My son Drake and I spent most of yesterday hanging deer stands and clearing shooting lanes for the upcoming season. Although we worked our rear-ends off, we “Got R Done”. The hardest part of setting stands for me happens to be finding the right location for each stand. Bearing in mind that some of these “good” locations can and will change when the rut kicks in, I may have to move these stands again. One of these stands is a double seated stand that we will use when I put my wife in it this year for her first gun deer hunt. Actually, it won’t be her first, it just may the first hunt where she will actually see deer! We didn’t have much luck here in central IL. in the past as the deer here go mostly nocturnal prior to opening day because of the constant pressure. Anyway, I want to be in that double stand with her when that first deer arrives, if anything, just to give her some advise. This stand is so big she calls it the “Ferris wheel” stand, because it looks just like, you guessed it, a Ferris wheel. When I was up in it yesterday, I thought I wouldn’t want to bow hunt out of it because of its design. Trying to draw a bow in it will be virtually impossible because your arm will strike the tree it’s attached to. Good thing she’ll be using a gun!
I found one of my “magic” spots early on and it seems to be THE place for me. I’ll hunt it from the ground but because of its surroundings, I placed a climbing stand close by. The buck I’m going to hunt doesn’t move more than an estimated 80 yards all day from where I placed my stand. It was very difficult getting in there and I’m sure he either saw me or winded me while working there. If he did, he didn’t bust, so that was a good sign. This place is so thick with briars, brush and trees, I literally had to cut my way in. My son asked me: “Dad, with all of this timber along this bean field, how did you decide to place it at that particular location?” As we sat in my truck and looked down this 3 acre section of bean field, I asked him to look down the timber line and tell me what you see different. After looking for about 30 seconds, he nailed it, much to my surprise. He said: “There’s a little bit of change in the timber line, is that it?” He was right! It was hard to tell but there was an area where the bucks had been eating or “browsing” the leaves and stems from the trees making the trees to appear that they were trimmed with a hedge shear. That’s all it took for me (along with my 200 yard rule) to decide on hunting that spot this season. After placing a trail camera there for the last 4 weeks, my suspicions came true. Monster city! Looking beyond that point, big buck sign from the past several years was more than evident. BINGO! Now there’s nothing guaranteed in this business, so we’ll see what unfolds here.
I did notice a few trees that were freshly rubbed with velvet hanging off of them. It won’t be long where they’ll all be showing bare bone. I also noticed a few scrapes that caught me by surprise! Once looking at those scrapes, I realized a mistake I had made a year or so ago when replying to an email from one of my readers. He asked me about these early season scrapes and I responded to him by saying that they must have been from last season. Strike one for Marc! I was wrong! This was one trait I failed to recognize in my years of bow hunting, so to right the wrong here, yes, they do scrape now and then early in the season. Why they do it, well, there are several reasons but nothing that needs to be addressed to help you with your bow season. My apologies!
With the cooler weather and the crops coming out earlier this year, I think we’ll be seeing more activity soon! In fact, I was surprised to see several farms harvesting corn yesterday in Fulton, Peoria and Schuyler counties. If you haven’t got your favorite places ready to go, better get out there! I do recommend finishing up soon so your hunting grounds can settle down a bit before the season gets here.
Won’t be long!Permalink
Last Batch of Pictures
I checked my trail cameras today on one of the properties I’ll be hunting. It appears these bucks are set in their “patterns”, if you will. Although I didn’t want to post the entire 500+ pictures from the last 2 weeks, I can tell you that these bucks are starting to show up now in the daylight hours and with more frequency. It’s hard to believe we’re only 4.5 weeks away from launching arrows!
One interesting thing I noticed in the woods today was the rubbed trees. I didn’t have my camera with me or I would have taken some pictures. I found a few trees that were shredded with velvet stuck to them. I jumped a buck in the woods around 11:00 a.m. and as he started to run, I simply started walking in the opposite direction. It puzzled him, so he stopped to look at me. Sometimes if you act nonchalant and uninterested, they won’t feel threatened. He just watched me walk out calmly and ended up not spooking. I hate spooking deer because they catch on so quickly and often stomp their hooves leaving danger scent for the others to smell. Once they do that, that spot is marked as a caution area for some time. I don’t want to start the season with educated deer!
Enjoy the pictures!
Marc’s 2010 Deer Prediction
The verdict is in: It’s going to be a banner year for whitetails!
That’s my prediction. Of course, now that I’ve said it, I’ll get skunked. That’s OK if I do because my prediction is for all hunters in Illinois. I’ll tell you why I think we’re going to have a great year. With last year’s standing corn issues, we most likely won’t have that problem this year as the weather is cooperating and the crops should be out in decent time. Even if you don’t think deer live in the standing corn, they most certainly will run and hide in it when spooked! With several million square miles of corn standing last year, they had plenty of places to stay put. When they have so much cover, it’s inevitable that they’ll live and grow a bit more.
Here in central IL. I’ve noticed an increase in deer for the first time in almost a decade. Places that I monitor for activity are jumping with 2.5 year old deer. In areas that won’t hold deer past gun season, that’s a major improvement. In an area where hunters don’t use any management whatsoever, that’s an even greater sign. Places that held 3.5 and older deer are now holding record class deer. Add the fact that many hunters were complaining of not seeing many deer last year, that’s an incredible thing! There is only one reason for this: Last year’s corn!
Maybe this is Mother Nature’s way of increasing the herd when state management won’t? The same happens in reverse when too many deer run wild: Mother Nature sends EHD, Blue Tongue and other diseases to take over. We either manage these animals or nature will do it for us! Heed this warning Chicago land! Let the bow hunters control the deer heard in these urban areas!
All indicators are pointing for some real giants to be harvested this year, so get out and see what’s in your neck of the woods. I for one, am excited just to be able to shoot does this year! I’ve been backing off does here in central IL. for years just to let the herd grow a bit (only to watch the bordering properties massacre what’s left). Since I’ll be adding west central IL. to my list of places this year, I’ll happily shoot the does over there since not too many hunters will. I absolutely love to shoot does and the food will not go to waste!
OK, my predictions are in. I haven’t seen such a difference in 8 of the counties I’ve been scouting in the past 9 years as I have this year, so here’s to a great year!Permalink