It never seems to fail; no matter how good our intentions are for getting stands hung and trimmed out months before the season starts, life seems to find a way to deviate us from those plans. In my particular case, I've been planning a wedding for the past 13 months which has taken a lot of time away from my normal routine of scouting, stand hanging, and general preparation for bowhunting season. In fact, it's less than 10 days until the Illinois archery season opens and I haven't purchased my tags or even shot any broadheads yet! Although I do plan on getting a few shooting sessions in this week if at all possible. I'll be back in town on October 5th and plan to hit the ground running when I get return, so it's definitely time to start getting things in gear.
This past Saturday Mike and I spent some time hanging the last few stands, trimming the last few lanes, and making the last of our pre-season preparations at our local hunting spots. It's amazing to me how grown up some of these stands can get after only one season. Shooting lanes that were clear last year have grown over and needed a little bit of TLC before the season opens, which is just what we gave them. I was able to give my Hooyman Extentible Tree Saw its first workout of the year and overall I was happy with it. I'm a little hard on my saws and pretty critical of their performance, but overall it held up well. It definitely works better as an extentible saw than a traditional hand saw as the handle was a little flimsy for my liking. My Felco hand saw still can't be beat for standard duty, but for those pesky limbs and twigs that are out of arm's reach, the Hooyman works great. I would definitely recommend this product to any bowhunter who does a lot of standing hanging both before and during their bowhunting seasons. If you're interested in trying one out, we have them for sale in our shopping cart right here on Bowhunting.com for only $38.99.
We also happened on our first rubs of the year as well. With the bucks having shed their velvet their testosterone levels are starting to pick up a bit so we should be seeing more and more rubs pop up over the next few weeks, and pretty soon a few scrapes as well. I can't wait!
This is the kind of stuff that should get every bowhunter excited for the fall! We found this fresh rub in a heavy fencerow between two standing corn fields that connects two small woodlots. It's a great place to catch a buck traveling if they leave the corn up. But once the corn comes down these bucks don't like being caught out in the open during daylight unless they're chasing a hot doe in November.
Speaking of hard horned bucks, I got my first trail camera pictures of bucks who had shed their velvet. One is a tight-racked 10 pointer that I have several pictures of throughout the summer months. I originally thought this buck was older than he really is, as he looks like a 2 1/2 year old buck to me. He also exhibits the exact same characteristics of so many other bucks on this property over the past 6 years we've been hunting it. Narrow rack, short brows, and G3's that are every so slightly longer than his G2's. I don't think he has the genetics to blow into anything huge, but I guess we'll have to wait and see over the next few years if he makes it through.
This buck is a perfect representative of the type of genetics we have on this particular farm. Year after year, fresh crops of bucks pop up with racks that look identical to one another.
The second buck was the first antlered deer photo I've gotten all summer on what we call the "main farm" property. It's hard to be totally sure, but I believe that we got a few photos of this particular buck last year during the late season. At the time he had what looked like a fresh wound on his left side and we wondered if he would make it through the season. Well, if this photo is indeed the same buck (and I think it is) it looks like he's doing just fine. He appears to be either a 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 year old buck with either very small or no brow tines. I'm sure I'll get a few more looks at him this fall once I get my cameras over some scrapes, so I'm looking forward to getting to see his rack a little better. This is also the 2nd group of photos from my Cuddeback Capture and so far I've been very happy with it's performance. Flash range is good, batteries are holding strong after nearly a month, and I haven't had any motion-blur problems like I did with my Cuddeback Excite. For a $200 you can't beat it right now. Check them out over at Trailcam.com, we have them in stock and ready to ship!
It's a little hard to tell from this small photo, but this buck appears to have some healed-over scars on his left side just behind his shoulder as well as right in front of his hind leg. I think this is the same buck we got two photos of last year during the late season.
This will probably be my last update until October as I've got a busy week ahead of me followed by my wedding next Saturday (GULP) and then a week-long trip to Mexico. I should be nice and rested when I get back and ready to get in a tree and shoot something! Good luck to everyone who is hunting - be safe and shoot straight!
Summer wouldn't be complete without at least one trespasser randomly walking through the woods that are clearly posted with "NO TRESPASSING" signs on all 4 sides. I just wish the photo was a little bit more clear so I could make out who this jackrod is, and what we's got in his hand. Kinda looks like a camcorder to me??