Nov 10

jumping buck

The woods was still and quiet, not a breeze stirred or a branch moved. Even the few birds that passed by were near soundless. I had sat my tree stand since early afternoon, sometimes reading from a paperback novel, pausing every few minutes to scan the area. The sun was setting, down to the treetops now, and deer should be moving. There! In the dark beneath the hemlocks at the edge of the swamp, a movement. As I stared at the spot, the rounded form of a deer took shape. I carefully raised my rifle to scope the form, but it was gone that quickly. Nothing moved, as I studied the darkness of the swamp for long moments.

I had come into camp early on a Friday afternoon, and no one else was around. It was a beautiful November day, the rut was in full swing, so I had a bite of lunch and headed for my favorite tree stand on the west side of the Black Swamp. A small finger of ridge led from the hardwoods into the edge of the swamp, and it was a popular trail for the deer when the wind was right. It was right today, but there was no activity until nearly sundown.

Half an hour passed after I saw that one deer, and light was fading fast. I continued to scan the area, but I knew I must climb down soon and take the trail back to camp in the darkness. Maybe some of my hunting partners would be there, with a warm fire going and a hot meal on the stove.

Finally, I eased to my feet on the stand, prepared to lower my rifle and pack to the ground and climb down. Suddenly, not 25 yards to my left, how he got so close I will never know, a beautiful rack buck spooked and bounded for the swamp. Three jumps and he was out of sight, but he remains etched in my memory forever, in slow motion. As I made my way back to camp in the gathering dark, I reflected on the lost opportunity. Yes, I could have gotten off a few shots, and I might have had a lucky one. Or I might have wounded him and lost him in the swamp. That is not my way. Hopefully, we would meet again, and the advantage would be mine. The chill in the air brought out the sharp odor of the evergreens along the trail and the decaying leaves on the ground. What a successful day of hunting it was…one I will never forget.

Nov 4

Here is a look at our farm on Tug Hill from outer space. Big Brother is keeping a close eye on us. Comforting, no? As you can see, the windmills stand out clearly. We are looking into using these maps for deer hunting. The deer don’t show up (that would be helpful), but it gives a good look at the terrain.,-75.609455&spn=0.018248,0.036349&z=15

Nov 3

If this blog sounds familiar to you, I was formerly on WordPress as “Wandering the Tug”. I have some of my files still there, so if you wish  you can visit me at Still a work in progress.

Also visit the York State blog for some interesting stuff.


Nov 3

A large part of the enjoyment of deer camp is planning a hunt, carrying out the plan, and having it end successfully. We usually hunt with from 2 to 6 people, making short quiet drives with 1 or 2 walkers and the rest posting in tree stands or on likely deer runways.

We spend many long evenings in camp consulting with Dr McGillicudy and Uncle Bud while putting together strategies for the next day’s hunt that would make any army general envious.

We consider a hunt successful if everyone makes it back to camp without getting lost or hurt, and someone at least sees a deer. Taking a buck on Tug Hill is a bonus.

This particular plan involved brother Lee and John G. taking a long walk in the dark around to the North side of the bedding area where we knew a big buck was hanging out. The rest of us would post on the West, South, and East sides, while those two walked zigzag thru the area. There were a couple of inches of snow in the woods, the day would be bright and clear, and success would be ours.

Of course, I couldn’t know, as I eased my way to a new treestand that brother Kenn and I had built, that the big buck we were after was not in the vicinity, but a smaller one was bedded in the evergreens not 50 yards down the ridge from my stand. As I carefully stepped onto the platform, with my empty rifle hanging from a rope 15 feet below, the buck leaped from his cover and bounded away to the North. Gone, sez I. Not part of the plan at all.

Of course, the deer couldn’t know, as he made his escape, that half a mile to the North, Johnny G. sat on a log on a ridge alongside a swamp, chewing on a cigar and waiting to start his walkabout. The buck chose to avoid the swamp, and sneak up the nearby ridge on a trail that ran right by John’s log. Big mistake. It’s so great when a plan comes together! The buck was only a 5-point, but John had not taken one in a while, so he was happy and we were happy.