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Thanksgiving

It’s hard to believe that today is the day before Thanksgiving. It rained a lot last night, and the wind is really whipping outside. I decided to sleep in this morning and wait until the weather breaks before heading out to the woods. It’s still windy, and the temperature is very warm for this time of year but I’m still going.

Although the rut has peaked, it’s still going on. Yesterday I hunted both morning and evening and didn’t see a single deer, and I didn’t hear very many shots either. The deer have adapted to the hunting pressure by going nocturnal; I’m hoping that the big ol’ buck will slip up and show himself today! I’ve passed up seven eight-point bucks this year, hoping for something a little bigger.

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, I encourage you to stop and think about what you are thankful for this year. Many things have changed for everyone due to COVID-19, but I still have a lot to be thankful for myself. My wife and sons, my family, and my God are the top three. I’m also thankful that I still live in a free country where I can hunt and enjoy things I like to do. I’m thankful that my glass is half full, not half empty. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving Day and count your blessings.

Is the rut here yet?

Yesterday evening I sat in my elevated box blind on the north end of my food plot, hoping for Mr. Big to show up.  The wind was blowing from the NNE at 3 mph, which tickled the leaves that remained on the trees.   This was a crosswind for my position; I like hunting a crosswind.   Had six antlerless deer show up, but no bucks.

This morning I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off.   Got up and made coffee, dressed, made some breakfast.  Opened the door and to my surprise, it was raining.  Change in plans I decided to hunt in the cabin this instead of a ladder stand.  Got to the cabin and it was still pitch dark; the weather can play a significant role in hunting.  This August was the wettest I can remember, followed by a very dry September, and now a very wet October.  The first deer I saw this morning was about 0730 at my mock scrape about 200 yards away; I didn’t see any antlers.  Then around 0800, a spike buck showed up at 40 yards from me; he came from the west and looked the food plot over and didn’t see anything, scent checked the wind and turned and left the way he came.  Then 15 minutes later, a 3-point buck appeared precisely as the spike had come from.  He circled my feeder and stopped for a few bites of corn.  When he didn’t see any ladies, he went on his way.  The rain has stopped, and the wind has picked up a little.  It feels a lot colder than 48 degrees this morning with the wind, dampness, and lack of sunshine.  The weather forecast is calling for more rain and wind this afternoon and evening.   I may be working on my honey-do list for the rest of the day.

ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready?  Whatever your task is, are you ready?  Once again, I’m back in the whitetail woods, looking to harvest a mature buck.  Preparing to be ready, I’ve been scouting, practicing with the bow, looking at deer signs, practicing scent control, planting food plots, and viewing thousands of trail camera pictures; these all help put me in a position to get a shot at a deer.  

It’s incredible how a small squirrel can sound like a heard of elephants, and a 150-pound deer can appear out of thin air.  When the deer does appear, I take only the shot that I’m confident and capable of making. I must be alert, be still, and be ready!  Sometimes that means not shooting – the last thing I want to do is wound the animal.  I want to let that arrow fly with confidence!. 

I’ve put the time in, but will I get the shot today? The final test might arrive in a few minutes, hours, days, or weeks, but I AM READY.  

Get out there and enjoy yourself with confidence and BE READY!

Kentucky Early Muzzle-loader

Yesterday was the opening of the 2-day early muzzle-loader season in Kentucky, so I got up when my alarm went off at 04:45, and (equipped with my gear and a cup of coffee), I headed out to my truck. I was surprised to find frost on my windshield, so after I dealt with that, I started the 40-minute drive to my lease farm in McCracken County.  After stopping at the southside McDonalds for a sausage biscuit and a hash brown,  I got to the farm with plenty of time to set up before daylight.

I unloaded my 4-wheeler and set off for my deer stand; I drove across the cut cornfield, made my way up the ridge, and parked.  As I set off on foot in the dark, I worked my way quietly down the backside of the ridge along the back cornfield. It started to break day when I finally got up in my stand and ready to hunt at 06:30.

Even though it’s still a little too early for the rut this year, I have killed a couple of bucks in the early muzzle-loader season.  You can imagine my excitement when about 15 minutes after I got in my stand, I saw movement across the field.  I grabbed my binoculars and saw a large-bodied deer with visible antlers walking.  It was still too dark and too far (about 175 yards) to know for sure if it was a shooter or not, so I picked up my grunt call and grunted at him twice, hoping he would come to investigate the buck grunts – but he didn’t.  Instead, he slowly walked out of the field and into the woods. 

It’s hard to size up a deer at 175 yards in low light, so the best thing to do was pass on this deer and be ready for the next opportunity.  After a while, only seeing four does since the buck, I decided to climb down from my stand around 09:15.  Timing is the key for many things in life, and today the buck’s timing was in his favor! Perhaps next time it will be in my favor, and Mr. Buck won’t be so lucky. 

It was a great morning to be out enjoying God’s creation with such a beautiful sunrise, cool temps, and (of course) the wildlife. 

Opening Day of Bow Season 2020

What are you passionate about?  For me it’s the opening day of bow season here in Kentucky.  For me it’s like the anticipation of Christmas as a small child or a kid in a candy store.  There is a great excitement leading up to opening day.  This year was no exception and it was finally here, September 5th, 2020.  Now it was Hoyt time!  I planted my food plot with oats, wheat, purple top turnips, clover, and rape.  They were greening up quickly with the warm temperatures and plenty of rain, that brought smile to my face.    I was in the deer stand by 0600 hoping to fill my tag with a velvet buck or a big gobbler.  Kentucky is one of a few states you can harvest a buck still in velvet, because of the early opening of bow season.  This morning it was 57 degrees and very light wind tickling the leaves on the trees.  Soon birds filled the air with their songs, crows cawed, owls hooted, and squirrels were cutting on nuts in the distance.   At 0625 I spotted some movement across the food plot, it was a gray squirrel scampering along the edge.  Then a few minuets later I heard the first shot of the morning ringing out in the distance.  Wait a minute it’s bow season, but I soon realized dove season was also going on too.  Note I self, I need to clean the windows on this box blind.  0640 a turkey came in the food plot with approximately a 6-inch beard, now I a shaking like a leaf.  I finally calmed myself down and the turkey turned away from me at about 20 yards and I drew my bow and place my 20 yard pin in the middle of the turkeys back and let the arrow go.  I heard the thud of the arrow as it hit the turkey.  My arrows are equipped with a lighted knocks, and I could see my arrow sticking in the ground where the turkey was standing.   The turkey took off running down a logging road directly across from me and disappeared as it rounded a curve in the road.  I thought I had made a good shot, but time will tell.  Have you every noticed when watching a clock how it seems to slow down or stop.  I waited an hour before getting down.  I went to my arrow and found a handful of feathers, then I walked down the logging road to where I had last seen the turkey.  No turkey, so I slowly walked another 200 yards past where I had lost sight of the turkey.  Still no turkey, so I circled to my right 50 yards or so back to the spot I last saw the turkey, still no turkey.  Very disappointed I climbed back into my elevated box blind and hunted for about another hour or so, all kinds of thought raced through my mind, where was my turkey.  Did I make a good shot or had I just wounded the bird.  An hour later it was 0900 and I got down and walked to where I had last saw the turkey.  I walked off to the left and hadn’t gone more than 30 or 40 yards and flushed my turkey about another 15 yards.  I got in position and put a second arrow in the bird, it turned out to be a bearded hen with a 7 ¼ inch beard.  What an exciting hunt this morning, my emotions had gone from 0 to 100, and then from 100 to 0 in a very short time, what an emotional rollercoaster ride this was!

Hunting is like life, you have success and failures.  I need to enjoy my success and learn from my failures!  I hope your hunts are all successes this year  God is good!