Tree Stands Pose the Most Danger in the Deer Woods

Nice Buck like we all want! ~postoak~

Tragically, every hunting season we read and hear of accidents in the woods that reults in severe injuries and even deaths from hunting activities. Not to be a “downer” but it is so unfortunate when accidents occur while hunting. The most prevalent of these accidents is falls from tree stands, whether they are climbing stands, lock on stands, ladder stands, or the worst, home-made wooden stands.

Many of those who have fallen admit they were not careful, failed to plan for a safe ascent, or blamed equipment failure. All these are valid but, none are a reasonable excuse!

Several years ago, after almost becoming one of those who has fallen, I decided to just stop using climbing stands. I had recently purchased a climbing stand that was one of the most expensive and touted across the industry as “the safest climbing stand on the market”. But you are still climbing! I has ascended to about 25 feet up a tree and attached the safety harness to secure the device and my hunting harness when the whole climber slid down the tree about 5 or 6 feet! Luckily, I had not yet roped my gun up to me and I was able to turn and grab the tree trunk them re-position the climber so it clamped back to the tree.  I then carefully climbed down, removed the stand and went home. I later gave it to a friend witha a fair warning about my near accident.

I then started using only ladder stands and  this has resulted in fewer climbing incidents but, I have still had a few “moments” that could have resulted in a serious fall. Last year I started taking my granddaughter with me on nearly every hunt so I stopped using our fixed ladder stands and stuck to hunting from shooting houses we have built and placed around many of the green fields. I also have a couple of smaller huts in the woods and I have found them to be effective so long as you do a good job with your scent elimination processes and also using good cover scents to help “jam” the deer’s olfactories with a scent such as “Earth scent or Pine scent”.

For Christmas last year I was given a “pop-up” blind that was designed for a two-person occupancy. It sets up in less than 3 minutes and does a great job in providing concealment, wind blocking, amd even muffles noise (like from an I-pod game) just a little bit!  The use of these portable blinds is a great way to hunt from the ground position, attain concealment even at the edge of a green field especially if you add some cover to the blind like cedar limbs, dead brush, leaves and small limbs clipped from privet hedges, etc. We used one to set up on turkey during the spring and will be using several of them this year since I bought 2 more and plan to leave them in the field anchored down and ready to hunt from. Just add a couple of canvas folding chairs and they will make you a great ambush zone to help you bag those deer this year and you won’t have to worry about falling out of that tree stand!

Be careful, plan your hunt, tell someone where you will be and if your cell phone works where you hunt keep it with you! Just put it on silent!

Good hunting!

~POSTOAK~

Pert as a Ruttn’ Buck!

Fresh Rubs mean the Rut is coming soon! ~postoak~

One of my very favorite movies is a Clint Eastwood saga titled “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. (From 1976!) The line “pert as a ruttn buck!” is a brave lie told to Josey by his young side kick who has been mortally wounded by them “no good yankee red legs”. A term they used to describe the Kansas militia men who had a red stripe down their pants legs and were know for their hatred of the rebels, especially a Missouri rebel like Josey and the young man who died moments after making this memorable movie line.

I often think of that sentence when I am getting ready for a trip to the deer woods. It is one that enlivens and gives me a little added excitement when I consider how special it is to watch a rutting buck as he chases a doe around trying his best to persuade her he is the “man for the job”. He has an actual expression of pleasure on his face and his actions are foolish, with often total disregard for safety or common “deer sense”.

The doe, depending on her mood and stage of pre-rut or rut she is in, can exhibit anything from no reaction to the buck, to being kicking, pawing fighting mad or on the other end of the scale, acting coy, shy, or downright ready for action! Just being out in the woods to witness the wonders of the deer rutting season and how it changes, ebbs and flows across the state from north to south and even somewhat east to west, makes for exciting times in the Great Alabama Outdoors!

I hunt deer mainly on family lands in West Alabama across a couple of counties. The rut starts routinely in the north end of our hunting area during Christmas week and peaks the week of the new year with some activity through out January. Where I hunt on the south end of property in Greene county, the rut kicks in the last week of December and runs strong in January but, there is a shut down week where the deer seem to disappear before the activity resumes. Moon phase and temps also affect the rut activity since deer are more active in colder weather days with dark nights and less activity is noted on the full moon cycles, especially if it coincides with warmer weather.

A buddy I hunt with in Macon county tells me the best rut there is the last week of January and he has scouted deer in February and March who are still rutting wide open! Yet, there are areas in Barbour and Henry where the rut happens like north Alabama in December and January. There are a number of hunting services that offer rut maps in Alabama, so google one for your area and see how accurate it is compared to your hunting observations!

Rut season is time to get in the woods season and enjoy the excitement of seeing that “pert buck” on the prowl for a doe!

~postoak~ outdoors~

Everybody Misses Some Times!

Grandaughter with a buck from last year. This girl can hunt! ~postoak~

My favorite deer rifle is a Weatherby 30-06 and I have it topped off with a Zeiss 3.5x12x56mm DiavariZ scope. I can see in the lowest light and it is deadly accurate. I shoot Winchester premium 150 grain ballistic tip, nosler partition bullets and it will shoot a 1.5 inch group at 200 yards with a simple bench rest aim. What it will not do unfortunately is to compensate for the user errors.

My granddaughter has proven herself to be quite a young huntress and I love hunting with her. I would much rather be the observer and coach with her her doing the shooting! It is probably as much fun as I have experienced in the deer woods in the last 20 years! As I have gotten older and the number of bucks I have taken has gotten larger, “the thrill of the kill” is not nearly as intense as in my youth.

Granddaughter’s youthful excitement and pronounced “buck fever” or even “doe fever” has been a source of enjoyment and pride for me and we have a great time in pursuit of the game we hunt. whether it is squirrel hunting, deer or turkey hunting, she is so “in to it” that it makes all my effort worth it. If you are not passing on the hunting heritage to a future generation, please start soon!

Friday morning, I hunted a beautiful section of open hardwood swamp on our family farm in west Alabama.  I saw no less than 20 deer, mostly does with yearlings but, several very nice bucks also drifted through. I hunted with no intention of shooting a deer and at one point in the late morning, I went ahead and unloaded my gun so as not to be tempted by a buck that I saw pass through the swamp twice as he fed on the abundant crop of big swamp chestnuts that were dropping in loud “plops” around my stand in the # 3 stand. That afternoon, I planned to bring my grandaughter in to shoot a doe and with all the deer activity, I figured it would be an easy task. I made sure there was a running 4 wheeler at the cabin and Left to enjoy lunch with family down in Eutaw.

That afternoon, we headed out to the woods but, she wanted to hunt a green field where she has already taken a couple of bucks. It was an easy access area near the fron gate to the farm so I agreed and off we went to a stand called the “behind the barn” shooting hut. We settled in and she immediatly had me laughing about how she was going to kill a huge drop tine buck. That is the buck she has dreamed about a few times this year so I am hoping we find one for her this year.

After about 30 minutes, a small doe came in the field and started feeding. Soon it was joined by an adult doe with two yearlings of good size so granddaughter said the yearling are old enough to make it, right poppop? I replied they are plenty old enough and she decided she needed to go ahead and shoot a deer to stop her deer fever shakes. I told her to remember our shooting lessons about sheek on the stock, concentrate on the target and slowly squeeze the trigger. She appeared to be using perfect shooting form but, as sometimes happens, she missed the doe!  We walked out to the location and made sure there was no blood or signs of the doe and walked out the does exit for about 75 yards into the woods.

Confirming the miss with her, she was far too upset but, after a few moments she calmed down and  stated, “well I guess even Annie Oakly missed sometimes!” I laughed and replied I am sure she did girl, I know I sure have.. Even in a miss, it was a great hunting memory with my granddaughter!

Take a kid hunting! you will be glad you did!

~postoak~

In Early Season, Hunt the Woods

 

Two bucks engaged in an early season "tussle" ~postoak~

 

Throughout the year people ask me where is the best place to hunt? Well, my favorite place in early season, is near a nice white oak tree or in a acorn flat as far out in a remote section of woods as I have access to on my hunting tracts. For deer numbers and deer activity that is the most relaxed and natural, the farther out in the isolated woods I can get to, the better I like it.

I have taken more deer in the early season, bow season and the pre-rut gun season by hunting in the woods from a tree stand or even a ground blind.  A few years ago, I sat in a  folding camoflage chair placed in the brush top created by an oak tree “blow-down”. The leaves were still on the tree and the tree had fallen toward a wet spot on the edge of a swampy track that was on the back side of our lease and disallowed anyone from the adjoining lease of easy access.

The water was more than 500 yards across before the property grade rose back up to another large section of swamp near the Tombigbee river. I had to walk close to half a mile from the nearest logging road to get to the spot I had found while scounting in September. I had planned to go back and place a trail camera to see if any big bucks were in the area but so much got in the way, I never walked back there until opening morning.

Anyway, the deer trail around the end of the “blow down” had been so massive when I was there in September, I figured it woulld be a winner or that I cound knock out a doe or two so as to get some freezer meat and a couple of backstraps for “camp-meat” We were camping for the weekend in nearby Epps Alabama and planned on grilling some back straps.  30 minutes after daylight I was still slogging my way to the location since I had gotten mis-directed trying to slip out to the blow-down before daylight. Once I finally concluded there was no way that I was going to do that. I just stopped and watched the daybreak in the gorgeous Tombigbee River swamp bottom I found my self looking across.

A flash of movement caught my eye and I started counting the deer headed my way. More than twenty does and yearlings came down the trail about 35 yards from my hiding spot and I was watching intently for the bucks I hopped were following them. However, after fifteen minutes nothing else moved so I decided to make my way on to the blow down. Daylight had progessed enough that I got my “bearings” and in another twenty minutes I was sitting in the top of the blow-down in my cheap canvas chair with my face mask down and I was so well hidden and “stink-free” that I enjoyed a steady stream of deer passing by me for several hours that morning. The mix of deer included several nice rack bucks of the eight to ten point variety just not any old “stooges” like I was hunting for.

However, it again demonstrated to me that for an enjoyable early season hunt, the hardwoods in secluded areas, where deer are relaxed and can move in their natural patterns, feeding on the acorns and other browse of the hardwoods is a very special place to be in early gun season.

Find you a spot or two “out there” in the woods, especailly if you have some good hardwoods where acorns can be found. There, you will likely find some deer !!

Enjoy the upcoming Thanksgving with your family and get out to the woods!

~postoak~

Finally Another Hunting Season is Here!

 

Pontiac Buck -West Alabama (wide track rack) ~postoak~

Hunting season in Alabama, It is a time of extreme pleasure for many of us who wait impatiently from the end of turkey season on April 30th to the opening day of dove season in early September. But, just like college football, the real special part of the season is just now on the horizon.

That is the start of fall gun season for deer. I do enjoy the bow season although, I must admit that my age, physical condition and plain old desire to hunt every day possible has given way to a bit of decline as I approach my 60th year on the planet. I still love to deer hunt, but a good weatherby rifle equipped with a 56mm Zeiss scope is my weapon of choice. Replacing my old PSE Nova or my old Remington 1100. When I was a younger, I really enjoyed bow hunting but, my old elbows and shoulders prohibit or atleast inhibit my ability to make that draw smoothly and stealthy like I once could.

Last deer I was able to take with my bow was on a warm afternoon and I still did not think I was gonna be able to make the draw. Had I not been able to make a quick shot, not sure how long I would have held. I did buy a Barnetts cross bow but, confess I have not shot it yet. So I guess for this deer season I will just enjoy sitting in my ladder stands or ground blinds and hunt more like the old guy I am becoming.

I also used to really enjoy hunting via the stalk or “jump shooting” deer with my shotgun. We would often put on deer pushes in the late monrings and early afternoon after the monring still hunt and before the afternoon still hunts. We covered a lot of acres and “pushed ” some big bucks out of hiding places such as cutovers, briar patches, pine thickets and creek banks. It was fun but, is a physically demanding type of hunting for sure. If you have enough property and enough stamina, I highly recommend this type of hunting! Good action and lots of fellowship can be found that reminded me of the reason the dog hunters still like to do that.!

Last blog, I discussed some of the changes in hunting rules and want to make sure everyone understands that youngsters hunting who are under age for a hunting license are STILL required to have a hunter identification humber that is obtained as part of the H.E.L.P. program. Please take time to obtain one for the young hunters who depend on you to take them hunting and to make sure they are in compliance with our hunting laws!

http://www.outdooralabama.com/gamecheck

http://www.outdooralabama.com/deer-season-zone-map

Hope you enjoy the hunts!

And if you bag a big buck, Alabama Black Belt Adventures is having a great contest!

http://www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org/november-2014-newsletter

~PostOAK~

Do You Know the Rules for Deer Hunting 2015?

 

 

My Nephew with a nice West Alabama Buck. I am ready to get one like this! ~postoak~

With Alabama’s firearms season for deer only two weeks and a day away, most of us deer hunters have gotten our preseason preparations done. Green fields planted, check. Clothes scent washed, scent added and dried, bagged up in my charcoal bag from Tinks scent products and stored out in the shed to keep the clothes sealed away from any human odors.

Boots scrubbed and scent treated, stored in my Tinks bootbag to keep them from smell contamination. I will not tough them until I get in the woods and take them out of the bag. Ammunition, grunt tube, rattling horns, cover scents, (earth, pine, and acorn) extra gloves and socks all decontaminated and ready if needed. Binoculars cleaned and in the case. Gun sighted in, cleaned and in the gun case inside the gun safe. Orange cap (don’t like but, I do wear) two camo-face masks in case one gets stinky. I like to coverup from head to toe and I know it helps me not get “busted” by a buck or a sharp eyed old doe that wants to start stomping her front foot and blowing. I have a life time hunting and fishing license so I got that covered to be legal…

Or do I? If you don’t have on your person a 2014-2015 harvest report form and a writing tool to fill it out before you move the deer or turkey, THEN YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW.. Do not forget to get your harvest form! I place mine in a zip lock bag and put it in my hunting coast along with a good ink pen so I can be sure to do my parts and follow the laws regarding Alabama’s Game law on reporting all deer and turkey taken.  You must also, if you plan to donate the animal to another hunter BEFORE it is taken to the process company, then you must also have a DONATION FORM FILLED OUT.

If this is not done and the person you donated the animal to is stopped by Game enforcement officers,  and they identify you as the person who gave them the animal, then you can be fined as well as the person you gave the animal to can be fined. This is not a well known feature of the Game Watch program, but most anyone can see why this is a needed step in reporting harvests and making sure those who harvest the deer or turkey are not bypassing the bag limits for antlered deer or turkey.

I am attaching links to those forms you will need to keep you in compliance with the law and keep you from paying a fine and the embarassment of the event from occuring should you get stopped for a Game Check by Enforcement officers. Print you a copy and keep it safe and secure and you legal!

http://www.outdooralabama.com/game-check-and-harvest-record-information

http://www.outdooralabama.com/sites/default/files/deer%20-%20turkey%20donation%20forms%20rev%209-13.pdf

http://www.outdooralabama.com/season-and-bag-limits

Be Legal!

It is more relaxing!!  ~postoak~

P.S. The Alabama Wildlife Federation in Millbrook is having a public Fishing Day at Lanark in Millbrook for more infomation visit http://www.alabamawildlife.org/

 

A COLD Morning on the Way! Let’s Go HUNT!

A buddy sent me this pic from his fall Turkey hunt. PRETTY NICE! ~POSTOAK~

Tomorrow morning is expected to be the coldest day by far this fall. The wind is also expected to be strong and sustained for most of the day. Many hunters would say “what a terrible day for hunting”

I say, “bring it on!”  I actually enjoy those raw cold days of winter and have had some great successes in just the type conditions we are expected to receive tomorrow. The main thing you have to do is prepare yourself for hunting in the conditions and utilize the proper strategy for success. Tomorrow, I will be squirrel hunting with my grandaughter and while I would like one of those quiet, still fall mornings with a blue sky and squirrels bounding through the tree tops, the reality is a windy day!

The property is my first choice for dealing with the weather, to use it to my advantage instead of “suffering through it” . I have a choice of six different properties to hunt tomorrow and four of them are flat river bottom tracts with a good hardwood mix but, the squirrels will mostly be “grounded” by the wind, or holding up in hollow trees or their nests. Trying to shoot squirrels on the ground is often a challenge for a kid so I am opting out of those properties.

I have a choice of two properties with some deep valleys and pretty decent hardwood stands of timber. These are the ones that will be sheltered from the strongest winds and more often than not, the squirrels who live around those parts know exactly where to go for the best food sources and the best options for eating “in the canopy” for safety while they dine.

This is where I will position my grandaughter and me as we try to take a few “limb chickens” with our 22 rifles. I have also packed my .410 shotgun just in case she gets frustrated with the level of skill required for the 22 rifle to find it’s mark before the squirrel scampers across the limbs and out of range.

I credit much of my marksmanship training to squirrel hunting, rabbit hunting, and as all of us boys got to be teenagers, we adopted 22 rifles as the quail hunting gun of choice. Looking back, we all became very proficient hitting quail in flight, but we missed a few too! My cousin, Joe, was the most amazing shot with a 22 rifle, out of us 4 boys that hunted together most of the time. He often would take two quail on a good covey rise and I did witness some “three-takes”.  “Old Joe” is still a pretty good shot on the rare trips to the woods we have taken over the last 20+ years.

It is sad how life speeds by, “faster than a speeding bullet” or something like that. 

Tomorrow’s hunt is gonna be fun!

Thanks for reading!

PS – the pic was sent to me by a buddy up in “yankeeland” but, you have to admit they sure got some pretty woods!

~postoak~

October Outdoor Magic, Go Get You Some!

 

This makes me want to get my Bow and GO!

October is the real kickoff.. For Outdoor sports in the fall woods October beckons like a cold beer after cutting two acres of grass with a pushmower! That first long drink of autumn cool, that eye apealing change of color away from the wash of green summer, overheated carseats and too much work! I am ready for some time away from the world of business and ready to get down to some business out in the woods! Or on a body of water, lake, pond, creek, river, the fish react to the cool down with a good bit of enthusiam too! The crappie will soon come up from the summer depths and make for some fun fishing and stringers of good eating! Bream and Bass too, all will be more eager to feed in the clear, cool waters of your favorite fishing place. You just need to do your part and get out there and get you some!

One of my coworkers took his daughter out to the Coosa this past Saturday and they had a great day pulling in bass, crappie and even several catfish! He said they had a great fish fry saturday night as they watched the Auburn and South Carolina scoring festival. At least I like the fact he caught fish.. I enjoyed the Alabama and Vols game after a day of cutting tree limbs out of my yard. I need to stop doing that!

This coming weekend the squirrels better find a good hiding spot in a sheltered hole because I am coming after them with my granddaughter! If you have access to some good hardwoods, does not have to be a large tract, I bet you can find more than a few squirrels to “stalk up on” or do a couple of “sets” nears some good mast producing trees and you can find some gray squirrels or fox squirrels to fill a cast iron skillet or  a big boiler to make my favorite squirrel dumplings or squirrel stew!

But, for this first bag of squirrels for the season, the frying pan, some peanut oil, and a light coating of flour seasoned with just salt and black pepper is what I am dreaming of like I enjoyed often in my childhood days. Hot buiscuits, white rice and gravy with fried squirrels is a treat unknown to many folks but, they just don’t know what they are missing!

This weekend I am finding some good eating for the skillet, teaching my granddaughter how to shoot a 22 rifle and knock a few squirrels into the frying pan! Why don’t you go try it? Take a kid hunting for squirrels, the magic is out there if you look for it and show a youngster that hunting is better than any video game!

In a few more days, I will be trying out a new bow on some west Alabama does.. I’ll let you know how that goes in my next blog!

~postoak~

 

Hunting Makes Special Memories!

This ole Tom made a fantastic memory for me and My Grandaughter! ~postoak~

I am a guy who lives life around hunting and the various hunting seasons. I love the whole process of hunting. Preparation of field planting, stand setting, lane trimming, checking trail cams has recently became one of my very most favorite activities and seeing the photos of big deer on our farm is a real motivator to get out and get “after them” every chance I can.

I love the early season hunting over food plots and in acorm flats. Sitting in a stand watching a “pinch point” and a big doe lane. scouting the area for scrapes, rubs, hair on fence crossings, wallowed out trails at creek crossings. Watchin’ the sun come up on the cold mornings and how the sky “catches fire” with the morning light.

Watching the shadows advance across a small green field until the magic of dusk is upon you and the woods are so silent you dare not breathe. Then you hear that sound  of hooves on the trail and you get ready…. Yes! I love hunting! and even writing about it fills me with a pleasure that is hard to describe.. Welcome back hunting season!

In recent years, taking my grandaughter with me and watching her grow in her abilities to hunt and understand the art of the hunt has overtaken my need to hunt and take animals like I used to do. I would 100 to 1 rather watch her take a nice buck or a big gobbler and see the excitement on her face and the hear the thrill in her voice moments after she had made a successful harvest.

I have also enjoyed the time on stand we have together just chatting in low voices and watching for the right buck to show up in the green field. The memories we are making in these few hunting seasons we have to spend as grandad and grandaughter in the outdoors learning (both) and living our hunting pursuits really are the very best times in life. Whatever you do, if you are a hunter, do not neglect to take the next generation, or two, with you on some hunting trips so they can discover and learn thelove of the hunt that  all of us who were lucky enough to have been the receipients of such treasure can pay it forward!

Last weekend, I made a trip over to west Alabama and picked up a big gobbler that my gradaughter took last spring. It was her first “TOM” and I had promised her if it was a big one, I would have it mounted for her. Well, it was a very nice gobbler and she shot him at about 2 feet from the end of the barrel, so the hunt was a great one with loads of excitement thatI know we will both remember  for all the days we get.

 

Bow Season, Are you Ready?

Split brows at the feeder Loading up! ~postoak~Crowd around and Chow Down! ~postoak~

The closer it gets to the start of Bow Season, the more intent I get on being better prepared to get to the woods on opening morning and have all my gear ready, my stands trimmed and my clothes all scent washed, packed in my charcoal bag.

But, like so many years past, life gets in the way! The frustration level that many of us feel due to a real lack of time and energy confounds our efforts until the last possible moment to do “most” of the things we should do to meet the minimum requirements to be in our stand before daybreak on that opening morning. So there we are, finally hunting but, then we think of all the little things we could have done better to thwart the olfactories and/ or the visual prowess of the deer. We think we did OK but, then, a doe who is 100 yards down wind of you starts to blow repeatedly and you feel just like that old coyote who has been busted trying to sneak up on some does and yearlings. He slinks on off to look for other prey and you might be better off to do the same thing.

Boww season reality… The measure of success in the deer woods of bow season are measured in very tiny increments. Most are the little thinks we did, but did not do as well as we could or should have done. Scent control, Stand placement, concealment with good camo clothes including a face mask ( that so many hunters refuse to wear) or at the very least some good camo skin cover(makeup) to break up the outline of your face!

Have you practiced ANY yet? How sickening it is to me when I make a bad shot that wounds but does not kill. I would much rather have a clean miss that a bad shot placement. Most of this is caused by “buck Fever” lack of meaningfull repetitions in practice with your broadheads. And for goodness sakes! do not try to be a long shot artist! Long shots = low success and that is for football bets and bow hunting!

Get your practice in and your gear “in gear”! Bow season is almost here!

In the mean time check out some of my trail cam photos to inspire the predator in you!

Crowd around and chow down! ~Postoak~

 

~postoak~