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Joe Yinzer's 2019 Season Journal

elk yinzer

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
1,376
Location
State College, PA
Warning: it's long AF

For quite a few years now I’ve done these journals. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy reading them.

Philosophically I am always hesitant to post them for a few reasons but mostly because I am just a private person. I wasn't going to post it this year. But the "$15" thread changed my mind. When I participate in these online forums, it's very much an "online hunting camp" atmosphere I am looking for. I'd like to put some positive content on this awesome forum Red provides us.

I'm just a regular obsessed weekend hunter with an 9 to 5 and a young family. I think I do pretty okay, but I'm not a super trophy buck hunter or anything exceptional.

I usually illustrate it at the end. I'll try to add some photos as I go to keep with the live hunt fashion.

2019-20 Season Journal
Preseason prelude.


Hard to believe this will be my 20th season bow hunting since I started at the age of 12. Man, time flies.

Going into this season feels like a genuine cluster. When it comes to life, I am generally type B personality, but this year is even disorganized by my standards. I did very minimal scouting. Last winter during prime scouting time I did a lot of Toolman Taylor house stuff that kept me out of the woods. Keeps Missus happy and certainly easier on the wallet, but I disdain it. It really set me back from my usual scouting work. Work that I actually enjoy.

Fishing season passes, I procrastinate a little, and when I start season preparations, I realize my bow has a bent cam. I was trying to get my broadheads tuned up and could not get them to fly perfectly. I now recall taking a nasty fall on a rock last year while walking out after shooting my buck. I guess that did it. Lesson learned.

Being that my bow is old enough for grade school and hearing Elite customer service has gone down the tubes, I make the last minute decision to procure a Mathews Triax from my brother. That was a story in itself. I talked him into buying it for an absolute steal at a charity auction. He was going to resell it but fortunately hadn’t, so alas I lucked into possibly the cheapest new Triax in history.

The Triax needed cam mods to fit me so I am still awaiting those. My Elite will have to play the opener until the Triax is warmed up in the pen. I MacGyver-tuned it to where its shooting broadheads decently with a good helping of helical vanes. But I am not super confident in it.

I only got out to scout twice preseason. I had a client that was a good long drive on the interstate, and several times in early September I saw a really good buck up on the embankment alongside the road. He was on public land. My first thought was how many other boneheads would be chasing after this dude and if it was worth even trying.

Nevertheless, I had to see what this very visible buck was doing and found the expected hunter sign, got my picture taken a few times, and found some likely bedding. I wasn’t super confident once the deer shifted patterns what he was going to do, and especially how the pressure would affect him. Just didn’t get that feeling I could kill this buck easily. This place is on the outer limits of reasonable drive too. We’ll see.

Right before the season I speed scouted on my bike a local area I hadn’t been in quite awhile. The state did some burning there a couple years back. This area gets pounded with pressure but it’s a huge area with lots of hidey holes to grow bucks old. I didn’t see anything super great. I did leave a camera on a scrape way back in. I’ll give that a hunt when I pick it up and see what I am feeling about this tract from there.

Concerning is that I’ve been in two areas, so far, and found no acorns to speak of. That sets up for one of two scenarios. Either there are scattered acorns drawing deer for miles, or there are none and I need to focus on other food sources. Either way I need to bump up my scouting intel because acorns are always my plan A and that plan looks to be a loser.

I can’t hunt any of the first three Saturdays. Bummed to miss the opener, just being a day, we look forward to all year. But I never get too worked up about the first half of October, especially with my lack of scouting. Rutcation planned for 7 days off scattered throughout the first two weeks of November.

Tentatively I have an out of state trip planned November 23-27. I am looking closely at Maryland, but Ohio is still in play and possibly West Virginia if I get the inkling to hunt with the boomstick.

SH Exclusive - Gear corner.
Aside from the bow issue, just a few small changes this year. This will be my second full year of mostly hunting out of a tree saddle, or sling or whatever you want to call it. I never preferred the term saddle, but that seems to have become the generally accepted lexicon. And hot potaters, has saddle hunting blown up into true fad status!

For this season, I bought a Kestrel Flex to try in addition to my Kite. I also bought a Tethrd Predator platform that will probably relegate my DIY Klemz to the bench. I don’t figure either to be much of an upgrade, the motivation for both of those was to try some shiny new stuff with play money and also have backups. I’m learning how prudent it is to have backups.

Also switched my ropes to Oplux and tried out the Jammy friction hitch/tender. Oplux is great for bulk reduction but I didn't like the friction hitch and went back to my mechanical rope grabs.

Pack - MR Pop up 28 and Metcalf
Sticks - 3 modded Heliums. Cut down, rope mod. CAYG 2 step aider.
Platform - Predator and DIY Klemz
Saddles - Kite and Flex
Tether and LB - Oplux and Ropeman 2 (not up to spec, do your own risk assessment and don't listen to some idiot on the interwebs)
Bow - Triax
Arrows - Easton FMJ
Broadheads - VPA 125
Clothes - this that and everything. Friends don't let friends match camo
Totally essential nonessential gear - Hand muff and boot blankets
Windicator strain - Puff the magic milkweed
Scent control - Irish spring, old spice, and general hygiene


On with it!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
PM hunt
High mid 60’s. Sunny high pressure.
Forecast E wind 5-10. More W-NW and L&V with an occasional spritz of E.


Made it out for the obligatory first sit after ducking out of work at 3. There’s a big block of timber a touch North of where I shot my buck last year that I got a chance to explore one of the few times I did make it winter scouting. Found a good shed down in a bowl and some bedding and good buck sign on the rim of N/S running canyon.

I snuck up there to the crest looking for hot sign and didn’t see any. Some turds, nothing great, no rubs, again no acorns. I didn’t have time to back out and head to a plan B, so I got to where terrain-wise I was in a good spot and set up. This is where lack of scouting kills me. I should have just scouted. Wind was swirling some, but never blew up into the bedding, it was a pretty good off-wind setup. I saw nothing.

Monday, October 14.
AM hunt
39 low, high mid 60’s. Sunny high pressure.
Wind L&V early, some swirling, thermal pull. After sunrise S/SE 5-10. Consistent with forecast.


Once again, the theme of my early season hunts as per usual. I should have just scouted, but I made the decision to throw a dart at the map and go hunt. I hunted where I shot my 2016 buck. This ridge runs for miles and has a ton of bedding. The little pocket I hunt on this ridge is hit or miss, and often void of deer until the rut then blows up. This year there are zero acorns and the sign looks as bad as I’ve ever seen it.

Driving in, I did see a decent buck cross the road down low on the mountain, and head toward a little knob I suspected he was bedding. It was one of those quick glances, ghost like. In that fleeting moment, I judged him a little less than what I would want to shoot this early or I would have adjusted and made a play. Now I second guess if he may have been a shooter from the glimpse I caught in the headlights. Such is hunting.

After sitting until 9:30 I got down and scouted out the ridge checking some other little pockets for sign. It just looked awful. Zero acorns, absolutely none. I’m not even sure if I’ll be back here during the rut. The problem with this ridge is without acorns there really isn’t much else nearby.

Almost back to the truck, I did jump a doe up out of a bed. We both froze and she calmed down. I was pretty close to the truck and decided to shoot if I got a clean shot. I stalked in to about 30 yards but had too much laurel in the way. After a stalk of probably 15 minutes I was closing in, and she snuck off and bedded down just out of sight. I knew then with her bedded in the laurel my chances at a shot were slim. I tried to circle around for a shot, but she saw me again and this time wisely bounded off. I rarely do it intentionally, because it’s just not an effective strategy here, but I love the thrill of stalking deer.

I am slowly building intel and it’s looking like there are no acorns to speak of this year. I am going to have to shift my focus toward browse and greenery for the deer to eat. I’ve never encountered a big woods season yet where I didn’t find acorns, somewhere. I’m not sure what to think of it yet. I know I can adjust and kill one, but I also hope we don’t have a tough winter for the deers’ sake. Them mountain deers need the oaknuts to come out of winter healthy.

Thursday, October 17.
AM hunt
43 low, high 50. Misty, tail end of cold front.
Wind forecast 20 West. It was N/NE. Not good for spot.


This morning I humped it into the spot on the SGL that I scouted and left the camera 10/6. Good 1.5 mile walk back. Wanted to hunt the tail end of this front, but it stuck around a little longer than it was supposed to. It was misty and cold. This spot sets up good for deer to bed on a West wind but here it was more North with some gusts from the East blowing up onto the flat where I figured deer would be coming from. This hunt was pretty much screwed from the outset. Nothing sighted.

Scouted a little loop after getting down at 9:30 and nothing up there looked particularly good. Camera had a couple small bucks come through but no shooters. I did find a couple pin oak trees dropping sparse acorns, really the first I’ve found this season, but the deer didn’t seem to be hitting them. Next week going to start focusing on clearcuts and other big woods food sources.

Saturday, October 19.
AM hunt
32 low, high 60s. Beautiful fall weather.
Wind S/SE. Light but consistent direction.


Kind of a bonus hunt this morning, wasn’t figuring on getting out. Checked out a little ridge that has some buck bedding on the point. It’s only 100 yards off the road. I also kinda wanted to get a feel for pressure as this road leads to a couple other areas I hunt and I rarely ever get to assess pressure but from human sign, because I am usually the first in and last out.

This ridge was select cut three years ago and is growing up nicely and should have a lot of browse. It’s a great little overlooked spot, but the past two years in the rut some guys have set up a wall tent down on the road not 200 yards away from the buck beds. That of course messes the area up, so I wanted to get in there and hunt it before they did.

Due to a bit of a late night out before, I hit snooze a couple times, but finally made it out. I was setting up just at gray light. Not ideal for hunting on top of a bed. I didn’t see anything. It was the first day of a lot of things—small game, muzzleloader deer, and the new muzzleloader bear season. I heard two grouse volleys and a couple distant muzzleloader shots.

There was a lot of traffic on the road and a lot of road hunters. The amount of road hunters in PA always astounds me. At least a dozen trucks driving 1 mph down the road.

I don’t think the new muzzleloader season is going to be a killer. There is zero bear sign in the mountains this year, no doubt they are all down in the valleys wrecking corns fields due to the scarcity of acorns. If bear gangs are driving the laurel I hunt, they don’t know what they are doing, cause the bears ain’t there this year. So at least I shouldn’t have to contend with that.

I scouted out the ridge after I got down at 10. 30 yards from my tree I found a good buck bed that’s been hammered with the recent West winds and followed one of the trail spurs out the ridge, but no rubs at all to gauge if it’s a good buck. I just have a feeling it’s a good buck, but it sets up to be a really difficult bed to hunt in the P.M. He’s got the wind advantage big time and I can’t get within 100 yards or so without being sighted because the trees have been thinned. I think morning is the right play, but I needed to probably set up way earlier and a little tighter to the bed for a morning hunt.

No P.M. hunt, earning some wife points tailgating for the PSU-Michigan game. From here on out, my Saturdays are free and clear thankfully.

And yes, for those keeping track I am 1000 words and four hunts in and haven't spotted a deer from the tree. Welcome to the big woods!

Sunday, October 20
Scouting mission


Just a quick afternoon scouting mission after the rain cleared out. Went into my #1 area where I killed my buck last year. I didn’t want to poke around bedding but wanted to just check that deer were transitioning down to feed in a cut as I suspected. That looked to be the case. Found a lot of poo, which is to me the best indicator this time of year since deer don't leave much for tracks around here and buck sign is so variable. The puzzle is coming together.

Found a really good shed from last year. The little cluster of sassafras trees near my 2018 kill tree was again tore up with good rubs, so I hung a camera high and snuck out of there. I suspect this little transition area gets daylight buck activity, but I wanted to check with the camera also because it's not as super thick as most areas I hunt. I walked out the bottom and did actually find a couple of acorns. Red oaks, just dropping a few nuts here and there. There’s no bedding to speak of in the bottom, and the deer are just cycling through at night. But that completes a couple more pieces of the puzzle.

Clearcuts are a real biotch to hunt around here but it’s looking like the keystone to this year with the food situation. The edges can be good if they are unpressured, but they tend to be hunter magnets. The interiors are nearly impossible to hunt. I have the best luck with cuts where the deer feed in them at night, but bed in adjacent laurel.

Next, I went to check out another area I am familiar with but hadn’t been in a couple years. It was cut approx. five years ago and has some absolute textbook features that pop out map scouting. They left an island of trees on a leeward point, deep walk but with pretty easy access. It’s like a nirvana for any hunting bro with two thumbs and OnX.

As to be expected it has always had a hubbub of human activity and treestands. I was thinking it’s probably starting to get thick enough to keep people out because it makes shooting tough, and maybe just maybe it would look good. Lo and behold, it did in fact look awesome. I picked my tree, hung a camera high, and headed out. I’ve been getting away from cameras but some of these spots I just want to see what intel I can gather with cameras especially daylight activity. I never get to hunt as many planned rut spots as I want and some I just want to gauge its potential. This is a good spot for a South wind. I need more of those because a large majority of my spots are geared more for North and West.

I'm calling today the peak of leaf season. The diversity of trees gives us a long and patchy season unlike more monotonous forests up North, but it's cool in it's own way. Maples and black gums past prime, hickories are popping, white oaks are starting to turn, and red oaks are still green. If you can't appreciate the beauty of this season in PA, I don't know what to tell you.

Wednesday, October 23.
PM hunt
Low 30's, High 60's. High pressure system
Wind mostly west 5-10.


Left work early, headed a little farther north to a tract I haven't ventured into this season. Really steep with a lot of good bedding cover. Scouted for 2 hours with my stuff on my back, but didn't find a single thing I felt confident setting up on. Again, still no acorns here and these deer have access to some corn down in the valley off the public. I suspect they are down there en masse. I debated just going home, but set up on a little terrain pinch coming out of bedding.

Right as I snuck up to the tree I wanted to climb, one deer, then another snuck off through the honeysuckle they were bedded in. I climbed up anyway and didn't see anything from the tree. Even just a two hour sit it was uncomfortable as hell. It was a big old chestnut oak that was leaning way worse than I thought when I picked it out, and I had to be on the side of the lean to get shooting where I wanted.

Headed to camp this weekend, I am really excited for that. I miss the camaraderie too much solo hunting. My wife could give two cents about my hunts when I get home. Probably going to stop off and hunt interstate buck in the morning on my way there.

Friday, 10/25
AM hunt. Low 41, cloudy.
Wind light N, swirling W and E


Hunted the interstate buck. Got set up on a thick point at 6, one hour before go time.

At 6:50 I heard footsteps behind me. Pretty soon I could make out a big bodied deer at 20 yards. Problem was he was about to hit my entrance route. He did and boogeyed into the laurel abyss. That was all the action.


Buck was in this clearing. If I hunt here again I am going to swing up higher.

PM hunt. Warm, mid 60s
Wind light W/NW


Annual Don't Get Above Your Raisin' Hunt.

Made the pilgrimage back to camp, where it all started. Been two years since I hunted here. I don't love hunting this place, but I do love hunting camp.

It's a pain in the ass hunting here. Pressure is horrendous on public and private. You're always stepping on someones toes. The public is small and sucks. Apparently there is a giant buck around and there's a neighbor feud brewing partially over it. So fricken stupid. Fun stuff.

As such, this is pretty much a doe mission. I went to a tree about 40 yards from Sniper Shack. That's a stand my pap built for my brother and I. A load of bucks have been kilt from it, and a couple beauties.


Sniper shack

Anyway around 5, a small buck was grunting in the thicket. He popped out at 50 yards and I couldn't even make out horns, so he wasn't anything special.

That was all the action, it was a beautiful evening to drink beers around a bonfire.

Saturday, October 26 AM Hunt
46 low, front moving in heavy rain starting this afternoon
Wind light W/NW


Went to the bench off the flat with the old rock fenceline. Great bedding area. Lone deer at 8 in the bottom. Grabbing my grunt call to throw a grunt at it, I spooked some off the flat. Bad cover here. Picked a tree in the dark 20 feet too far up the hill. Cluster of 3 small red oaks below the rocks is the tree.

All quiet until 11 when I saw a big bodied deer up on the flat. He kept looking back and acting weird. Next thing I know I have a whole herd of deer running at me. Someone down in the hollow must have kicked them up.

The buck was probably a shooter. 100ish likely 8 point. He went by at 20 yards hauling ass. I merped, then I yelled hey and he just kept motoring.
Then a doe stopped 10 yards behind me. Maneuvering for a shot, my boot tread popped on my platform and she spooked.

Major no bueno! I cannot tolerate lost opportunites to gear fails. If that happened on a buck I would be fuming. Tomorrow's project is paracord wrapping my Predator.

At 11:30 a group of 4 does was walking the bench. 2 fawns, yearling, and a giant cow. 1 fawn passed by at 25 yards, other fawn and one of the adults stayed back and bedded down, and I lost sight of one.

I watched the does for two hours. Every 20 minutes or so they would mill around, moving 5-10 yards at most, and bed back down.

At 1:30 I was thinking about packing it in and they milled off down the hill. It started pouring so that was it for the day.

Friday, November 1
30's
W, 20-30. Some scary gusts
Cloudy with snow flurries


Hunted last Friday in hurricane force gales, about 8 saw a glimpse of a deer 40 yards away, couldn't tell what it was. At 9 I had one grunting above me.

The area I was in had a dinner table scrape last year, in a a laurel opening, right adjacent to doe bedding.

No scrape this year. Weird.

Relocated for afternoon, slightly less windy but cold, skunk.

Saturday, November 2
Low about 25, high 30's
S-SE wind 5-10
Clear and sunny


Set up in the corner of a clearcut. This area was bomb before they cut, and still holds deer but I'm still figuring out how they use it now.

Had a good buck chase a doe by me, early, they stayed about 60 yards out but I could see a good frame. Saw a smaller buck in the same place around 8. Tried to snort wheeze him in and he high tailed it back where he came from. I called the mid morning relocation play to get to where I saw both deer, but to no avail. I think I finally found the right tree for this spot again. Saturday evening was sacrificed for trick or treat.

Monday, November 3

I hunted all day save for a quick relocation and didn't see a single deer. Perfect rut conditions. It happens.

Picked up the camera I had up in the cut island, there was another bow hunter, a grouse/turkey hunter, and one daylight shooter. Done with that spot, its just too obvious to anyone that looks at a map.

Wednesday, November 5
Got out yesterday afternoon after getting my 8 hours of work in by 1 PM. I went into an area that holds some does, and usually smaller bucks, but in the rut you never know. I don't have much scouted this year, I have a #1 area that needs N/W winds, and everything else is old intel.

It's pretty easy access and gets hunted, so I only ever go there mid-week, but it's still a pretty good spot with a lot of does. I canvassed for trucks, and there were none, so I gave it a go. Snuck up the ridge to where I was going to go and ran into a guy setting up or taking down a climber, not sure which. He was about 200 yards from where I wanted to be and wouldn't have affected me much, his spot was awful. I guess someone must have dropped him off.

I got down there where I wanted to be and contemplated setting up, but just wasn't feeling it anymore, so I scouted the backside of this piece. The state did some cutting here last year, and they did an awful job. This is the worst cut I've ever seen the DCNR have done. It was totally unnecessary, regen was bad from the shelterwood cut they did a decade ago. Then when they come in and whack the shelterwood, they leave a lot of underbrush so there are still deer in the cuts, but they leave zero patches of trees to make them huntable, they just leave isolated telephone pole trees every 30 yards or so. It would be a heck of a lot better to leave it patchy. Then they cut right up to the private line instead of leaving a little buffer to hunt. Then they wonder why the deer don't get killed and eat all the regeneration. Work with us a little, idiots!

I found nothing on the backside so I went down to a little doe bedding I know of that's only about 70 yards off the road. It was almost 3 by the time I finally got setup and I was sweating my balls off. It was a quiet evening until about sunset I heard chit-chit-chit and a few deep grunts. Unfortunately they stayed down in the thick stuff only about 30 yards off the road and never came up the hill. I think it might have been a buck breeding a doe because I would hear a crazy ruckus for a minute or so, then silence for a few minutes, then it would repeat.

Friday, November 8
Mid 20's, low 30's
N 10-20, calmer afternoon


Finally got the N wind to go into where I killed my buck last year. Cold day, pretty slow.

At 9 a doe went right under me. I could hear another deer behind her, thought for sure it would be a buck. Eventually it starts bleating a bunch and caught up, it was just her fawn.

Slow mid-day. Caught a glimpse of a doe down on the bench at 2.

Right at dusk all heck breaks loose down below me, on the bench. Buck chasing a doe full bore, grunting every step.

After a couple times back and forth she heads up the hill past me at 25 yards.

He follows but is kinda holding up at the edge of the laurel. He starts coming again, and I draw when he's 35 out. I'm still unsure if he's a buck I want to shoot, it's getting pretty dark and I can't get a good look that far. He wasn't a no doubter, though.

He holds up again, and I am kinda repositioning, and somehow I bump the release. I actually thought by his reaction that I hit him at first, of course I was aimed at his general direction. Well crap. So I get down, and find 4 inches of the back of my arrow. Great! Now I'm really sweating. Luckily I found the business end laying right there, confirming a clean accidental miss. Something new everyday in the whitetail woods!


Saturday, November 9
Low 15, mid 30s
W wind, light
Partly cloudy


Made a dumb decision. Wanted to go back to the area where I was yesterday.

This, my #1 area is getting logged. I am pretty down about it, this is my third honey hole about to be semi-ruined in two years, and the best one yet for big bucks. ***, where does it end? Onward and upward, need to find more time for scouting new ground.

I access from a few different points dependent on wind direction. With W winds forecast, the access I used they had a giant excavator where I park getting ready to make roads.

So I said eff it and went to another nearby spot. Place holds potential, but I haven't scouted thoroughly enough. I get set up where I found some doe beds a few years back the one time I was in there for a quick macro scout.

Right before sunup, here comes a bright green light down the road. He kinda disappears, I think he's going over the hill. Nope! I hear a bunch of clanging. Dude was setting up his climber with the dexterity of a drunk oaf. So freaking loud. Then he rattles and grunts every 10 minutes (public land pet peeve). Then at 8 he gets down, walks about 100 yards (I think he was cold). When he started ascending the tree again I boogeyed out. I'm not even sure he was wiping me out, i just had enough of the clown show.

Went to a mid day spot in a little overlooked corner about 75 yards off the road. Sat there 9:30 - 1, nothing seen.

Went back to 4 buck hill in the new tree I picked out. Had a doe 80 yards below me, and watched a spike bed and feed all evening until around sunset he moseyed off.

Monday, November 11
Low 30's, High 40's


Warmer day felt good.

Went to the big flat.

Spot I had in mind, as I was walking to it I noticed a split where old logging roads met, and fresh scrapes at the split, so I just stopped and set up there.

Slow morning. Almost got a shot at two coyotes at 11. They were 30 yards, but wouldn't stop trotting.

Sat until 1 and moved across the road to the edge of the cut where dad saw the nice buck a week ago. Nothing, skunked on Veterans Day.


Tuesday, November 12
High 20s all day
Snow showers, 1/2" accumulated
N/NW wind 10-20


Hunted tree I killed my buck from last year. Another cold one, this season has been a doozy.

Barely legal shooting light, hear deer below me, then grunts.

Doe busts out and runs down onto the bench. I hear footsteps, buck isn't really chasing just bumping her.

I catch a glimpse at 35 yards, it was pretty big, definite shooter. Maybe really big, I'm not sure.

I draw because I think he's going to take off after his lady friend and I'd only have a couple quick lanes thru the laurel. He might have caught me drawing, again I don't really know. He just turned around and calmly trotted back where he came from.

Around 8, a nice 8 cruised through the opening to my West.

At 11 a guy with a crossbow sat down 100 yards away down on the bench. Don't know if he saw me or not, but he was straight downwind of me so no harm, no foul.

I moved at 1 down and out the bench to where it bowls out and there's a funnel of laurel. Several scrapes hit recently, but no deer sighted rest of day.

Thursday, November 14
Low 20s, mid 30's
Cloudy
S wind, 10+ on ridgetop, light otherwise


Hit a spot I haven't all year that is really tough to hunt but holds some giants. Climb, climb, climb some more. 1.7 miles from the truck. Saddle on a ridge 150 yards from doe beds.

It. Was. Frigid up there.

About 9:30 I get to looking at my bow and something looks off. Realized my dropaway rest was loose and vertical axis had moved. Bleep! Bleepity bleep bleep bleeping bleep. One clusterfest after another this season. Back down, 1.7 miles, to go home and retune bow.

After the morning mountaineering expedition I was feeling easy access so I did. Hit up a heavy hunted piece from the backside.

Had a 3 point cruise through at 1:30 and again at 4:30. Lone doe at 3:30, out of range.


Friday, November 15
Low 23, high 30s
Sunny
SW wind 5 mph to l/v


Sat on the laurel edge where I killed my doe last year, about the only spot that sets up for any kinda south wind. It's a doe bedding area.

Access here is a bear. Fight thru 250 yards of mountain laurel hell. Set up in a comfy double maple.

7ish a buck cruised by 40 yards, headed east into the thick laurel.

8:30 saw a lone doe, reverse path of the buck but went down hill. Thought about moving at that point but I liked covering high too.

12:30 same buck came from above. 35 yards he stopped and I was ready to whack him, but I couldn't put brow tines on him to make him legal. Just a big 2 or 3 year old forkhorn. Few minutes after that, grunting above me.

3:30, I was texting with my brother a little and I just pressed send on a text complaining about all the boring all day sits. I am good until about 1 - 4, those few hours can really slow down.

Just as I did I heard crunching above me and got ready. Into view pops a good shooter. I go into kill mode, he's coming right at me, but the thermals are definitely iffy, need to kill him the first crack I get.

At 20 yards he goes behind laurel and I draw. He locks up at 15, quartering to me, I settle the pin right in front of his shoulder and let him have it. Down goes Frazier! He drops like a ton of bricks and just lays there, never seen anything like it. I grab another arrow, and eventually he tried to get up, and I put the finisher in him. And that was that, just like last year I was mentally preparing for rifle season, then in an instant it's all over.

I quartered him up and packed him out. First time I've had a full deer in the Pop up pack, it held it's own pretty well at 80 pounds or so.







 
Last edited:

DaveT1963

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very nice. I ran one for 2 years over on the beast, just don't have the time anymore. Good luck and I'll follow along. For some reason I had you down as a western hunter.
 

elk yinzer

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Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
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Location
State College, PA
very nice. I ran one for 2 years over on the beast, just don't have the time anymore. Good luck and I'll follow along. For some reason I had you down as a western hunter.
I got into the western bug deep about the time I signed up for my first forum. I love elk but getting out there is such a PIA. As much as I love hunting elk, I'm realizing PA whitetails are my first love. We really have it good here.
 

Buckshot1822

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SH Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2017
Messages
133
Location
Clearfield County PA
If you know where there are some red oaks locally I would check them. Im not far from you and the red oaks are loaded around here, even up high they still have some decent acorns, I have also seen some black oaks and pin oaks that have decent acorns. There are no white oak acorns anywhere that I have found though.
 

elk yinzer

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SH Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
1,376
Location
State College, PA
Hunting interstate buck this morning. Got into a thick point I think he could be bedding. All set up an hour before light. 15 minutes before a deer comes in behind me. He worked in to 15 yards and eventually did a circle and winded me. For sure a buck but how big, I don't know. Just needed him to stay out a hair later.

Gonna hang here until 10, do a little low impact scouting then I am going to camp.
 

slonstdy

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SH Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2018
Messages
474
I've kept a hunting log for some years now but only the basics like wind, time, temp, sunrise/set, location and animal sightings. You my friend keep a true diary by also containing your thoughts at that moment which is a great way to capture the little details that often escape us. Excellent idea.
Good luck and following!
 

elk yinzer

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SH Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
1,376
Location
State College, PA
Finished paracord wrapping my platform after it cost me a deer Saturday. I should have been better about offseason prep this year. I also went to a cam jam on my tree pad after being annoyed with tying truckers hitch for the 47th time in the dark.

And bought a couple pairs of gloves because I found 6 right gloves the other day and couldn't locate a single left. We need a lefty-right orphaned glove exchange program.

Screenshot_20191028-223018_Gallery.jpg
Yes thats cat puke on my rug. Our cat is pretty cool but I hate when she does that.
 

elk yinzer

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Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
1,376
Location
State College, PA
Going to keep things brief. Cold weather in the rut is not time for long stories. I have not seen many deer lately.

Hunted last Friday in hurricane force gales, saw a glimpse of a deer 40 yards away, couldn't tell what it was. Relocated for afternoon, slightly less windy but cold, skunk.

Saturday had a good buck chase a doe by me, early. Saw a borderline shooter at 70 yards. Tried to snort wheeze him in and he high tailed it back where he came from. I called the mid morning relocation play but to no avail. Saturday evening was sacrificed for trick or treat.

Monday I hunted all day save for a quick relocation and didn't see a single deer. Perfect rut conditions. It happens.

My dad tagged out his first day in Ohio, so he's here hunting for a couple days. Good to have someone to recap the day with.

Today I had to work, I had meetings setup. He said saw a nice 8 this morning.

Weather has been awesome but just haven't run into the hot action yet. Probably have 6 hunting days left in bow season. Hoping to get out tomorrow if I can get enough work done (logging out now, bye), then for sure hunting Friday and Saturday.
 

elk yinzer

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
1,376
Location
State College, PA
Got out yesterday afternoon after getting my 8 hours of work in by 1 PM. I went into an area that holds some does, and usually smaller bucks, but in the rut you never know. I don't have much scouted this year, I have a #1 area that needs N/W winds, and everything else is old intel.

It's pretty easy access and gets hunted, so I only ever go there mid-week, but it's still a pretty good spot with a lot of does. I canvassed for trucks, and there were none, so I gave it a go. Snuck up the ridge to where I was going to go and ran into a guy setting up or taking down a climber, not sure which. He was about 200 yards from where I wanted to be and wouldn't have affected me much, his spot was awful. I guess someone must have dropped him off.

I got down there where I wanted to be and contemplated setting up, but just wasn't feeling it anymore, so I scouted the backside of this piece. The state did some cutting here last year, and they did an awful job. This is the worst cut I've ever seen the DCNR have done. It was totally unnecessary, regen was bad from the shelterwood cut they did a decade ago. Then when they come in and whack the shelterwood, they leave a lot of underbrush so there are still deer in the cuts, but they leave zero patches of trees to make them huntable, they just leave isolated telephone pole trees every 30 yards or so. It would be a heck of a lot better to leave it patchy. Then they cut right up to the private line instead of leaving a little buffer to hunt. Then they wonder why the deer don't get killed and eat all the regeneration. Work with us a little, idiots!

I found nothing on the backside so I went down to a little doe bedding I know of that's only about 70 yards off the road. It was almost 3 by the time I finally got setup and I was sweating my balls off. It was a quiet evening until about sunset I heard chit-chit-chit and a few deep grunts. Unfortunately they stayed down in the thick stuff only about 30 yards off the road and never came up the hill. I think it might have been a buck breeding a doe because I would hear a crazy ruckus for a minute or so, then silence for a few minutes, then it would repeat.

I still have 6 full days of rut hunting with an excellent weather forecast, but I'm starting to get frustrated. I haven't even passed a buck all year, I'm just not even seeing much and hardly anything in bow range.
 
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