Tag Archive: Virginia Deer 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.

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.
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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.

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

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.
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Support Your Local Knife Maker

Many of you can agree that a sharp blade is just as important to the hunt as a finely tuned bow. For years I’ve used the same knife to skin out game. The blade I used worked just fine and still gets the job done today. Over the past 2 years I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know some new hunters in my area and I’ve noticed many of them share the hobby of making knives. Being around these guys talking about the process of knife making has inspired me to get more familiar with different types of knives and the craftsmanship that goes into making a solid blade.

Through the grapevine, I’ve discovered two extraordinary knife makersBig Bear 231x300 Support Your Local Knife Maker in southwest Virginia that are banging the steel and producing some amazing knife works. Since the early 1990’s Charles Vestal, of Abingdon, VA, has been perfecting his craft as a knife maker. Vestal creates a variety of skinners with stainless guard or bolsters and stainless bolts or pins. His prefers to use natural materials for the handles but offers customers the option for a synthetic or Micarta finish. Every Vestal knife comes accompanied with a high quality vegetable tanned leather case that is hand stitched. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an exclusive waiting list for Vestal’s masterworks but defiantly would be worth the wait. For more information and a photo gallery of Vestal Knives check out his website here.

Less than 20 miles away in Bristol VA, Burt Foster is busy keeping the tradition of knife making alive. Foster’s website answers the question, why we should buy a handmade knife….

“Hand made knives, like many hand crafts represent a slower time when everything a person owned was made with care by a craftsman, and most stuff took a while to make. Even dinner took all day to make! Our society usually doesn’t permit us to live at in the slow lane, and to do so is death in the modern world, but if we can step down sometimes and consider the future, not the next hour or day or week, but for a generation or two, we would put greater value on things that last.”
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Foster is a certified Master Bladesmith by the American Bladesmith Society Inc. and likes to build forged, fixed blade knives. He also produces a variety of camp knives, fighters and hunters while specializing in stainless and carbon laminated steel, Damascus steel and even basic, high-performance, working knives. Foster’s website includes a 150-photo slideshow that showcases the step-by-step process of a hand crafted Damascus steel camp knife.

Vestal and Foster are just a few of many local knife makers in Virginia that have taken the time to sharpen their craft in order to create quality products. Their skills are traits that any hunter or outdoorsman can appreciate. I would encourage everyone to support their local knife maker and take the time to respect the craftsmanship that goes into making a quality handmade knife.

andy knife 300x179 Support Your Local Knife MakerA friend of mine in Montgomery County, Virginia was able to do some research on knife making and within a few months he had created his very own masterpiece. He doesn’t consider himself a professional just yet but I’d say he’s off to a good start with his blaze orange skinner.

The Lucky One

Montgomery County, Virginia is tucked away in the heart of the New River Valley and I was fortunate to do a lot of whitetail hunting there last season. The deer were runnin’ wild in late October during bow season and they stayed active until the big guns had to be put away. I saw a wide variety of quality bucks and just as many does bringing up the rear.

I set up a trail cam in mid January and started seeing a lot activity in the first few days. Within a week the camera had captured a double drop tine buck. I never saw this monster the whole season. The photos speak for themselves. I hope to see this guy around next year!

For more trail cam photos, check out this link.

drop3 The Lucky One
SUNP0285 The Lucky One