It’s time to say “Goodbye”
Well, after a little over two years here at PSO, the end is finally here. We’ve had some great discussions and made many acquaintances that will last for years to come. We all contributed, in our own way, in making PSO a great source for anyone looking for outdoor related recreation. To date, I’m now writing as a freelance writer for several outdoor magazines in addition to a blog at Heartland Outdoors, so I must exercise time management skills and focus on what I need to do.
In the beginning, writing stories or articles on technique became a hobby. Now it’s a job. In just two short years, I have been shifting my energies toward more outdoor related work and the road getting there is time consuming. From a quiet, self-taught deer hunter to a pro staffer for some of the largest outdoor manufacturing companies in North America, it’s never been a dull moment. I joined Bear Archery this year because of their constant push to increase performance and quality, and because of the decent people whom I work with. Working with great people is half of the formula for success. With so many good broadhead manufacturers out there, I’m constantly asked “Why are you with Muzzy? So-and-so makes a really good broadhead”. That may be true but in the end, my broadheads have never failed me and the people behind the company are the FIRST to respond to a donation when it comes to charitable, special needs people and whitetail organizations. Muzzy’s coments are always “How can we help Marc”. Companies like these are important to remember when it comes time to making a decision on what to purchase. It’s these companies that keep fighting for our hunting privileges. Bottom line: I’m glad to be a voice for them!
My new blog is located at: http://www.heartlandoutdoors.com/index.php/nontypical/ . Please stop by and visit! I’m not asking you to abandon PSO but rather asking you to add Heartland Outdoors to your list of online reading material. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to serve Illinois’ (and beyond) sportsmen/women to date. I wish you nothing but good fortune for the 2010 hunting season!
The Deer are Moving!
I received several emails this week from hunters that swear the bucks are going into rut already. Without having to explain all of the details, I mentioned to them that some of this behavior is typical this time of year and some is not. After hunting very hard this past weekend, I didn’t notice anything unusual…until today.
Friday morning opened very well with great weather and some normal activity. After doing my duty and killing a west central IL. doe, I pushed forward in my quest to find one of the big bucks I have patterned this year. No such luck for me but nevertheless, the hunt was an enjoyable one. Back in central IL. on Sunday and today, I had more deer in front of me than I did ALL of last year combined! What a change from last year and even the last decade. With the corn out and the deer moving back into the timber, it was evident this year will be paramount to any other I’ve hunted in this area, as far as quantity goes. With many does, fork horns and fawns to choose from, I decided to let them all live. I would rather take another doe, where it’s needed in west central IL, than here in central IL. where I haven’t seen them thrive before. One odd thing happened today though. I watched a mature doe come out of the timber at 3:00 P.M. to feed, which is a bit early this time of year. Right behind her was a mature 3.5 year old 8 pointer with his nose to her rear-end. She allowed him to follower her with no signs of distress. Another buck showed up from another direction and he dropped his ears and marched forward with authority. The other buck held his ground and there was a stand-off for about 5 solid minutes. The original buck decided it wasn’t worth his energy, so he casually walked back to the doe and began sniffing. Eventually, they all walked off quietly into the woods.
I haven’t seen his type of activity this early. I would expect bachelor groups to spar and to remain grouped but I haven’t even seen bachelor groups in the 100+ miles I hunt from farm-to-farm!. Unless someone here tells me differently, I believe they’re already busted up! This could break my early harvest plan to pieces if I don’t positively identify what’s happening and act accordingly. I’m going to hunt closer to the bedding areas and the sanctuaries this week and test the waters. I’m also going to hit the staging areas in the evenings to see if they’re still in preseason mode. If not, I’ll go directly to plan B. Don’t ask me what plan B is, I haven’t planned it out yet!
I’m curious to see what you are seeing! Are you seeing anything else different this year? Is it about the same? Let me know your thoughts!Permalink
A doe to kick off the new season!
Up at 3:00 a.m. for my 2 hour drive. Arrived on time with plenty of time to get my Ghillie suit on and make the 20 minute walk to my predetermined hunting spot. As mother Nature opened her window shades, some gray squirrels (an animal I haven’t hunted next to in almost a decade) made their way from limb to limb cracking nuts like there was no tomorrow. A half hour into the daylight, a flock of turkeys moved like an army up a steep hill toward the nearest bean field for breakfast. I knelt next to a tree that was up about 10 feet in elevation, on a hillside, over an area where I placed one of my trail cameras earlier in the year. What a day!
About 7:50 a.m., I noticed a doe to my left about 30 yards just trotting on by. There wasn’t a lot of time for me to lift my bow but I did it as fast as I could without spooking her. She turned to the right and walked to just 10 yards in front of me, appearing to me that she was going to continue to walk away. Then she stopped and turned right toward me, head on. My plan of action was to let her walk out a bit for two reasons: One, so I could allow ample time to see if there was one of the bucks that I’ve patterned, was following her and two, I didn’t want to draw in front of her. I would have rather let her pass a bit before drawing and take the rear quartering away shot, which is by far one of the most lethal shots there are, including the broadside shot. As luck would have it, she started to walk right toward me though. Now I was forced to draw and shoot her. Why? Because if I didn’t, she would have no doubt winded me at 1 yard and spooked herself, any following deer and would have left me with no meat or antlers. I figured if I at least shot her then, I would have a doe, even if I spooked any remaining deer. My intention was to take a doe this week but I wanted to be incognito as possible while doing it. Anyway, she watched me draw and she STILL came toward me. She had no clue what I was and never winded me. A Ghillie suit loaded with so much carbon that it makes your hands turn black just by getting dressed, is a deadly combination! I had to say to her “No trespassing”, so she would stop. When she did, she realized something wasn’t right, so she turned to my right and began to bolt. Too late for her though. She piled up 40 yards later. Yummy! I love to shoot does. This is the first doe I’ve shot in years due to the lack of them where I have been hunting. If you look close enough, you can see her legs sticking out of the wagon that’s being pulled by my four wheeler, in my “politically correct” photo. I’m looking forward to shooting more!
I didn’t see anything else but one nice buck all day and he didn’t want to play, so it was back to camp. Yes, I camped out last night only to be woken by coyotes fighting over my dead doe at 2:30 a.m.! I had to run them off, in the rain, which also stunk. I ended up sleeping in my truck for the remaining 2 hours. From there, I hunted until 11:00 and said “Enough is enough!” I need scent control, sleep and more sleep, so I drove back home. There is always next week!
Any other eventful opening day stories to share? Bring them on!
My sleeping quarters :-(