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The Digital Logs Of Bowhunts In Progress - by Robert Hoague
Bowhunting For Deer  2001

 . . . Robert Hoague
| | 2000 Deerhunt Main Page | |

(In Progress):

Last Day Of The Season (Sunday, January 6, 2001)
Afternoon Hunt: A full hour before sunset I saw a buck in the the brush, walking toward the narrow, grown over,  woods road that my tripod stand overlooks (at the Hammer Hole). He entered the road 30 yards away -- a big 9-point -- and walked straight toward me, stopped 12 yards from me, turned broadside, and waited breifly as he surveyed the trail ahead of him. Then he moved into the brush. The only tags I had left were doe tags so I couldn't take a shot, but it was cool seeing the buck. No does showed up. 
The Duck had a large, longhead doe come into his area and browse all around under his treestand in the Canyon. But he was out of doe tags and hoping a nice buck would show up, but it didn't. 
Morning Hunt: the Duck saw 6 does. I zipped. 

A Deer Season In Progress (Friday - Saturday)
The weather clouded up, got cold, and it rained whenever the temperature wasn't below freezing. Deer movement was poor and it was plenty chilly sitting out there waiting to not see any.

A Deer Season In Progress (Thursday Afternoon)
I heard the deer coming, loud and closing fast, in the thick brush by my Hammer Hole stand. His body and antlers took shape ahead of me, a bomber. The biggest buck I've seen this year. He blew through my shooting lane and sped up a trail so close he was almost underneath me. And he was gone. My brain is still flashing images of his heavy beams and very wide long tined rack, 6 on a side. I don't know what put the run to him but he was in overdrive. The Duck hunted the Canyon and had a shot opportunity botched because 6 wild hogs came into the area and spooked the buck. 

Wednesday, Dec 26 (Afternoon hunt)
Robbie Cramer saw 3 deer in the distance, walking in the large coastal field that borders the thick finger of woods where the December Tree area is. The deer slipped under the fence and walked downhill. In a few minutes they walked right under Robbie's tree. The trail they were on turned right in 12 yards, so Robbie waited until the turn put the lead doe broadside. HIs arrow hit perfectly and the doe bolted into it's back trail and dropped 10 yards behind Robbie's tree. 

Tuesday, Dec 25 (Afternoon hunt)
I hunted my tripod above the Rock Ledge. The deer were really on the move and I saw 34 deer. One group had 11 in it. That means the does groups are back together. It also means the rut is 99% over.

Saturday, Dec 22 (Afternoon hunt)
Don Beckwith (the Duck) watched two does bust out of the brush and run by his stand on the trail to his left. Ten minutes later he heard a loud squeal, the reason for their flight, wild hogs. Their grunts and shrieks came closer and closer. A dozen wild hogs took form in the same trail the deer had used. Some of them were grunting loudly. The Duck was ready for them, he put his pin on a large black one and put his arrow in the vitals. The hog veered off the trail and ran behind Don. The other hogs stopped, apparently confused. Then they continued down the trail. The hog had fled to a very thick area. Tracking was slow and we lost the trail before we had gone 20 yards. So, since the temperature was in the 30's we decided to wait and recover it in the morning, when visibility was good. Morning came and the Duck and his grandson Matthew took up the trail. The hog had immediately changed directions and gone to a dry creek bed and expired. That's Matthew on the left and the Duck on the right.

Friday, Dec 21 
After an uneventful morning hunt the Duck 's grandson Matthew Fogarty went to the Hammer Hole for the afternoon. He's never seen or heard a wild hog before, but that was gonna change quick. Wild hogs love to root up Johnson grass routs and this area is loaded with it. Sometimes the hogs get real noisy. As the sun dropped into the treeline Matthew suddenly heard their grunts, growls, teeth snapping and squeels somehere in the vicinity. When they got to the Hammer Hole daylight was fading. Soon wild hogs were everywhere, in the brush and in the shooting lane. But he couldn't see his pins clearly so he didn't shoot (good choice). It got dark. The noise from the hogs was very close. Matthew sat tight (once again, good choice). Suddenly the hogs rushed away and Matthew saw the headlights of the duck's truck as he drove up to pich him up.

Thursday, Dec 20 
During his frosty morning bowhunt at the Mudslide stand the Duck 's grandson Matthew Fogarty watched several does pull the branches and lick the leaves on the same tree. They all left the same way. Later, he checked it out and noticed a trail that all the deer had used. He followed it and came out at the toe of our boot shaped grain field. Six does and a buck were in the field 150 yards away. The buck saw Matthew first. Matthew was partially hidden so he froze. The buck came closer. Matthew laid down. The buck, and 8-point, advanced and stopped 20 yards away. Matthew didn't move a muscle. The buck moved away. Matthew tried to sit up and see if he could get into shooting position. The buck saw him move and trotted back. He left returned 3 more times. On the last trip back he walked within 2 steps from Matthew. At that point Matthew got anxious about what was going on and stood up. The surprised buck bolted away, leaving Matthew with a memory he will always remember. He had a pretty cool hunt yesterday, too. Ahhh, life is good.

Thursday, Dec 20 
The Duck picked up his grandson Matthew Fogarty. He hunted the Dry Up Pond but nothing happened. I saw 6 deer from the mound stand. Afterward, Matthew drove around the camp area looking for rabbits and he spotted, stalked and bagged a cottontail. He took the rabbit to the 4-wheeler and saw another rabbit and he tried for it. But that didn't work out. When he went back to his ride a varmint had eaten most of the rabbit. 

Wednesday, Dec 19 
I was getting in my pickup to zip out to the December Tree when the Duck drove up. He had gone out early and had hunted one of his stands on the edge of our lease's 250 acre oat field. He had seen a handful of deer when a spike and a doe walked through the creek behind him. For several minutes they stood right below the Duck and observed the field. Then they walked 15 yards into the field. Don drew and aimed carefully. His arrow was perfect and the doe bolted back across the creek and collapsed on the opposite side of the bank. Don got down immediately and came to get me. We took pictures and field dressed the deer. 

Sunday, Dec 16 
It rained hard all night but stopped at 5:30am as we were trying to figure whether we would be able to hunt or not. We did. A little after daylight, at the Hammer Hole, Tim Getts noticed a large doe in the thick brush, at the edge of the narrow opening that his tripod stand overlooks. The doe moved into the clear and eventually presented an angling away shot opportunity. Timm drew, aimed and released. A miss. Later he saw a big 8-point. Steffin and Brian Guest hunted the ground blind near the Mound. Afterward, we took a photo and the guests went home. The Duck and I went to the December Tree area for the afternoon hunt. I saw 14 deer and the duck saw 9. But none were 20 yards close.

Saturday, Dec 15 
Steffin and Brian Guest hunted the Point and Big Tree and saw one doe and a flock of wild turkeys. Timm Getts saw an opportunity unfolding at the Hammer Hole and as he drew on a doe he bumped his recurve's lower bow limb on a branch and the deer spooked. 

Friday, Dec 14 
I had a busy day scheduled, business wise, so the Duck hunted the December Tree this morning. Three does hung out in the area but no bucks came up. This afternoon I hunted the Pocket and, unfortunately, a doe that I never saw or heard smelt me and snorted it's alert. The Duck hunted the canyon and zipped. Robbie Cramer zipped down for afternoon hunt and I dropped him off at the December Tree. Again, 3 does hung out in the area, but no bucks.
Tonight Timm Getts and his friends Brian Guest and his son Steffen met the Duck at the Red Barn. They will start hunting tomorrow morning.

Thursday, Dec 13 - THE RUT IS BACK!!!
Rick Philippi watched a flock of 17 wild turkeys work their way across the nearby open field and duck under the fence 30 yards behind his treestand. Rick was already in position and ready if they came past him. A gobbler and a hen walked right under Rick's tree. Ten yards further Rick drew slowly. One of the flock yelped. The gobbler ran. The jake didn't. Rick's arrow hit him perfectly and the jake piled up. Half an hour later 25 more turkeys came through, but a little too far away.
The Duck saw several deer today, to include a buck fight. Doug also saw a few deer. 
This afternoon I hunted the stand on the hill overlooking the December Tree (core rut area). Deer passed through the area but not close to me. When the sunlight faded I climbed down and quietly walked to the December Tree. Under it's limbs I saw a freshly pawed scrape. It rained hard at 9:00 this morning and the scrape was worked after that. Every year, this same tree becomes a hot spot for the 2nd Rut. As of the end of the season last year I had 5 stands in this area. So I'm ready. 

Wednesday, Dec 12 - Fire In The Sky
This afternoon Doug Whitteburry saw 5 does near his Strip stand but failed to get a shot. The Duck saw a sixer at the "L." This morning he hunted the Hammer Hole and saw two young bucks. Rick Philippi hunted the Hammer Hole this afternoon. A button buck walked by. An hour before dark Rick heard a loud wild hog fight nearby. Later on two small black pigs walked out of the brush and waited as more hogs approached. A large brown one walked into the clear. Rick drew and shot, but his arrow missed. Meanwhile I was in my ground blind near the scrape on my own property. I didn't see any deer but I saw a million dollar sunset and got a picture of it from the blind's shooting window. I put it on my computer as wallpaper, maybe you'll like it too. I call it Fire In The Sky. (1024x768) (800x600) (640x480

Tuesday, Dec 11 
Rain ... a steady, all day ground soaking rain. It really muddied the roads up. Bowhunting and rain don't mix, it is too risky. Rain can wash away the recovery trail.
The Duck came back down this afternoon and we kept our eye on the weather to see if the rain would stop, but it didn't. Rick Philippi will arrive tomorrow. Normally, after a long rain the deer move great. Things are lookin' good. 

Monday, Dec 10 -- Put A Little Twist On It !!
What attracted my attention to it was the doe's head bobbing as it surveyed the area all around me. The deer stood patiently, sticking out over some brush, at the edge of the rusty, worn out fence that divides my property. Ten minutes passed before it hopped the fence. It casually walked behind my blind (10 yards yet) and out of sight. I'm good to go for harvesting a doe but I didn't have a chance because I've got the blind set up to shoot toward the scrape and not behind me.
I've seen several deer here, both bucks and does, and they all have used the route behind me (which is the opposite of what I thought it would be). The remedy is to pivot the blind and line up a couple of the shooting windows with the places where I have shots, and then close the windows to my back. Once the deer was gone I did it right away. Then I clipped a few branches and walked back home and stood in my front yard, enjoying the beautiful sunset we had tonight. 

Dec 7, Bowhunt - A slow rain, all day. Didn't hunt.

Dec 6, Bowhunt - I was 50 yards from my truck when the sky broke open and dropped a surprise gully washer. I splashed back to my front seat and waited. No luck. I drove home and got out of my wet clothes. The rain slacked off the last hour of daylight. 

Dec 5, Bowhunt - The Duck hunted the Canyon again today but saw no deer. Paul Beckwith moved to the Mudslide stand and had a spike buck come in. They loaded up and the Duck took Paul back to the real world in Dallas. He'll be back.

Dec 4, Bowhunt - The Duck hunted the Canyon today and saw some does at a distance. Cows were down in the canyon all day and the deer avoided the area. Paul Beckwith hunted a stand on our the 300 acre grain (wheat) field. He saw a large buck a couple hundred yards away. Two does passed by but not where he could get a shot. I hunted the Point and saw 4 does and a button head. They were all from this year's crop.

Dec 3, Afternoon Bowhunt - The Duck and his brother Paul Beckwith came down at noon. I hunted the Hammer Hole. It was a perfect deerhunting afternoon, overcast, low 40's, and a light wind. The area has been pounded by wild hogs. They have even rooted up the dirt road in places. But nothing showed. Paul, however saw a bomber 10 point and several does from one of the stands the Duck has on a grain field. The Duck saw 5 does and a spike. Neither of them were able to take a shot.

Dec 1, Afternoon Bowhunt - I went to my ground blind on my property, it's near a scrape. I propped my bow up and was getting ready when I heard a noise and looked through one of the blind's shooting windows. A buck was urinating in the scrape. Quickly, but still careful to be quiet, I slipped my digital camera out of it's case and pushed the On button. Now the buck was pawing in the scrape. The camera made a faint noise as the CD inside it booted up. I slipped the lens cap off the buck moved away from the scrape and walked to the right side of my blind. The windows on this side were closed so I unhooked the window flap on one and let the fabric fall. Only 10 yards away, the buck saw the motion and stopped and looked for a few seconds. Unconcerned, he started walking again. As he moved away I poked the camera lens through the window and when I saw his movement in the LCD display I took his pic. My guess is that this buck is 1 1/2. He has an outside his ears 8-point rack. This buck will be a champ in 4 more years.

Wednesday Nov 28
The temperature dropped below freezing and sleet and icy rain blew in on the cold North wind. The trees and ground turned to ice and the thermometer logged temperatures in the mid 20's. It looked like snow had fallen but it didn't. Although, the weather report says it will tomorrow. Today wasn't a good day to hunt. 

Tuesday Nov 27
The morning hunt at the Point was uneventful but I saw 11 deer on the drive back to my house. The temperature was already dropping and when it hit the mid 30's it started raining, followed by lightening and thunder. Those are undesirable conditions for sitting on a metal treestand in a tree, so I didn't.

Friday: Nov 22 - Sunday Nov 25
Over the holidays we hunted hard. But the deer were not moving good, although everyone did see a few deer, no one got any shot opportunities, and mature bucks were non existent. The rut is on but the activity is mainly at night. However, the extra pressure in both or area and the surrounding properties (due to the holidays) is now over. The Duck is down and he reported that he located a large, very fresh, scrape and set up to hunt it this week, starting Monday morning. 

Thursday: Nov 22
(Morning) Once again, Doug Whitteberry had buck and doe activity near his stand. The rest of us didn't see any deer. John and Linda Askew came down with a super Thanksgiving dinner, after which we got ready for the afternoon hunt.
(Afternoon) I hunted the Pocket. I had barely sat down when an 8-point hopped the fence and passed by me. Twenty minutes later a sixer walked a few yards behind me, his nose was on the ground as he trailed a doe. Later a doe walked through, a young buck was walking behind her. I saw other movement, deer legs, tails, and backs in the thick brush around me.
Robbie got covered up with cows. John Askew shot at a wild hog but missed. His son Bryant saw a doe and a spike. John's young daughter Emily wanted to see deer so we set her up in my ground blind at the Point. She saw a six-point approaching and it drank water only ten yards from her. Later a doe appeared near the water, it drank and browsed for a good while. Emily sat very quiet and still, this was the first time she has seen deer so close. I picked her up at dusk and she was very excited about seeing the deer. 
After the hunt we all went over to my neighbor Stan Alexander's house and played guitars and sang. Fun stuff.

Wednesday: Nov 21
(Morning) The temperature was a surprising 26 degrees with a heavy frost. My double bull ground blind looked like an iceberg. A doe worked the scrape after sunrise. We both heard grunts in the gully below us and as the deer's rapid footsteps got nearer the doe ran, with the grunting deer in hot pursuit. Another half dozen deer, does, passed through. It was a cold morning hunt. Doug just came in and he got plenty cold but didn't see any deer.
(Afternoon) Doug Whitteberry and his young son Conner saw 7 does this afternoon at his Horsepasture stand. Robbie Cramer hunted the Point and saw 5 does. I went to the Hammer Hole and saw a spike buck. No shot opportunities for anyone.

Tuesday: Nov 20
I returned to the ground blind to watch the scrape area by my middle fence. Around 4:30pm a lone doe parked in the area. At one point it walked behind my blind and stopped and looked at it. Then the doe walked right up to the blind and looked it over. Inside, I didn't bat an eye but I couldn't help but think about what would happen if would have reached out and thumped her on the nose. Then she bedded down nearby. She stayed until two cows came up, then she trotted away.

Friday: Nov 16
I had sat comfortably in my ground blind for an hour when I heard a gunshot on my neighbor's property across the road. Although I'm hunting with my bow it is also rifle season, so I didn't think anything of it. An hour and a half of steady shooting later -- and no deer -- I walked out to the road and saw 3 trucks and several people shooting, practicing, or whatever. I would prefer that they practice earlier in the day instead of at "deer thirty." Oh well. 

Thursday: Nov 15
Two words cover the days hunt. Rained out! It poured. The rut is beginning in our area and I intend to get with the progarm, broken ribs or not, I'm getting back in the woods.

Wednesday: Nov 14
My favorite time to scout (during the season) is when it rains. Generally the deer aren't moving around, you don't make any noise, and your scent is washed away. So I took advantage of this morning's steady rain to check things out. I found what I was searching for, an active scrape. I returned at 3:40pm with my Double Bull ground blind and a chair and set up where I can watch the scrape and the surrounding area. No deer came to the scrape, however I did see a nice buck walking with a doe and a big fawn, plus a young buck and 1 more doe. 

Tuesday: Nov 13
(Morning) 6:30am - Very overcast again. I saw 7 deer in the Mound stand area, all does. A rain shower brought me in early.
(Afternoon) - A Familiar Buck 
I  got out late. The ground was still wet from the morning shower and as soon as I got in the woods I walked up on a buck that was making a rub and marking limbs. Luckily it didn't see me and I hid and glassed it from about 40 yards. This buck has a nice rack and when I got it in focus I recognized it as one of the bucks I took pictures in August when it was in velvet. It was this 7-point. When the buck moved on I slipped back to my house. I didn't want to risk spooking any deer. 

Monday: Nov 12
(Morning) 6:30am - 54 degrees, no wind and very overcast. A light rain started while I was taking a shower. I waited a while and it stopped. So it's off to the deer woods. 
9:05am - Drizzling rain, on and off. But deer were around. 3 does first, a lone doe, and this spike buck.
(Afternoon) 4:00am - Rut Check
I  hopped the fence above the December Tree and checked it for signs of the rut. Some pawing in the grass under the tree that historically becomes a hot spot during the rut. I climbed the ladder stand near the scrape so I could watch the small clearing in front of the bare beginnings of a scrape, as well as see down the defunct road bed that splits this finger of woods. (It looks like this.) An hour before dark I spotted the dreaded beasts that all bowhunters who hunt in cattle country fear ... cows -- munching the natural grass and walking, yikes, down the road toward me. I call this event, "getting the cows" and I got 'em good. Here are the first 4 ... of about 60.

Sunday, Nov 11: Deer Everywhere 
We got a much needed rain storm this morning. Usually, after a rain, the deer move real good. Today was no exception. I had barely sat down in my ground blind near the Rolled Wire when 6 does hopped the fence onto my property and walked by. The buck with only one antler was next and he followed the does step for step. A doe with two fawns, both of who are now pretty big, browsed all around. Bingo, a buck walked up behind me and bedded down 15 yards away from me, in the edge of a cedar tree. I counted 11 points on it's rack. It was the same buck I saw on Friday. The main beams are just inside it's ears and I estimate his age to be 2 1/2. In 2 more years this buck will be something to see. Later a lone doe hopped the fence and took it's time walking by me. When I checked for the 11-point it was gone. That was it for today.

Friday, Nov 9: An 11-Point - This afternoon I went to the Rolled Wire stand. I saw so many does I lost track, probably at least 20. Two deer were bucks. One had only one antler on the right side. The other was an 11-point but it was inside it's ears. It was a young deer, I estamate it was a 2 1/2 year old. In two years it will be a "champ." My bud Robbie Cramer came down this afternoon and hunted at the Point. No deer showed there.

Nov 5, Tuesday - I dropped Tony Dukes off at the Pocket and I went to the Hammer Hole. Driving out we saw 9 deer. But on stand Tony saw one doe and I saw nothing. Our stands are on the perimeter of a bedding area. Apparently the deer left early today. 

Nov 4, Sunday - First Sign On The Rut - Tony Dukes bowhunted at the Mound stand this morning and saw 6 does. One doe was very nervous; but stayed in the same 100 yard area, moving back and forth, for over an hour. That's one of the tell tale signs that a doe is in rut. No bucks came through and the doe eventually left. That afternoon, in my ground blind 200 yards away a fat 2 1/2 year old 8-point walked right by me. Then it walked to some trees 50 yards away and and went to work on an overhead limb and then make a scrape. I also saw 5 does and Tony saw 7 does and an 8-point that he identified as the same one in my pictures.

Nov 3, Saturday - Tony Dukes came down and we bowhunted the Hammer Hole. Collectively we saw 3 bucks and 8 does. Actually, I was hoping the wild hogs would show up, but they didn't. 

Oct 27, Saturday:  The 8-Point Blues!
Last night Mike Ditchler phoned American Airlines and changed his ticket to a mid afternoon departure. At dawn he was in the Rolled Wire treestand. He saw 12 deer this morning. The big 8-point came through early but out of range. The buck was still in view when a goup of does passed by. At 9:30 Mike spotted the 8-point walking behind another group of does. They meandered through the Rolled Wire area, just out of comfortable shooting range. At 11:30 Mike walked back to my house, packed his bow, and he and the Duck rushed to the DFW Airport.

Oct 26, Friday: "The biggest buck I've Ever Seen!"
(Morning)  Mike hunted the Mudslide stand. The Duck's food plot is nearby and 14 deer visited it during the morning. Unseen, a huge 9 point buck approached from the opposite direction Mike was looking. When Mike first saw it, the bomber buck was right under his tree, he described it to me as, "Bigger than any buck I've ever seen where I hunt in Illinois." But Mike couldn't shoot. Later a large doe left the food plot and presented a broadside shot. But Mike's shot was high.
(Afternoon)  Mike returned to the Rolled Wire area. Three does came close by and Mike prepared to take his shot. All 3 does looked downhill so Mike checked that out, a big bodied, wide racked 8-point was 50 yards away and walking towards the does. Briskly, the does moved away and hopped the fence at the roll of rusty, barbed wire that caused me to gives this area it's name. Last minute, the buck cut to right and circled too wide for a shot. 

Oct 25, Thursday: 
Rick Philippi sat in his River stand, silently watching 4 does, when he heard a loud CRASHING sound as an object fell through the limbs of a tree and hit the ground -- in the direction of the Big Tree area -- precisely where he had let Mike Ditchler off before daylight. He was certain Mike had fallen and immediately climbed down the tree and ran the 300 yards to Mike's tree. Mike was still in the tree, fortunately something else had fallen. Rick returned to his stand.

Once back at camp Mike practiced shooting and his release went on the fritz. So we had to rush to Lone Star Archery in Waco and Calvin Ross fixed Mike up with a Scent Loc suit. We returned in time for Mike to hunt at the Mound stand at my place. He saw 2 does and 3 young bucks. And this time they didn't smell him. 

Oct 25, Wednesday: 
In the dark Mike couldn't tell that the rancher's truck had only moved a short ways the night before. But Mike figured it out when ranch hands showed up to bang and clang to fix it. So the morning hunt was a bust.
(Afternoon)  Mike hunted the Rolled Wire stand. A yearling doe came up the rock ledge and walked under Mike's tree. Behind it, Mike saw a sixer and two more does. Mike waited for them to get closer. Suddenly the lead doe's nose went up and she snorted a very loud alert. The deer cleared out. 

Oct 24, Tuesday: Luck can always be a factor when you hunt!
(Afternoon)  Mike hunted at the Point, which is a heavily traveled deer area. Two hours before dark the neighboring cattle rancher drove through the area with a flatbed truck. This, of course, was not a problem, the deer are used to seeing his ranch vehicles. The problem came when the truck broke down 100 yards from the stand. The ranch hands worked on it (very loudly) and finally got it going ... after dark. So the luck this afternoon was bad luck.
(Morning) Mike returned to the stand at the Big Tree. A young doe fawn came under the tree. A mature doe watched it from a distance. The Duck had a flock of wild turkeys pass by 50 yards away for his stand at the Canyon.

Oct 23, Monday: (9:59am) Mike hunted the stand in the Big Tree. Before long he was watching a wide and long tined 8-point work his way through the area. Three does came up under the tree. Eventually the largest doe turned broadside and Mike shot, but the arrow went low.
Monday: (6:59am) I took Mike Ditchler to the Shoemaker's fence stand. It's 60 degrees and a heavy dew is falling. (9:39am) Mike saw 4 does this morning but they were too far away.

Oct 21, Sunday: Adjusting To Life In The Slow Lane!
Saturday, Mike Ditchler (from this Fall's bear hunt) flew in from Chicago to bowhunt. The Duck picked him up at DFW and they arrived too late to hunt. Mike owns the Chef Klaus restaurants on the Southside of Chicago. He is a very busy guy in his real life and he was all keyed up to deer hunt. The way I see things it is not an asset to have your "business mind" running a mile a minute when you're hunting deer. Fortunately, I discovered a cure for the "plugged in city life" back when I was a businessman in Dallas. The cure is simple, it's called "a good night's sleep." So I didn't set the alarm this morning! Mike woke up a little before 1:00pm. Mission accomplished! 
This afternoon:  (4:57pm) Mike is hunting the Mudslide stand. The Duck is at the dry up pond. 
(9:44pm) Mike saw one doe and the Duck zipped. We cooked up a small mountain of chicken fried venison and ate a big dinner. 
I'm still sore and can't climb a tree yet so I'm sitting it out one day at a time. It's time to turn in. Tomorrow morning I'm taking Mike to my tripod stand at Shoemaker's Fence. 

Oct 19, day 21: 
On the recent mule deer hunt I broke two ribs. Wednesday I overdid it and I am one very sore puppy. I'm thinking I need to take a couple of days and not do anything that is movement intensive. Saturday Mike Ditchler from this Fall's bear hunt is coming down from Chicago to hunt. I'll report on his hunt, starting Sunday.

Oct 17, day 19:
Afternoon hunt: I dropped Tony Dukes off at the Point. There were deer tracks everywhere. He climbed into the tripod I have there. The first deer down the trail was a button buck. Later on a doe and a fawn came. The fawn was still small, meaning it was late born, so Tony enjoyed seeing them and didn't shoot.
Morning: This morning  was a welcome, and chilly 38 degrees. I saw 5 does and a forky at the mound. Tony Dukes hunted the Rolled Wire treestand and he saw the same deer.

Oct 16, Day #18 (A bowhunt in progress): Tony Dukes, notable Texas blues musician and long time bowhunting buddy of mine, came down to hunt for a few days. We wound up going to Waco for bow parts and didn't get to bowhunt this afternoon. We'll get after it tomorrow. 

Oct 15, Day #17 (A bowhunt in progress)
Doug Whitteberry, the 5th member on our deer lease, was barely in his tripod stand on the edge of a cedar break when a buddy group of 7 young bucks came out of the thick brush and walked by him on a trail running parallel to the cedar's edge. In unison, the bucks looked into the cedars to the right of Doug. A high 8-point walked into the clear. It laid it's ears back and approached the young bucks. Doug realized that, with the attention of the 8-point and the 7 other sets of eyes all diverted, his  window of opportunity was wide open. He drew, aimed and shot at the broadside 8-point. His arrow passed through the buck's ribs and all the bucks bounded away. Doug's eyes followed the 8-point and saw it go down in 50 yards.

Oct 14, Day #16 (A bowhunt in progress)
Robbie hunted the treestand at the Mound and noticed several deer survey the area before passing through. Four does moved out and one walked right under Robbie's tree. He drew as the doe stepped into the clear space between two limbs. A deer behind him, that he hadn't seen, snorted. Both deer bounded off, leaving Robbie still at full draw. Dusty saw a 7-point, a spike, and 3 does. One of the does stopped and turned broadside when it was 20 yards away. Dusty saw his opportunity for his first bow harvest and drew, aimed and shot. The arrow was low and the does scattered. In a few minutes they returned on the same trail. Dusty aimed at the same doe and took a 2nd shot ... and stuck his arrow in a tree. 
It just goes to show ya, when you're bowhunting it is never in the bag. The way I see it, even though some of the disappointments seem awful at the time, they truly sweeten the times when you do everything right.  :-)

Oct 13, Day #15 (A bowhunt in progress)
Morning Hunt (10:32am): Robbie hunted the big live oak tree we call the Big Tree. Dusty returned to the Point. Robbie saw 2 sixers, an eight that was just outside his ears, and 9 does. One of the sixers charged the other one, on sight, and they locked horns and fought right under Robbie. Dusty saw 4 young bucks, a big 9 point and two fawns. 
Afternoon Hunt: Robbie saw 4 does and a fawn at the Big Tree. At the Point Dusty saw and videoed a button buck. I saw 8 does at the Mound stand.

Oct 12, Day #14 (A bowhunt in progress)
Morning Hunt: Rick & Ricky hunted the Hammer Hole and saw a few does. They returned home afterward.
Afternoon Hunt: Robbie Cramer and Dusty Gentzel came down. Dusty hunted the Point's ground blind and 3 young bucks and a button buck walked by about 10 yards away. Robbie was at the Big Tree and saw deer bet too far away.

Oct 11, Day #13 (A bowhunt in progress)
Morning Hunt: Rick & Ricky Philippi were in their stands at daylight, just in time for a heck of a rain and thunder storm. 
Afternoon Hunt: The Duck saw several does in his food plot stand. Ricky Philippi hunted the Hammer Hole. Deer and a group of wild hogs passed through in the heavy brush. His dad, Rick saw several does. Then he heard wild hogs approaching. A group, that he estimated to be about 30 started filing by. He spotted a large black hog and waited for it to get within range. Rick aimed and put his arrow in the vitals. The hog charged off. Rick picked up the blood trail and tracked it to the hog, a big boar. It was too heavy for him to drag (a 300 pounder) so he drove to camp to get the Duck to help. 

Oct 10 - Day #12
Morning & Afternoon Hunt: Rick & Ricky Philippi are down to bowhunt. They both saw does from their stands but no shot opportunities. 

Oct 8 - Day #10
Morning & Afternoon Hunt: John Askew came with a friend and he got his first bow harvest, a young doe.

Oct 2 - Day #4
Light from the sunrise crept into the dark treeline. Full daylight came on painfully slow. The Duck and I took up our search for the 10-point. 

Because I hadn't pressured him I felt that the buck would not go far. Our plan was for the Duck to start working a grid, back and forth, in the area at the bottom of the hill, below where I had seen it, looking in every brush pile and cedar clump (there are plenty of those). I went to the edge of the open area where I had located the buck late yesterday afternoon and looked for a probable route for it to take. I quickly found a well traveled, prominent trail that wound through the thick cedars and brush. Fifty yards further I discovered another large opening on the hillside. I continued on the trail to the far side and surveyed the thick brush along the edge. Forty yards uphill, in a clump of cedars, I saw a buck laying down with it's back to me! I glassed it and and saw a forked antler. It was the 10-point.

My arrow had hit low in it's rib cage. Only inches lower than the shot I had wanted and still lethal. The buck was not stiff yet and when I field dressed it the meat looked and smelt perfect, but to be certain and I took it to Bagwell's Deer Processing in Hamilton, TX to be 100% sure. Bagwell said it was A-ok and took my order for his famous jalpina cheese sausage, chops and steaks and capped the buck for me to send to our Taxidermy columnist Larry Reese at Wildlife Artistry Taxidermy.

And here are pictures of the buck and me that will fill up your computer screen: (1024x768), (800x600), (640x480). And if you missed the pictures and logs of the scouting I did for this buck Click Here.

A Further Note: The 10-point's "home room":
The ground was smoothed out and clear of debris under the cedars where the buck lay. It was still cool, chilly actually, because of the deep shade of the cedars and the light breeze coming up the hill to the buck's bed. This was indeed the 10-point's "home." It was half way up a hill, near the edge of an opening where he could see and smell any intruders from downhill or the opposite edge of the clearing. And he had several escape routs with lots of cover if he decided to move to another place.

Oct 1 - Day #3
 When I left my house I had accidentally left my watch at home so I wasn't clear about the exact time. I was seriously concerned about the recent pressure on the deer. It doesn't take much to make a buck decide to avoid an area and my guess was that my window of opportunity with the 10-point was nearly up, if not already gone. I decided to hunt all day today. Several hours passed and a couple dozen deer had moved through my immediate area much earlier. Surprisingly, I had an unexpected surge of traffic later on and was watching 2 young bucks and 7 does and 4 fawns when I saw the antlers of a nice rack in the gully. I glassed the buck. It was an impressive 8-point. It came up out of the gully with another buck behind it, this one was the 10-point I've been taking scouting pictures of. 

He walked right to me!

He stopped by a tree I had previously paced off at 16 yards.

I aimed at the right spot in the ribs and shot and the 10-point jumped high into the air ... the impact of the arrow was very loud, but in the swirl of the buck's fast motion I didn't get a mental picture of where the arrow hit. The 10-point ran 45 yards along the edge of the gully, and stopped ... and looked back. Then he walked out of my sight. I glassed him. I really couldn't see if he was hit or not.

My arrow had only 3 pinhead sized drops of blood between two of the vanes and a little white tallow on one vane. I kept playing it over and over in my mind, my aim was on, the shot felt 100% right, the buck jumped into the air -- that was all ok. But the walking and the condition of my arrow did not add up. I looked where the buck had walked and didn't see anything. I went and got the Duck.

He inspected my arrow and looked at me, "It doesn't look good," he said. 

We went to the gully's edge where the buck had walked. The Duck stopped. 

"Here's blood!" Don said.

We followed a few little splotches of red blood and then saw fist sized splashes of blood. 

For the first time since my shot I felt there was hope.

The area is thick and the trail was not easy but we stayed on it. Downhill from my Rolled Wire stand I found two CD sized blood spots, one on my side of the fence, one on the opposite. The buck had gone into an extremely dense area, jammed full of cedars, young hard wood trees and other thick brush. Tracking in this thick cover was slow. 

The Duck continued on the blood trail and I walked ahead. Quickly, I came to an open area in the side of the rocky hill. Many times I have had deer cross an open area, or go to a fence, and expire right there. I walked to the far edge on the opening, at the bottom of the hill and slipped quietly along, uphill, looking into every pile of brush and cedar. 

Suddenly a deer snorted, not an alert snort, but a surprised snort, like it had not heard me until now and was surprised. I looked and the 10-point buck stood up, and, almost in slow motion, faded into the thick cedar trees and brush.

I stopped trailing right then and back tracked to the Duck. It was late afternoon and we couldn't risk going one inch further on the track today, tomorrow morning will tell the ending to this episode.

Sept 30 - day #2
Robbie, Robert, the Duck and John all saw deer today, both bucks and does. No one took any shots. A big 8-point came by my stand in the morning. On afternoon hunt I saw quite a few does, two young bucks and the big 6-point I took scouting pictures of earlier. The 10-point slipped up out of the gully. He headed down a trail the led to me. As if on cue my neighbor came driving a tractor rig down the road. All the deer moved out of sight. Half an hour later I could account for a handful of deer in the trees around me. At last light the 10-point slipped up from the gully, again, and moved cautiously toward my area. When he got close, I figured him for 15 yards, I held my bow up to the ground blind's window to see if I could still see my top pin. It was an indistinct shadow. I lowered my bow and waited until Robbie came back to my house and moved the deer out of the area. 

Sept 29 - A deerhunt In Progress, Day #1 
Today is the big "first day"!!! 
This morning 3 does and a young 8-point came through by my blind. I saw 2 more does in the distant trees. Robbie and Robert Cramer hunted at the Point and saw 12 does and 10 bucks. Three were very big bucks but Robert is hunting and because he is a guest he is limited to does only. John Askew saw a lone six point. The Duck saw a spotted wild boar, but no deer. Well ... in spite of my high expectations it was a slow morning in my area. We all drove into town and ate lunch at the Red Barn Restaurant and we're back. Everyone is practicing shooting. I shot a few arrows and came inside to update. Next thing, I'm taking a nap so I'll be fresh on the long sit in my blind this afternoon.

Afternoon hunt: Robert Cramer and his dad sat in the Double Bull blind at the Point watching 5 young bucks interacting with themselves and other deer. They spared amongst each other several times and ran off the does that wanted to pass through the area. Finally the bucks moved off and at 7:20 two does slipped through. Robert drew as they walked along slowly 10 yards from him, they stopped and the first one turned toward him, but the 2nd turned quartering away. Robert slid his feet to the right and lined up with the blind's shooting window. He took aim and released. The shot looked good. The deer ran into it's back trail. In 30 minutes it was dark and they drove back to my house and we went to recover the doe. It had raced 45 yards and dropped in it's tracks. 

Here are father and son Robert and Robbie Cramer with the first deer of our 2001 bow season and Robert's first bow harvest.

ROBBIE & ROBERT: Here are wallpaper for your computer: Robert & doe and Robbie & Robert & doe

Two wild hogs came by the Duck's stand near the canyon. 5 deer were next, two were spike bucks. Later he saw a big doe and 3 fawns. John Askew hunted the Rock Ledge stand and saw one doe and 40 million man eating mosquitoes. 

I'd been in my blind for 2 hours when I saw the first deer, a big doe walking along the edge of the woods toward me. Three more does were next. Behind them 100 yards I saw two bucks were coming, I glassed them. The first was an 8-point. The next was "the" 10-point. They came closer, slowly and cautiously. In the distance I faintly heard a vehicle, almost like an itch in my ear. The bucks stopped and looked toward the sound. My blind is a couple hundred yards from the gravel road that passes by my house. There is very little traffic on this road, and what there is, is mostly farming activity. However, the deer always run for cover when a vehicle passes here and this time was no exception. 

At 7:17 I saw the two bucks again. They worked their way within bow range. The 10-point stopped broadside with his vitals behind a tree that I had paced off as 17 yards. I was ready to draw as soon as it was in the clear.

Once again, in the distance I heard vehicle noises in the road, this time from the opposite direction. The deer trotted away and stopped in the thick brush and watched as a big tractor lumbered, loudly -- and all too slowly -- down the road and out of hearing range. 

Daylight was fading fast and the deer were shadowy images when they came out of the cover and started down the trail toward me. My binoculars are great in low light and I focused on them and saw the 10-point on his way again. He walked into the open 15 yards away. By then he was only a barely discernible shadow of an image and I could not see a single pin on my bowsight. When I was sure they were gone I came back to the house. 

Close! Real close!

It almost happened. But the deer don't know I am in their game, and I am definitely in the right spot. My plan is working.

5 Months Of Scouting Pays Off

The 10-point didn't show opening morning but he came by an hour before sunset. An unexpected interferance kept me from getting a shot. The next morning I only saw one deer. That afternoon was a carbon copy of the day before. I knew I was running out of chances and changed tactics. Here's what happened.GO

Scouting Pictues: June - September 
If you missed the pictures and logs of the 5 months of scouting I did for this buck -- see pictures of him and other bucks and deer Click Here.

The West Texas Mule Deer Bowhunt (Oct 6-8)
JimboTX, the Duck and I were the guests of Lewis of Bodoodle on this mule deer bowhunt in the Texas desert.
Morning: JimboTX, the Duck, Tye, Rich and Lewis from Bodoodle zipped. I saw one forky mulie buck at daylight.
Afternoon: The Duck, Louis and I zipped. JimboTX saw 3 does and 3 point buck. Here's a pic for all you quail hunters, out here they have a large quail, with unique markings, called a Blue Quail. Here is part of a covey under the shade of a mesquite tree. Tye and Rich saw no deer. Tye and Rich fixed a great evening meal, complete with Mrs. Rich's delicious chocolate chip cookies.
I slipped and fell this afternoon and I believe I broke or cracked two ribs. Later, coming in from my blind by a water hole I had to walk uphill and it was a tough go.
2nd DAY:
Morning: JimboTX, the Duck, Tye, Rich and Lewis from Bodoodle and myself saw exactly zero mule deer and javelinas. So far the hunt has been disapointing. We're not seeing game like it was represented to us by the hunt's outfitter. The guys on this hunt make up for the lack of game. Tye Flippin and Richard Penn are good guys. We invited them to the Wyoming antelope bowhunt in 2002. 
Tye saw a whitetail doe with a fawn and two mule deer does. From my water hole blind I saw one group of javelinas on a hill 80 yards distant. Lewis glassed 4 does a gazillion yards away. That was all for today.
3rd DAY:
Morning: JimboTX and Tye saw a deer in the distance.  Rich, Lewis and myself zipped. We all decided to blow off the rest of the hunt and go home. Here is a view of the landscape out here. As you can tell there is no place to hide and you can see for hundreds of yards. When 6 of us glass the country for hours and don't see hardly any deer it means there are none to see. Here's a pic of Lewis (R) and Don Beckwith (L) (the Duck) talking and another of the hunter's cabin

Week Of June 11, 2001:  Wild Hog Bowhunt at the Texas-S Bowhunting Ranch

A Hog With An Attitude
Water and mud flew everywhere as the red boar came out of the mud. He stopped. He looked for me and saw me. Right then, it was clear to me that he wasn't going to run this time. Everything went into slow motion -- things started happening one frame at a time. I already had an arrow out. Fifteen yards behind me I heard Merle say, "God, he's going to charge." GO

ONLINE BOWHUNT IN PROGRESS: Wild Hogs & Javelina At Rancho del Zorro - Day 2
Javelina were in the road, about 80 yards from the Curve blind and 200 yards from us. Chad stopped and turned off the pickup's engine. He took their picture as I grabbed my bow. An old, rusty fence is to the right, along the side of the road, so I slipped over to it and stepped over a low place in the wire. Brush and mesquite grow along much of the fence. They provided good cover so I walked briskly for half the distance, but then the cover ran out. More...

Bowhunting The Ohio Rut - 2000

Count To 100 - It Worked!
It was time to leave so I started counting. Mid way to 100 I heard what could have been a step in the leaves. I waited briefly, I didn't want to make Dennis late to his own fish fry. I started counting again. A step, for sure. A big Ohio 8-point came from the brush and went to the scrape and worked the overhead branches and pawed the scrape. It finished and moved in my general direction. I was ready to draw. But the buck stopped and looked right and left, trying to decide which way to go. Right or left wouldn't work for me. In my thoughts I talked to it calmly, repeating, "come to me, come to me." More Ohio Hunt

Venado Loco's Great West Texas Bowhunt - 2000

Earlier this year I received an email inviting the Duck and I back on the annual bowhunt with Venado Loco at his 6,300 acre deer lease in the desert near Del Rio, Texas. This is as far West as Whitetails go and this bowhunt is different from other deer hunts most of us are familiar with ... there are no trees!  It's ground hunting only. The 2000 Venado Loco Bowhunt.

Antelope In Wyoming - 2000

Here are pics and logs from this September's Antelope bowhunt on the Hornbuckle Ranch near Douglas, Wyoming. JimboTX, Ande Rushing and I met Dave Brennan and Kurt Laddich and other bowhunters. We all had a ball hunting for antelope and enjoying seeing the plethora of game that lives on the prairies of Wyoming. More...

Digital Log of the Bow/Deer Season - 1999

My bowhunting logs and on the spot digital pictures for Oct, Nov and Dec of '99. A lot of people bowhunted with me and it was a super season. 
OCT - A big 8 shows up and I get lucky. Brian, Chrissy & Turtle bowhunt. The Duck & I bowhunt with Venado Loco in Del Rio.
NOV - The rut heats up and I record it with my digital camera. The Duck, JimboTX and I bowhunt at Wells Creek Outfitters in the big buck country of Brown County, Illinois.
DEC - The Duck's Mudslide buck. Tink returns from Africa and bowhunts with me for a couple of weeks and comes up with his Homecoming Buck. And more...

1999 - Bowhunting Whitetails @ Wells Creek Outfitters - in Brown County, IL.This area consistently produces trophy class Whitetail Bucks for bowhunters.

1999 - Venado Loco's Great West Texas Bowhunt
By email I received an invitation for myself and one friend to bowhunt with Venado Loco at his 6,300 acre deer lease in the desert near Del Rio, Texas. This is as far West as Whitetails go in the Southwest and Venado said that this bowhunt would be different from other deer hunts I was familiar with ... he wasn't kidding. Logs & Pics of the Venado Loco hunt
1999 - Brian Pullam & Chrissy of the YBC Bowhunt Texas -
Brian Pullam, YBC Team Leader, and Chrissy, YBC Columnists bowhunted Whitetails at my place in Texas and 16 year old Chrissy brings home her first bow harvest.

Chrissy with her Doe.
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