Bow season is almost upon us and the preparation for this season began the day after my buck hit the ground last season. I spent the whole day trying to figure out buck movements during the rut in areas that do not normally hunt. I ended up seeing nine different bucks, all but two of which were legal. This got the motor turning in figuring out what areas to focus on the rest of the fall and winter. I went back and checked the different trails about a half dozen times while out collecting maple sap and there were two spots that impressed me more and more each time out. In early spring, before the leaves showed up I found a few treestand worthy spots.
Around the same time, I had the opportunity to purchase a small chunk of woods and field in among thousands of acres of surrounding farm fields. I could not pass on the opportunity and on my second walk around the property I found out just how many deer frequent the small woodlot. After a little scouting and online research, I figured out that I had the only woods with a one-mile radius that were at least 50 yards wide. After talking with some of the neighboring landowners, I found out that once the fields get cut the deer use my property as their home base and there are normally anywhere between 8 and 20 deer in my field each evening. Once I closed on the property, I did a more in-depth scouting trip in the approximately seven-acre woodlot. I found multiple highway-esque trails, rubs, and even a shed from a decent two year old buck. Since then I have been monitoring the deer activity regularly. The deer were there most days while I planted fruit trees and corn, but as the neighboring corn fields grew, the amount of deer sightings decreased fairly quickly. I took that as an opportunity to carve out some new trails that all filtered right to a spot that I planned to put a treestand.
The layout of the new property
The winter deer sign
Starting in June, I ran two trail cameras in various locations throughout the property. The pictures showed a few resident deer that were calling my property home, along with the occasional visiting buck. In early-July, I hung a treestand that overlooks the back field along with a few heavy trails that are guided by an old cattle fence inside of the woods.
The best buck on the new property so far.
Once I felt comfortable with my strategies for my new property, I turned my focus to preparing the other area that I hunt. I took one walk to the various spots that I scouted in the fall and spring and identified the trees that would be the best for hanging my stands and what limbs would need to be trimmed.
In late-August, I hung my stands, trimmed my lanes and hung three cameras. I’ve decided to take a very light approach to scouting this year in an effort to reduce my scent in the areas. I waited until last week to finally check my cameras and was pleasantly surprised to find multiple shooter bucks and a curious bear in the area. One of the stands, I have not seen since the day that I hung it and should easily be my most productive stand. The spot features a large oak flat, where I’ve taken early season bucks in the past, and natural funnel that a large amount of does tend to use, which will eventually turn this into a gold-mine once the rut kicks in. This is the same general location that I harvested my 136” 8 point in 2009. So to say that I am pumped about this spot would be an understatement. However, the trail camera pictures from the spot that I harvested my buck from last year has me a little torn.
A couple of decent bucks and a bear:
I have also been pleasantly surprised to see deer activity starting to increase on my property as the area corn fields are cut. There are still a lot of fields left to be cut, so I expect the deer activity on my property to only increase as the season goes on.
It should be another exciting year of bowhunting as I take you along with me on the upcoming journeys. Good luck to everyone heading out!
@theoutdoorcpa on Twitter and Instagram for in-hunt pictures and posts.
With tax season coming to an end earlier this week, I figured I would have plenty of time of make several blog posts. Apparently, I just had a lot of pent up cabin fever that I had to get rid of. Our firm allowed us to have one free day off this week, so I checked the weather and decided that Thursday would be ideal. Nice and cool in the morning while warm and sunny in the afternoon.
For my first day off in over 3 1/2 months, I decided to wake up at 5am and go scouting for the upcoming turkey season. I got to my normal listening area by 6am and sat there until 6:45am without hearing a peep. I decided to head down the mountain and see if there were any birds sounding off down below. Just as I got to the bottom, the familiar sound of a tom turkey gobbling echoed through the woods. I decided to go back up the hill a little bit further in an attempt to pin point him. Just as I got to the top of the hill, he let out another thunderous gobble. After a few minutes a 2nd bird began sounding off even further up the mountain, which then set off an immediate response from the closer bird. This was what I needed to get myself completely ready from a mental stand point for opening day.
With two gobblers pinpointed, I decided to see if I could find a few early season morels. Given the fact that we are having such an early spring in PA, these might be the only morels this area will see for the year. I scanned the normal spots and didn’t see too much. Just as I got to the bottom of the one trail, I spotted one next to a large tulip poplar. I quickly picked it and moved on. Knowing that there were morels up, I decided to do a more extensive search. My search yielded two more nice-sized yellows, which would go well with whatever I decided to have for dinner.
After leaving the woods, I ran a few errands then headed for my favorite spring time lake to see how the crappies were feeding. I paddled my kayak out to the normal crappie spots and found a few holding among shallow structure. The crappie bite was slow and many of the best spots were already taken, but it seemed that everything else in the lake was feeding pretty well. I was able to land several bluegills, a few largemouth bass(including a 15″ one on a small trout fly), three yellow perch, and three rock bass. Once one of the good spots opened up I paddled over there and began working the structure with trout flies and 1″ tube lures. I was able to land three decent crappies that I decided would pair perfectly with the morels for nice PA wild dinner.
It ended up being a nice day out in the PA wilds and a perfect way to forget about tax season.