Monday, November 19, 2012

Deer Camp Opening Day

On Thursday we got done Electrofishing for Eureka High School about 3:15 pm and then I headed to work on my house for the evening.

I was highly motivated and got alot I couldnt take it any longer and wrapped things up about 6:15 pm and mentally checked out for the next 3 straight days!!!

I arrived to camp about 7:30 and we started our game plan for the morning and the weekend. It was fun and the anticipation for all of us to have 3 straight days of no work whatsoever was icing on the cake...So we stayed up late knowing we werent gonna sleep well anyways.

We were in our stands by 5:30 am. Lots of first time hunters, but the gameplan was to just observe the deer for Friday and holdout for one of the farms monsters.

Me n Dad were in the center tower, Mom and Dave in the North Tower, Allen in the cemetary stand, Chad in North River Stand, Jared was in the East CRP stand, and Justin was in the Boot.

We sat in our stands until 11 am and saw 63 deer that morning! We had a couple glimpses at shooter bucks, but no good shots on them. Here are some pics from the morning:

Deer started showing up as seen as we could see and dad had a glimpse of a shooter buck out about 60 yards, but it was a bit too early for his comfort level. Dad is a fisherman, and has only been deer hunting one other time! I think we got him hooked on deer hunting now that we have made it a family social event!!

This was the tower dad and I were sitting in:

So at 11 am we all grabbed the trail cam chips from the cameras close by and we headed in to the fairview cafe for lunch....that place was standing room only so we just headed back to our place for sandwiches and scoured the last 2 weeks of trail cam pics....

For the evening hunt I went to the clover stand up in the top 20 acres and had an awesome 150" class buck coming right in, the only problem was he never got to our property. He stayed 140 yards out in the neighbors cornfied and didnt cross our fenceline until he was about 500 yards away.....But just 5 minutes later and here comes a badly wounded 130" class buck from behind me.

This buck had a busted front leg and was making lots of noise dragging it as it came closer and closer, but there was so much brush behind me I couldnt really see it. Just had a glimpse of him when he was in the field about 200 yards out, but now he was only 25 yards behind my stand in the thicket......thats when he stopped.....for like 5 first I figured he went into the thicket to bed down, but then all of a sudden he starts trotting to my right.

He was making alot of noise as he crashed through the timber so I could pinpoint him even without seeing him and there was a small clearing coming up in his path. I had all of like 5 seconds to lift my gun left handed, find the clearing in my scope and pull the trigger as he trotted through the opening...

After the smoke from Thompson Center cleared there was a buck laying motionless about 40 yards away at the end of that little clearing....I patted myself on the back for taking this guy out of his misery and then out of the blue he jumps straight up and just runs down the hill......You have got to be kidding me.....

So I sit in my stand and it gets dark as deer start pouring into the clover field...It took forever for all the guys to get over to come pick me up and start tracking this deer. We found good blood at first and tracked him for about an hour before we completely lost his trail at the edge of the timber and the road.....What was really discouraging was the blood was getting less and less and eventually the deer was following a normal deer trail down the hill and not just crashing through....

That was a bummer for sure, but we planned on coming back once the sun came up to see things with fresh sets of eyes....I had never lost a deer before. I typically dont pull the trigger, but when I do its always a very conservative shot...This deer was different, he was on the move and through the thicket, we always take out badly injured deer and this guy couldnt use his front left leg....

Back at camp that night we gobbled down elk chili and ice cream! Our wives and kids showed up during the day and there was about 30 of us at camp retelling the days stories...Day two the plan was to get all the first timers their deer early in the am and try to find where the wounded buck crossed the road....

Here is a view from the stand dad and I were in opening morning....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Deer Camp 2012

So I just finished packing and am more excited for deer camp 2012 than any other to date!! We finally own our own deer hunting property here in Illinois!! This is a dream come true to hunt on our own piece of ground!!! Whats even more crazy is the guys who hunted this farm in 2010 actually recognized our deer from our trail cams I posted last week and called me up this week to talk about em!

The biggest buck we are after they named fenceline back in 2010 he was a 3.5 year old stud back then! Here is his pic from last week, he is now a superstud.....

Here is the hunting video from Midwest Whitetails from our farm from 2010 featurine fenceline! Midwest Whitetail Hunting Show. The first 5 minutes of the clip is from our farm, and shows an awesome scene of a buck chasing a doe while swimming down the river and then a fenceline encounter also along the spoon river....Awesome!!

So we have about 30 bucks encountered over the last two weeks on this farm, but Fenceline is the king so far.....Cant wait to get out for the next 3 days....I have literally been working myself into the ground this year and especially burning the candle on both ends the last 2 months.....the end is in sight though, I will finish building my house and move in December 1st!!!!! Building a house on nights and weekends for over a year now and am just 3 stinkin weeks away from the finish line.....still got alot to do, but there is no way I am missing deer camp......

I already missed the bow season and havent been fishing in what seems like ages....I got friends like Steve who let me live vicariously through their fishing photos though.....(next year I will be back in the game with fish pics of my own....)

Then also my buddy Greg Grimes from Georgia (who like me squeezes fish for a living) came up this week and killed a monster deer from one of the farms for sale in Knox County. Here is his video:
Illinois Land Company - Giant buck goes down on 210 acres for sale in Knox County from IllinoisLandCo on Vimeo.

Here is the pic:

So anyhow I am packed up and after work tomorrow am ready to travel the 34 miles straight to Fulton County DEER CAMP 2012! Brook and the kids are coming Friday night and all my brothers and sisters and all of their kids will be out for the whole weekend as well. 7 of us will be hunting and about 30 of us will be staying out at the lake all weekend celebrating our new favorite holiday and family tradition of DEER CAMP WEEKEND! I hope you all have fun this weekend and harvest some deer to boot!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Big Ellisville Buck Video and a Tent Guy

So one of our friends was out hunting with my brother Chad on Friday morning and captured some footage of the King of Ellisville walking around in daylight hours:

Also my cousin Drew got some sweet trail cam footage of a buck rubbing some pine trees and then some does come along and do some rubbing of their own. I think you will like this:

So then we are installing an 1800' long fence for a client in Peoria County this week and Justin and Allen come across a guy living in a tent on the property. Obviously they approached very cautiously and the guy was home...He had been living there all summer long. He was very polite and well spoken and said he would be moving south in just a couple days as the nights were getting colder..

On Friday we squeezed in one last electrofishing survey for the year. Since Noah and Tyden didnt have school they came along and helped out:

I actually have one more electrofishing survey to squeeze in. I am helping the Biology teacher at Eureka High School with a one week pond management segment and we are going to do a field trip next week to a local Eureka pond to shock some fish and talk about some pond stuff hands on....should be alot of fun.... If any other teacher in the Central Illinois area would like to do something similar for their students, I would love to HELP! We are currently developing age appropriate curriculum to help educate as many kids as possible!!

Just look at the pics of Ty and Noah above and the smiles on their faces. They learned more about being good stewards of the land on their day off school than they ever would learn in the classroom.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Big Buck Trail Cam Pics

This week my brothers have seen some awesome deer while out hunting. Also the trail cams are picking up some real nice bucks this week as well.

I am actually taking 3 full days off work and gonna shot gun hunt from Friday to Sunday (of next week). Anyhow hope them boys dont scare all the good deer off the farm by then....Just in the last week they have seen 13 shooters over 140"  so it has been very exciting hunting!!

Today, I wasnt at the job for 5 minutes when this turkey jumps up on the truck:

We are building a very cool deck/ dock /boathouse combo and got to get er done before it gets cold. Here is the beginning:

Here is the view looking out:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bloodhound finds Deer Boneyard...

Justin has been training Copper to track all kinds of fun stuff. You know all the main things we dream about teaching dogs to find for us...Morels, Antler Sheds, Truffles, Leprechauns at the end of rainbows, and all kinds of cool things that we cant seem to find very consistently ourselves....

So here is a pic of Copper, she is getting big:

Anyhow, last week my cousin shot a deer while archery hunting. He couldnt find the deer that night, so in the morning we took Copper out for her maiden voyage....Yes I know what some of you are cant use dogs to hunt deer, BUT you can legally track a wounded deer with a leashed dog!

So Copper gets right on the trail and takes Justin about a half mile right to the torn up carcass in the middle of a deer boneyard...

Justin said there were at least 15 deer carcasses and bones scattered everywhere....We are gonna set up some trail cams to try and learn more about how the coyotes are using this place....anyone got more information about these graveyards, please share...