Deer Blog Photos 2017 Success 2017 Trail Cameras Hunting in Iowa About Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer Blog 2016 and 2017

 

January 10, 2017

Good bye Iowa Deer Season 2016/2017. It was a great year. Antler growth was excellent. It appears we are well on our way back from the 2010 winter kill and 2012 EHD outbreak. The new farm is quite challenging to hunt due to the terrain but the deer quality is pretty good. Mother Nature allowed me to hunt more in the late season than I have the last two seasons. Iowa produced some unbelievable whitetails again. It's no wonder why everybody wants to hunt in Iowa.

Just received a text that the buck I hit on the 1st was successfully harvested by the hunter to the south. My hit was high. Pretty deer. Congrat's to my friend on his harvest.

What did I learn this year. I am too set in my old ways. Will probably address my equipment in more detail in a month or so. New technology is probably a good thing but also an expensive thing when it comes to making changes.

My favorite trail cameras this year were the Browning Strike Force Elite and the Bushnell Essentials E2 for pictures and the Browning Recon Force Platinum for video. I really like my HCO Verizon camera even though for some reason it isn't sending me photos today. I hope it is just batteries or the freezing rain we had today. Trailcampro is having a predator photo contest. Make sure and send your photo in.

Wish I was a bigwig and had an opportunity to attend the ATA show. For a bow only hunting junkie, that looks like the place to be....other than chasing trophy Iowa whitetails. If I had to choose, the Iowa whitetail wins every time.

What's next? Final 2016/2017 inventory for fall 2017. I would like one last photo of #2 after January 10 to be sure that he survived. He's definitely a five year old if not a six year old buck. Should still be decent in 2017. There are some others that will be interesting to see. A few deer killed this year probably needed another year or two. It's tough to make those decisions but ones we need to make if we want to chase a 160, a gross Boone or a goliath 200.

Finally, it was great to share the deer woods with my bride and daughter. It's fun to hear their stories after the hunt and see the excitement when they have a close encounter with a shooter. Let's hope there are more days like those to come. Queue Dandy Don...Turn out the Lights the Party's Over... for this year. RIP Iowa Deer Season 2016/2017.

It's shed hunting time! Don't boot those damn deer from your property so the neighbors find the sheds. Be patient.

 

January 9, 2017, Hunt #72, P.M.

Went back to #2 farm. I am consistently getting pictures of the old, short G2 buck at a certain spot. However, it's in the morning or later at night. It appeared he was tending a doe fawn on the 8th. Wind was bad for this spot tonight, decided to sit at a high vantage point and just observe. Nothing showed in my vicinity. Did not like the spot, left early. Need a westerly wind of some sort. Don't think I am going to get it. Lots of shooting on the neighbor's tonight. It's close to the last hoorah before Dandy Don does his thing.

 

January 8, 2017, Hunt #71, P.M.

Good hunt. Lots of does and bucks headed to feed. Heard a gun shot on the neighbor. Nothing close to a shooter passed by. Got a little bit cold.

 

January 7, 2017, Hunt #70, P.M.

Went back to the farm that offered up the #1 buck. Looking for #2 buck. I've been getting some sporadic pictures of him the last two weeks. It was a dud of a hunt. Deer came out to feed but east of me. No horns. Think I was too far east anyway.

 

January 6, 2017, Hunt #69, P.M.

I have been doing a fair amount of research regarding fixed blade broadheads the last 10 days. As you know, I'm not a mechanical broadhead guy but want a fixed blade broadhead that flies as good as possible from my Carbon Spyder. I also need to shoot a doe on my property as it is the agreement with the landowner, for every buck shot, a doe is to be shot, or I write a check.

So I was on a mission tonight to test out my new Muzzy 100 grain Trocar broadhead. I also have some Slick Tricks and some Bass Pro Toxiks. Arrived to my stand a little late. Cold anyway, so a shorter sit would be OK. I knocked my Trocar tipped FMJ. Oh by the way, make sure when you buy broadheads, you get the the right heads for your arrows. My first purchase were heads intended for Injection inserts. Damn it! Tired of all these different arrow sizes. Had to trade them at the retailer.

I attached my new Tru Ball Max Pro 4 release to the string loop. After the buck harvest a week-and-a-half ago and my busted release I needed a new one. I always have two. That little rascal has increase $20 in price since I bought my last one. Ouch!

Deer started to move early as expected. A wad of fawns and a small buck came through in the 20 yard sweet spot. Last doe was the one I wanted. Her head vanished behind the big oak, I drew, she appeared and stopped, I settled the pin. The Trocar tipped FMJ flew great! Granted it was only 20 yards, but a heck of lot better than my last two Montec tipped FMJs. Complete pass through. She tipped over in a very short distance. Sweet! I was able to get the truck within 20 yards. Hardest part of the hunt was getting her in the truck. Great hunt! Those Trocar heads passed my test. One blade was a little bent but I don't plan to reuse it anyway.

I am on an equipment testing binge I think. That was a very fun hunt. Everything went as well as I hoped it would. Still have a couple of tags left.

 

January 2, 2017, Hunt #68, P.M.

Setup after my day 2 deer search. After the rain stopped an immediate wave of deer headed for feed. Had a group of half-dozen bucks show up way east of me. One was a busted G3 4x4 with great looking potential for next fall and the ancient buck. It's interesting he is almost always the first buck to feed this late season but very cautious once he hits the edge of the timber where he knows I spend time. Good encounters but nothing close. My 4x4 did not show.

 

January 1, 2017, Hunt #67, P.M.

Pretty darn nice night. Wind out of the east. Setup in my little cedar hideout. Love this spot. Deer were moving early headed for feed. One of the deer I was hoping to see was a midrange 4x4. Had not seen him on the hoof but had plenty of pictures. He showed shortly after four and angled away from my location. I sent one of the Montec tipped FMJs at the target. Heard the arrow hit but did not see where. Saw the deer run up the hill. He did not look in too bad of shape. Knew I was in trouble. Could not find my arrow. Tracked the deer for a half mile. I found consistent drops (no spray) and walked at a fairly rapid pace. I got on the trail immediately as the next day had rain in the forecast. Hit the deer at 4:13 and gave up the tracking at sometime after 5:30. No more blood. I had not been this far back in the timber all hunting season. I left it as a sanctuary. It seems to be working out this late season.

Went back the next day and found the blood. Still visible even though it was drizzling. Still could not find any more blood. Began my body search. No go. The type of bleeding led me to believe it was not a mortal wound. The deer was at a strong quarter away at 40 yards. My guess is I hit a high shoulder blade and did not hit anything internal. First time I can remember not knowing where the arrow hit. Discouraging.

 

December 31, 2016, Hunt #66, P.M.

Setup in a part of the farm I have not hunted. A person will do stuff like that when the primary tag is filled. I even brought my old can call along and let it rip a few times. Saw a few does and fawns and thought I heard something behind me runoff. This location is close to where I've been getting pictures of #2 buck. No antler sightings.

 

December 30, 2016, Hunt #65, P.M.

Back at it with a late season muzzleloader tag and a couple of doe tags. I bowhunt on the late season muzz tag. The bow is a legal weapon of take with the late season muzz tag. Great hunt! Had another shooter at 60 yards. Deer were very jittery tonight. No idea why. He did the male thing and let the does come out first. They passed at 25 yards. He was on his way when a doe got spastic, turned inside out and headed back to the woods. My guess is it was my scent. The wind was strong out of the southwest but would shift occasionally. Not dependable. Deer really wanted to come to the feed I was near. Many passed by but no shooters. Some would almost make it to the feed and then turn and go back to the timber. Spastic yet persistent.

Pulled cards on 5 cameras. Captured a lot of pictures as the cameras are on some primary trails heading to feed. The particular deer I am looking for has not appeared on camera for 3 weeks. He either went back home, the gun hunters shot him or he's feeding somewhere else. He was consistently on camera for the prior six weeks. Not sure where he went to. He was big enough that if somebody shot him I think I would have heard about it unless somebody shot him and did not recover him. Would have been on the neighbors. No gun hunting on my leases. 

It was a great and fun hunt.

 

December 27, 2016, Hunt #64, P.M.

Big Boy finally offered me a shot. I setup at the south end of a canyon. Wind out of the southwest. Yeah I know. That's a no no. The deer had been making a swing to west (due to terrain features) and then out to the feed....most of the time. The trail was 20 yards west of my setup. First deer I saw was my target. He appeared straight north of me. If he showed, that was where I expected him to be. I think he liked bedding in that spot out of the southwesterly winds while absorbing the morning and afternoon sun. He headed straight at me. Not good. He had to drop down into a deep gully. As he did, he started to angle to the southeast. Again not good. He would definitely be downwind. When he disappeared into the gully, I moved 2 yards towards him to allow for my one and only shot if he continued on that path. I was hiding by an old windfall tree. I dialed the sight pin to 40 yards (a guess). Next time he appeared, south of the gully, he was standing in the shooting lane. It was now or never. He was standing like the stag he is with his head up in the air looking southeast. I am assuming he could smell me.

I drew the Carbon Spyder, settled the 40 yard pin a little high on the body and let the arrow fly (distance was well over 40). He ducked at the sound of the bow and the arrow hit him in the spine. He dropped with a thud. I was both elated and chapped. The next 5-10 minutes of me finishing the hunt were some of my worst moments in my 40+ years of hunting. Let's just say I headed for the chaos but did not perform well. Horrible. Not sure I remember ever being this shookup.

He ended in the bottom of a deep ravine in the canyon. My worst fear all fall. I needed some strong backs and strong minds. Those persons were Bob, Adam and Mike. Much stronger than me. I was  very appreciative of their assist.

After the drag, we captured some photos. I offered my very sincere thanks and headed for home. I love hunting these big Iowa whitetails. In this case a new farm and an unknown deer until October 14th lead to a fun hunting season. Still can't believe I closed the deal on this buck. Beautiful whitetail!

 

December 23, 2016, Hunt #63, P.M.

Wow! More deer within shooting range than ever before. No definite shooters but was at full draw on an old buck. He was running behind a doe so really no chance. Nothing special just a very old buck. Great hunt. Deer were in the field feeding. Pedestrian activity cleared the field. A wad of deer came back under the stand and then headed back out at dark. Fun hunt. Movement was early. It's interesting to me that I can see a fair amount of deer yet really no quality bucks. Just too many people whacking the smaller bucks I guess. Field judging is difficult. Maybe some need more practice.

 

December 22, 2016, Hunt #62, P.M.

Pretty decent hunt. Saw quite a few deer but only two small bucks. It's often the case that the does make an appearance early but the bucks for some reason hold up until after dark.

 

December 21, 2016, Hunt #61, P.M.

Man it was windy. Glad it was warm. Great hunt but no shooters. Saw a lot of deer heading to a green field. Lots of bucks but nothing to write home about. Many passed well within shooting range and on the good side of the tree.

 

December 20, 2016, Hunt #60, P.M.

First time out late season. Some does and fawns were out in the field when I arrived. Setup at the spot where I saw the big one last time he made an appearance for me. No pictures of him in over 3 weeks. First deer up and moving were some does and fawns. One darn doe just had to cross the ditch and get within about 7 yards and I'm on the ground. Of course she saw me and bounded back in the timber. She and her clan stood back in the timber about 100 yards snorting occasionally and wondering around. My setup seemed good. This one darn doe just took a very odd route to the feed. As they stood back in the timber I saw a 110 inch buck. He appeared to be bedded close to the does as they raised a ruckus. They eventually wondered away down the canyon. The buck worked his way towards me. He was followed by a busted up 100 inch buck. Then the third buck appeared. Big Boy. First time I have been setup between him and the feed. He whittled on a tree for a good five minutes but eventually wondered towards feed but away from my ground stand. Damn! Pretty much dumb luck anyway that I got this close. Not one picture of him in 3 weeks and all the sudden he reappears. Glad to see he's still standing. 

 

December 2, 2016, Hunt #59, P.M.

Last, early season hunt. Calm. Almost too calm. Setup close and tight to last place Big Boy showed. No go. Had a wave of does and fawns show up. No horns. Good time for a break and reevaluate the late season approach.

 

November 29, 2016, Hunt #58, P.M.

Headed out for the #1 buck since I had a decent wind direction. Deer movement was a little goofy. first deer out was a small buck. He eventually scooted south. Then a doe with twins came out in the wind but shortly ventured back in the timber. Had a doe and fawn come off the field and into the timber. Not sure if the wind was causing the funky movement or not. Then Big Boy appeared but in a spot different than I have seen him emerge before. The grunt tube was totally ineffective. Way too much wind. I ranged him at 194 yards. He fed for a while. I looked around to keep tabs on my immediate vicinity and when I looked back he had vanished.

Beginning to like my HCO Spartan Verizon cell cam quite a bit. It has some things I wish were improved or changed but the camera holds a Verizon signal and sends me photos. That is the goal!

 

November 27, 2016, Hunt #57, A.M.

Camera had shown me one of the other shooters had passed by one of my stand locations three of the last six days. I was settled in good time this morning. Did not spook any deer on the way in. He was a no show too. Lots of farming activity on the adjacent property this morning. Not sure if that had an affect or not. Checked some cameras on the way out. This buck had walked by one of my other cameras this morning at 6:30 some distance from where I was at. Ugh! They definitely have me figured out. One way into this farm. Have to punt on the morning hunts. Best to do that this time of year anyway.

 

November 26, 2016, Hunt #56, P.M.

Checked cameras before I left the farm in the morning. Big buck walked by one of may cameras at 2 in the morning. Led me to believe he was still close. Hunted the one spot I have seen him exit the timber. Wind was barely west enough to let me hunt the spot. If he stayed on the one trail to exit, I was good. If he came out of one of the other canyons I was hosed. First deer out were a couple of bald deer. They followed the good trail. Next three out made a swing downwind. But just as they were making their swing the thermals began to settle the air down the canyon behind me. How lucky can I be? They walked by at 15 yards. Not on alert at all. Next few deer came out the good trail. Darkness settled. He was a no show again.

 

November 26, 2016, Hunt #55, A.M.

Got out of the wind. Had quite a few does and fawns go by. They had no clue I was perched in my tree with all the wind. One small buck was it. Checked a lot of cameras since it was windy and moved a couple. Shooters still appear to be on their feet during shooting light but appear to be covering some ground.

 

November 25, 2016, Hunt #54, P.M.

Setup for the big buck even with a marginal wind. Setup so the wind would carry my scent away from the trail but ran the risk of deer back in the timber busting me. Had half a dozen bald deer go right by my sweet spot. I got darn nervous assuming the big one was on his way. he never showed.

 

November 25, 2016, Hunt #53, A.M.

Tried something different and hunted the edge of a field in the morning. Had some pictures of a couple of shooters. Deer emerged late out of their night beds and fed in the fields for over an hour and then headed for cover. #1 buck followed a doe into cover later.

 

November 24, 2016, Hunt #52, P.M.

Was about a half hour late to my spot due to Thanksgiving dinner. Good but full. A 130ish 4x4 was in the field when I arrived. Soon after getting settled the #1 buck was in the field. He had absolutely no interest in my grunts or snort wheezes. He fed and checked does all night. Had a doe about 40 yards from me enter the field. He came to check her out. He was at 60 yards and my bow was in my hand. Closest to date. They walked over the hill and I never saw them again.

 

November 24, 2016, Hunt #51, A.M.

Absolutely dead calm. No roadway traffic. Silence. Almost creepy. First deer was a small buck checking a scrape behind me. Next action was a small buck chasing a doe in the switch grass. This brought the busted tined 4x4 from the opposite direction. Soon I was looking at deer in all directions. I would look at one and something from another direction would seem swiveling my head with my binoculars. Good hunt.

 

November 23, 2016, Hunt #50, P.M.

Daughter was coming home from college. Said she wanted to go hunting. She got home, shot a few arrows and decided it was much too cold. Of course I went. Great hunt. Darn deer have been going by on the west side of one of my stands for the last 4 weeks. For some reason tonight they decided to go by on the east side. I had a northwest wind. Frustrating. When they hit that scent wall they just turned inside out. Some penetrate the wall and keep going but a couple turned and headed back. Had one of the bucks I wanted a live view of come by at 15 yards. Thought he might be a shooter on the low side. No go. Think I would have easily got the shot off. He's a 4-year old 5x4. Maybe 140. Had a fair amount of bucks go by. Good hunt. The one I definitely will shoot at is still active.

 

November 20, 2016, Hunt #49, P.M.

Snuggled in my little cedar hideaway. Love this spot with an east wind. Usually dependable. Not tonight. There was enough of a boomerang affect with the wind that two does just pinned me down most of the night.

Farm activity had pushed some deer my way. Looked like it was going to be a good night but the first doe picked up the intermittent puffs of scent from me. She knew I was there but she eventually walked her way to feed after a good half hour. I could hear all this ruckus behind me in the grass. A quick glance showed little bucks pushing this doe all over. They were relentless. Grunting like crazy. Just about that time another doe/fawn pair began to come out. The wind betrayed me again. Damn it! The insanity going on behind me picked up and the decibels increased. They were getting closer and the doe in front of me would not let the circus change her focus from the puff of my odor that she had picked up. Well the old nag just had to start snorting. Damn it! Just then the doe causing all the insanity behind me comes into view and sure as it is November there is a shooter right behind her. Closest they got was maybe 60 yards. He was right on her tail. They zigzagged up the hill with three other bucks in tow. My doe just snorted and bounded away. I heard another noise to my west and there was another shooter on the trail of another doe. They must have been standing close and were headed my way but the old snorting nag ruined the whole night for me.

Great night of Mother Nature doing her thing but extremely frustrating.

 

November 20, 2016, Hunt #48, A.M.

How come big bulky clothing feels so thin in 19 degree morning air? Dang it was cold. Sat in a transition from feed to bed. Great hunt. Saw lots of deer headed back to cover. At one point there were over half a dozen deer in the switch grass. A hawk landed in the tree next to me. It gave out this hawk call or screech and the darn field cleared. Never seen anything like it. Deer took off like crazy as the hawk continued to call. Either it was alerting the herd that man was in the forest or it scared the crap out of them too. Crazy. 

Finally saw the buck I was there for. He was slinking through the switch grass on the trail of the many does and fawns that were ahead of him. I grunted and grunted and grunted and finally he made the turn but hung up at 60 yards. He couldn't see the buck making those grunting noises. Another buck came slinking through the grass. Shooter kind of walked him back and they both continued away. No grunting or wheezing was going to bring him closer. He swung around the knob downwind and continued to the timber. Damn it!

 

November 19, 2016, Hunt #47, P.M.

Finally after two weeks I have the one perfect night and wind to hunt Big Boy. He never showed. Must have been somewhere else because the deer started piling out of the timber early. Had a busted rack 110 follow some does out and continue on to the field. Also had a dink chase some does and then continue on to the field. Those were the only bucks. Had one doe that insisted on going downwind just like she knew I was there. She alerted others and the night was ruined. Also had some farm activity that didn't help. Frustrating.

 

November 19, 2016, Hunt #46, A.M.

First deer was a doe with a couple of fawns. Found my entry trail. Very curious where those lead to but they eventually moseyed on. Had a shooter bed at 70 yards. Grunted and wheezed at him but no interest. He got up and walked behind a cedar. I never saw him come out. Got too cold. I looked the area over when on the ground but he was nowhere to be found. Good hunt.

 

November 18, 2016, Hunt #45, P.M.

Worst wind I've ever sat in. Ever. 2.5 hours. The gusts were absolutely brutal. Monster bucks make us do stupid things. On one I hand he is worth it to try extreme things, on the other, safety can't be thrown aside. Pretty sure the deer stayed in the canyons....where I should have been. Saw one fawn right at quitting time. Not what I had in mind when I requested a north wind. I added one layer at the last minute, my Windshear fleece vest. Good decision. Kept me warm and toasty. Toughest thing all night was dealing with my detached quiver. It was flopping around on its hook.....well....like....a light quiver in a 30 mph wind. Finally took my bow rope and lashed it to the tree.

 

November 18, 2016, Hunt #44, A.M.

BRRR! Lasted about two hours. Was in too much wind. Saw 9 bald and 5 bucks. Biggest 135ish. All coming off feed heading for bed.

 

November 17, 2016, Hunt #43, P.M.

Two fawns and one small buck. Saw a few on feed on the way out. timber was very quiet. My bride saw a few but no shooters.

 

November 17, 2016, Hunt #42, A.M.

One fawn. Bust!

 

November 16, 2016, Hunt #41, P.M.

Set in the same general area as the last four evenings. Windy! I know better than to sit out in the wind. Deer always move later. They did too. Critters didn't show up until after 5. That made for a short hunt. I did see two shooters in the short amount of time and quite a few bald deer. Good hunt except for the wind. I was watching one way for deer only to turn and look and see a buck about 20 yards away...walking away from me. 125ish. He had to have come up behind me (downwind) and I never knew he was there. I was looking at the deer in the opposite direction.

 

November 16, 2016, Hunt #40, A.M.

Went to a different farm. needed new scenery and I can generally hunt this farm with an easterly wind of some sort (SSE). Saw 4 bucks. A 3 yr old, a 2 year old and two dinks. I was in the transition for feed to bed. Checked 4 cameras. Nothing real special. A borderline shooter.

 

November 15, 2016, Hunt #39, P.M.

I climbed into the tree with anxious optimism after the hunt I had the night before. As the time moved closer to primetime it was clear that this evening hunt wasn't going to be anywhere as eventful as the night before. Disappointing. Shortly before sunset I glassed way down the hill. There was my boy but no way he would make it to me before quitting time. Had some farm activity about an hour before the end of the night so the deer moved later. Shortly after sunset I had a shooter coming my way. I gave him a few soft grunts, he looked but almost appeared timid. It could be with the bigger, more mature bucks running around. He had a lot of points and bone on his head. I was going to shoot. He stepped behind a tree at about 80 yards but then never came out. I saw him later. He had crossed the canyon to the other ridge. Chicken! Also had a very mature 4x4 come out and check the bald deer in the field. Very nice. Good hunt but a minor let down after the night before.

 

November 15, 2016, Hunt #38, A.M.

The morning started off with a bang and quickly fizzled out. I have a camera on my tree stand tree. I pulled the SD card before climbing up. In checking the card in the tree I saw that one of my shooters was standing in front of the camera at 5:41. I arrived at 5:45. That must have been the white flag I saw running down the hill as I arrived. The super moon was so bright the trees were leaving shadows. Shortly after settling in my ears were witness to one heck of a buck fight about 100 yards down the hill. I could hear them grunting and groaning in the still of the morning darkness. I eventually heard them separate, some grunting and then walking away. As the dark gave way to light there wasn't anything to see. The rest of the morning was similar. I got down early. I didn't dress near warm enough.

 

November 14, 2016, Hunt #37, P.M.

Top 5 hunt of all time. Holy cow! Lots of bucks. Sparring, grunting, you name it, it was happenin'. Had a 130 class 4x4 come from the west. I could see his ears were laid back and he was all puffed up. I twisted the best I could to look behind me and there was a 120 4x4. Neither challenged and the 130 preceded to tear up the scrape.

Finally laid eyes on Big Boy and he was on the move early. Of course he went by one of my other tree stands. Typical. Wind was perfect for that stand by the way. Lot of horn on that big body. He was already downwind so I never made an attempt to call. Too risky.

He was single. Went down the hill to the south and came back later with a lover. I think he booted a buck I saw trending a doe earlier in that area. Saw three shooters on my list and a new buck, a 4x4, that is mature and has a lot of horn on his head. If you read the articles and believe what the 'experts' say the peak is close but not arrived yet. After seeing what I saw tonight with so many single mature bucks I would say we are on the downward stroke. Hmmm! Guess I'm not going to dwell on it. It was a great night and I hope the next few days are great. Need a shot! My iSolunar app says "4 out of 4 racks" for the next two days. Today was a 4.

 Damn! It was an insane night. Dream hunt for me.

 

November 14, 2016, Hunt #36, A.M.

So close! First time at full draw in 2 years. The cedar branches were just too thick to let the arrow fly. Shooter that's on the list. He came to the grunt call with his ears laid back. He was single and looking for love. This buck is consistently going by two cameras I have in this area. First time to see him on the hoof. He does have a broken G3 on the right but a guy can fix that. He has a chocolate rack and I love dark horned rascals. He needs to go through my shooting lane next time. Cleared some branches on my exit. Will need to give this spot a rest for a couple of days.

 

November 13, 2016, Hunt #35, P.M.

Went on a mission to look for a ghost. Lots of pictures but seen him on the hoof. Ventured to parts of the farm I have left alone. Crunchy! Bumped 4 bald deer and some sort of buck way down in a canyon. Way down! These canyons are deep. Did not like my location so headed back out by feed. Timber is dry. No feed at all. Saw a handful of bald deer in the field and one decent looking buck once I called it quits. Too dark to evaluate his headgear. Lots of activity on the farm today. Nice weather besides the wind.

 

November 13, 2016, Hunt #34, A.M.

Windy again. Saw 3 bucks including a 120 at 8 yards. I was on the ground. He just had to walk downwind. Turned himself inside out when he hit the scent stream. Then decided he absolutely had to go the direction he was going and let me off the hook. Crazy suckers. Saw quite a few bald deer but really nothing chasing them that I could see. Checked three cameras. No shooters on any of them.

 

November 12, 2016, Hunt #33, P.M.

Night started off well. A borderline shooter appeared in the switch grass early. Again saw very few does and they were single. Weird. The switch grass buck was headed my way later. My stand squeaked. That's all she wrote. He turned and left. Had another 3 year old 4x4 come out. He heard a young buck grunting and chasing out in the grass. He headed to join the party. Checked three cameras. The shooter buck appears to have broken a G4. Damn it!

 

November 12, 2016, Hunt #32, A.M.

Morning hunt was cold. Saw a few does and they were single. Saw a few bucks nothing close to a shooter. Almost everything I see now has busted up racks. It seems like an odd year as I have seen many more single does than I typically see. I have way overhunted this stand. type to give it a rest. Checked 4 cameras but no shooters.

 

November 11, 2016, Hunt #31, P.M.

Hunted closer to feed tonight but that always runs the risk of other activity for me and I had some but it was early enough it did not bother the deer. I hunted a canyon and a spot for the #1 buck. He never showed but had two 2-year old bucks and does go by downwind. Damn it! I'm sure smelled pretty ripe by the end of the day. It got a little bit chilly by quitting time tonight. Setup a new camera location and moved my HCO Verizon camera at dark while deer were feeding in the field. The camera continues to send me pictures.

 

November 11, 2016, Hunt #30, A.M.

I have been waiting to hunt a certain spot with a morning north wind for a long time. Finally got the north wind but did not see the buck I wanted to see and the camera has shown him to be fairly regular in the morning by this stand. Saw quite a few bucks and a lot of does and fawns at point blank range. Most of the activity was done by 10. The stand is in tight quarters. Had deer 360 degrees and none of them gave me up. Thank you! Checked 6 cameras after leaving. Scrape activity has gone to zero with any mature bucks.

 

November 10, 2016, Hunt #29, P.M.

Pretty slow. Had three bucks come by early headed for the green buffet. No does showed up until really late. heard a couple of bucks running and grunting out in the switch grass but could not see anything. Checked a couple of cameras on the way in and one on the way out. The buck I was looking for, a wide 5x5, was not present in the photos.

 

November 10, 2016, Hunt #28, A.M.

It was a bit breezy. Deer were way down in a canyon over 100 yards from me. What a rodeo. Bucks chasing does everywhere. No less than 6 bucks and two were on my early hit list but one has two broken brow tines now. He was single too. Not sure why all the bucks are single. Early rut or later rut? I hope later. That has been my guess all along. Bucks chased does for over an hour. Constant back and forth. Fun to watch. I love it.

My #1 buck has vanished on me. Spent some time on the east side of the property to observe and see if he had moved back. 

 

November 9, 2016, Hunt #27, All Day

Wow! Great morning hunt. Had deer coming and going all the way through 10 a.m. Passed one of my early hitlister bucks. He literally walked right under the tree. Tall 6x5 but now has a busted G3 on the right. That pass was a tough one. He was single too. He also had what appeared to be a wound on his right rear leg. I could see blood by his right tarsal gland. He had a nasty streak it appeared too. The middle of the day and afternoon were slow. Too far from feed I guess.

 

November 8, 2016, Hunt #26, P.M.

Needed new scenery. Had left a stand half complete about 3 weeks ago. Wanted a north wind that I could finish hanging and then hunt. Finally got it. It's a top five stand location and setup. Very comfortable in heavy cover with an awesome scrape to boot.

Every year I see something that just amazes me. First deer were two buck fawns at least I think they were fawns. The one has half inch spikes. He either is an outstanding fawn buck or a piss poor one year old. Pretty sure he was a fawn. I could actually see bone. They wondered off and then a doe fawn appeared in the scrape. Those first two bucks came charging up the hill like little bullies to check out the doe fawn. The spiker immediately lowered his had and smacked the doe fawn. They continued to pester her until she finally wondered off with both of them in tow. Crazy.

About 45 minutes before quitting time I saw a limping buck coming up the hill. Two year old. Looked like he had a streak of nasty in him too. He got up to the scrape and then just started venting his frustrations on a sapling. He was stoked for some reason. All the licking branches were high and he had a bum leg. He couldn't stand on his back legs to reach any of them. Then he saw something coming from my left. It was a button buck. He puffed up and hit his own grunt tube and did the stiff legged stodding thing and chased after the deer. They went around my tree and down the hill. They were less than 10 feet from my tree. Awesome!

Heard more chasing and grunting down the hill and back in the woods but could not see the vocalist. Great hunt! Finally. This is what I expect to see during November. We all do. I love watching Mother Nature do her thing.

 

November 8, 2016, Hunt #25, A.M.

Had great expectations for this hunt. I read a Field and Stream article that felt this day would be the best day of the rut. Wrong! Worst day so far. Can't remember a time that I had two such poor days in a row. Definite lock down or my poor stand selections. Saw two little bucks with very little energy and a couple of fawns. That was it. Went home to vote.

 

November 7, 2016, Hunt #24, P.M.

Hunted the canyon my two top hitlisters went north at dark thirty. No go. Saw a few does and fawns heading to feed and most all of the movement was late. Saw a small buck chasing up on the hill. They seem to have endless energy. Placed a new camera and stumbled into a couple of badgers at dark. Set the camera near a new scrape. Hope to learn if big boy is using it.

 

November 7, 2016, Hunt #23, A.M.

Day 1 of vacation. Pretty darn slow. Definite lock down. Hunted a stand I hung last week. Good grief am I out in the open. Dead calm this morning too. Whatta brain fart. Going to want a windy day to hunt that stand.

Saw a few does and fawns and a few small bucks chasing but not the classic rut time chasing I wish to see.

Checked two cameras on the way out. Big boy was close but went in early and to the west of me.

 

November 6, 2016, Hunt #22, P.M.

You could tell the bucks were feeling frisky tonight. They were wondering all over and I heard a brief antler-to-antler ruckus back in the woods. Had a heck of nice younger looking buck pose at 20 yards. Hope I guessed right on his age and made the right decision there. Lots of bone on his head.

 

November 6, 2016, Hunt #21, A.M.

Much better! Morning started slow but progressively picked up. No shooters but grunted in a very eager 130s 4x4. He came dashing down the hill looking for action after I hit the grunt tube. There is an old ladder stand close to my newer stand location. He literally walked between the ladder and the tree. Isn't there an old saying about walking under a ladder? Another 130s popped over the hill right on the trail of a doe grunting all the way. Good morning hunt.

 

November 5, 2016, Hunt #20, P.M.

Not a bad hunt. Saw 5 bucks. Heard a dandy of a buck fight south of me. Saw the two later. One is a mature, busted up buck. Deficient rack. Looks nasty. One is a 3-year old that looks like he might grow into something.

 

November 5, 2016, Hunt #19, A.M.

Horrible hunt. One fawn. One. Stinking. Fawn. Punted early. Moved some cameras. Hung a stand in a spot for the #1 shooter. He's elusive but really big.

 

November 4, 2016, Hunt #18, P.M.

Had a little bit of action. A tending grunt will sure bring you to attention. Never did get a good look at the buck. Checked a a couple of cameras. Definitely in lock down mode now. Need the little rascal bucks to do their thing and crash the party.

 

October 30, 2016, Hunt #17, P.M.

Slow tonight. Small buck following a doe. Air had a definite chill to it. Anticipated a shooter showing up but no go. A lot of deer on feed when I got out. Looked to be all bald except for one small buck. Final week of inventory then it's time to start slinging an arrow.

 

October 30, 2016, Hunt #16, A.M.

Best hunt so far. Three mature bucks. One of them is top 5 on the hit list. He is all scarred up and looks like he's been through a war already. Nice buck. Had a limb I needed trimmed on the tree I'm perched in. Took my 5 foot Hooyman and whacked off the 3-inch diameter branch and watched and listened to it fall to the ground. I also added a backup ratchet strap to my treestand. Five minutes later I have a doe and and 4-year old buck standing at 25 yards. I'm sure I rousted them out of their night bed. They paid me very little attention and moved on up the draw.

Movement was a little bit slower than yesterday morning but the bucks were bigger this morning. Checked two cameras that were placed yesterday. Still good action but it is dark thirty.

It was damn cold for the clothes I had on. Going to have to break out the insulated gear. 

 

October 29, 2016, Hunt #15, P.M.

Had the whole family hunting tonight. That was fun. I didn't take near enough clothes though. A windy cold front of some sort came through. There was definitely a wind chill. Needed long johns. BRRRR! My wife had a flock of turkeys in her vicinity a good portion of the night.

My daughter was in spot that if a shooter did show up it would be in shooting range. Close! And one showed up. Caught her off guard. No shot. Chip shot type stuff but just too close. She told me she grunted at the buck but he never did more than look, then continue on. Glad she had some action.

My hunt was slow. One small buck. Deer moved late for the most part.

 

October 29, 2016, Hunt #14, A.M.

First morning hunt. Wind out of the north. Saw as many bucks as does and I saw a fair amount of does. Nothing frantic about the movement but heard some grunting and wheezing. Saw some fleming gestures, saw some chasing and saw a fair amount of scent checking. I would say we are about 7 days from frantic movement.

Had a buck bed about 15 yards from the tree. A one-and-a-half year old. Those bucks need lots of education because I got away with a lot of movement. However, the old doe nag that came at the tree from downwind snorted like..well..an old nag. She needed shot.

This time of the year the snorting doesn't disturb the herd like it might earlier. In fact, I think it attracts bucks as towards 10 am I had a nice 140ish 5x5 appear and check out the action. Great hunt this morning.

I checked a scrape camera. Most of the action on the scrape was at night but it was on fire! Good action all week. Good bucks to.

 

October 28, 2016, Hunt #13, P.M.

Hot but good hunt. First time in the stand for the year. Wind was good. Saw a handful of does and fawns and three bucks. Biggest being a 120-inch 4x4. Darn stand squeaks so I will need to be careful with that. Checked some cameras at dark. Two had dead batteries. They had been on a two week soak. I hate dealing with dead batteries in the dark. Nothing special on any of the cameras. Pulled one and moved one. Have good feed close. 

 

October 23, 2016, Hunt #12, P.M.

Two-and-a-half hour hunt in a stand I hadn't been in for two weeks due to wind direction. No shooters but decent hunt. Had a small buck following a doe come up the trail at quitting time. My bride went along. Saw a fair amount of bald deer. Lots of hunting activity and farming activity. Met the guy and gal hunting on the adjacent parcel. Swapped out a camera at quitting time. Trying one of the HCO Verizon cellular cameras. Much better signal than the AT&T camera I tried. Getting a few empty photos. Not sure if it is sending me a photo from the end of the burst or the beginning of the burst.

 

October 22, 2016, Hunt #11, P.M.

Beautiful fall days like yesterday always result in a lot of activities outdoors and for some of us; impacts to our deer hunts. Yesterday was one of those days. I've just learned to live with it. We all like to recreate in our own way. We just need to figure out how the large racked bucks are reacting to the activity. That is the challenge! I do believe I am figuring it out on one farm. Based on the photos from one camera and the scrape I observed after checking that camera, scraping activity is really rollin'! Just need to find the right scrape! I also need the right wind. Nine of the 11 hunts so far for me have been south winds. I need a north wind for once!

I saw one doe and 3 fawns last night. That was it! Too much non-hunting related activity around. It was a beautiful night. Sunday will probably be similar so need to act accordingly!

 

October 21, 2016, Hunt #10, P.M.

New spot. Hunt was a dud. Too much daytime activity while I was gone I believe. Found a new scrape. Not sure why I get wound up about scrapes as most of the cameras show the activity on a scrape is during the night. My new scrape is well used by the way. Pulled some camera cards that had been on a two week soak! Yee ha! Here we go! There is no place like Iowa for trophy whitetails.

 

October 17, 2016, Hunt #9, P.M.

Wow. Much better hunt than I expected on this hot fall day. My daughter was on fall break and wanted to go hunting so we went. I ushered her to her ambush location then be bopped over the hill about 50-60 yards to sit and observe my distant food plot. I'm sitting in the open surrounded by little blue stem and simply watching. I'm not anticipating much action for myself and hoping she gets a shot. Saw a couple of young bucks near the food plot. First close buck to show was a 130 inch 4x4. He went right to a licking branch and scrape (which I didn't know was there) and scraped and licked and scraped and licked for a good ten minutes. I'm only 20 yards away. Easy shooting distance. He looked at me a few times but in no way believed there should be a human in that location. I heard a hell of noise on a tree behind me less than 20 yards away. I thought for sure it was a squirrel or a coon crawling down a tree. When the 130 was in the middle of his scraping and licking I swiveled on my stool to see what the other ruckus was and holy cow it's a shooter. He was tearing hell out of a licking branch like the 130. I could not believe he was there. He's basically on the edge of a very steep river bluff. Mountain goat stuff. Anyway he saw me, wheeled and took off. Lots of horn. All the while my daughter saw none of this action but could hear the 130 making all of his noise. The 130 eventually angled by me, looked at me and then he angled down the mountain goat bluff. Crazy. Bugs were horrible but the hunt was great...at least for me. My daughter never saw any action and she's only 50-60 yards away. Next week should have some great scraping action.

 

October 16, 2016, Hunt #8, P.M.

Observation hunt. Oasis in the middle of a crp field. A small buck emerged from his bed about a half hour before quitting time and shortly after a small doe. He harassed her a little bit. At quitting time a bigger buck showed in the distance but his rack blended so well in the brown grass and weeds it was impossible to determine the full extent of his size.

Good hunt overall. Deer moved late.

 

October 15, 2016, Hunt #7, P.M.

Not a good hunt. For some reason I had major intestinal challenges. Not good. Saw 3 does/fawns. That was it. Left early as whatever I had eaten during the day was owning my body. Who gives a rat's tail about a B&C buck when you feel like that.

I had ventured to an area I had not been for months. Good, green food. Basically a dud. Weather was off anyway. Very humid. Just did not feel very conducive to deer movement.

Four camera cards showed decent movement but nothing special or new and we all like new shooter bucks to show up. That Recon Farce Platinum takes some dandy videos. Audio is really good with this camera. Still photos not the best.

 

October 14, 2016, Hunt #6, P.M.

A little bit windy. I prefer it that way when I'm hunting from the ground. Saw one doe and one small buck. Checked some cameras on the way in and on the way out. Sometimes you just have to keep a personal photo or two.

I like this ground sit location. Just a little bit open but on a good trail between bedding locations and it's comfortable. Shot would be about 25 yards.

Heard a couple of eagles bantering back and forth for a fair amount of time. They must have been perched in some trees on the river bluff and far enough away that I could not see them. Not sure I remember so much chatter between two of these birds.

 

October 9, 2016, Hunt #5, P.M.

Only a week into the season and I've hunted two east winds. Similar to last year. Had a nice line of does and fawns file past at 25 yards as I sat on my stool hunkered in a couple of cedars. Wish a Booner would do that. Pulled some camera cards before I settled and scrolled through the pictures the first half hour of the hunt. No Booners but a heavy bodied 4x4 I don't think I have pictures of passed by the Primos camera. He will look mighty interesting on the hoof. Huge body it appears! His brow tines look awfully familiar. I need to look back a couple of years to see if he's been around before. I always wonder where they go for a year or two. Only two small bucks made an appearance. All the deer were headed for feed.

I jacked around in the dark and moved a camera to a scrape and set the camera on video and swapped a camera that had too many blurry photos with a different one that shouldn't have as many blurry photos. I hate messing with cameras in the dark but I didn't want to wait another week either. Trail camera addictions cause a guy to do weird things.

 

October 8, 2016, Hunt #4, P.M.

Saw 4 decent bucks tonight (6 total) including one within bow range of my daughter but I think the old man has totally confused her. She let him pass! Ugh! I was too far away to provide her any guidance. She made the decision all on her own.

I was at an observation location watching a food plot from afar and saw three nice bucks including one that seemed to have really good tine length. Had two dinks at 10 yards and of course I'm on the ground. That usually results in a rodeo when they are walking right at me and finally discover what I am. Fun!

 

October 7, 2016, Hunt #3, P.M.

Waited for my daughter to get home from UNL. No football game this week. She finally arrived. We had purchased her some new camo clothes and as you might expect she spent more time evaluating how she looked than getting ready so we could go hunting. We were running late.

What a cluster. The trip out was fine and getting her and her boyfriend located in a spot was fine but right after I got settled in my treestand I got the text "Did you crank my bow up I can't draw my bow". Seriously? You can't draw your darn bow? Sow I dig in my bag for my allen wrench tool, unhook, climb down and crank the bow down. Extremely aggravating but what I've come to expect from the younger generation. They just never seem to be prepared. They want to do and experience everything but don't want to take the time to prepare. Anyway I digress. 

The first wad of deer came out to the west. Sweet. Out early. Next a flock of tom turkeys came in. That reminds me I need a turkey tag. Finally it's after sunset and the deer start coming out from the north. First little spike goes on by her but the next couple of does busted her. It's over. She started coughing! We had deer snorting, running and you name it what a cluster.

Good hunt that we saw deer. Bad hunt that it was so unorganized. Let's hope everything improves.

 

October 2, 2016, Hunt #2, P.M.

East wind. Calm. Mosquitoes still bad and I forgot the repellent pads for my ThermaCell. I sucked one more night out of the one in the appliance. Pure white.

Saw a handful of bald deer and two one year old bucks heading for a green food plot. Good hunt. Checked a few cameras on the way in. Nothing special for mature deer. One is decent but want to see him on the hoof.

I'm pretty sure I heard and saw a small buck chasing a doe and fawn back in the trees. I suppose that means that the last week of October (28 days) should be exciting. Nothing new but gives a person an indication when the chaos will start.

I hear deer back in the woods coughing and hacking on what I assume is acorns. I wonder if a deer can choke to death on an acorn? How would you give a deer the Heimlich?

Been seeing some vulture groups the last two weeks. Not very excited to see that. Hopefully it's just road kill.

Saw a young raccoon hanging on the side of a cedar on the way out. Cute little bugger. He eyeballed me but let me pass without getting too excited.

 

October 1, 2016, Hunt #1, P.M.

If I get West Nile I will know why. Mosquitoes were relentless and there were a lot. It took half-an-hour before the ThermaCell started to keep them away. Pesky little critters. Hate 'em!!!

Saw one doe and two two-year-old bucks. The last buck spied me right away as he stopped to hit his licking branch. I was too close to the kill spot and on the ground. This was more of a recon hunt anyway. I wanted to check 4 cameras (super glad I did) and eyeball a tree to call home for a hanging stand. Found the tree on this new farm.

You would think after 40 years of doing this that I would be organized and the first hunt would go smoothly. It never does for me but at least I remembered my boots this time. The first hunt is always a debacle. Too many everyday life things tend to demand more and more of a person's time and hunting becomes less of a focus. Anyway, I got through it, found my tree for a northerly wind and got pictures of a shooter.

I spend a fair amount of time trying to find the right slots for all my backpack stuff. I try new arrangements each year. My 2016 backpack packing is all different. Hope it works efficiently.

So last night I pulled two cards before I got to my tree. I plugged in my SD reader to my iPhone to scroll through the pictures as I sat on my stool. The damn app kept stopping and closing on me. This went on for 5 minutes. I was absolutely pissed! Then I figured it out. I'm in a texting group with my wife and daughter. They can go from 0-60 texts in 60 seconds. The damn texts kept killing my app. Finally I texted them and told them to take me out of the group. Then it worked. GEESH! I was pissed: mosquitoes, texting, apps, last second field goals, stick tights, etc!

All-in-all it was a good hunt. I'll take it, especially when my Reconyx captures the photo of a new shooter buck.

 

September 25, 2016

Cameras were a little slow this week but I did capture one fleeting photo of a deer that looks like he has a lot of bone on his head. There was a fair amount of activity on one of the farms yesterday. I am guessing that is what moved him over the hill. Yesterday was kind of a pain in the neck: battery replacements, LEDs stopped working on one camera, mosquitoes, etc. But on the bright side I have located what appears to be just a killer scrape location. Secluded.

Purchased a 5-inch Hoyt stabilizer this week. I really don't like stabilizers as they only add more weight (which they are designed to do) but I hate weight on my bow. I want it light. I want to be able to handle it very easily. Will try and shoot the Carbon Spyder today to see if I like it.

Not sure where I will spend October 1 yet. No gaggers really to pursue that I am aware of. Might just find an observation location to see what is going on. Purchased my licenses Friday. If I remember correctly, I spent $102 for a bow tag, two antlerless tags, a hunting license and a habitat stamp. Cheap expense to participate in the sport I like.

My second Bushnell Essential E2 arrived this week also. Let's hope the quality of photos from this camera equal the quality of photos from E2 #1. E2 #1 captured my first bobcat pictures of the year.

 

September 18, 2016

Getting closer to the beginning. Found another shooter and he's on the farm. Yippee! Not huge but quite nice.

Bought a new camera. The Bushnell Essential E2. I asked the guys at TCP for the best night photo camera. Oh my Gosh! Best night photos I've ever seen. Going to get me another one or two of the E2. 

Need to get my licenses here shortly.

 

September 11, 2016

Spent last evening checking and deploying cameras. Wanted the farm roads to dry a little from the rain we had on Friday. A couple of bucks are starting to settle in on preferred routes. Saw a fair amount of deer on the green stuff last night. That seems to be a preference right now. Green!

Spent a couple of evenings focusing on getting my backpack ready. Bow is ready to go (I hope). First day always identifies stuff I am forgetting in my backpack.

Spent today checking the final cameras, moving cameras and deploying a new camera. I tweaked a stand. It needed a bow rope.

I also ordered a new camera this week (Bushnell Essential E2). Supposed to take the best night photos. I hope to deploy it next week and do my own field testing.

I'm still searching for that Booner buck but have yet to find him. It appears to me that the herd is recovering from EHD but it is also quite evident we are probably still two years away from having a lot of really nice bucks running around. At least on the farms I hunt. It all depends on the discipline of all of us.

 

September 4, 2016

I was getting ready to head to the woods Saturday morning and swore the damn house was moving like a small earthquake but wrote it off as sinus or inner ear infection. I assumed I was a tad bit woozy as I had not been out of bed more than 20 minutes. So I hit my Twitter timeline to see who had harvested big mulies the last few days and what do ya know, it was an earthquake. My wife won't think I'm losing it. Whew! 

A few bucks have shed their velvet according to the cameras and my evening glassing trips but the majority are still sporting the bone growing velour. Stick tights are every where this year and the sand burrs hurt like hell. There's a lot of bite in those pesky little rascals. Got another stand hung yesterday. I tried out my new HSS tree hanging vest. That thing is pretty slick. You need to buy one. All of you!

My old stand in a new spot has a chain and a redundant strap, my top climbing stick has redundant straps and I have a lifelline to the stand. Hopefully this will keep me safe through January 10.

Many of the deer I was getting pictures of a month ago have vanished from vision of the cameras. I don't know if they are tired of my intrusions, they have moved or the preferred food source has changed. Maybe some of all of the above. I did have a new two or three year old show up this week with some impressive tine length and abnormal growth. If he makes it two years I will be interested in seeing his development.

My cameras worked a little bit better this week. I'm pretty sure many of my issues last week were due to batteries. No camera card issues this week either.

Time to put the final touches on my hunting gear and get it ready to go.

 

August 28, 2016

Cameras were a little slow this week. The preferred food source is probably changing and the velvet shedding is almost here. Years ago we had very limited knowledge of this whole velvet shedding thing. Now is different. I always hope I capture a picture of a mature buck with velvet hanging all over his horns.

It's crazy how much knowledge we have of our whitetails now. We know them by name, we know their age, we just know a lot of stuff about them. We make shoot/don't shoot decisions based on our knowledge.

I've been able to hang a stand each of the last two weekends but have a few more to go. Might be more time hunting from the ground for me this year. I've identified some good locations from which to sit in ambush.

Twitter has been alive this year with lots of shooter type bucks. Growth appears good all throughout the midwest.

 

August 21, 2016

Checked cameras, moved cameras, traded cameras and hung a ladder stand yesterday. Long day but good day. Captured some decent photos last week but can't say that I captured a picture of any new bucks. A couple of the bucks are looking fairly decent but no gaggers. My goal anymore is to pursue the best buck in my area but I'm not going to shoot a 130 inch 5 year old buck. You guys waste your tag on that. I'm not a believer in 1:1 to buck to doe ratios or shooting old bucks either. I want the entire experience: the pursuit, the dreaming, nice buck posing at 15-20 yards, sharing with buddies and the remembering. If it was only about 170s or 200s then my approach would be different but there just isn't enough hours in the day for me to do that. My farms have the potential but haven't seen the whoppers this year...yet. One farm appears to be finally recovering from 2012. Crazy it has taken that long but quality looks good.

Cameras are doing OK but my Bushnell wireless is giving me fits and my 2014 Browning Strike Force is not cooperating. It doesn't want to turn on all the time. The 2016 Browning Strike Force Elite takes outstanding photos and I prefer photos to videos.

Think I ruined a pair of pants yesterday. Covered in stick tights. I hate those little bastards. I was moving my ladder stand to my tree. I think my pants must have embraced/hugged the damn weed. The whole 3 foot tall weed looks like it is sticking to my pants. Will try and see if they are recoverable. 

 

August 14, 2016

Cameras got a two week soak this time. I was in Colorado on some R & R for a little over a week. We stayed at a VRBO home. My highlight was to make some morning coffee. Go out on the deck in the dry air and morning sun and watch two bedded bull elk at 5 yards. One bull was definitely a 6 year old bull and the other was likely 3 or 4 years old. I would guess one bull was in the 280 class and old bull was in the 300 class. The younger bull tried to eat on the neighbor's tree. the neighbor came out of his house and chased the younger bull away. The younger bull jumped over the split rail fence and laid down by the deck of our home. Once the sun began to encroach on the beds of each of the bulls, they would get up and move to the shade. Fascinating to watch them. Big critters. Poop a lot.

Had some new bucks show up on camera the last two weeks. Captured some dandy pictures. Struggling a little bit with the Bushnell Wireless. Batteries were dead and now can't seem to reacquire a signal. Finicky darn thing. Frustrating.

Also learning that I don't think my older Browning cameras like the newer Sandisk cards. Not sure I understand why. This is probably the first camera I have had that hasn't worked with a Sandisk card. Sandisk cards are the go-to card!

Stopped at Cabela's Store #1 on the way to Colorado. Tradition. I still remember going downtown to shop at Cabela's before they were the big green roof up on the hill by I-80. Sad some activist investor(s) will most likely forever change the store I once knew. Wish they would call me to run the company. I would restore the tradition! Make Cabela's great again! :) Well...at least I can think I would. 

Time to start hanging stands and clearing shooting lanes. Yeah, I know, a lot of you like to do it in the Spring. I gave that up years ago. More focused on where the big bucks ARE than where they WERE. Human and other animal activity moves the bucks around too much between Spring and Fall. Antler growth looks like some of the best I've seen in a while. Equal to last year for sure and last year was really good. Getting close to time to Get 'em! I can officially pull the 'trigger' on my release in a little over 6 weeks.

 

July 31, 2016

62 days but who's counting! My cameras were on fire this week. Lots of buck pictures. Cooler weather I assume. The Bushnell Wireless has been sending me pictures all week. Crack for this trail camera addict. Fun! Deer seem to really move a lot in the 4-5 a.m. time range (plus or minus). Never really noticed it before but my phone buzzes like crazy that time of the day. That is when I am getting the biggest buck pictures on that camera setup too. I have been adjusting settings from my easy chair all week trying to find the right LED/Night Shutter combination. That is cool to make an adjustment and then see the results on the next picture. No waiting a week or until the next camera check.

The Spypoint Solar captured a heavy duty buck on camera this week. I didn't like the angle of the picture. Hard to tell how old the buck is. Had set the camera high due to tall grass and weeds. I modified that setup. Hopefully get a better angle of him this week. The solar panel had less canopy at this setup. The onboard battery was fully charged at check-up time.

My glassing trips have not resulted in much. Still driving and looking for the buck of a lifetime. No go so far. Finalized the fletching on my daughter's arrows last week and getting closer to a broadhead choice for her.

 

July 24, 2016

Did a lot of camera shuffling and deployment yesterday. Hot and humid! Been working with the Bushnell Wireless all week to try and get it to hook up to an AT&T signal. We are Verizon folk for the most part around here. Finding a 3-bar AT&T signal where I might capture a photo of a shooter is difficult. Trailcampro and Bushnell have provided good insight and help. Thanks for the help guys. Deployed on the new lease yesterday. Might have found the right location. 60 some photos texted this morning with one possible shooter. Yippee! This is going to be fun.

My camera inventory has increased by three so far this year. That list includes the Browning Command Ops, Browning Strike Force Elite and Brown Recon Force Platinum. Cameras that I have tried that will not be added to my inventory include the Moultrie M999i (focus issues), Stealth G34 Pro (LED issues), Stealth PX36NG (poor photo quality) and Covert Illuminator (focus issues).

Two cameras waiting my final decision are the Spypoint Solar and Bushnell Wireless. Photo quality is good or at least above average with both of these. Photo quality is always at the top of my list. I really despise blurry night photos but I know it's part of the game. Next priorities for me would be battery life and ease of use. I've never taken a shine to the functionality and menu navigation that Moultrie rolled out a few years ago. The Spypoint is a picture taking machine. No doubt about it. Having a few video quality issues but nothing major. The lithium batteries are still at full charge and I have captured thousands of photos and lots of video. Batteries truly might last over a year with the onboard solar panel. Really don't know if they have been tapped yet. As mentioned before the only issue I am having with the Bushnell Wireless is finding an AT&T signal in a Verizon world.

Don't forget! Deadline for the Trailcampro 2016 photo contest is August 1, 2016. You can't win if you don't enter. It's under the Buying Guides link.

Been testing all sorts of fletching combos with my arrows for this season. Think I've settled on four 4-inch vanes fletched at 75/105. Still a little bit of shooting to do but looks like it will work. Read a broadhead article in the Iowa Sportsman last week. Good article. I've always had great luck with my G5 Montecs. I like fixed blade broadheads I can resharpen but there is another one or two on the fixed blade list that had better results.

 

July 17, 2016

Captured some decent bucks on photo this week and saw another shooter while glassing. Things are starting to look up. Captured what I assume are coyote pups on camera too. Also saw a pup while glassing. Must be that time for pups to venture out on their own.

Took

 

July 10, 2016

Things picked a little bit for me glassing. Saw a shooter last night. Think I saw a good one off in the distance tonight. Looked like a heck of a velvet crown on that critter. No opportunity for a spotting scope check though.

Cameras picked up a little bit. Still haven't captured any pictures of a true whopper. The last 5 years have really been slow. Been watching a fair amount of hunting shows. Programming is better than it used to be. It seems the new normal is a 170-200 inch whitetail. I don't roll in that crowd.

 

July 4, 2016

I've been glassing a fair amount on the weekends. The soybean fields seem quiet. Not sure why. Could be deer are coming out later or there's another preferred food source. Don't know. Just know I'm not seeing bucks I would put in the shooting category. Made a big swing last night with lots of miles and still no shooter buck sightings. Very few bucks at all.

 

June 26, 2016

It's hot! Grass is tall. Weeds are tall. Cameras are slow. I've spent way more time this year in camera video mode and low picture resolution mode than ever before. I'm beginning to like the video mode even if it's a pain in the neck to review them on the laptop. It just takes a long time. Operating in low picture resolution mode is a belief that the closer to native camera resolution a person is the better the photos. The interpolation to higher megapixel rating any more just seems poor. Plus I can get more photos on my cards between pulls. It should take less time to write to the card so batteries should last longer, etc.

Not too many cameras will take night color videos. The Covert Illuminator will do just that:

 

 

 

 

June 18, 2016

Pulled my first card from the Spypoint Solar today. Day photos are excellent. The camera was set to blur reduction for night photos. Flash seemed really short for this setting which is to be expected. Part of it could have been my setup. It appears to be a picture taking machine. The solar panel should help it last forever. Well, a year at least before changing batteries.

 

June 11, 2016

Browning Strike Force Elite video. Owl on a fence post.

 

 

June 5, 2016

Captured some pretty good video last week with the Browning Command Ops:

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2016

Beginning to see some decent antler growth on a couple of bucks. One or two are obviously mature. Hopefully will turn into a couple of shooters. The new Browning Recon Force Platinum, Strike Force Elite and Command Ops are performing well. Learning that the lower pixel ratings actually give me better photos with these cameras. The interpolation code isn't so good for the high megapixel settings. Not sure why camera manufacturers try and dupe us with that malarkey. A 3 to 4 megapixel photo is usually more than adequate as long as the camera lens is decent. My cameras are set to 2 mp this week. My gut feeling tells me

 

May 8, 2016

Have been laying low for a few months. Busy at work and the lawn mowing requirements have been plenty. Five new cameras in the field. Three Browning, a Moultrie and a Stealth. The videos on the Browning Strike Force Elite and Recon Force Platinum are really good. The pictures from the Recon Force are not so good. The pictures from the Stealth PX36NG are really poor. The Moultrie M999i is OK. I turned off the high speed night shutter this week to see if the night photos improve. Night photos have not been very good.

 

March 26, 2016

Deployed the first camera a couple of weeks ago. New Browning Strike Force Elite.

 

January 30, 2016

First time to check cameras in 2016. It's been a while and darn cold since the last card pull. One thing I have learned, the Primos cameras have no rivals when it comes to battery life. My cameras captured quite a few pictures since the last check and the Primos cameras performed like troopers. Battery life for the Browning trail cameras was not as good.

Snow was crunchy and tough walking. Frustrating to walk in it.

 

Deer Blog 2015

 

 

Copyright 2008-2017

All About Iowa Whitetails.

All photos and images are property of Prairie Images or our contributors.

Contact Us

Site Updated: 12/3/2017