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December 4, 2020, Hunt #30, P.M.

Out for a doe hunt. Last day of the early split. Beautiful weather for a walk. Way too quiet to draw a bow back and expect to get a shot at a deer. Had a doe and fawn come right towards the sweet spot. Doe was definitely on edge. No idea why. At 25 yards I drew my bow back and she turned inside-out. Just too quiet. Any move made a noise. After taking a few leaps she stopped to take a look at what made the commotion. She offered me a Texas heart shot at 30. My heavy arrow setup could easily have made the shot work but decided to let her bound off into the canyon.

More deer fed east and west of me in the field. Not a lot but some. Decent movement. No shooters. Four small bucks to the east of me.

Two weeks before the final inventory is known. Hopefully one or two will be left for my pursuit. A person always hopes for a bonus buck. Cameras will tell us what's left on the 21st.


November 29, 2020, Hunt #29, P.M.

Another doe mission. Close again but she passed on the back side of the tree with her fawn. No shot. Replaced batteries in one cell cam, pulled a scrape camera, moved another cell cam and added a new setup. Hoping for a couple of shooters to still be standing in three weeks. If weather cooperates will deploy a couple of cameras next weekend.

Had an interesting time with archery equipment the last few days. Been fighting a high tear at 15' with my Axius Ultra. Decided to go back to the Fuse strings and cables. Got rid of my high tear. Over six months of frustration finally gone. New strings and cables required new sight settings. Made a vertical adjustment. My sight broke when I tightened the set screw. Lastly (at least I hope lastly), my thumb trigger release is giving me problems. Sent it in for repair.

On the bright side, after my brutal drag out of the river bluff canyon, I am the proud new owner of a Jet Sled. Hopefully that will help the next time a 200 pound buck decides to dive into a canyon. Ordered my late season muzzleloader license too. Hope the weather holds. I can handle cold...within reason...just don't want deep snow.


November 28, 2020, Hunt #28, P.M.

Doe mission. Nice weather resulted in a lot of land activity. Deer moved late. Had a doe and fawns go by in range. She was going to my left which would have resulted in a chip shot but then turned to my right. No way to turn without alerting her. Too quiet. A buck was following her. Hung the bow back on the hook after she was well past my location. Videotaped the buck instead. He was quite jumpy. I turned a little bit to follow him with my cell phone and he took off.


November 20, 2020, Hunt #27, A.M.

The day started poorly. As I walked to the stand in the early morning hours, I booted a bunch of deer off the field. Only way in for me. No choice if I want to hunt this stand in the morning. I had not hunted this stand in the morning this year. How often do we have a northeast wind? I trudged on. Shortly after climbing up and settling in, a few deer reappeared in the field. OK. I can live with that. Early into the hunt I heard a noise in the canyon to my west. Got a glimpse of a good one around 8 a.m. either chasing another buck or chasing a doe. A ten second glimpse, then he vanished.

More deer started to head back to feed an hour after they spooked off the field. There were two bucks with does in the field way west of me. Surprising. They fed for a long time in the morning. About 9:10 my target stepped into the field. All by himself. He headed southwest away from me. He really didn't seem to pay attention to the other bucks in the field to the west. He vanished over the hill. I assumed gone for the day. About ten minutes later he came back north. He's a good 250 yards away. I rattled with some medium tone and grunted a couple of times in the calm morning air. He heard it and immediately turned and started deliberate walk in my direction. When he started getting close I began to believe this might just happen. However, I feared he would see me draw, bolt and end the hunt. At 35 yards he stopped and looked back to the west. How lucky can a guy get? I immediately drew my bow. He kept coming. At 25 yards he stopped again, quartering to me. I'm not afraid to take that shot, especially with a Ranch Fairy adult arrow (I'm not fully adult but close). The Cutthroat tipped 565 grain Axis arrow, hit right in the Vital V and exited on the opposite side. I saw the arrow as he turned and plunged down into the canyon. Immediately thought dead deer. Perfect shot. Thirty minutes later I climbed down and searched for blood. Not a drop. Not good. I snuck over to the edge of the canyon, he got up and walked off to the northwest. What the hell? I was convinced that shot was perfect.

I backed out. Not believing I needed to wait overnight (and fearing coyotes finding my prize), I carried on about 11:30 (deer was shot around 9:30). I finally found some blood down the hill. I trudged on. I finally found him. My OnX tracker said 0.3 miles. Unbelievable. I didn't find 10 drops of blood in that distance. He had died next to a fallen tree and leaned against the root ball. Took some photos and headed back to the truck to regroup and decide how to get him out of the hell hole. Worst location ever for me. At least 100 feet of vertical elevation if not double that and 150 yards just to get him to the top of the ridge where I left my cart.

I starting field dressing around 1:30. Once finished I started the arduous task of a vertical river bluff drag, followed by another 400 yard deer cart pull. I did almost all of this backwards. I encountered some logs with the cart. Couldn't pull the cart over the log with the buck on it. Had to unload the deer and pull him over about six fallen trees in a rough spot. An absolutely brutal, individual deer drag for an old, out-of-shape guy. But it got done 10 feet at a time. I arrived back at the truck around 5:30. Waited for help to get him loaded in the pickup and headed for home.

Weather was beautiful all day. The deer drag was brutal but the weather was great. I had lots of time to sit while I recovered from each ten foot pull up the bluff. It seemed like five minutes of recovery for every thirty seconds of drag.

I have yet to find the arrow. I even looked a few minutes at dark to see if I could see the lighted nock. No go. We all know 2020 has been a miserable year. Even though the recovery totally sucked, the deer had some some ground-growth for me. Pleasant surprise. He was the target buck on this farm. It's a good year when the target is acquired.


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November 19, 2020, Hunt #27, P.M.

Went to a totally new spot looking for a target buck that is AWOL. Saw two squirrels. Left early enough to hit the field edge for the last 30 minutes. Plenty of deer feeding in the field but only a couple of very small bucks harassing does. The leaves were so crunchy my ears hurt. Man it was loud walking. Surprised I didn't hear anything back in the woods walking around. Just not a good spot I guess. Check that spot off the list. Thank goodness the wind finally calmed down.


November 19, 2020, Hunt #26, A.M.

Not a good hunt. Just did not feel like deer were moving. Saw two bucks. One was a 150 yards down the hill looking at me when it got light enough to see. He must have watched me crawl in the stand. 130 inch 8 pointer. Saw a bigger 4x4 later that was a four year old. He was bird dogging like he lost his doe but I never saw her and I was looking that direction most of the morning. Left early. Needed to mow the lawn for the last time.


November 18, 2020, Hunt #25, ALL DAY

First official tree lunch of the year. It was darn windy again. I hunted out of most of the wind. It was worth it. Saw a dozen bucks with the largest being in the 145 range. Two bucks tending does.

Got a close up look of a buck I have lots of pictures of. Wide! Actually full draw at 26 yards and settled the pin but he needs another year. Not sure if he will ever amount to much. Time will tell. Saw lots of turkey, they too were feeding out of the wind. Saw a group of three eagles doing some sort of acrobatics with each other. Interesting.

Bucks were moving off and on a good part of the day. Was hoping for a Nooner Booner but nothing showed except a 100 inch 4x4. Bald deer were doing lots of browsing when around me.

Fun hunt. The all day part was taxing but I only get to do this a short time every year. I do what I can to enjoy it.


November 17, 2020, Hunt #24, P.M.

High anticipation for the afternoon. Weather turned out great. Red moon afternoon. Hunt was fantastic. Saw all sorts of bucks. Had a nice 5x4 go by at 4 yards. Yes I was on the ground. I was hugging my cedar tree the best I could. He needs a year or two and yes I thought about shooting but knew of a handful of much bigger deer around and I saw one tonight tending a doe. Captured decent video instead. 

Lots of single bucks. Last buck through was a tall 4x4 that was either four or five. This week could be good before they shut down and start packing on the weight again. Crossing my fingers.


November 17, 2020, Hunt #23, A.M.

Got a little cold this morning. Saw a few bucks but no shooters. I have a cell cam that told me I left about 30 minutes too early. Dang it! Note to self. Add another layer tomorrow morning.

Had quite a few deer go by in the shooting lane. Just wish it was a shooter.


November 16, 2020, Hunt #22, P.M.

Hunted same area as last night due to the mature buck sightings. Saw lots of deer but not the mature bucks I saw last night. Darn wind was annoying again for the first part of the sit. Wind is frustrating. There were a few small bucks chasing and frustrating the doe herd and a medium 4x4 but he didn't appear too active.

There is a piebald deer on this farm. First time I've seen her on the hoof. She has a bright white cap on her head and four white socks with shades of white mixed in her coat. Unique. I don't think piebald deer are a positive indication of herd health.

Long day but I love hunting the peak of the rut. Just need to find the right location and the hunt can be very memorable.


November 16, 2020, Hunt #21, A.M.

Made a move to a location that had a bunch of mature buck activity two days ago. Today was different. Saw a handful of bucks. Had one sneak up behind me. Not a shooter. He was single and took off like a rocket. He calmed down after he got out of the scent stream. Disappointing hunt.

I practice draw my bow every hour or so to stay loose. For some unknown reason, during one of these practice draws my thumb trigger fired. Stuck a brand new Cutthroat broadhead right in a tree and popped the lighted nock out. The tree got to keep the Cutthroat. Dang it. I have no idea what happened. I didn't have the trigger fully locked, it was partially clipped to the D-Loop material or the trigger hit the collar of my jacket. I think the trigger hit my collar with all the clothes I had on. Expensive lesson. Arrow will go to my arrow pile too. I don't trust them after a hard impact. the broadhead was buried all the way to the threads.

I left late morning, pulled SD cards, relocated cameras and then headed to a different farm.


November 15, 2020, Hunt #20, P.M.

The wind was absolutely relentless for two of my three hour sit. Almost called it quits and I was out of the wind a smidge. Glad I didn't. Deer were out feeding which was surprising. First decent buck was tending a doe west of me some distance. He had quite the crown on his head. A challenger appeared in his field. He was wide and equal bodied. They got after it for about two minutes. The challenger eventually won the doe. Awesome experience even though a long ways away. There were deer in the field near me too. My target eventually appeared with that group of deer. He appeared to be with a doe also. About that time a couple of small bucks chased a doe into the timber behind me. The wind was starting to calm down enough that I could grunt at my target and he could hear me. Here he comes. Unfortunately he was coming in downwind. He smelled me and headed back out to the field with his doe. The other two yahoos chased their doe back to the field...or she led them there.

About the same time I can see another huge bodied deer to the west where the battle had occurred. Rack didn't match the body but the challenger who had won before didn't want any part of this stag. Huge body. Deficient rack for the body.

Great night. Surprised the deer were feeding in the wind. The hunt was awesome. It's what we want to see in a rut hunt.


November 14, 2020, Hunt #19, ALL DAY

Long day and very enjoyable. Had multiple mature bucks south of me for a good part of the morning and then shortly after noon. Something was definitely going on. The balance of the afternoon was really slow. All-in-all saw quite a few bucks, not sure if I saw my two targets or not. I don't believe so. Too many trees. I kept expecting something to head my way but the balance of the movement was east-west, not north-south. I needed them to head north.

Fifty degrees is a little bit too warm. Forty to forty-five for high is probably about right.

No real highlights on the day other than a a couple of three year-olds that were close. One was a dandy 6x5 that will hopefully turn into something in two years.

What do most of you do when you have an all day sit? Besides my phone a lot of time is spent trying to decipher why my bow doesn't shoot as well as I want it to. My guess is the operator. 


November 13, 2020, Hunt #18, P.M.

Had high hopes for this hunt. Didn't pan out. Saw deer but no keepers. Wind was totally wonky at my location. It was rotating a good 45 degrees back and forth. Not good. I need a solid southwest wind. I paid for it. Had deer smell me between wind changes. They would stand and wait for another sniff when the wind blew their direction. I hate it when they do that. Get a whiff. Wind changes in my favor. Deer waits. Wind changes to their favor and they get squirrely. Had a fawn bed downwind for an hour. About eight yards. My presence didn't seem to bother her. She is a dink too. Will be surprised if she survives the winter.

Saw a couple of midrange bucks in the distance. They were on a mission. I always wonder if they remember where they left off in the morning and then head back to that spot in the afternoon.

Had a doe go by that looked totally hammered. Walking very slowly. The hair on her back was roughed up and her hocks were almost black. I assume she had just been released by her captor. She was headed for feed early.

Going to give this spot a rest for a few days. No choice. A few does have pegged me. They'll be looking for me now. I'm fairly well hidden in a cedar too.

I have a place in mind that will hopefully put me closer to a sweet spot. I'm constantly adjusting and moving. If the big ones don't show up I don't wait for them I go find them.


November 12, 2020, Hunt #17, P.M.

I found my new new afternoon location with the northwest wind. Again. A location I've always wanted to hang a stand but no desirable trees. I have a new windfall now. The downed tree is loaded with leaves. I sat in front of it to have a good backdrop to blend into. It clearly worked. I had a spike at 3 yards. Yes 3 yards. Never recognized me. I had another couple of deer go by the same spot. Did not recognize me. I could just about touch them with an arrow.

A beefy three year old came chasing a doe right by me under 20. I think I'm going to like this spot at least for this season. I know I can get drawn and release an arrow. Only problem is my new target hasn't gone by my camera near this location. He's big!

Saw quite a few deer headed for feed.

Fun for sure just hoping for a target to go by soon....when I am prepared and ready. Darn cell phones.


November 12, 2020, Hunt #16, A.M.

Same stand different day. Different results. Not near the runnin' and gunnin' this morning as yesterday. Still saw lots of little bucks but no shooters. Deer found their way to bedding quickly. I decided to move sooner and head for deeper cover. I grabbed my stool and headed in.

You all know I like to hunt from the ground. The derecho from this summer was this ground hunter's friend. I have an area that I like hunting but do not have any good trees for tree stands. I have a good tree now but it's laying on the ground. I nestled myself into the windfall and started scrolling through a freshly pulled SD card. Damn it! Caught off guard. Shooter at one o'clock. Under thirty yards. No way to grab my bow or he would have seen me. He passed harmlessly by, under 20, wide-ass open. Never saw me. I think he got downwind when he got by however. I could hear him stomping behind me. Dang it! Missed opportunity. I had a picnic about 11 and then headed back towards the feed.


November 11, 2020, Hunt #15, P.M.

Crawled back into the same tree as the morning hunt. Activity started early. Again, saw lots of bucks, no shooters. A three or four year old 4x4 was tending a doe. Saw a bunch more bucks including a few mid-range bucks. A couple of them passed right by the tree where I hoped but still needed some time. Weather was gorgeous. There was lots of grunting and snort-wheezing tonight.

As I climbed down, I thought the area was clear, it wasn't. I turned to see another buck coming my way. Not a shooter but headed right for the tree.

Runnin' and gunnin' all day long. Gotta love it. It makes the day go fast.


November 11, 2020, Hunt #14, A.M.

Great morning. Perfect weather. Lots of bucks. No shooters. Hunted a stand that I usually only hunt in the evenings. It was a constant parade of one year olds and two year olds. There was a doe being tended by a two year old. She appeared to be exhausted from all the chasing. As soon as the chasing would stop she would fall to the ground and lay there. The whitetail rut is relentless and we don't see most of it.

Activity stopped after 9:30. I crawled down after 11, ate my sandwich and crawled back in at 1. This is why I like hunting the rut so much. Only thing better today would have included a shooter.


November 10, 2020, Hunt #13, P.M.

Punted on the morning hunt due to rain. Hit the tree in the afternoon after the front went through. I was one thermal layer short. Wind-chill was cold. Bucks were chasing does everywhere. Half-a-buck made another appearance. What a shame. He's a dandy even with one antler.

Had a doe come flying under the tree about 10 minutes before quitting time. A few minutes later her wannabe boy friend was bird-dogging out in front of me looking for her. She was a good 200 yards in front of him but he methodically searched for her ground scent staying on her path. Back and forth he went. I gave him a couple of voice grunts as he strolled on by. He stopped both times. Dang I wish he was a shooter. A few minutes later half-a-buck made another appearance on the same trail. This is what hunting the rut in Iowa is all about.

Saw some decent horns back in the timber. Got me all shook up and I started shaking. With the cold and the anticipation my body shook uncontrollably for a few moments. Dang I love this sport. I read an article a year or two ago that constant adrenalin rushes are not good for the body. After 40 years of this I believe the article. My nerves are definitely shot. Staying calm can be a challenge in work and play. In my younger days my body would shake for minutes. Knees would knock, I would hyperventilate, etc. Not so much any more but still get wound up at the site of a shooter. Sight of the prize is one step closer to the goal. Getting them to twenty is difficult.

Tomorrow we continue. Things are getting good.


November 9, 2020, Hunt #12, P.M.

Grabbed a quick bite for lunch and headed for the tree. Wore my rain gear assuming it was going to rain. It did. The short walk in was still a sweaty one. The temperature dropped a bunch. Definite cold front. Deer moved a short time later. Saw more deer than the last few days but not what I expected for the cold front. Two bucks (3-year olds) definitely tending does. No shooters.

Everything I had was wet. I climbed down 15 minutes early. It had been a long day with less than desirable deer sightings for November 9.


November 9, 2020, Hunt #11, A.M.

Went deep again. It was a total dud. Bumped some deer on the way in. There was a little ruckus but it was short-lived. Warm!


November 8, 2020, Hunt #10, P.M.

Way too windy to be a in a tree but I rode it out. One small buck and one fawn. Camera showed me there was good activity under that tree this morning.

Weather should be better the rest of the week.


November 7, 2020, Hunt #9, P.M.

Slow early. Good last 30 minutes. Lots of farm activity today. Saw a decent frame headed my way at quitting time. He was behind a doe. The bow immediately was off the hook. Nice frame, good brows, no G4s. Most likely a four year old. He got a pass. Even though he was focused on the doe he immediately saw me and stared a laser beam right through me. They finally moved off.

Saw a handful of bucks the last 30 minutes. I carry an extra trail camera with me this time of year. A new fresh scrape with a big rub was right behind my tree. Set the camera on my egress.

Warm but a good hunt.


November 6, 2020, Hunt #8, P.M.

Tried something different. Went in at 10:30 plus or minus, hunted a spot I had not been to since March. Deep. Saw three bucks and two does and a couple of people. One buck was a big bastard but he has sheared his right beam off. Much bigger in person than his pictures and I thought he looked big in his pictures. Hopefully he will offer an opportunity in 2021. Weather was hot as we all know but the bucks made an appearance at 3 pm.

Checked a camera. I had forgotten the quality of pictures this Browning camera takes. Top notch. It's a dual lens camera. One for day and one for night.

I will return to this spot. I like it. I can hide with my stool. No need to set a stand plus I don't want to carry one back this far.

So here we go. Ready for the events to escalate. Need to reprioritize, my targets are dropping like flies.


November 1, 2020, Hunt #7, P.M.

Hunted away from feed. Not a good hunt. One doe.


October 31, 2020, Hunt #6, P.M.

Not near as good a hunt as the night before. Plenty of does and fawns feeding, a few small bucks chasing but no older bucks. I am assuming they are with the first does to come into estrous.

Wind was out of the northwest but for some reason I think it was grabbing the terrain of the canyon  I was perched on the rim of and floating down the hill. Had a deer snort literally half the night. Either smelled me or saw me. Whatever it was, it was annoying. At least I assume it was me. Wind should not have been floating its way. Feeding deer didn't pay any attention to her. This time of year the snorting usually results in buck activity but I never saw the snorter or any bucks in the draw. Too much foliage yet.

It was the first time in this tree for the year. Comfortable stand. Just hope it produces an opportunity at a shooter.

Checked one camera. It had a potential target but need a "eyes-on" viewing before a decision is made.


October 30, 2020, Hunt #5, P.M.

Good hunt. Great encounters. Numerous three or four year old bucks. Mature bodies. No top end racks but nice. Snort-wheezing, limited chasing, just roaming and checking. All the bucks were single but looking for love.

I went to a place I had not set foot on this year. Intended to hang a stand for an east wind but didn't get it done. Hunted from my stool. I knew there were scrapes around from past years. Watched a nice three or four year old work a scrape at 30 yards. Set a camera there on my exit. Never had a camera there before.

Good night to be in the woods even though I arrived late.


October 25, 2020, Hunt #4, P.M.

Left for the deer woods early to tighten up a ladder stand I had not been to yet and to check all of my cameras. Ladder complete. Pulled a cell camera that has been intermittent, checked some long overdue cameras and then hunted the last couple of hours of the day. Shooter at 136 yards. Walking around in the field like the herd bull. He's old, big bodied and a bully. I have four seasons of pictures of this buck. He's been a fighter the entire time but never amounted to much in the horn category until this year. Always ends up with a busted up rack at the end of November. My guess is he's at least six years old. He has put on a decent set of antlers this year. He's blind in his right eye. A bully that needs retired. Saw quite a few deer and bucks. Watched a couple of three year olds pawing at each other in the field but never commenced to fighting. The dirt pawing went on for five minutes. Was waiting for the clash but it never happened.

One of my top targets has broken his right beam clean off above the G1. Frustrating. No idea what would even try and take him on. With my luck it's probably a 130 inch six year old.

Checked a camera that hasn't been checked for three weeks. 2755 pictures. Put new batteries in it last time. Forgot to set the date. Darn it! It will be another bit of time before I get back to it. Batteries may be getting low too. My flash was intermittent the last week. Will probably just swap it out with another camera.

I have a Spypoint Link Dark cell camera that has performed very intermittently the last three weeks. Lots of Support Chats with Spypoint. It's frustrating because I have it in a spot that I wanted to minimize foot traffic. Pulled it yesterday. Replaced with conventional camera. This is the process I went through with the cell camera to get it up and running again: 1)replaced the batteries, 2)inserted a Class 10 SD card and formatted it in the camera, 3)pulled the SIM card and re-inserted it, 4)reset to factory defaults, 5)updated settings, 6)turned on and tried to connect to the Verizon network, it seems to be working now. Hope to get it redeployed shortly. I really like this camera but its connectivity is frustrating at times.

Lot's of big bucks shot recently. Should be fun the next three-four weeks. Still hoping for a true top-ender to show up but so far that hasn't happened. Still waiting.


October 10, 2020, Hunt #3, P.M.

Weather was warm and deer movement was good. My tree was exhibiting peak yellow colors and was shedding some sort of nut the deer were interested in. I had multiple deer walk straight to the tree and search the ground for the nuts. You could hear "sniffing" in the knee deep grass below me. The ground scent from my entry to the ladder stand didn't seem to bother any of them. The first deer was a one year old buck and one of the last deer was a three year old 130 inch buck. The rest were does and fawns. It was a very unique hunt.

Checked a couple of cameras on the way out. Decent pictures on one. Nothing special on the other.

Lesson from this hunt is definitely find your favorite nut tree right now.


October 4, 2020, Hunt #2, P.M.

Went back in the woods. Two small bucks, a doe, a fawn and a couple of turkeys. One buck was edgy. Might have heard me climb in the tree. Stand is in a new location. Camera pointed at nearby scrape. Never had a camera at this spot either. Results were positive. Lots of different bucks on the scrape the last couple of weeks. Looks to be a good morning spot with a south wind. Shots will be close. I'm in a little cedar and it moves whenever I move. Will need a windy morning hunt to cover my movements.

Beautiful night again to be in the Iowa deer woods. Can't get enough of these nights. I cherish every opportunity in the stand. 


October 3, 2020, Hunt #1, P.M.

Felt really good to be in the Iowa deer woods with bow in hand. Fresh air! Wind was slight and out of the northeast. Almost calm. Yes, I have a northeast wind stand or two. Too quiet for me but the deer movement was good. Deer were in the field early and paused from feeding to bed down about 45 minutes before dark. Lots of them. Unusual to see all of the bedded deer in the field before sunset. Not sure I've ever seen that. They were definitely relaxed.

Saw a 140 class buck after sunset. Feeding. No rutting behavior. Saw another set of white horns back in the woods about a 100 yards near quitting time. Had a doe and fawn go by the wrong side of my perch. First doe snort of the year. Old nag! I'm sure I will trigger many more.

Beautiful walk out. I'm just happy to get the opportunity to be out. The older I get the more I cherish opening day and my first day in the Iowa deer woods. Always take the opportunity to embrace the outdoors and enjoy the experience.


September 20, 2020

Youth season started yesterday. October 1 is closing in for us Iowa bowhunters. Purchased my licenses on-line a couple of days ago. Waiting for the hard copies. 

I've been spending most of my free time on archery equipment when not at work. The Hoyt Axius Ultra is a silky smooth bow but it's a heavy sucker, at least for me.

Have a few stands ready to go. Put one up yesterday in a new spot. Hard work by myself. Takes a while. Have been deploying cameras one or two at a time. Still have plenty to go. Trying to avoid human scent this year especially with the dry conditions.

Have captured a couple of shooters on camera. Nothing huge but definitely mature (5+) and decent. With the weather this year and the current rotation of crops, things are significantly different. My cameras have been slow except for the cold-front week when it rained. Lots of pictures that week. Still waiting on some of the bigger ones from last year to show up on camera. Many have not. I assume they are dead or relocated for this year. Time will tell.

Have you checked if your preferred meat locker is taking deer this year? I sure hope they are. I'm not setup to process at home. Used to be but not anymore.

We all want 2020 to be over but also want our deer season to last. Be safe, stay healthy and enjoy the deer woods.


August 8, 2020

So where the heck have I been? Work and in the bow cave. Have been doing lots of tinkering with my new Hoyt Axius Ultra. The bow's draw cycle is smooth as glass. Best ever I can remember. The darn bow likes a low D-Loop/high rest for some reason. I assume shooting style but honestly do not know. I set the rest level/arrow 90 and am moving forward...high tear or not. I get a bullet hole at 5 feet but a one inch plus high tear at 15 feet. Frustrating.

Been sharpening my new 125 grain Cutthroat single bevel broadheads with my new KME broadhead sharpening kit. It works OK but I can't match the blade angle so needed to sharpen the bevel to a new angle. Also been shooting the new Cutthroats on my 300 spine Nockon Easton Axis Match Grade

Just about ready to deploy my cameras. I've had a couple of cell cameras running all summer but I don't have any soybeans close. No regular, antlered visitors to my cameras. The buck on the front page has posed for me 5 seasons now. I guessed him at 3 when I captured his picture the first time. He hasn't amounted to much in the rack category.

I've picked up a few deer heads from my taxidermists the last few months. The 2019 buck grossed around 152 when I scored him. Dyaln at DK Custom Taxidermy sent the teeth/tooth/jaw in for aging. Buck was aged at 6.5 years. A 6.5 year old 150? I'll take it. Definitely deer management goals. One deer head left. Maybe soon.

Timing on everything is behind this year. Way behind. I need to deploy some stands soon or just hunt from the ground. I'm OK with that.


May 2, 2020

Added a cell camera to the inventory last week. Will be interesting to see if trail camera manufacturers stay in China. Cheap labor, I get it, but I think a change is warranted. Heard one manufacturer has already vacated China to a different country.

Would like to see more cameras built in the USA. If all of Reconyx parts are built and cameras assembled in the USA I would think their future would be bright. It's still amazing to me that some people don't care where a product is made even after the last 8 weeks of mess and stress. I've been online shopping for a couple of archery things recently. I go straight to the product description to confirm it was Made in the USA. Made and assembled in the USA are similar but not the same. It's up to you if Made in the USA is important. Don't rain on my parade if I feel that it is. Keep your opinion to yourself.

With all of this uncertainty I shortened my heavy arrow project. Arrows fly well. Bare shaft tuning seems to have worked as well as I can get it. I currently have Easton 5 mm Axis Pro Grade arrows weighing about 565 grains (1 grain = 0.0648 grams). I have 200 grains on the front end (75 grain brass insert, 125 grain point). I am 14-15% FOC range when I test balance. Was hoping for 15%+ but couldn't get there with the arrow length. Last thing I plan to do before fall is purchase some 125 grain single bevel broadheads. Setup should work well on a bull-shouldered Iowa whitetail.

Stay healthy out there. Make sure you are ready to hunt in November. 


February 9, 2020

Took down four treestand sets yesterday. That was work. Looked for a few sheds. Found one. Still plenty of crunchy snow in the timber. Crunchy snow makes it hard walking and the snow cover makes it tough to easily see a shed antler. Checked some south facing slopes but 50% snow covered in my area yet. The cell cameras haven't been sending many buck pictures as of late. They've moved to better winter food areas.

Watched a lot of ATA videos the last month. Lots of new products especially cell camera stuff. If you are in the market, I sure would checkout some of the new products before buying old, new stock.

Have been in the basement a lot the last month getting a bunch of shooting reps. Using the Silverback, back tension release for most of the reps. I installed the sight plate 'recall' on my RX3 Ultra. Just about had a disaster when the torx screw stripped. Had to break out the drill. Got it out.

Looking to go heavier with my arrow setup this year. Ordered some new 300 spine arrows yesterday. Not sure what the final weight will be, just know it will be quite a bit heavier. Also looking at some heavy duty fixed blade broadheads.  Single bevel possibly. Lots of options out there.

Shot the new Hoyt Axius Ultra last weekend....for the second time. Draw was smooth as glass. Not sure I should have shot that bow? Credit card might get some major damage in the next month or so.

Have been looking at replacing my Pure 75 MBG sight on the RX3 due to weight. It's heavier than I want due to the having all the cool micro adjust tools. Will most likely stay with the MBG as they are built very well and the pins are quite bright. Would still like to maintain the 3rd axis adjustability but probably going to punt on micro adjust to try and drop one to two ounces of weight. It doesn't sound like much but seems to make a difference.

Lots of equipment related stuff going on right now. One new toy is the Ridgetec cell camera. This camera is a picture taking machine and the batteries seem to be in great shape which can be a problem for cell cameras. So far, so good. Pixilated day photos seems to be an issue but not a deal breaker.

Some nice bucks survived the January 10 date but nothing that was exceptional in 2019. Will need to see what 2020 brings. Always dreaming of a buck of a lifetime but reality is there just are not many exceptional bucks around.


2019 Deer Blog



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