One Sleepless Night!
Twas’ the night before Christmas…or should I say opening day! It might as well be a holiday because tomorrow is one of my most anticipated days all year. No matter how early I go to bed, I never can sleep on the eve of opening day bow season here in Illinois. There is just too much to think about. Where will the wind be? Where will I set-up? How will I be able to get him/her out of that particular area? How early should I proceed into this one area? How long should I stay in one place? These questions and many more will ramble through my head all night!
I’ve opted for two places to hunt tomorrow, depending on the wind. One place I’ll have to pack it in and go deep. It will require a soft foot and a careful path with regard to the wind as I don’t want my scent to be blown into the direction I will anticipate deer to be. My footsteps will sound like a deer’s footsteps while I walk and my clothes will be bagged until the last minute. One thing I’ve learned from the past is to be virgin clean going in on opening day! Even over time when your grounds get a heavier dose of your scent, deer will be accustomed to it! They will eventually proceed with more caution but they will accept it. The opening day though, is the big surprise for them or for you, depending how you look at it. If your woods have been free from human scent for months and then on opening day they wind a heavy plume of you, they won’t go anywhere near you. If over time they wind small amounts of human scent, they’ll work around it and begin to accept the danger and maneuver around the area anyway. I’ve watched deer scope farmers out while working in the timber and in their fields with little to no surprise. They won’t even spook most of the time by hearing farm equipment but they will dash like mad hearing the sound of a four wheeler! Certain things they associate with danger with and others they learn to live with. Don’t give them a heavy dose of your scent on opening day! Be stealth-like and enjoy what could be the most relaxed hunt all year!
I’m going to stay in the woods all day, so I’m packing food and water. I have an area that I’m sure contains the quality deer I’m looking for, so I feel it’s inevitable to be there every possible minute hoping to catch that opportunity to present itself. By staying in all day, you lessen the chance of spooking deer by walking in and out of your hunting grounds displaying your whereabouts each and every time. The best way to hunt these animals, in my opinion, is to act like it’s YOU that is being hunted! Being less exposed and remaining low keyed is the best way to smoke a relaxed buck or doe. HIDE like you’re the target.
I am taking my portable internet device to hopefully upload any exciting developments, whether they be from me or you! Send pictures and/or stories of your bow hunt to me and I’ll start posting them when I get a chance. Like mentioned before, I really think this will be a banner year for Illinois hunters for many reasons, so get out there, don’t take any chances or get lazy. Be safe and remember it’s not worth taking someone else’s life, or your own, if you are in doubt of your target!
Do it right, do it safe and for crying out loud, have fun whether or not you harvest anything!Permalink
Packed and ready!
I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for opening day archery season! With new places to hunt this year and a little more alloted time off, the writing’s on the wall: I’m outa here”!
You know, it doesn’t help having a Facebook account. Sitting back and watching all of the bordering states and beyond open their seasons , days and sometimes weeks before ours, one cannot help but to salivate over the harvested buck pictures that show up every day! KY, MN, OH, KS, ND, etc, etc, seem to be having some relatively good harvests coming in. It’s got my blood flowing enough to motivate me in getting things ready early. This is my favorite time of year as I love hunting the early season. I’ve got a couple of bucks mapped out as well as I possibly can, so all I can do from here is wait until the opener and hit the timber.
I’m planning on several all day hunts opening week. I’ll be packing food and water with the intention of stalking an entire area where I believe 2 bucks hide out. Even in the slower parts of the day, around noon or so, I’m looking forward in catching a snoozing buck on a hillside off guard. With the ground assault, it’s never dull! Always on the move (even if it’s 80 yards every 2 hours), there’s always a chance for action as compared to hunting just the mornings and afternoons. The binoculars will be my best friend as they will give me the opportunity to “reach out”, way past my scent zone, for a long range view of what’s happening on the other side. There’s nothing better than finding a bedded buck in the early afternoon. Chances are he’ll be there for quite some time giving me the opportunity to circumnavigate his position for an ambush from behind. It’s an awesome type of hunt! The only issues I’ve had with this scenario is being busted by bachelor bucks that I DIDN’T see when moving and relocating. Other than that, it’s the “creme de la creme” of deer hunting if you were to ask me!
So it’s 4 days and 3 sleepless nights away. I do this every year and by the time opening day gets here, I’m exhausted. I lay in bed and go over and over how I’m going to approach the attack. One thing for sure, once I’m in the woods, I’ll throw all of those dreams out the window as there will undoubtedly be something else that will get my attention! Who knows where I’ll end up? That is why I love it so much! Northing’s for sure or guaranteed. It’s hunting in the real world and I wouldn’t have it any other way!Permalink
Where to cut for that trophy buck!
One of our loyal readers sent me a message last week and asked for me to write a short article on how to cut the cape for a trophy mount. I stated to him that cutting the cape off of the head would create a problem if it isn’t done right, so I’ll just mention where to cut the head off and how to prepare it. When done correctly, it will save your hide (literally) and allow your mount to be done in the manner in which you prefer!
Here are a few tips if you happen to shoot a deer that you want to mount. Follow these tips as they are easy and will prevent a lot of heartache! First, after shooting your deer, try not to drag the deer in any manner that will allow the head and neck area to scrape against the ground. You DON’T want the hair to be rubbed off and/or damaged. Field dress the deer right away to prevent more intestinal gas from building up and forcing gas into the capillaries and arteries. You will then need to cut off the head about 4” BEHIND the front legs! If in doubt, cut it longer! A short cape is almost worthless to a taxidermist, especially if you want a shoulder mount. Now when I say cut the head off I mean cut the CAPE 4” behind the front legs and roll it up as you cut. You can actually cut the head off at the neck (at the shortest point of the neck). You can keep rolling up the hide toward the head as you cut by taking your time and very carefully separating the hide from the meat. You can stop when you get close to the jaw. From there, you can simply just cut the neck off. Now you don’t have to lug that neck around with the head and you can place it in a bag which can then be refrigerated. Leave the face for your taxidermist and DON’T try to remove it! Believe me, you’ll do more damage than good if you attempt the face.
It is of utmost importance to COOL DOWN THAT HIDE! I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, bacteria will form on that hide if you don’t cool it down causing “slipping”. Slipping is where the hair will fall off! Many times you won’t even notice it until after the cape is tanned and by that time, you’ll be liable for the tanning costs. So get it cooled down! Besides, if you gut it, clean it and cool it down in a speedy fashion, you won’t get that “gamy” taste some people complain about! No such thing as gamy. Gamy taste is spoiled meat…period! Yes, there are some animals that have a strong taste but this gamy taste most hunters refer to is just poorly prepared meat! Think of it this way: Meat processors kill, clean and refrigerate meat in a flash to preserve flavor and you should too! Yes, you can age it by hanging it but clean it and cool it down first!
Here are some pictures for you to look at:
Notice how far back the front legs are! Make sure you cut behind these legs for ample hide to cover the mount.
Notice where the legs should begin on this mount. You MUST have enough hide to wrap around the back of this form! If you are getting a pedestal mount done, you’ll need even more! Bottom line, if in doubt, cut more, not less. One last bit of advice is to NOT cut the brisket area which is between the two front legs or your taxidermist will have to sew that area and he may charge you extra. You can still field dress the deer by stopping the incision 4’ back from the front legs.
OK, now kill a deer !Permalink