Tag Archive: hunting

Turning the Page to 2013

Well it’s the start of the new year and most Virginia deer hunters have already begun cleaning their guns and sending their bows off to be restrung. There won’t be any more chances to harvest a buck until bow season next fall. This past year I didn’t have the success I had anticipated but it was one of the best hunting seasons I’ve had in a very long time. I was able to get out in the woods at least thirty times and each trip was a blessing. Through all of my hunts there were only a handful of times that I didn’t see a whitetail deer but my luck never went as far as putting a nice shooter buck within my sights. A lot of times after deer season I hear hunters over use the terms shoulda’, coulda’ and woulda’. At the beginning of the season I promised myself I wouldn’t let the deer get the best of me, as they have every year before, leaving me full of regrets. Since hunting season closed shop last weekend, I’ve only been thinking about all the great times I had embracing the beauty of the woods and the animals that I encountered. There were tons of close calls and each deer seemed to have their own agenda. Even though I didn’t tag out or harvest a trophy buck I was just as satisfied by being able to participate in another hunting season in the mountains of Virginia.

In Virginia, technically deer season isn’t completely over. In over 35 towns and cities across the state, Urban Archery Season lasts through March 30. Only archery tackle can be used and it’s an excellent opportunity to still put some meat in the freezer.

As much as I’d like to continue chasing whitetails I believe it’s time for me to give them a rest until October. So what do most Virginia hunters do after deer season? We anxiously prepare for the next hunting season, spring gobbler! But before you start packing away all your cold weather gear, I would encourage hunters to take advantage of the fall firearms turkey season that kicks off this weekend and last through the end of January. The map below is courtesy of the VDGIF and unfortunately the season is closed to the areas highlighted in white, blue and yellow but the green areas are wide open for hunters that are hungry for a turkey leg.

 Turning the Page to 2013

I don’t foresee myself getting too many chances to chase the late season fall gobblers but this spring fellow huntographer, Will Jenkins and I will be backpacking up to Highland County VA for a few days in hopes of bagging some birds. Will announced our trip along with a DIY elk hunt he’ll be doing out west this September in one his latest blog post, New Year, New Look, New Adventures on his website, TheWilltoHunt.com.

I’d like to personally thank everyone that has supported Huntography over the past year and a special shout out to Rudy for making it all happen! Good luck to everbody that will be out in the woods or on a river bank in the next few months and be sure to keep up with us as we embark into another year full of hunting stories and experiences that we intend to share.

Deer in December

Since the #Deertour passed through Virginia last November I’ve only been able get out in the woods a handful of times due to work, school and the holidays. Although we’ve been experiencing some extremely unusual fall weather conditions thus far this year, I’ve still been lucky enough to continue seeing deer as the season winds down. For most people in the state of Virginia there are only about 3 more weeks of hunting season left. Late archery season kicked off last weekend and remains open throughout January 5th and there’s still a chance to break out the black powder when late muzzleloader begins December 18th and lasts until January 5th. Be sure to check your local regulations for more details on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

On Saturday I went out for an evening hunt and decided to go against the odds in the 70-degree temperatures. Did I mention it was December? This may sound odd but I remember this same kind of scenario last year, I was hunting in the middle of December and it was 65 degrees. Is this something I should start expecting from now on? I sure hope not, an inconsistent and warmer fall weather pattern results in inconsistent deer movement and behavior. From what I’m seeing the rut is still semi-active and there are plenty of local hunters still bagging some decent late season bucks.

While I was in my stand I witnessed a couple of does butting heads and then nice buck emerged from the brush. The video was a little shaky and the buck makes a quick appearance towards the end of the video, around the 51 second mark.

So, You Think You’re Zeroed In?

Flash back to October 6th. Opening day of bow season and I’m in Blacksburg, VA with Field Editor, Zac Stovall, both of us were itching to get into the woods.  The start of the season was looking grim until the sun started going down and then sound of whitetail began filling the woods. I heard a noise behind me and spotted three does coming up the woods.  After watching them for a bit I thought to myself “why not take a shot, its opening day, you got this”.  I was wrong.  Letting my arrow fly only to miss a good piece of tenderloin.  All that practice and hurry to miss my first shot, I have to be the worst bow hunter ever.

6am in the morning a few weeks later, I decided to hit up the farm.  Hunting national forest is a love of mine but this morning private land was just too convenient.  Glazing at a doe in my head light while it was still dark, I was pretty sure it was a going to be a good morning.  At the first of the season I was excited and rusty.  About 3 hours into the hunt I was surprised by a small, basket rack 8 pointer.  This deer snuck up on my blind and got so close there was no way to miss, wrong again.  Who knows what happened, first buck of the year and I hold my record with a bow. Nada.

Finally, early muzzleloading season in Virginia opened up last Saturday.  I was trying to get to Asheville, NC that evening to meet up with Zac at the WNC Fly Fishing Expo and not sleeping well the night before left me with little time in the woods.  I was already up not so bright and early but I was intent on making the best of my day.  I headed out to my blind where I saw the basket rack the week before just wasting time; hell I didn’t even eat breakfast and forgot my facemask and gloves.  The sun was just coming over the hill when I heard a rustle and I perked up real quick. Coming through a thicket straight towards me was a decent size buck with only one horn.  Normally I wouldn’t shoot a smaller buck but I was tired of missing and I was hungry. With one smokey shot, I dropped my first buck of the season.  It was then time for a quick much needed nap.

spike So, You Think Youre Zeroed In?

     Any sort of hunting of any sort is an exciting experience for me.  When I’m in the woods I always think I’m ready and all zeroed in but in nature things change.  Sometimes you have luck when you’re not even trying.  I hope everyone feels the euphoria of being out there chasing down the big one.  Don’t get mad about missing, killing a smaller one than your buddy or not seeing a thing.  Just smile and think that’s just another day you’ll get to hunt for that living room hanger.  Wish me luck for the Deertour, I’ll need it.

 

Crossbow Doe Down

Since the opening day of Virginia bow season less than 2 weeks ago I have been very blessed to be able to go hunting almost every day. Whether if I’m in the woods for one hour or pulling an all-day hunt, I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve spent in my tree stand. I can honestly say that every time I’ve stepped into the woods I have seen deer and that alone makes me extremely happy. Over the years I’ve killed a deer with a rifle, bow and muzzle loader but since last year I’ve been determined to harvest a deer with a crossbow. Traditionally, hunting with a crossbow in Virginia was strictly reserved for handicap hunters but in 2005 lawmakers opened crossbow usage to all hunters.

Yesterday I wasn’t able to get out in the woods until 5:30 in the afternoon, giving me only about an hour of daylight. After only being in my stand for 5 minutes, I watched 2 does sneak by me on my backside and slowly crept out of range. About 10 minutes later, a group of 4 does emerged from the brush directly in front of me and headed right into my shooting lane. I put the red-dot on the biggest one and let the bolt fly. A spine shot only left her with a few deep breaths. It’s a good feeling to have some meat in the freezer, now it’s time to try and put a trophy on the wall.
A5c1Z7WCcAAInnS.jpg large Crossbow Doe Down

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

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.

IMG 20120625 213415 300x225 Hopeful and Thankful for the 2012 #Deertour

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.

IMG 3245 300x190 Hopeful and Thankful for the 2012 #Deertour

Bone Rack in Roanoke County, Virginia

Stepping Into Summer

Memorial Day weekend was amazing this year in southwest Virginia. Temperatures held steady in the mid 80’s and we didn’t see a drop of rain all weekend. Fishing and hiking were ideal, and I managed to do a little bit of both on my extra day off. Special thanks to those serving around the globe in the U.S. Armed Forces fighting for our freedom so we can enjoy the great outdoors.

Even though whitetail and turkey seasons have wrapped up for the year, October bow season never seems too far away. I’m always on the lookout for wildlife, even during the off-season. Over the years one thing I’ve noticed that the deer around here in the summer months get a real smooth, almost red coat. While I was doing some work around my house on Monday afternoon, I noticed this curious doe sneaking up to my back porch.
doe 2 300x225 Stepping Into Summer

To show a better comparison of the color difference of the deer fur, here’s a photo I took last September just a few days before the 2011 bow season opened. It’s a nice 8-point buck that has already grown out his winter fur and a spike that’s still donning the summer coat. These deer were photographed in Washington County, Virginia.
washi 300x225 Stepping Into Summer

Where Were All These Birds on Opening Day?

Well, Spring Gobbler season officially opened in Virginia last Saturday. Since Virginia does not allow Sunday hunting in anyway shape or form, there’s not much turkey hunters can do until Monday morning. A fellow hunter in Montgomery County, VA sent me a photo of a nice flock of Virginia gobblers he spotted while driving home late Sunday afternoon. I just hope these bad boys decide to come out during the week.

gobb Where Were All These Birds on Opening Day?

Get Ready to Gobble

If you didn’t know already, this Saturday the much anticipated Spring Gobbler season will open here in Virginia. Keep in mind from April 14 – May 5, hunters can only hunt from one-half hour before sunrise until 12 noon each day. Then from May 7-19, one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Before you hit the woods, be sure to double check your gear. Another thing to consider when hunting in the warm weather is bugs. Grab a bottle of Permethrin and spray down your gear and clothes to fiend off ticks, mosquitoes and other insects.

Good luck to everyone headed out this weekend and let us know what you think about the 2012 Spring Gobbler season.

Testing the ThermaCELL

There is nothing I love more than knowing that the spring and summer time weather is just around the corner. Soon it will be time where we can stay outside all day and through the night. I’ve already planned out some camping, hiking and fishing trips this year. Thanks to a belated birthday gift, I’m going to be testing out the ThermaCELL portable device throughout my adventures.

The recent warm temperatures and rainy forecast have already brought out some preseason mosquitoes. The last thing I want to be doing when I’m hunting spring time gobblers is to be swatting mosquitoes. This year instead of dousing myself with chemically concentrated sprays, I’m going to keep the ThermaCELL nearby.

310MhsBKVBL. SL500 AA300  300x300 Testing the ThermaCELL