I was looking through trail camera pictures the other day in an attempt to take them more seriously. They are mean spirited devices, each year providing me with pixels of antlered beasts that I’ll never lay eyes on during daylight hours. Sometimes, it seems that the sole reason for their existence is to inform me of what I’ll never end up shooting. It’s awful and exciting at the same time.
I must admit, my strategy for using trail cameras over the years has been pretty bland. I hope to pattern deer in an effort to better my chances of a successful hunt, but in the end I usually only end up with a general understanding of what is roaming the woods. What I lack is a solid understanding of how they are roaming the woods. Perhaps this is a side effect of heavily wooded areas like the northeast where the deer aren’t as easily patterned as their counterparts in the Midwest where open land is more abundant. When it’s all woods, the bedding and feeding areas are more scattered and less defined. This makes patterning Mr. Big a little more difficult. ...continue reading
My wife and I were married on this very day ten years ago in a small town in southwest Minnesota where agricultural fields are prevalent and curves in roads are rare. Even rarer still are hills. If you can find even a small one you can see forever. So far, in fact, it will make you wonder if a single tree exists within 100 miles. It’s no wonder tower blinds are so popular for deer hunting; there isn’t a place to hang a deer stand! Ridiculous.
I’ve learned many life lessons in our first 10 years of marriage but not as many as she learned during our first few hunting seasons together. You see, we have a somewhat unique history and I should explain. I first met her when she came to visit her sister who happened to attend the same college as I did in Tennessee. Steph was attending college in California - roughly 500,000 miles to the west. When we saw each other for the first time it was love at first sight. The feelings were undeniable – I could see it in her eyes. I remember telling her that she was beautiful, but that I really needed to get to know her before I’d be as willing as her to call it love. She remembers it very differently. You’d think after ten years that we’d have our story straight. ...continue reading
Last fall I found myself slowly working through a mix of hardwood and softwood trees at daybreak on the second day of rifle season in New Hampshire. The weather was perfect – no wind and dry leaves – one of my favorite conditions to hunt. I love having the ability to hear deer coming from a long way away. For one, it affords the time to be ready when they show up, and second, hearing the sound of approaching deer hooves in the leaves is exciting!
There were five of us out hunting that morning – my dad, my brother in law Josh, and two others. The previous evening Dad had shot a deer but we hadn’t been able to locate it before nightfall. We left the trail at dark and decided to pick it up in the morning with a game plan in place to see if we could connect with another deer while on the search. Dad and Josh hung back by the parking lot until daybreak, while myself and the others, were positioned out ahead of their future direction of travel. I made a wide loop to avoid spooking any deer that might be between the parking lot and the area we had left the blood trail the night before and the other guys sat in permanent stands about half a mile away. Regardless of the fact that the blood trail was there, it was also a great place to hunt. With Dad and Josh slowly walking to meet up with me I was in a good position if they happened to bump any deer my direction. ...continue reading
Well, it’s happened again. Once again, I’ve let myself get excited over the upcoming Vermont Moose lottery drawing. This Thursday morning I will pop out of bed with a little extra pep in my step thanks to the anticipation of possibly hearing my name called live on the radio as a lucky winner. Just like last year, the drawing will be held live on Froggy 100.9 and online at froggy1009.com which means I will spend two hours of my day focused on the drawing instead of focused on my job. ...continue reading
Golf reminds me of hunting. Don’t see the parallel? Maybe you’ve never golfed.
Yesterday, I was in the woods looking for my golf ball and stumbled across some nice deer habitat. Oak trees, berry plants, ticks, and thick cover not only defined a perfect place to set up a treestand but also the perfect place for a golf ball to hide – particularly mine. I never did find my golf ball, but while there I did have visions of a successful hunt this fall. ...continue reading