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2005 Fall Deer Hunts
by Robert Hoague

Home Page - 2005 A Deerhunt In Progress

HUNTS: Wells Creek Outfitters | Double Kicker Buck | Hunt w/ Billy Don | Double G Outfitting |
| 2005 Hunts HOME PAGE | October Hunts | November Hunts | December Hunts |

Dec 29 Jan 1 - Recap
The saying goes, "In like a lion, out like a lamb." That was last week's huntinig. I saw a few young bucks and does, but no turkeys. And no shots.

Dec 28 - Back In The Trees

Scent marking tree limbs and I get lucky.
Everything comes down right this morning. GO..

Dec 26 - Uploaded From The Blind
A little after 7:00 a bomber walked out of the trees, came up and drank my water at what's left of my food plot, looked around, and not seeing anything of interest, casually walked away. It was too early for my camera to take a clear picture. He was a wide, heavy  9 point. A big, fat boy too. I returned to the Food Plot in the afternoon and saw a young 8-point.

Dec 24 - The Convention Returns

 The gobblers and me get wild on the ridge.
The 24th was one for my record book of great days in the woods in terms of wild turkeys and monster bucks. I'm working on the pics and will have them up asap. GO...

Dec 23 - Wild Turkey Convention

Two bearded visitors today. One's a hen!
I've been promising that the 23 was a biggie. I think you will agree that the pics prove it. GO...

Dec 22 - A Disappointment
An unexpected turn of events. GO...

Dec 21 - Afternoon, The Ridge Pays Off
My turkey and deer plan falls in place. GO...

Dec 21 - Morning Hunt
This morning I went to New Secret Stand. GO...

Dec 18 & 19 - The Short Version 
I hunted almost all day both days. Saturday, as I started my draw on a doe 10 yards away she jerked around, took a few steps backward and looked into the woods behind her. Then she snuck off into the woods. Minutes later a large flock of wild turkeys came walking by. One was a big longbeard. I drew and put my pin on him. Released. And shot under him. 
Sunday a few does came through my area but not close. 

Dec 17, Afternoon - Fighter #2

This afternoon I saw a buck fight, and there wasn't any antler tickling. GO...

Dec 17 - The Fighter

I put my camera in Play mode to check out the last pic. It was in good focus ... and there was more in the picture than the lantern. GO...

Dec 15 - It happens sometimes.
Today I didn't get to do it.

Dec 14 - Wow!!!
This morning I watched a bunch of does as they came and went from my food plot. But nothing came up on the hill with me. At 2:00 I went to the Ridge. Soon after 4:00 I saw wild turkeys walk out of the trees 60 yards away. They continued down the hill to the river. More and more came during the next 20 minutes and left me wishing I was over there instead of here.

At 5:15 I saw a buck walking behind the group of cedar trees 15 yards from my Double Bull blind. Holy Cow, this was a huge buck ... with a big, heavy rack with very long tines. I pointed my camera at a narrow open space in the cedars as he stepped into it. But the camera didn't reconcile the focusing in time and he strolled leisurely down the hill and left me photoless.

I waited silently until dark and slipped out quietly. 

Dec 13 - A HotTrails Hot Trail

Bucks, does, wild hogs and 8 longbeard gobblers make for an exciting day. Pics too. GO...

Dec 12 - TrailTimer Pics @ the Point

I took the latest TrailTimer EZ-CAM film to Wal Mart and got it put on CD. Wild turkeys are definitely coming to my water. GO...

Dec 11 - Mid Day Deer
Deer moved after 9:00. A doe with a trailing buck, 2 wandering bucks, 3 wandering does and two doe groups. But the afternoon was uneventful. 

Dec 10 - "No Seeum"
The morning hunt was a "no seeum". My bud Perry Wicker wants to hunt hogs so he went with me in the afternoon to the Point. As he got in the Double Bull blind I noticed lots of turkey tracks around the water. Then I walked over and got the film from the TrailTimer game camera. I intended to put film in it too, but something shiny caught my eye. The sun was shining on the backs of wild turkeys coming through the brush 80 yards away. They hadn't seen me and I wasted no time getting in the blind. But they crossed somewhere other than the Point. So did the deer and hogs. 

Dec 9 - Freezing Morning, Hoggy Afternoon

A 12 degree morning bowhunt is the perfect way to start a winter day. GO...
On the Afternoon hunt at the Point things thawed out and my self made water hole got unexpected visitors. GO...

Dec 8 - Coldsville
This morning we had some frozen pipes from yesterday's big freeze. By noon the sun was out and generated enough heat to unfreeze them. By afternoon's hunting time it turned cloudy and dropped into the low 20's. But me, and several deer were out.

The deer seem to have darkened up and gotten winter coats overnight. 

This year and a half buck was out at deer thirty. His neck is thickening up and he looks pretty buff in his winter coat.

Cold weather causes my camera's battery to loose some of its charge and my camera gave out. But not before it gave me these two cool pictures. Life is good. Cold. But good.

December - Water Where There Isn't Any
Early Spring was the last time it rained and it's December now. Everything has dried up into shades of tan or brown. Except for my poor food plot. It is barely green but it still brings deer. It has another strong point, my home made 30 inch by 6 inch water trough. Here's the pics...

Last Week Of November
The remaining 4 days of the week I switched areas from the Point, Secret Stand #5, and my Food Plot. Basically it went like this, young bucks and does were on the move, even during the day. Two afternoons were eventless. I saw one group of wild turkeys several steps before I was to get in my blind. But they saw me and moved away. I didn't see them any more this week.

Day 3 - Dickie Wicker arrived bright and early. The temperature was in the 30's and it was calm and foggy. A good hunting day. Go...

Last Week Of November - Day 2

Some days you just feel like it's gonna happen. This was one of those days. GO...

Last Week Of November

After noticing turkey tracks at the edge of the water I've been making at the Point I went there to hunt. It was a good idea.  GO...

Making Water Where There Isn't Any

After the Illinois bowhunt I started up my watering program at an area I call the Point and set up to monitor it's activity as well as hunt it. Here's the pics of how I did it. GO...

Nov 26 - Rain ... But Not For Long
When I woke up to go hunting it was raining. We really need it, it's been a long time without any. I went back to sleep. 

At 8:53 the rain had stopped and I checked with John and see if he hunted. He had and saw a nice buck before it was light enough to see his pins. 

We drove to Peacock Archery. Both John and Emily needed a dozen new arrows and we wanted Roger Peacock to check out Emily's bow setup and give her a little shooting advice.

John Askew shoots them in the bullseye with his new Carbon Express arrows.

Roger Peacock checks Emily's arrow flight. 

Roger made a couple of shooting suggestions and Emily drilled the target, arrow after arrow. This was only the second time she had ever shot a bow and she was definitely in control of her arrows.

When we returned to the lease John had a change of plans and he and Emily returned home. Emily said she will keep practicing until she feels comfortable enough with the bow to hunt.

Once again, I hunted Secret Stand #5. A doe walked by my Double Bull blind. Today there was no buck behind her. Earlier, I saw turkey scratching and tracks at the Point and will go there tomorrow. 

Nov 25 - A New Bowhunter?
My bud John Askew came down to hunt with his youngest daughter Emily. We met for lunch at the Red Barn Restaurant and after the hellos Emily said she had a bow and wants to bowhunt. After eating we went to my house so Emily could check her sights. They were on and she stacked most of her arrows in my Cube target's bullseye from 7 to 20 yards.

Then we drove around looking for armadillo's and Emily snuck up on three and got the last one. However she lost 2 arrows and the armadillo broke one, which was all she had, so in the morning we are going to Peacock Archery for more arrows and also have Roger check her bow setup.

Emily wanted to set in a stand anyway and she saw a nice 8-point. John saw several does. I returned to secret Stand #5 and zipped. (That's Emily with the guitar at the jam session we had after dinner.)

Nov 23 - Wow!
My plan was to locate wild turkeys so I put up a Double Bull Matrix at Secret Stand #5. This afternoon was the first opportunity to hunt it. I took along my Pro Ears because they are good at picking up the soft travel vocalizations turkeys sometimes make in the Fall. As the sun dangled above the distant tree tops I heard a deer walking behind and to my right. A doe came into view 15 yards away and continued my way, getting closer with every step.

Holy Moley! Twenty yards behind the doe a buck walked out of the trees. And I mean a big buck ... with the biggest rack I've ever seen on the home hunting grounds -- long main beams, long tines, and heavy beams.

I turned on my camera and raised it to my eye. It touched the brim on my hat, making a very slight sound. The doe stopped and looked my way, she was 5 yards -- close -- and getting jittery. The buck walked behind some oak trees and I lost sight of him.

The doe turned, took a few steps and stopped -- looking the opposite way. The buck stepped out of the trees. What a set of antlers! The doe walked away and he followed. I tried for a pic but didn't get him in focus.

They were gone. The doe had not spooked and the buck's attention was on the doe. Maybe she will bring him back.

Bowhunting For Illinois Trophy Bucks At Wells Creek Outfitters

Nov 11 - 17 Bowhunting the Illinois rut in the famous Golden Triangle with Rob & Bob McNeff at Wells Creek Outfitters. Daily hunt logs and trophy pics. TO THE HUNT...

Rick Philippi's Illinois Bowhunt Report
Rick is reporting in on his cell phone (from Alhambra, IL) 
Nov 9 - Returning to his truck Rick noticed a slight movement 8 yards away and saw a doe hiding in the brush. Rick knew if he stopped it would run so kept walking and nocked an arrow. Then he drew, stopped and made a 15 yard double lung shot and harvested a 160 pound doe.
Nov 8 - He has seen several bucks and they were all chasing does. The rut is on. 

Double Kicker Hunt - Pictures & Hunt Comments

At 5:30 I woke up, didn't have to do it this morning but I was too antsy to sleep any more. The outside temperature display on our atomic clock read 29 degrees -- the first cold day of the season. Pictures and Hunt Comments ...

Double Kicker Hunt - Last Hunt - It All Comes Down To This ...

He took off after a doe and chased her all around the place. Then they both stopped and stood apart. I range findered him at 27.5 yards. There were several deer closer to my Double Bull blind and he walked over to them. I pushed the yardage button ... 18 yards.  To the Hunt & Pics...

Double Kicker Hunt - Day 7

A 6-point came from my right and the Buddy started toward the deer and Double Kicker followed. I can't believe my good luck. No time to fool around now. GO...

Double Kicker Hunt - Day 6

I was early. The deer were late. Both Double Kicker and his Buddy walked through the high grass surrounding my food plot. I took a quick pic of each of them, set down my camera, and got my BowTech and waited at the ready. Several times, I checked him with the Nikon rangefinder. I don't like to shoot past 20 yards and prefer closer and Double Kicker stayed out of reach. No other deer were in sight and they left in a few minutes for some place unknown. Like I said yesterday, I better get some shooting done.

Double Kicker Hunt - Day 5 - Banging Heads

The Double Kicker buck walked in my direction and when he stopped and watched the other two bucks I checked him with my Nikon rangefinder, 24.5 yards. I stayed behind the camera tripod but carefully picked up my BowTech. I wanted him a few yards closer and if he did I was ready. GO...

Double Kicker Hunt (Day 2 - 4)
On the second day I switched to a treestand 90 yards from the food plot. I've had a North Starr Treestands "Steel Starr" in this tree for 3 years and hop in and out of it at will. (North Starr Treestands) In the woods I saw the Double Kicker buck and his gray running buddy. I don't have a clear view of the food plot from here but I saw deer parts in it.

Day 3 
I moved to a different stand where I can watch the back fence corner of my corral. This fence line and corner is a good deer funnel and the trail I saw the bucks on yesterday goes through here. I have a "Boss Star" treestand from North Starr in this tree because the seat turns and I need that here because there are shooting lanes to the left, right and in front of my tree.

Several does walked right by me before I saw the Double Kicker bucks tall antlers a little further in the woods than I wanted them to be. 

He was alone and seemed interested in something ahead of him. 

An 8-point walked into view and the two bucks watched each other. 

Then they both looked into the woods and walked in that direction.

As darkness came several deer slipped through my area in the fading light. The Double Kicker walked right under my tree but I could not see my pins clearly. He headed toward the food plot. I didn't want to spook him so I sat in the woods an hour after dark -- until I felt deer were out of the area. When I finally got down I made it to the house without hearing any deer snorts. Tomorrow I'm going back to the Double Bull.

4th Day - Here He Comes...
Two sixers came to the food plot and drank water from my water tube. They walked around and saw something and left. Before long the Double Kicker buck walked into my view and I took its picture as it got closer.

It stopped and looked in my direction. There was time for another picture so I took it. The buck seemed to be staring at me.

And just as quickly and deliberately as it came up it walked away. My thoughts felt scrambled. I did not expect this. Did he leave because there were no does or other deer. Or because he had seen me or the camera? And is he gonna be back?

Food And Water
Before the season began my neighbor Dale Morris plowed and planted my seed for my small food plot area. Over the years I've tried large and small food plots and in my experience the smaller variety with good cover around the perimeter draws deer better. By small I really mean small. It's only 22 by 14 yards. But when the plants are growing it brings them in good, as you saw during last December's hunt

Here is Dale Morris fixing up the food plot. And my experimental water trough.

In the fall does come to eat the greenery and the bucks come to check out the does. But in the spring and summer the bucks don't generally show up regularly. But once their velvet is shed, based on my observations, I believe they come to see and be seen. The younger ones march around and find out which bucks they can intimidate. They chase and spar with each other. The older bucks come in like they own the place and constantly intimidate the younger bucks. 

Buck "Buddy Groups" are a big part of some bucks life in late August, September and early October. It's as common to see the biggest bucks go around together as it is for two or three similar sixes and eights. When they all go solo the first rut action is not far away.

As a rule my food plot activity draws good in October, slows down in November, and picks back up in December.

Water Where There Isn't Water
This year I had some water holders made (picture above) with 4 foot lengths of black plastic pipe. At first deer didn't use them but at the suggestion of a local sheep rancher I tossed some dirt in the bottom and deer used it right away. A nearby 55 gallon drum with a hose in it supplies it with water. Here is one of the does drinking from it.

Back Home - Saturday Contd...

Robbie Cramer's Hunt
Robbie Cramer came down Friday to hunt. He saw several does yesterday and 3 does this morning but had no shot opportunity. On the afternoon hunt a group of wild hogs walked down the trail near his tripod stand. He drew and put his pin on the largest one and double lunged it. The hog charged into the thick cedars and suddenly Robbie heard a violent commotion.

At dark Robbie came to get me and we went to track it. We parked my truck and got out. This area is very thick with young scrub oaks and cedars. Getting where you want to go is not easy. 

Robbie said, "Watch this." And turned his flashlight into the woods. Wow!

White FireTacks show up vibrantly to light our way to Robbie's stand.

The first day of season I gave Robbie some white FireTacks and he had pinned them on limbs and marked his way to his tripod stand with them. The 3 FireTacks you see in the above picture led us 50 yards into the trees!  A right turn and another 4 FireTacks and we were at the stand. Bright! Quick to tack up! Easy to see. A product that does what it claims to do. (FireTacks

Robbie picked up the blood trail and I circled to the boundary fence 50 yards away and walked along it. The hog was hung in the fence and was quite dead. Then we drove to the Red Barn Restaurant and ordered inch and a half thick steaks. They were great.

Here is a picture taken after the next morning's hunt.

Robbie Cramer and his first wild hog of the year

Double Kicker Buck

Saturday's temperature drop made the difference, the deer started moving. Saturday afternoon the Double Kicker Buck came into my hunt area ripped up a tree, and more. Here's what happened and the pics. GO...

2nd Annual Deerhunt With Bill Don

Hunt logs and pics for the 2005 bowhunting event with Billy Don at Wild Horse Prairie Ranch in the Texas Hill Country. GO...

Bowhunt At Double G Outfitting

I met our Taxidermy columnists Larry Reese as well as Mike Glanden and John & Whatt McBride at the Double G Outfitting and our host Garrett George gave us all a 4 day hunt to hang on the wall. GO... 

Opening Weekend
Between 6:30 and 7:00 the Freak buck walked by my position and I got a picture of him with my new infrared night camera.

At 7:13 a new 8-point appeared at the edge of the woods and walked in my direction.

Cool. It passed by meat about 10 yards.

Then it turned around and came back.

It stopped for a few minutes (12-14 yards) and looked the area over. Then it moved off to the East.

9:30 - Robby Creamer just came in from his morning hunt. He was in the Thicket stand and saw 5 does between 7:15 and 8:00.

John Askew also had good luck at the Middle Tank. Before daylight a handful of huge wild hogs came down his trail. Things were calm until after 8:30. A big bus doe came down the trail in front of John. He drew and as it stepped clear of a small cedar tree he put the arrow where it should go. He got down at 9:00 and followed a good blood trail to the doe. He came in and we returned to load it in my pickup instead of John's ATV.

We drove into town and ate a great lunch at the Red Barn Restaurant. After lunch Robby and I both ate the home made Pecan Pie. A lot of restaurants have pecan pie but you'd have to look long and hard to find any that are this good. 

John jumped a doe on the way to his stand at the Rock Ledge. Robbie hunted the Big Foot stand. I got ready for my trip tomorrow to Double G Outfitters. We all saw the same amount of deer ... none.

Wells Creek Outfitters
Famous for its trophy whitetail buck operation.
For Information on Wells Creek trophy buck or turkey hunts call 217-894-6804
or Email: Web: Wells Creek Outfitters
Wild Horse Prairie Ranch
Billy Don Van Cleave
Call: 254-749-6119
Fax: 254-546-2709
Web: Wild Horse Prairie Ranch
Double G Outfitting
Garret George
Phone: 325-947-7557
Cell: 838-708-2512
Wildlife Artistry Taxidermy
Larry C. Reese
Phone: 410-758-2000
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