Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick Opening Weekend Deer Gun Report: No Deer But Many Pigs

This year's Deer Gun Season opening weekend unfolded for the most part as it had most years.  Ron, my hunting buddy and I were in our favorite spots as the the first light of the day began to creep over the horizon.  This year I was carrying my rifle during gun season.  If you don't know me, you are likely saying to yourself, "duh of course you have your gun during gun season", but most years I continue to bow hunt during gun season.  This year the bigger deer had eluded my bow although I had taken a spike the week before.  This year the gun felt like the right choice and I looked forward to bringing something with a little more range!

As soon as it was light enough to see, I started spotting bucks on the move.  Only problem was that they were all spikes, fork horns, or six pointers.  I did have one nice pig sneak in on me, but I couldn't decide if I wanted to shoot because I was afraid the shot would spook that big buck that I just knew was about to appear.  My hesitation was all that he needed when he winded me and disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.

Around 8:00 AM, I heard the crack of Ron's rifle and I smiled thinking he had his deer down on opening morning, but then there was another BANG!  An then another and another followed by squealing!  Ron had a herd of pigs come buy and he just happened to be carrying his new AR-10 in 308 caliber.  He hit four of them before they could get out of range.  The pig population seems to have expanded a bit in this area and Ron was doing his best to curb it.  The first evening was similar to the morning.  Many small bucks and Ron took down two more pigs.

The next day we awoke to a howling North wind that blew all morning, but eased up by lunch time.  We elected to sit on our stands through the afternoon and both saw and took out a coyote each, but passed on smaller deer.  With rain in the forecast for Monday morning, we broke camp that night and headed back in the morning empty handed.  We will be back the last weekend of the season where we hope our luck will change!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bow Season 2011: Pigs, Deer, and Earth Quake!

The Explanation
So it has been a month since my last post so please forgive me, but making a living got in the way of my blog.  Although when I wasn't working, I was bowhunting.  I hunted four weekends including the opening weekend (although they were not all in a row) and outings two and three were mostly unexciting except for some cool video of small bucks fighting and a bobcat I called up.

Dos Pigs!
My fourth hunt was the first weekend in November.  It was good and cold at night and mild during the days although it was really windy at times.  The first evening I arrived late to my stand so I only grabbed my bow and headed to the stand.  I was left my video camera assuming that I was getting out so late that my chance of success were limited (and I didn't have time to pull together all the gear and set it up).   After sitting in my stand for only 15 minutes, I saw two small bucks about a hundred yards away milling around in the trees.  They appeared to be headed my way although it would take them a long while to reach me at their current pace.  About 10 minutes later I hear the bucks snorting and wheezing alarms as if they had smelled or seen me, but that was impossible since I was down wind of them.  Soon I saw what the deer had been alarmed by.... It was a large black boar trotting through the trees, headed straight for me.  He followed the deer path perfectly right by my tree.  I drew back my bow and as my 20 yard pin settled on his lungs, I gave a squeak with my mouth to get him to stop.  On that que, he froze and gave me the opportunity I needed to release my arrow.  The arrow center punched him in the lungs and hit resounded with the most solid "THUD" I have ever heard.  The arrow had penetrated to the opposite side of the pig's rib cage, but but didn't exit the other side as the boar sprinted into the woods.  While I waited, another group of pigs came out of the trees and began to mill around in front of me.  I grabbed another arrow and targeted a medium size pig closest to me.  As he turned broad side I drew back my bow and released a second arrow.  This time the it penetrated to the far side, but still didn't pass completely through (dang these pigs are tough).  He sprinted into the woods squealing all the way.  The other pigs huffed and snorted as they retreated.  I snuck down out of my tree and went back to my pick-up to get my lantern and pistol for the blood trail.  After an hour I began to search through the dense brush with my coleman lantern and amazingly I was able to find both pigs.  They hadn't gone far once they reached cover although my arrows were no where to be seen.  The boar looked huge, likely 250 pounds and the smaller one was likely 120 to 150 pounds.  I was delighted to have taken two in one evening!  A first for me!

From 10 Point Buck to "If it's Brown, It's Down"
The next morning I sat in my South wind stand.  My only contact was a buck about 100 yards away.  I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get a deer with my bow this season.  If you count each morning or evening as one hunt, I had been out about 8 or 10 times and, so far, I only had a few does within bow range.  My "threshold" or "expectations" for what was an acceptable deer was quickly dropping from an 8 or 10 point buck to the motto "If it's brown, it's down!"  Rifle season was fast approaching and the prime time of bow season was slipping away.  I decided that day, that I would take any legal buck that walked within range.

That evening I was startled to see a fork horn that just "appeared" out of nowhere.  I have always been amazed at the stealthiness of these animals.  He walked toward me straight on without presenting a shot and then at 20 yards, turned left, trotting along in front of me.  I attempted to pull the same trick that I had with the boar by squeaking as he came by to make him stop so I could take my shot, but as soon as I squeaked, the deer jumped into the brush!  Apparently he equated that sound with danger!

As I quietly cussed my bad luck, another buck, a spike, came out of the trees and into my shooting lane following the same path as the fork horn.  He stopped at 20 yards, but turned right to look at something to the North and then began to graze around him on that spot.  The wind was blowing that day and gave me the cover I needed.  As  gust blew the tree I was sitting in, I pulled my bow back and settled my 20 yard pin on his chest.  I focused on the point of impact I wanted to hit on the deer.  I squeezed my release slowly and the bow went off, almost surprising me.  The arrow flew true and passed completely through the buck and stuck in the ground on the opposite side.  The buck sprang into action and sprinted North West for over 100 yards.  At first it didn't appear he was mortally wounded, but then his pace slowed and his legs began to get wobbly.  He turned and I could see that his side was crimson red from the exit wound, he stumbled and was down.  In all I estimate he expired within 10 seconds!  I got down from my tree and hurried over to him before the sun set.  Although he was small, I am always pleased with a quality animal from a food perspective and this young spike will provide some excellent table fare.  I got video of the shot and it looks great, but I wish I had the presence of mind at the time to grab the video camera to film the deer running into the field and collapsing after the shot.  It really demonstrates the effectiveness of archery equipment and the hunters that choose to limit themselves in this manner.

The Quake
That night I hung the deer up, began to skin him, and cut out the muscle groups I use for steaks and ground deer meat. I was making quick work of the buck and at about 10:30 PM, I was sitting on an ice chest as I worked to remove the lower leg from one of the hind quarters.  Just then the earth moved in one big wave.  I almost fell off of the ice chest!  I sat there stunned wondering what had just happened.  My pick-up was still rocking back and forth and a near-by water tank was sloshing back and forth.  Wow, I had never been in an earth quake and this was freaky.  Turns out there had been a 5.6 earth quake in central Oklahoma and it had been felt in many of the surround states including my location.  It only lasted a second or two, but gave me new respect for those that have endured really destructive earthquakes.

It was a great hunt and the fun isn't over.  I will still be gun hunting and maybe return for some additional bow hunting as well.  Here is a brief video of my adventure.  Again, my apologies for the long delay between posts.  I intend to get back to the 2-3 posts per month again.