Opening Day Memoirs

Dear Spouses,

I am very sorry for the insanity and excitement that coincides with the next 2 months. The official start of deer season is upon us. We hunters of meat, apologize for all the parties, dinners, movies, football games that will be missed on our pursuit of the monster we have been yearning for all year. Fall has begun and the air smells fresh bringing along the movement of all wildlife getting ready for the winter. Back in simpler times when hunting was accepted by all and was dependent on as means for survival, the elation of a thrilling hunt was just as high then as now. Something about Saturday morning, bright and early, brings a smile to my face and the feel of Christmas morning. Virginia is one of the hardest places to hunt in my mind, but I intend to do my best and wish all the luck to every hunter in the woods. Be safe, be happy, and eat what you shoot.

 

IMG 05421 Opening Day Memoirs

 

Almost Time

Well it’s about that time. We are a little under 2 weeks away from opening day of bow season! But before you make the mad dash into the woods, I suggest taking full advantage of this upcoming weekend. This Saturday (September 29th) Virginia allows a statewide Youth Deer Hunting Day. As long as the hunter is 15 years old or younger and are accompanied by adult who has a valid Virginia hunting license they are eligible to shoot deer of either sex. For more detailed regulations and information on the Virginia 2012 Youth Deer Hunting Day check out the VDGIF’s 2012-13 Hunting Regulations.

For the past 8 months I’ve spent a lot of time in the woods preparing for this season, probably more than I have ever before. Each year that passes I become more and more fascinated with the deer. Their patterns and behaviors never seizes to amaze me. Just a few a weeks ago I was scouting an area and I climbed up a tree like I was 10 years old to get a better look at the terrain. I found a nice little nook in the branches and sat for about 15 minutes and along came 3 does each with a set of twin fawns. I watched them for about 20 minutes, they started to get wind of me and they commenced to a snorting conundrum. For 10 minutes they stomped the ground, threw their noses up in the air and snorted back and forth. They never saw me and eventually scurried off but I was in disbelief of their knowingness that something just wasn’t right.

One thing that I always find amusing is hunter’s moon 291x300 Almost Time superstitions; from the lucky shirt to the lucky arrow we all have our fallacies that keep us engaged in the hunt. One of mine is the moon pattern. I can honestly say in my own experiences that the moon has played a pivotal role deer movement. This may be old news to some of you but when the moon is in between the Waning and Waxing Gibbous phase that’s when I’ve noticed deer are moving the most. Don’t get me wrong here, just because the moon isn’t in its Full phase it’s defiantly not going to deter me from climbing in my stand. Many of the deer I’ve harvested were contributed to nothing but pure luck and being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes the only preparation I took was loading bullets into my gun. Either way, whatever your ritual is that keeps you going back into the woods, just keep at it.

Dove Duped

photo 21 300x224 Dove DupedI had BIG expectations when I hit the road today at 11 a.m. to arrive early and claim my dove hunting “hot spot”. When I pulled in the gate, there was only one other truck and the skies were overcast, I knew it would not be long before the barrel would be too hot to touch and birds would be dropping left and right.  Needless to say, the doves did not cooperate and I did not have even one dove pass within shooting distance the entire afternoon.  I spoke to several of my buddies who were hunting various properties throughout Hanover County, VA and they seemed to have similar experiences.  Where have all the doves gone? Was anyone able to reach their limit?

Six Shooter

Only 38 more days until the opening day of Virginia whitetail bow season. I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous of some neighboring states that have already kicked off the season or will be opening in September. It seems likes October can’t get here any faster. The only thing I can do is continue tuning in my bow, double and triple check my gear and patiently await for that October 6th sunrise. Until then, I’m able to get my whitetail fix through checking my trail cams. Today I got a nice surprise from a high-rise 6 pointer. When I first saw the photos I compared him to some of the high-toppers that fellow Huntographer and Field Editor for Maryland Huntography, Rob Freyer has been seeing up in his neck of the woods. This is the first that I’ve seen this deer this year and I’m hoping he makes a habit of roaming around my stand for the next few months.

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Virginia White Sock Buck

If you’re like me, trail camera photos never get old. Since the introduction of game cameras the quality and technology has increased greatly over the years. Hunters now possess the capability to capture high-definition photographs, video and some trail cameras can send the photos directly to our smart phones within minutes of taking pictures. It’s become a must have tool for hunters. The camera allows us to better manage the herd, strategize our season and gives us a candid insight on the wildlife that occupies the land.

Every time I check my trail camera I find myself anxiously rushing back to the house to see what’s been roaming around my hunting spots. As soon as I insert the memory card in my computer my heart begins beating a little bit faster. I eagerly scroll through the thumbnails looking for a set of horns. Even if I just see one doe it’s enough to keep my hopes up for the upcoming season. I’ve seen raccoons, fox, and squirrels but nothing compares to seeing that big buck walking through my shooting lane. Fortunately for me, in one my prime hunting spots I’ve been seeing consistent deer movement throughout all seasons. Over the weekend I checked my cameras and saw a 9-pointer that’s been hanging around pretty regularly this summer. I think it’s safe to say that it’s the same buck that I posted about last month. This time the photos were taken during the morning and I was able to notice something very unique about this buck, he was wearing white socks. I’ve seen deer with piebald qualities but never quite like this……
SUNP0004 Virginia White Sock Buck
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This shaggy 4-pointer was accompanying the bigger buck and should make for a nice shooter next season…

SUNP0055 Virginia White Sock Buck

There was even a little fawn passing through…

SUNP0057 Virginia White Sock Buck

If you’d like to to see more of my trail camera pictures from the deer in my area here in southwest Virginia be sure to check out my online album here.

The Sickness

In today’s modern world it seems that everyone is gearing up for the so-called “Zombie Apocalypse”. This ‘disease’ is supposedly uncontrollable and makes one go insane and have an uncanny urge to hunt for meat. I believe it’s already here and in the form of Buck Fever, scary huh? I know we all feel it in some sort of way, whether its shaking as you draw your bow back for the first time in months or sighting in a new scope. As the days get cooler and fall approaches more and more hunters are getting ready for hunting season in southwest Virginia. One mention of whitetail in my local sporting goods store and out come the phones and trail cam pictures of trophy bucks in velvet in hopes that they will stay around till the rut. In the mountains of my local hunting grounds more and more trucks are starting to appear in honey holes looking for signs. Anywhere one goes this time of year holds stories of last year’s hunts and the excitement of this year. My fellow employees start bringing in new gear and hunting strategies, which they are more than happy to share, everyone becomes a salesman of the products that helped them kill the big one. So, in my opinion, the whole zombie worry doesn’t hold a candle to Buck Fever.

imagejpeg 2 261 The Sickness

Seizing the Moment

As of today we’re less than two months away from the opening day of bow season here in Virginia and about three months out from the beginning of the third installment of the #Deertour. And Like most of you, I’ve been preparing for the season since it ended last winter.

Last week I had the pleasure to talk about this year’s upcoming #Deertour and help spread the about Huntography with Kyle Bailey on his sports talk radio show, The Clubhouse. One thing that I mentioned during the interview was that how much I appreciate Huntography’s local story telling aspect. I can only write about what about what I’m seeing and experiencing in my neck of the woods and it’s a good feeling to be able to share that with other people. To me, it’s something that has been desperately missing from mainstream outdoor media. Sometimes things happen during our hunting experiences that can’t be explained in writing and it happens in such a dramatic way it creates one of those “you just had to be there” moments. Lucky for us, we have a guy named Rudy that has created Huntography to help capture those moments. From the exhilarating highs of bagging a big buck to the lousy lows of being stuck inside all day due to rain. Rudy is there with his camera to show how deer hunting really is.

Yesterday I experienced something that I’m sure every hunter can relate to in some way…

I was on my way home with my truck bed full of groceries and was about two miles away from my house. As I was driving I looked over and saw a herd of deer. I took a quick look in my rear view mirror to make sure no one would run into the back of truck while I tried to snap a few pictures with my phone but I couldn’t get a good enough focus. For the past week I had been carrying my Canon PowerShot SX 30 everywhere I went, but not on this day. There were too many does to count and a collage of velvety horns. I noticed some traffic behind me so I headed on down the road to my house. When I got home I unloaded the groceries and all I could think was nobody would believe what I just saw. I told my girlfriend and she urged me to go back with my camera. I grabbed my Canon and jumped back in my truck. Halfway to the spot where I saw all the deer I opened my camera bag and noticed that there wasn’t a memory card in the camera. U-turn. I rushed back home and got a memory card. At this moment, I knew the deer were long gone, there was no way they would still be there but I crossed my fingers and went anyway. I pulled into a spot where I knew I could walk up behind the deer and started to creep up to where I originally saw the herd. All the does were gone but three bucks remained still grazing. “Hell Yeah!!” I screamed in my head. I turned the camera on noticed the blinking red battery icon on my screen. Another U-turn, this time it was on foot. I got to my truck and changed the battery probably at record time. That battery was so dead that my camera wouldn’t even turn on. Just my luck. I put back in the other battery and figured I could get at least 1 or 2 photos. By this time the deer were staring me down and looked like they were going to take off into the woods. I belly crawled as close as I could to the bucks and was able to take about a dozen of photographs before the camera shut down. For a minute there it didn’t seem like it was in my cards to prove what I saw but luckily I did and here’s the proof……
trio 12 Seizing the Moment

Nice to See You Again

After checking a few trail cams today, I was pleased to see a nice 8-point Virginia whitetail buck. As of today, it’s right around 3 months before bow season begins and I’ve seen a moderate amount of velvet cropping up in the mountains. I think the hot and humid weather may be keeping these big bucks bedded down all day and it forces them to travel in the late evenings and into the night. I try not to put too much complementation on their patterns right now; we all know that when October comes around its a whole different ballgame.

I really hope this guy makes an appearance on the 2012 #Deertour. If you want to check out more of my trail cam pictures and keep track of the deer in my area this season check out my online album here.

SUNP00051 300x225 Nice to See You AgainSUNP0006 300x225 Nice to See You Again

Hopeful and Thankful for the 2012 #Deertour

Since the official announcement of #DEERTOUR 2012, I can honestly say that there isn’t a day that goes by that I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have been chosen to be a part of such an evolving and supportive culture of deer hunters. I’m excited to meet Rudy and Will and welcome them into the mountainous, southwestern portion of Virginia. Like all the fellow Huntographers, deer season is never over. Over the past few weeks I’ve been checking trail cams, learning the travel patterns and scouting for new hunting locations.

Chris, Will and I have loosely agreed on upon setting up deer camp at a hunting cabin in southwest Virginia. The property will be a new hunting spot not just for Will but for myself too. When I met the owner of the cabin he was anxious to show me a photo a black bear that was around the property during his last visit.

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There’s defiantly no shortage of deer, turkey, and bear in the part of the state. Even the coyote, raccoon, and fox populations have been vividly noticeable. We hope to represent the purity of our hunting culture. Special thanks to Rudy and Will for letting Chris and I hop on board with Huntography and we are patiently on the countdown to November.

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Bone Rack in Roanoke County, Virginia

The Heat is On

It’s the end of June and it looks like we are going to have to go through a heat wave in order to get into July.
The daytime temperatures are going to hanging around in the 90’s – keep that cooler packed with ice and plenty of water. Dehydration will bring you down quick so, keep those liquids moving. While you’re out on the lake, river, or on the coast don’t be afraid to dip in and cool off.

Screen shot 2012 06 28 at 2.07.34 PM The Heat is On

I hope everybody stays safe out there this weekend, especially those who are going to be kick-starting 4th of July festivities early. Let’s be safe out there this summer, remember there’s a bunch of deer waiting on you this fall.

Happy (early) 4th of July to everyone, the fellow Huntographer’s and their families and everyone that’s supporting Huntography. Let’s keep in mind of those members of the United State Armed Forces serving stateside and around the globe protecting the freedoms we sometimes seem to forget. This year, celebrate Independence Day with a soldier in mind and the price that has been paid so we can be free.