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January 10, 2023, Hunt #47, P.M.

Absolutely covered up with deer, 360, for three hours. I can't pick 'em any better than that. No shooters. Too quiet to go through the bow drawing contortions anyway. Great hunt.

First doe groups came from behind me early. For some reason they insisted on going downwind of my creaky stand. One of the next deer behind me saw me first. I know this because I heard the tell-tale signs of a hoof stomping on the ground. I'm all-to familiar with that sound. Dang it! The less I moved the more nervous they became. Eventually I got tired of the game and moved more. For some reason that seemed to calm 'some' of them down. Others just snorted and lit the forest on fire.

Deer coming and going. Just three bucks all night. Pitiful. I'm going to pretend the muzzle loader shot I heard wasn't on my side of the fence. No doubt in my mind it was. It seems like this is a regular occurrence around the 9th or 10th of January. Heard it before, in the same spot each year. Pushing the limits. I know exactly where it is at too but too far away for me to do anything about it.

Shortly after sunset I had a doe downwind at 30 yards just snorting to her heart's content. I had enough so I grabbed my grunt call, pointed it at her and let it rip. She turned around and walked off. Weird. Same time a two year old buck came running out of the field to my direction. He was looking for action. I turned to the north and another two year old was looking my direction. I probably should have been rattling and calling all night. Par for the course. This season didn't come anywhere close to meeting my expectations. I'm blaming it on the dry year. Come July, I hope antler growth is much better than 2022.

There was a beautiful sunset tonight. Sky was fire red in my area of the world.

Queue Dandy Don. I need a nap.

 --GP out.


January 8, 2023, Hunt #46, P.M.

Nice night. Went to a new spot. First doe and fawn went by right where I wanted them to. Twenty five yard shot and I'm well hid in a group of cedars. They had no clue I was there on my Northern Flights stool. The next group always has to be swimming upstream. They came from down wind. Why don't they just leave? They hang around for an hour and ruin the whole night. Uffdah!

Only deer with horns was a little buck. When he arrived he was put on edge by the other yahoos hanging around down wind. I couldn't see them but I'm sure they had their iPhones out trying to get video of the stinky person. I eventually heard some snorting way back in the timber but they definitely put all the other deer on edge and ruined the night. Almost impossible to hunt a spot without some old nag getting down wind. Does are definitely king of the deer woods.

 --GP out.


January 7, 2023, Hunt #45, P.M.

Been shooting the bow all week. Seems good to go. Even practiced the let down a few times. No issues.

Beautiful night. On the cool side. Same wind as the fiasco night except it had a little more north in it. Went back to the same spot. Only issue was it was way too quiet for my planned twenty five yard shot and my ladder stand did not care if it was quiet. Way too much noise even though it was slight. Why is the steel on the platforms so cheap? It doesn't matter if your a small person or a full figured guy like me it is going to make noise. Might be some off-season retrofitting with heavier duty steel to get rid of the noise.

Case-in-point. Had four bald deer twenty five yards southeast of me. Any slight movement of my foot created a very slight noise from the stand. She instantly went on alert and I mean a very minor noise. She finally got down wind, turned inside-out and the crew went back out to the field.

Lots of deer on the field on my walk in. Even bucks were out, though I didn't see any shooters. Must be quiet in this field all week. With all the deer I'm seeing, there should be multiple older deer in the group. The field is very remote.  The age structure is very disappointing. Not sure why. No extraordinary deer on this farm the last two seasons. The shooter I'm after is anything but extraordinary but he is older. Farm is too big for one deer to rule the roost. Not sure I believe in the whole bully buck thing either. I believe the older, bigger bodied deer are the boss but there are way too many does for one mature buck to manage.

There's something else afoot with the poor age structure and I know for sure it isn't me shooting too many deer or subordinate deer the last few years. They have a large area of sanctuary too. Just don't know. Frustrating. Wish Iowa would go to a one buck state or at least earn your second buck with some doe harvest.

Saw lots of deer and got a little cold after the three hour sit. My toes needed some walking to warm back up.

 --GP out.


January 1, 2023, Hunt #44.1, P.M.

What a night. Hoped for a northeast wind. Got it. Hoped for nice weather. Got it. Hoped deer would feed where I wanted them to. They were. They were feeding when I arrived. Booted them back in the timber. Wanted to hunt a fresh stand. Had it.

Got settled into the stand. Figured I should practice draw. I did. Began to let down. Arrow falls to the ground below. WTF! During the let down process the bow derailed! eF! These new Hoyts have a very deep valley and it is hard to get them to let down. It's like you have to push the string. I'm sure I torqued the darn bow when letting it down. Only conclusion. Cam wasn't in line with the string. At least it didn't blow apart. Top of the string got wedged between the cam and the limb but I didn't see any major string damage. The serving saved least it appears to have saved me so far.

Well, no way in hell I'm sitting here and have a shooter walk by with a gimped up bow. I left. Five minutes in the stand! I made the walk of shame back to the truck. Got home. Headed for the bow press. Restrung the bow. As I'm checking strings, cams, limbs, spacers, e-clips and test firing to make sure it will function correctly, I get a notification from the Browning Pro Scout by my stand. Guess who walked by at 4:25? Target buck. Go figure. Can't make this up.

The bow has been test fired. Paper checked, etc. Only issue was a rotated peep after reattaching the string. Got the peep close to normal. Back in the game for now....I hope. Sure hope that fiasco isn't an omen to what 2023 is going to be like? Never derailed a bow, EVER, in over 30 years of shooting compounds. I have now. Might need to take a practice arrow or be awfully darn careful when letting the RX7 down.

 --GP out.


December 31, 2022, Hunt #44, P.M.

Been a while. First it was shotgun one and two. Then it was cold weather and work. Then lots of Christmas and family events. Then work again. I was finally able to sit in a stand. Cameras have been quite disappointing (they do have good days) but I don't have any destination food sources to hunt near. There's almost a week between buck pictures on the one farm. #1 has vanished. Bucks have mainly headed for high quality grain plots which I know are in the area but not close enough for me to have any hunting strategies.

My hunt was good. Cameras had a buck go by in the morning that I would shoot. He's really old. I sit in a location with lots of perennial trails heading for feed. It's a crap shoot as to which one they choose. They picked a different one than what I was hunting last night. About eighty yards away. Saw quite a few deer but no shooters. Not sure where they were headed because the feed is very limited in the direction they were going.

My drive in was cut short due to drifts. An extra couple hundred yards of walking. No big deal, just one of the challenges of late season bow hunting.

My entertainment for the late afternoon hunt was a redheaded wood pecker harassing a squirrel. No idea what the beef was all about but it was persistent. The squirrel was eating walnuts and simply doing what squirrels do. The bird was annoying after fifteen minutes of dive bombing and cackling or whatever it's called. GEESH! Take a powder Karen! Maybe it was because he wasn't wearing his mask.

Any hunt is good when you don't have to fight weather extremes and you see deer. It leads to a happy hunter.....HOWEVER, I would like like to see an Iron Will tipped Easton blow through the shoulder of a mature one fifty. Is that too much to ask?

 --GP out.


November 27, 2022, Hunt #43, P.M.

Perfect wind for one of my favorite stands, NNW. Deer came out early and boy did they come out. Hammering the food. I was hunting a spot that my summer scouting showed a couple of regular shooters and my last close encounter with #1 buck. I was hoping by now one of the two summer bucks would return home. No such luck. I was sending my telepathic vibes to the big eight...wherever he walk by my stand. Instead I had two dandy looking three year olds go by right in the sweet spot. Fantastic hunt but again no shooters. Still with does I suppose or buried deep somewhere recuperating.

The sky was full of color on the walk out with turbine lights adding to the view. Beautiful weather, great hunt.

I'm trying some heated insoles as a first step (literally) to staying a little bit warmer during the cold hunts. They were comfortable enough for the half mile walk in and out. The remote control works when the insoles are in the boots. Low is just enough heat to know they are on. Didn't really need them tonight but it was a first test drive....or test walk and hunt. So far so good. Expensive rascals.

 --GP out.


November 27, 2022, Hunt #42, A.M.

Arrived early. Dark. Didn't get in real clean. Had a deer snorting at me. When it was light enough to see there was a fawn feeding in that location.

Went to a spot I usually always see bucks and have the opportunity for close encounters. Boy did I see the bucks. No close encounters. No shooters. No urgency but they were constantly checking the does. Had one doe and twin group come close. One of the fawns just ran off to the side and collapsed. She was pooped. She got about two minutes of rest and a small buck booted her from her rest. Great hunt. Lots of deer.

 --GP out.


November 26, 2022, Hunt #41, P.M.

Went to the other farm. Been getting consistent buck pictures. Two small bucks were kind of hanging out about one hundred fifty yards away. That's always been a signal to me during November that an estrous doe might be close and bedded with a more dominant buck. Didn't see anything. The two small bucks eventually worked their way towards feed. Had a wad of does and fawns and a small buck show up about sunset time on this cloudy evening. Doe knew I was in the barren tree but eventually moved off towards the feed. It was darn quiet tonight.

Saw a buck behind me that looked decent but light was fading fast. Couldn't get a good look. I grunted and wheezed at him. He looked but continued towards the feed. I turned back around and a shooter was in the CRP. Hundred and fifty yards. He was definitely tending a doe but I couldn't see her. He was in the same area the little bucks were lurking. I should have glassed harder with my binos. Might have seen his rack while he was bedded. Couldn't have been too far from the little bucks. Light seemed to fade fast tonight. Most of the action was just prior to quitting time. Great hunt but all compacted into about fifteen minutes.

 --GP out.


November 26, 2022, Hunt #40, A.M.

Got in pretty clean but the hunt didn't produce any horns. Had a coyote go by but turned at the last minute and went to my right at ten yards. No shot. Had a doe and fawn follow his path at the tree. They were definitely looking for the scent leaver. Got spooky. Turned around and left. Had another doe and fawn get downwind. Doe could smell me. She didn't snort but she wouldn't leave either so I 'wind checked' her with my Dead Down Wind wind checking powder. That got her rolling. Snorted her ass all the way to the east. That was funny. Old Nag. 

 --GP out.


November 25, 2022, Hunt #39, A.M.

Short hunt. Another family dinner today. Went to a new spot trying to lay eyes on a shooter. No go. Two fawns and a coyote sneaking up behind me. Quiet. Heard footsteps in the dark but otherwise very uneventful morning. Beautiful weather.

 --GP out.


November 24, 2022, Hunt #38, A.M.

Saw #1A this morning and #1B passed by one of my cameras last night. He's been gone for a while. Figured he was dead. Big boy was tending a doe way out in a field. Could see his rack with the naked eye at my range finder distance of five hundred yards. The eight power binos told me it was him. Dang. He might be bigger than I think. Huge body. I never saw the doe but there were two small bucks lurking and big boy's body language told the story. They must have been right at his tolerance distance for being in the area. He disappeared over the hill and the two subordinate bucks headed away to check other doe groups....I assume. Had some doe groups in my area and one small buck giving chase to a doe. That was before the fog rolled in. It got so foggy max sight distance was maybe two hundred yards. Left early for a family gathering. Fog cleared out as I was walking out. Good feeling knowing they are still in the area. Wish I could figure out the best hunt strategy for either one. Putting in time doesn't seem to cut-it with these two. Satisfying hunt.

 --GP out.


November 23, 2022, Hunt #37, P.M.

Good night. Saw lots of deer but farm activity cleared the field. Wind had an easterly component to it so I moved a little further west of my stand and sat on my stool. At one point I thought I heard rattling. If it wasn't rattling, there was definitely deep tone in the clashing of the horns. Had a buck I know well show up later. I assume he was one of the fighters but he wasn't with a doe. That has me wondering who is with the doe?

Almost got a shot! Had the single buck at about thirty five yards. He came to see what all the ruckus was after the field cleared. I've passed him once but historical trail photo research leads me to believe he may be nine years old. Do not know for sure. My bad. Need to be more detailed in my research. No world beater for a rack but definitely worthy at nine years old. All the deer moseyed over the hill headed for feed. Great encounter.

 --GP out.


November 23, 2022, Hunt #36, A.M.

Dud but the weather was comfortable and the turkeys were gobbling.

Deer = 5. Bucks = 0.

 --GP out.


November 20, 2022, Hunt #35, P.M.

Again, went deep woods out of the wind. Almost balmy today. What a nice change. Saw four bucks right off the bat. Must have been an estrous doe close. Two one year olds, a two year old and a three year old. Dead after that until 4:30 then two more dinks and a doe and a fawn. No clue I was in my low stand just eighteen yards from their path but way to quiet now to get a shot off. Great start, disappointing ending.

 --GP out.


November 20, 2022, Hunt #34, A.M.

High risk hunt. Went to the area I have seen #1 the most. Into the lair. No sign of him. Probably spooked him on the way in. Saw two small bucks and a bunch of does and fawns. Backed myself into a pile of tree trash and thorny bushes. Lots of trimming in the dark. Saw three deer came from behind me in the low light on a secondary ridge. About fifty yards. Third deer was a buck for sure but 15 minutes before I could see decently. I was out of most of the south wind. It was howling when I got out in the open. Good grief. No wonder the deer were in this draw protected from the south wind.

 --GP out.


November 19, 2022, Hunt #33, P.M.

Got the call on Thursday we all wait patiently for: "Your deer is ready for pickup". As always, Raccoon Valley Taxidermy did a wonderful job. That puts a wrap on the 2021 season. Picked him up Saturday morning. Too cold for me to hunt anyway. You can follow Matt on Instagram. His work is excellent in my opinion.

Rushed home for the evening hunt. Decided to hunt from a recon position but with the possibility of a shot. I was twenty yards from a scrape that #1 uses but I only get pictures after dark. He was close at 4:30 this morning but who knows what transpired the last twelve hours. I wanted to see where the shooters were coming to feed. No shooters before dark but plenty of deer on the field with some doe harassing by a couple of bucks. I'm assuming the dominant bucks are  still in lockdown phase or recuperation phase. Either way the same effect. No sightings.

 --GP out.


November 17, 2022, Hunt #32, P.M.

Fresh stand. Specifically setup for strong northwest winds like today. Have not hunted it yet because the camera hasn't given me a reason to. In past years it's been dependable with regular shooter pix. Not this year. I did move the camera to a different spot this year which is closer to the deer trail. My observations of deer movement tonight lead me believe the deer are avoiding the camera. Go figure. Wonder how many times I should have been hunting this spot?

Saw one small buck and one buck tending/chasing a doe back in the trees. I pulled the camera. It's been there since September. Will be more careful in the future with camera placement. Even if the distance is greater. Will have to make it work. Wind not a factor at all staying warm at this location but it does swirl more than I like. Will need to 'send it' before a buck gets too wonky.

 --GP out.


November 17, 2022, Hunt #31, A.M.

Locked down tight. Not a horn. Went to a new area mainly to see some new terrain and get out of the wind. The location usually holds deer with west and northwest winds like today. Does and fawns only.

 --GP out.


November 16, 2022, Hunt #30, P.M.

Went back to the stand this time. Knew the wind was going to pummel me. It did. So many clothes. Wind chill is brutal. I didn't expect #1 and his doe to come from where they ran but I thought I might see them in the field. No go. Saw other deer and small bucks feeding in the 20 mph northwest wind. Some chasing. Wind didn't seem to bother them.

What's the definition of insanity? Time for a change but not sure what. What I'm doing isn't working. Need to be tighter in the evenings. The evening hunts have been limited when it comes to shooter sightings. To top this evening off I dropped one of my boot blankest on the trip out and didn't know it until I got back to the truck. Fortunately I could drive back and found it halfway back.

What a cluster!

 --GP out.


November 16, 2022, Hunt #29, A.M.

Well I screwed up! Uffdah! Being tired will cause questionable decisions and this relentless wind is testing my fortitude. I want to be in #1's zone. To do that it's about a half mile walk (plenty for an old guy) and the stand just get's pummeled by a northwest wind but the stand requires it and that's where he hangs out. I have had deer pass on both sides of the darn thing too. So, I took my stool and decided to ground hunt. I've been eyeballing a group of trees about fifty yards east of my ladder. I got settled after some pruning shear work. Shortly thereafter a doe and fawn came by upwind. Perfect. I was well hid with good backdrop. The doe and fawn passed and went on their way. I'm on the edge of some very thick stuff. At least in my opinion it's thick. Multi-flora and honey suckle. About fifteen minutes later a doe came running in the trees and paused north of me. Not far behind her was #1. As bucks do this time of year, he stopped on the downwind side. No shot he's a good sixty. BUT! They passed right on the upwind side of the tree stand. Right through the sweet spot. Only challenge would have been to get him to stop and he was half throttle after his girl. Not sure that would have happened.

She turned to head back from where she least I thought. Nope. She's coming right up the hill to my right and that's bad. Right through the thick crap. No way I can shoot. Definitely going to get winded. Would have happened in the stand too. Screwed either way. At five yards (in the jungle) she saw me and headed north. He was about thirty yards downwind in the thick stuff and definitely winded me. Damn it! Extremely discouraged. This weather is brutal and that just topped it off.

He's a bull.

I need a nap.

 --GP out.


November 15, 2022, Hunt #28, P.M.

Ate lunch in my truck, tried to get some of my stuff dried out and headed for the tree at one. I'm part way up the tree and saw a buck frantically searching for his lost doe like a bird dog on a pheasant. Fun to watch.

I finally got settled and saw him again at fifty yards. Quick glimpse. No idea if he found his doe or not. He was a shooter. That got my hopes up for the rest of the four hours. I saw dinks chasing does, a midrange buck tending a doe, multiple small bucks that tried to get in on his action but no shooters again. They are locked down tight.

I got down about ten minutes early. Eight hours of cold and constant snow flurries did me in.

Man I like heated seats.

 --GP out.


November 15, 2022, Hunt #27, A.M.

Many say that November 15 is the peak of the rut in Iowa. I saw more outright chasing and does full on running than any day yet. Does were doing all they could to get away but the dink bucks just were not going to let that happen.

Went deep woods today with my stool. Had not hunted this spot in three to four years. It had always been a good morning spot with a northwest wind in the past. With the snow and cold I felt that would be the best idea. Shortly after getting settled had a nice 140ish 5x4 go by at about 45 yards. Single and cruising. Looked to be three years old.

You could really see back in the timber with an inch of snow on the forest floor. Saw lots of deer running. Had a dink do that low head, long necking, high stepping thing to a fawn at four to five yards from my ground position. That was fun. I guess they couldn't believe a human would be by that multi-trunk pin oak on a day like today. He was.

after four hours I had enough of the cold and my stuff was wet from the light snow that persisted most of the morning. Saw quite a few deer but no shooters.

 --GP out.


November 14, 2022, Hunt #26, P.M.

High expectations. Hoped to get a closer look at the wide buck. Saw some dinks right off the bat and a ruckus that was caused by a little buck chasing a doe. Later had a half-a-forky come blasting by chasing a doe. Deer started to trickle by the last hour or so heading for feed. A few bucks but nothing special. I did a poor job checking the wind. It was good when I arrived but rotated from the southwest to northwest before I left. That caused me problems. My bad for not checking.

I'm not tight enough to the action. Too much floating around on the fringes. Need to get in tighter. Easier said than done.

 --GP out.


November 14, 2022, Hunt #25, A.M.

Better start to this day than yesterday. Got in clean. No challenges with getting in the stand. Saw deer moving once it got light. Saw decent bodied buck out in the field chasing a doe. About a half hour later saw the big bodied eight about 150 yards north of me tending a doe. He's nice. No high scorer but he's definitely the dominant critter on this farm. He tops the shoot-at list. Watched him and his doe for quite a while then they disappeared. A short while later, they reappeared about fifty yards closer. While watching the big eight I heard a noise and just to west was a half a buck. he's a nice buck but he's missing a beam and even if he was all put together I'm not sure he's a shooter. Straight downwind and he did not acknowledge me as he passed by at ten yards. Dang wind was rotating on me and began to blow at the big eight so I exited. Good hunt.

 --GP out.


November 13, 2022, Hunt #24, P.M.

Had high hopes for the evening. Had a good midday nap. Got in the stand clean. No major fiascos other than the wind being very finicky. Saw a few bucks. Bucks in the field were scent checking anything with a pulse but no shooters. A couple of bucks have been AWAL (Away With A Lady) the last several days. Nothing on camera. They must be buried deep in the timber or in the wide open somewhere but not by me or my cameras.

Hoping for that one shooter that finally breaks free and goes on a cruising mission.

 --GP out.


November 13, 2022, Hunt #23, A.M.

This morning was a cluster. I was late. My bow rope was wrapped around a little limb. Putting on my bino harness was like trying to put on a safety harness for the first time. My stand made unwanted noises. You would have thought it was my first rodeo. I almost came unwound. After getting settled I decided to try this deer hunting thing.

Saw a few bucks but not really urgency. Does were feeding and bucks were scent checking. No shooters. Saw a wad of turkeys and three coyotes on the prowl.

 --GP out.


November 12, 2022, Hunt #22, P.M.

Had a midday siesta and headed to the stand full of renewed energy. The afternoon started off well with does, fawns and a spike heading for feed earlier than normal. High expectations. Looked up on the hill some distance away and saw a buck. Wow! He's wide. Wish I could have gotten a better look but all I could tell is that he appeared to have exceptional width, well beyond normal. It didn't appear there were a bunch of tines, maybe a 4x4. Rattled and grunted. He heard me but did not close the distance. I assume he was with a doe but did not see her. Would definitely like a close look at this new buck if he is wide. I like surprise bucks especially when they are big surprise bucks.

I was ready to launch an arrow but the night ended in a fizzle.

 --GP out.


November 12, 2022, Hunt #21, A.M.

Got to the stand fairly clean. Shortly after daylight deer started coming to feed and deer continued to feed until my quitting time after about three hours. Cold. The deer appear to be on a feeding binge with the cold weather. Deer would feed a while, head to the timber then come back out after 15-30 minutes. Saw a few small bucks but they appeared to mainly be a feeding mode. They did scent check does and bristle a little when another buck subordinate them was around but in general a pretty subdued morning. Changed batteries in a camera and deployed another one on the egress.

 --GP out.


November 11, 2022, Hunt #20, P.M.

Tough decision. How long can I stand this cold and the wind chill and be in the stand at prime time? I was hoping for three hours. I loaded up my pack with boot blankets and my thick vest. Popped open another Mega warmer and made the half mile trek. I put all the stuff on at the base of the ladder. Man did it suck climbing with those damn boot blankets on. But they kept my feet warm. All night. I nestled against the tree in a semi fetal position trying to stay warm in the northwest wind.

I hunted the edge of a field and I hate hunting the edges of fields. Boring. The deer came out early and often. Lots of spiked and small bucks, scent checking does and fighting. One spike was built better than the rest. He came charging into the field, found the closest other spike and let her rip. They banged heads for about five seconds. He won that little event and then went on to the next one. This spike fight lasted about ten seconds. Awesome. They almost got a running start at one another. All out tussle. The does were totally annoyed by this bristled up trouble maker but its enjoyable for me. The does were hammering down the food. Rarely lifting their heads. this fact and the wind helped me get away with a lot of movement as I rubber necked trying to keep track of everything going on. Multiple other bucks entered the field, each one checking does, cutting one from the herd and then giving chase. Biggest buck might have been 130 the rest were small. None of the shooters showed.

Great day to be in the Iowa rut woods. Fun to watch. I see something new every year.

 --GP out.


November 11, 2022, Hunt #19, A.M.

Dang it's cold. I am totally wind burnt. My goal was to make it three hours and I did. Thank goodness for boot blankets and Mega hand warmers. The boot blankets are old and very bulky but they keep my feet warm. I just strap them to my backpack and put them on when I arrive at my destination.

Today was what I expect from the Iowa whitetail rut. Bucks roaming everywhere. Bucks chasing does. Bigger bucks snort wheezing at little bucks. Little bucks getting in on the chase. Walk offs. Does on the alert for the next pesky horny horned rascal that's going to harass them. You name it, I saw it. But no shooters. Spent the balance of the late morning procuring cameras from deep woods and rel9ocating them for the last semblance of an inventory and narrowing of trails for a shooter.

Great day to be in the woods except for the cold wind. Definitely a wind chill today.

 --GP out.


November 10, 2022, Hunt #18, P.M.

Been waiting for a northwest wind for a while but wasn't going to sit up in the air with today's wind. Elected to hunt on my stool and observe a deep draw. Saw lots of deer from noon on including a few dinks. About one thirty everything became quiet. Activity picked up about four again. Bucks were definitely in rut mode. Did not see a shooter until I was packing my stuff up leave. He was grunting behind a doe way back in the timber. Typical. I set there for five hours and he decides to show up when I am ready to leave. Zig and zag. It's fun but also frustrating.

 --GP out.


November 10, 2022, Hunt #17, A.M.

Went to a fresh stand setup for strong winds out of the south. Especially mornings. I knew the front was coming so assumed this would be a three or four hour hunt at most as the wind rotated around. The front hit my location at nine straight up. Wow! Temperature instantly dropped. BRRR!

Saw a dink buck and a three year old and few does and fawns. Disappointing. Not sure if the buck are skirting my camera or not. They might be and I haven't set foot in this location in over a month and that was for stand deployment. Something has definitely changed from last year when shooter bucks were regulars during this calendar time frame.

I do believe deer get camera shy and will adjust their routes so I also adjust accordingly. Got down about ten o'clock due to wind direction and headed for the truck.

 --GP out.


November 9, 2022, Hunt #16, P.M.

The afternoon hunt started off slow. I know I'm tired when I forget things back at the truck after starting my trek to the stand.

The last hour things really picked up. Finally I guessed right on an afternoon hunt. I saw more dink bucks than my total of all hunts to this date. I've never seen so many spiked bucks. They came from everywhere. I had been wondering why I wasn't seeing many one year old bucks. Tonight made up for it. One after the other as they followed the does and fawns to the feed. Upwind. Downwind. Some got nervous when downwind but most continued on their way. Nothing spooked enough to ruin my hunt.

Finally at last light I saw something decent back in the trees. You know it's decent when you see plenty of beam between tree branches. He finally strolled by at about thirty five yards in the low light but the eight power binos gave me a decent look. Dang, if he was at twenty yards I probably would have shot. He's a buck from last year I saw alot. I wondered why he had not shown up yet. He had a busted up rack last year. He was definitely a fighter and looks like a linebacker this year. Beams appeared to have real good mass. A definite candidate. Need a better look in more light. He looked ready for business but very cautious. Finally, a great afternoon hunt.

 --GP out.


November 9, 2022, Hunt #15, A.M.

Very, very slow. Saw a couple of small bucks roaming and a couple of does and fawns. One doe looked tired and bedded somewhere in the brush about 40 yards away. She walked into it and vanished. The best part of the hunt was watching and listening to the rest of nature do its thing. I heard a tom turkey gobble, watched a bald eagle perched on a limb for over a half hour observing its kingdom, listened to numerous birds chirping, listened to squirrels barking at some sort of danger and of course the unmistakable sound of metal banging a half mile upwind from a farmer doing his daily chores. Later, as I sat in my truck and ate my lunch and listened to election results I watched a big, dark colored hawk (I don't think it was an immature baldy) dive bomb numerous times in the alfalfa field trying to capture it's own lunch. It never popped back up after its third attempt. I assume it was successful.

 --GP out.


November 8, 2022, Hunt #14, P.M.

Went to a different farm to a place I hadn't hunted for a few years. Good for east winds. Wanted to check a camera. After the tough walk and arrival, I pulled the card. Scrolled through it while sitting on my stool. What a bust! What the heck is going on. this camera is always good for some decent buck pictures during the rut. Horrible card pull. Horrible hunt. two fawns by me. One mature looking deficient racked buck to the east of me a hundred-fifty yards. That was a wasted effort on my part. Check that location off the list.

 --GP out.


November 8, 2022, Hunt #13, A.M.

Started off super slow. Ghost town. First buck was a decent 4x4 north of me hot on the trail of a doe. Got to fifty. She turned back north and took him to deep woods again. Thought I heard a snort-wheeze later but it was windy. Then I saw the big bodied eight down below me in a draw and the other eight with his doe. The morning had started out slow but finally turned into some action. The first eight chased his doe by me. new deer I had not seen before. Good grief! He has 12-inch brow tines. For real. Things eventually quieted down. I headed home to vote late morning.

 --GP out.


November 7, 2022, Hunt #12, ALL DAY

These all day sits are not panning out. Something is significantly different from last year on these farms. Best I can tell, population is way down. Action is very subdued. No chasing at all. Sat in a morning stand tailor made for a wind with an easterly component. The stand is a new ladder my daughter and son-in-law helped me deploy. It almost worked to perfection. Need to hire better help and cut a few more limbs next time.

Saw a buck way in the distance. Good frame is all I could tell. He was single. Cruising. Running cross-wind. Wind checking. As he got closer I could see he was the target for this morning. Quick look. All tines in place. Check. At seventy yards he turned into the wind and headed down a canyon I leave for sanctuary. Dang it! A couple of soft grunts and he turned and headed my way. Looked for the grunting buck but did not see a deer. Turned back into the wind. This time I wheezed and grunted. He turned again. This time he's coming. He stopped at thirty, behind a big limb, and facing towards me. Bow in hand. Silverback hooked up. I'm shaking like a leaf. Arrow banking around in the Hamskea Epsilon rest. I do have the bow shelf and riser lined with mole skin so it was a quiet rattle. Again he looked intently for the grunter. He turned back to the canyon, I gave him one last grunt but it was too much for him. I should have let him walk. He picked up the pace a smidge and headed into the canyon. Not spooked but definitely knew something wasn't right. I saw him scent checking a deer later about 80 yards into the canyon. Good. Not spooked.

Saw a few small bucks back in the timber but in general the all day sit was slow. Deer came out late to feed. Damn full moon. Close!

 --GP out.


November 6, 2022, Hunt #11, ALL DAY

Another good morning hunt and equally bad afternoon hunt. Stayed put all day. Had two bucks tending does. One east and one west. Both eights. The buck to the west is an old deer. Four years of pictures of this buck but he has a deficient rack. Upper 30s. The buck to east stayed put for a long time. He was around 110 yards. No wonder they call it lockdown. I don't know how these deer lose weight. They don't move for hours on end. And when they do move it's usually a slow walk downwind of the doe. He is a beast of an eight. He moved up on the shoot-at list. I lost track of them after my tree lunch. They were in heavy cover and lots of stuff between me and them.

Seen a few success photos the last couple of does. Brutes! What a beautiful day to be in the deer woods.

 --GP out.


November 5, 2022, Hunt #10, ALL DAY

Started off on fire! Fifteen minutes after getting settled in deep cover I had a dandy buck at 20 yards. Solid 150. Mature. He was cruising with nose to ground. Hard pass. About forty-five minutes later I saw a shooter back in the woods. I think he saw me too. He turned, put his nose to the ground and took off after his doe. Had numerous deer bedded within 100 yards for a good portion of the morning. Saw a little action around noon. Afternoon was quiet. Does started heading to feed around 5:15. After an all day sit I usually leave early especially when deep in the woods. Pulled a camera card on the way out. Great hunt!

My first morning hunts of the year are always a cluster. You would think after doing this for so many years it would get better. Not this morning. Too much stuff and I didn't know which clothes to wear. Got a little cold late morning so I threw on the extra windstopper vest in my pack. Rest of the day was good. Fun to be back in the woods and see some dandy bucks.

 --GP out.


October 30, 2022, Hunt #9, P.M.

Wow! Dud hunt. Super quiet. Went to an area I have never hunted before. Great spot for the wind and thermals. Recon mission. Now I know why I don't spend any time there. Lesson learned. Saw a single doe in the distance with a small buck trailing behind. October 30 is usually good for scrapes on this farm but cameras are not near as active as year's past. Something funky is up with this farm this year. Much quieter than the past. Hhhhmmm???

 --GP out.


October 29, 2022, Hunt #8, P.M.

Got to the stand late. Mowed lawn for the final time in 2022 and got up late from my post mowing power nap. Old guys like weekend power naps.

Sat the same tree as last Sunday. Same wind direction but about 30 mph less. Thermals were working perfect after sunset. Deer movement was late. About ten minutes after sunset a wad of bald deer and one spike sauntered towards my location. I noticed the same fawn buck was with his mother as last weekend. She caught my scent in the swirling gale last week. Old nag looked right up at me and started stomping tonight. She is going to get HUSH'd next go-'round. The rest of the group had numerous mature does. None of them had a clue I was there. The group eventually moved on to the north and found their way to the cornfield. Good hunt. Saw a few deer in the distance but nothing special.

Scrape cameras were active this week. No surprise whopper bucks have posed yet but still hoping. Otherwise the shoot-at is set with one open slot for a surprise. Just need me a ten yard shot.

Been working with a new tension release the last couple of weeks. Finicky little Silverback Plus but it appears I'm getting closer to consistent breaks.

 --GP Out.


October 23, 2022, Hunt #7, P.M.

Hunted a stand I deployed last weekend. Close to water and and a freshly combined cornfield. Figured water would be my best bet on this 80 degree day. First deer was a buck fawn under the stand early. He browsed for a good hour around the stand. Near quitting time a doe came bleating my way. Stopped at 20. The buck fawn went blasting towards the doe for a big ole drink of milk. Dang wind shouldn't have been a problem other than it was straight south and occasionally swirled on me. Of course the doe picked me up. Dang it! Needed more west in the wind to make it more consistent. I didn't have it. Almost like there was an easterly component.

Moved a camera on the way in to provide intel for this stand set. This week should let me know if the stand set is a good one. Cameras have been quite slow.

Heard my first grunt from a young buck tonight. He was harassing a doe and fawn by the creek. It was loud grunting. Had a two-year-old come from the north. He must have been bedded in more open country. he was with a doe and a fawn.

Good hunt for an 80 degree day. Deer movement should escalate daily for the next 23 days or so. One more stand I would like to hang. It's pretty deep.

 --GP out.


October 22, 2022, No Hunt

Had some help so set two more stands on this hot and windy day. One all day stand for a southerly gale. Buried deep. The second set was a new ladder for an east wind, morning or night. Might need to cut one more branch.

 -- GP out.


October 16, 2022, Hunt #6, P.M.

Dang wind chill tonight and I didn't wear enough clothes. BRRR. Setup for another observation hunt. Hunting an off wind. Had one old nag get downwind and she cleared the field before sunset. Dang it. 

Deer came back out

Had a shooter 4x4 come to the field. No world beater but big frame and a tank of a body. Muscular. Definitely five or six. Keeper. He was cool. He watched the three-year-old flexing all over the field but didn't get involved in his horse play. Needs to feed that body for the events that will occur in about two to three weeks. He's worthy.

Great hunt. Cold fronts make a difference.

 -- GP out.


October 15, 2022, Hunt #5, P.M.

Hung a stand and then decided to scout the farm but with bow in hand so I'm calling it a hunt. I visited areas that I haven't been to in a couple of years. One particular spot was a perennial scrape spot but was disappointing. Did not hang a camera. I did venture up the hill near one of my ground sit locations and that scrape was opened so deployed a camera there. Southeast wind setup. Long walk but easy access for a morning or all day hunt. Want to see who visits the scrape first, plus I want numerous east wind locations. 

Stand is higher than I usually hunt but the ladder and location requires it. Didn't take too long. Used my Jet Sled to haul the equipment to the location. It worked well.

Had a few pictures this week of old, deficient rack bucks. Numerous seasons of pictures. Just not getting pictures of an studs yet. I assume the fall shift has taken place by now, if so, my choices are less than desirable this year. Still hoping harvest pushes a nice one or two my direction. We shall see.

 --GP out.


October 9, 2022, Hunt #4, P.M.

Prepared two ladder stands prior to the hunt and deployed two new cameras. I know. I'm way behind but making progress. Stands are in all-day-hunt locations.

Changed into my hunting base layer and headed for an observation sit. Deer hit the field about ten minutes after sunset. Lots of them. A few young bucks but no shooters. All the farm activity has deer moving late. Hopefully the bigger ones are still close and hanging out until after dark but honestly not sure. They could have relocated to a different fall range. Then I don't know what to think. Need to be flexible.

 -- GP out.


October 8, 2022, Hunt #3, P.M.

Spent a couple of hours prepping two stands. They are good to go. Had a spike walk under the one as I was in the tree. Didn't seem to know I was there or that I was potential danger. The other has been good to me the last few years but my cell camera has shown me some unusual farm and people activity in this location the last couple of days. Owner doesn't quite understand what's going on either. Hhhmmm?

Hunted the second stand and saw six does and fawns. Decent times too. Three were downwind and found my entry trail but let me off the hook. Beautiful night.

 -- GP out.


October 2, 2022, Hunt #2, P.M.

Good hunt. Saw four bucks, two one year olds travelling together, a three year old and a two year old in that order. All heading to feed well before quitting time. Distance of 95 yards. Plenty of other deer in the field on my egress. Didn't appear to be any shooters in the groups.

Had some turkey vultures flying overhead again on my walk in. Dang shadow of the one blocked out the sun when he flew overhead and the sky was clear. Big wing span. Size of a Gargoyle :) The vultures always seem to check me out when I'm on the move. Come to think of it, I hated the movie "The Birds" when I was a little tike. Spooked me good. And those damn flying monkeys in the "Wizard of Oz". Hated those things. 

Can't believe we are finally in legal pursuit. Still no gaggers on camera. Hoping for an October shift of one or two to my area of the world.

Beautiful night to be in the Iowa Deer Woods.

 -- GP out.


October 1, 2022, Hunt #1, P.M. (Another Opening Day)

Hey everybody. Finally clearing the dust off the journal. Day one was uneventful. However, I did witness a ground hog climb part way up a tree. That was new. Saw some big birds flying. You ever notice when you're walking in the deer woods the turkey vultures like to make a pass overhead at a relatively low level...or is that just me? If just me, not sure what that means?


Cameras are showing some candidates so far but no day-one type bucks. Have heard on other podcasts and deer shows that Ohio and Illinois are seeing some EHD deaths. Time for a good hard freeze though I do like my Indian summers.

I did a thing. Broke the piggy bank open and traded an older bow for a new Hoyt RX7 courtesy Archery Field and Sports. So far so good. Still tuning but I guess I'm always tuning. Bow holds well on target but will it kill a deer?

Still waiting on a new HHA Tetra one-pin slider with picatinny mount. Hustle it up Nick or should I say "Hustle it up HHA!" Slow!

 -- GP out.




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