Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lessons from the hunt

I hitched up my trailer and headed up to the place around 1:30pm on Thursday.  The weather was overcast, and rain was forecast for Friday and Saturday, but I decided to press on.  After stopping and buying my hunting license, I headed into the woods.  Thursday afternoon was spent setting up camp, chopping wood, and getting the fire started.  There was a recent storm and the creek was full to the brim. 

Friday morning I awoke early and headed out to the sit about 25 yard from the feeder.  No deer.  After about 2 hours, I made a quick breakfast of eggs and then proceeded to check my neighbor's feeder- he wasn't there.  After sitting in the stand for an hour or so, I spotted a deer, but she saw me first (or smelled me) and took off before I could take a shot, stopping about 20 yards from when she spooked (behind some brush), grunted and then ran away.  The rest of the after noon, I spent following tracks in the woods and exploring.  While hiking, I spooked 2 more deer.

Saturday, I set up by the feeder again.  I was watching about 5 squirrels eat corn, when a doe walked into view to my left- only about 10 feet away from me!  But she was looking right at me- even as she walked and ate corn, she didn't take her eyes off of me.  I ever so slowly raised my gun, but then she spooked and ran off about 30 yards behind a small cedar.  I froze, thinking that she might come back in a little closer or move from behind the cedar- no such luck.  She grunted and then all I could see was the white tail bounding up the hill in front of me. 

Didn't see anything else, except a flock of turkeys and an opossum. So, the trip was a wash and I hated to leave without a deer, but that's life.

So, lessons learned:

After recounting my story to a friend who is has some experience hunting, he told me that I should have quickly raise my gun- the deer would have bolted, but likely would have stopped about 20-30 yards away for about 5 seconds, then I should have taken the shot.  That seems to be what both of the deer did after they spotted me.  They ran away about 30 yards, turned for a few seconds, and then ran away.  This is my biggest take away.  Move quickly and take the shot as soon as the deer stops.  Also, be ready at all times- this is the hardest thing b/c when I was hunting there were hours and hours of sitting and thinking-hard to stay on alert for that long.  Had I been in the ready position, I might have taken that second deer even before spooking her.  My take away from this was that I'm learning how deer react to danger.

The big lesson is this- even in the best conditions (feeder, deer stand), it is not always possible to take a deer.  So, if you are thinking that you are going to head to the woods and hunt to provide food for your family, be prepared to go hungry.  There are no guarantees with hunting, especially if you don't have the experience beforehand.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Going hunting today

I'm headed out to my retreat for the next few days to hunt deer.  I'm planning to use my AK for the harvest using softpoint rounds.  I'll take pics and post them when I get back.  Planning to skin the hide using the golfball method (warning: graphic).  This will be my first experience hunting- I want the education and experience that comes with it. 

Also, I thought I'd share where my readers are coming from (countries).  Pretty interesting:
United States 42,824
Canada 1,756
United Kingdom 1,059
Germany 1,056
Australia 702
Russia 563
Slovenia 391
Netherlands 343
Romania 281
Ukraine 276