are the local game managers) and have had a prohibition on killing does for a few years. I took one doe out of this areas since 2005. I am seeing a lot of deer in the area but litle if any fawns. I have no explanation for where the fawns are.

retch sweeny
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby retch sweeny » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:07 pm

I’m going to call this the rained out weekend. I watched the forecast but it did not forecast non stop rain for the Rosholt area. It rained Friday evening and during the night. I got up Saturday morning to the sound of light rain. I was in my tree (the same tree I hunted from opening morning) by 6:15 and it was too dark to see your hand before your face. It was very overcast with no moon and the trees were still dripping. With the rains, I opted not to put out any scent.

At 6:35, a lone doe approached from my left and milled around for a few minutes but it was so dark that even the video I tried to make was too dark to view. At 7:30, another lone doe approached from in front of me and circled around to my left. I’m pretty sure it was the same doe I saw opening morning. She took nearly the same path as she passed 8 yards from my tree. She stopped only briefly and would have offered a great shot opportunity if I was interested in taking a doe. Here is the video I made of our meeting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP4UGE6vMDw

It would have been an easy shot with her quartering away.

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As it got lighter, the fog rolled in. At 9:00 it seemed to be getting darker rather than lighter.

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I sat and listened to the dripping off the trees until 10:00 and then headed back to the farm.

At 3:30 pm, I dressed to head back to the woods and it was already raining lightly. I drove to the back of the property about 400 yards from my stand and sat in my truck watching the sky for signs its might lighten up.

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At 4:00 pm I called it a night as the rain got heavier. I turned the truck around for the drive out and rounded the corner to see to small bucks standing in the field. They ran before I could snap a picture. The forecast for Sunday was even a higher percent chance for rain than today. As I drove back to the farm to pack my things and head home, the fields were filled with deer, less bothered by the rain than I was. Some of the deer were already bedded down out in the open farm fields since it was quite dark out for that time of day. Hopefully next weekend will be dry. Two weekends down and both were rainy.

Dan Salmon
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby Dan Salmon » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:30 am

That is definitely strange to not be seeing any fawns, especially if all the doe you are seeing are healthy.

Are there any know wolf packs in your area?

On the other side of the coin, maybe the area is balanced enough that there is great nutrition for the fawns and you are seeing them, but they are as big as most of the other deer. It still wouldn't make sense though if you are seeing lots of lone doe as I would suspect the fawns to still be with mom and not have dispersed basically a year early. Weird.

retch sweeny
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby retch sweeny » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:12 am

I saw a wolf opening moring last year and lots of wolf tracks the last few years. We have bear and coyote but I dont think they killed every fawn in the area. Its just odd.

retch sweeny
 
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Re: Sweeny's 2011 bowhunting journal

Postby retch sweeny » Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:25 am

Friday Sept 30, 2011. I’ll call this the “I hate light and variable winds weekend”

Headed up North early on Friday to get an evening hunt in. It had rained all week in the Rosholt area so I knew it would be wet but the forecast for the weekend looked good. I hunted the location of the swamp site for the scent trials but at 5:30, the neighbor came in with his 4 wheeler to do some bear hunting. The wind would put him in a position to alert any deer in the swamp not to come out until after dark. Oh well, it was a nice sit even if the deer don’t show. Here is a view from the stand. You can see the trail camera. To the right of my stand is a small creek. Straight in front of my location is a large pond in the river created by beavers a few years ago.

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The only action I had was wood ducks. The nice thing about hunting near a body of water is there is going to be something to entertain me. There are ducks and geese landing and taking off at all times. I took a short video of the wood ducks. (all videos can be improved by clicking on the 360P in the lower left and setting the quality to 720P)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yx3JLEThjA

With a half hour of good hunting left, the bear hunter fired up his 4 wheeler and left, cementing the fact that I would not be seeing any deer tonight. I hunted until I could not see well enough to shoot and walked the 400 yards back to my truck. I headed back to the farm, enjoyed a supper made by my dad then looked through the trail camera pictures from both cameras. It seems the deer are getting more nocturnal as the rut gets closer. I talked with my parents for a while and then hit the sheets.

Sat. Oct. 1, 2011 AM. Its cold. The digital thermometer read 30F. There was a frosty coating on everything.

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The forecast was for light and variable winds which must mean that the winds will constantly shift to your disadvantage. While there was no wind to speak of, the currents were shifting my scent every which way based on the cloud of fog my breath created. One minute it was from the East and then West, North and South. This was not going to be good. I was in the stand in the pre-dawn darkness and at 6:40 I hear hoofs on the frosty leaves. I think it was my Saturday morning doe that I have seen every weekend. She has no fawns. This time, she paused when the current shifted to her. That caused her to circle back out to the edge of the field. It was too dark to get any sort of video in the woods but when she hit the field edge, there was enough daylight to take a short video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfzSIqDXG0E

At 8:00 I could hear splashing in the river behind me. I assumed it was a deer crossing the river to head to the bedding area but the splashing continued and continued and continued so I turned to see if I could make out what all the splashing was about, I expected to see wood ducks. The sound was coming from at least 100 yards behind me so I had to use every bit of zoom my camera has to pick up who the splashy culprit was. Due to the high level of zoom, the video is a bit shakey. The sound was too far for the tiny camera mic to pick up but rest assured it was loud enough to get your attention.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sayc_V9NTBE

It turned out to be two adult does and two fawns that were just playing in the water before heading to bed. This went on for about 20 minutes and was funny to watch them play. I saw this same thing last year but it was two young bucks playing in the water that time. I was just happy to see some fawns. These are the first fawns I have seen all season.

At 8:20, I saw a buck fawn approaching from the West. My breath showed my scent would be heading right towards him. Sure enough, he stopped and when I scanned the back trail, the doe had already caught my scent. After a minute she turned and headed into the swamp to cross the river at a different location. The nub buck saw mamma leaving then followed. I made a short video of our encounter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B5U_WtNI08

At 9:15, I spotted a fawn coming through the swamp. The lead deer was a nub buck followed by a doe fawn and then an adult doe. Their feet were black from the swamp mud. Again, it was good to see fawns. I noticed there was some sort of growth under the chin of the doe. It is about the size of a golf ball. Here is a video and a still image I snapped from the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Fcjff8afCA

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I watched them head to the river to wash their hoofs before heading to bed. I sat until 10:00 am and then headed back to the farm for breakfast. My Mother made French toast and sausage. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Sat. Oct. 1, 2011 PM. More adventures with light a variable winds.

On the way to my stand I encountered a few does already in the field.

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I placed a small pad with my homemade scent on the side of the tree in front of my trail camera. I intended to remove it at the end of the night but forgot to do so so it stayed out overnight and through the morning.

It seems I could not catch a break tonight. I had a small buck bust me when he came from a direction I would not expect and the breeze carried my scent to him. He bolted before I could get any video footage. Right before dark, I spotted a doe which also caught my scent with the swirling currents. I was entertained by grey and red squirrels who dont seem to care how bad I smell. I shot a video of a grey squirrel trying to find the perfect spot to burry a portion of corn cab he harvested from the nearby field. He spent the entire evening going back and forth from the field to the woods burying his treasures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNknatnhTP8

This little red came up my tree and got his picture taken when he reached my seat. He turned inside out when he realized what I was. That chuckle made the night worth it even if the deer did not cooperate.

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Sunday Oct. 2, 2011 AM. Another hard frost. 31 F. A good wind but the deer are early

I got to my stand while it was still dark but busted a deer already in the woods near my stand. I heard it run off and splash across the river. I guess it was a buck as they tend to head back to bed earlier than the does. While it was still dark another deer walked under my stand but it was only a grey blob. It too splashed across the river.

At 8:20 2 does came the usual direction and filtered past my stand. They two became youtube stars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RAEX4PsQak

2 more does showed up about 5 minutes later. These deer got their picture taken by my trail camera when they rached the scent patch I have on the tree. The last one had either burrs in her hind quarter or ticks. You can see the bumps on her hair in the video and the still pic.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlcNJCHNU6w


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Those were the last deer to show up. I sat until 10:00 and headed back to the farm to pack for the trip home. I have a bear skull to boil and make a mount for member of our archery club and I want to get it done this week.

My thinking in not taking any of these doe is that the bucks tend to come into the woods before daylight but once the rut hits, I hope the bucks will let their guard down and will be following the does that tend to come in under full daylight. I can only hope that plan works out. It was a good weekend even if no deer were harvested. The trail camera pics show a few bucks and a couple are nice mature deer that may someday get a ride in my truck. Here is one of them. His neck is already swollen.

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