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Thread: Deer Camp Report

  1. #1
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    Default Deer Camp Report

    Good evening all. Just reading through some of the recent threads, looks to be some highs and lows this season. Congrats to all the successful groups and individuals so far, for those still at it, keep at it. Lots of prime hunting time left.

    This year we tried a different approach. We've generally hunted 2 or 3 different WMU's in the first week of gun season, some are rifle and some are shotgun. Our rifle area is public land and our shotgun areas are 80 to 100 acre private farms. We've usually hunted the rifle area in the morning and gone back to camp (a rented lakeside cottage) changed firearms and clothes, switched up some gear, and gone to sit on the farms until dark. We wouldn't be eating dinner until 6:30 or 7 and up again at 4 am so it didn't leave much room for camp life.

    This year we decided to spend more time in the big woods rifle area, settled in before legal light and sit 3 or 4 hours, meet up for lunch, then sit somewhere else for a couple more hours and get back to camp by 3 or 4 and scrap the evening hunt.

    We were three days in before much happened. My brother in law saw a deer 10 minutes before legal on the opener. I jumped one later that day but only heard it take off. I caught a flip of a tail on a ridge Tuesday and my Dad caught a few glimpses of white of what we figured was the same deer.

    Wednesday ended up being a crazy day. I was in a tree stand on the public land that morning. Shortly after 7 am I heard what I thought was a squirrel down in the thicker stuff over my right shoulder (my bad side of course). It got a bit louder and snapped a couple of twigs and when I looked down there I could make out a deer coming out of the thick stuff. Heart pumping and heavy breathing ensued. The deer was making as if to come up right across in front of the stand, but instead it looked up at me and changed direction to go behind the stand through the thicker stuff. I've been in this situation before and blown it by trying to move around to shoot on my right, so I decided to wait it out. The angle it was taking looked like it might come out into an open lane on my good side eventually. I just leaned back against the tree and listened to it cross within 5 to 10 yards behind the stand without daring to look. When I thought it was safe I looked over my left shoulder and he was approaching a bit of an opening about 20 yards away on a severe downhill angle. It stepped into the opening but only as far as the head and neck. I had the scope on it so I put the crosshair on the neck and fired. He dropped instantly. I've never thought to try the neck shot in the past, but under these circumstances (20 yards and possibly the only shot I was going to get) it worked like a charm.

    We had only 1 antlerless tag for the area so I immediately got on the radio and let the guys know I had a doe down. After catching my breath and calming down, I cranked up the scope and put it on the deer's head and then got back on the radio and said I had a buck down and we still are good for one antlerless. I never saw the antlers until that moment.

    Later that morning we watched this guy out of the truck window at 20 yards for 5 minutes and couldn't do anything about it because it was in a section of private property and even if it wasn't he would never have let us get out of the truck, off the road, load up and shoot. He was pure stupid with the rut. I think a doe had just crossed the road and he was following. Picture is crappy, it's edited from a video on a phone.

    We got my deer back to camp, my buddy who only hunts that week was kind enough to use his tag. Grabbed my waders and our shotguns and went over to the farm. As we were getting set up and I was standing at the edge of the swamp, a doe busted out of her bed in a bit of long grass and dogwood behind me, where I had just walked past. She ran between me and the barnyard and horses so I definitely couldn't shoot, but at least she went into the area I was about to dog. I went through the swamp zig zagging and barking (takes me a little over an hour) and heard 3 shots from one of the guys. Radio chatter didn't sound good. After checking it out, he had missed it clean. It was a longer shot at 70 yards and the deer was on the move. On the same run, my brother had one go up the other side of the fence line he was sitting on. Successful dogging, just didn't work out on the other end. That's hunting.

    After Wednesday we got a bunch of snow, which we thought would be good for deer movement but it was the opposite. We didn't see much fresh sign between Thursday morning and Saturday morning. We tried the farm again Friday afternoon to no avail.

    Saturday morning is usually good on the public land, lots of hunters on neighbouring private property keep things happening. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed by 8:30 am and everything was still quiet. It's a long hike into this bush, about an hour on rough trail, which I think is why we generally have the area to ourselves. That being said, it can be a chore getting deer out. Just before 8:40 I heard a shot from my brother's direction, but it sounded too far. I turned my radio on... nothing. I sent him a text and asked how close that shot was, he replied "it was me". Turned my radio back on and heard him say he had a doe down. I guess he tried to radio immediately, but in his excitement didn't hold the button down all the way.

    What happened was he looked behind him just after 8:30 and saw 2 does coming his way. He stood up and got turned around and brought up the scope only to realize how thick the bush was behind him. He hadn't heard them at all, despite the crunchy morning. Strange how they can sneak when they want to. After a few stressful moments, he was able to get a quartering 50 yard shot into the shoulder, exiting near the neck. Dropped on the spot.

    We used up our one antlerless on this deer and sat and had a few sandwiches debating how we would get this deer out. We decided the best plan was for two of us to go back to the truck, grab the Pelican ice fishing sled, come back and drag the deer out on the longer but smoother trail. We started the process at 10 and were back at the truck by 12 noon. I walked 12 km that day and felt it that evening, but thankfully I got home to the hot tub that night.

    We lost water at the cottage on Thursday (frozen lines) which made us a stinky bunch. We had to bring lake water up to flush the toilet and do dishes, the wood stove could barely keep the place warm, but it's still the best time a guy could have with family and friends. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

    A few more pics...

    Winter wonderland and frozen hunters.

    Bringing my brother's deer out from where it dropped to the Pelican sled.

    Looking the other way to where he was standing on the knoll.

    We've butchered the buck, doing the doe tomorrow.

    Sent from my SM-A520W using Tapatalk
    "where a man feels at home, outside of where he's born, is where he's meant to go"
    ​- Ernest Hemingway

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  3. #2
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    Great story. Congrats on the deer. Thank goodness the lakes weren’t froze yet, otherwise the flushing system could ruin a trip. Lol. Great memories nonetheless.

  4. #3
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    Awesome story congrats on your harvests. Be some good eating and great memories.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #4

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    Very well told story, wtg guys. Like you said, the best of times.
    Those sleds can even help when there's no snow down depending on the terrain.


    Straight shooter

  6. #5
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    Great story, thanks for sharing.
    Congrats on the buck!

    Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk
    How is it one careless cigarette can cause a forest fire, but it takes a whole box of matches to light a campfire?

  7. #6
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    NICE report of a good hunt.
    You are lucky to have friends and relatives that make things happen as they did this season.
    I have a love/hate relationship with the early snow. It makes things beautifully uncomfortable, but can spell success for the deer hunt. I'm heading back tomorrow to keep trying for a rifle buck and need some of your "luck to come along!

  8. #7
    Getting the hang of it

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    Great post! Congrats on the deer and felt like I was there. All I have so far is a grouse when my son, who was on watch while I dogged, stood up and scared it. He led me to the last spot he saw it, I changed shells, and BANG, my shot was right on (even though it flushed again and my son thought I completely missed!)
    Enjoy your venison.

  9. #8
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    Great report Greg.

    Congrats on a successful hunt.
    They say a man turns old when sorrow and regret take the place of hope and dreams

  10. #9
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    thats a great story. like reading out of a magazine. Congrats on the success!

  11. #10
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    Thanks folks!

    A few details I left out... I shot my deer that morning with a Savage Model 11 in .243, topped with a Bushnell Elite 4500. Seems to be my lucky rifle in that spot. Other days that week I had carried a Marlin 1895G in 45-70, the only rifle I own that I still haven't had the opportunity to shoot a deer with yet. A couple of mornings I carried my Winchester Model 670 in 30-06. My goal with this rifle is to shoot one last deer with it and pass it down to my nephew. It was my Dad's rifle before mine and between us we have shot a pile of deer with it, hopefully it serves my nephew just as well.

    My brother shot his deer with a Winchester Model 70 XTR in 30-06 with Bushnell Banner. We found out today that the shoulder shot was a bit hard on the overall meat yield, but it got the job done.

    Both deer are butchered and in the freezer, special thanks to Dad for doing most of the work and providing the facilities to do the job.

    Hawkman - I totally agree with the snow comments. That day was very uncomfortable in the bush... every tree you touched got you soaked. I can't help but wonder if that was part of the reason for the shutdown in deer movement. I don't expect they would like having snow dumped on their backs with every step any more than we do.

    You're also correct in that I am very lucky and thankful to have family and friends that share the interest in hunting and form such a cohesive group. We work well together and everyone pulls their weight in camp Good luck to you this week!

    Sent from my SM-A520W using Tapatalk
    Last edited by GW11; November 12th, 2019 at 07:25 PM.
    "where a man feels at home, outside of where he's born, is where he's meant to go"
    ​- Ernest Hemingway

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