Updates from my Hunting Season

Gun Season

February 02, 2002 - It's been a tough season, however the rumors around the state tend to say I'm not the only one who had a tough going. It sounds like deer sightings were down throughout the South. Probably due to the unseasonably warm weather, abundant rain and heavy acorn crop. The deer were not hungry and didn't have to move far to eat when they were. I did manage to harvest one really nice buck so the season is not a complete wash. Maybe next year the sightings will increase. I hunted everyday of the season from October 15th through January 31st except a dozen or so. I didn't receive any major injuries and that I'm thankful for that.

January 28, 2002 - It's doom and gloom around our house. Since Christmas I've seen only two deer on our farm. One was the 140 class deer I harvested and the other was a small buck somewhere around a spike to a 6-point. I didn't shoot him because I'm afraid he may be the last deer on our land :) The last time I saw a doe on our land was December 31st. I hunted all weekend without seeing a single deer. I found two areas with some really big rubs in them and hunting one area Sunday morning before church but didn't see anything. I'm going to try and hunt quite a bit over the next four days before the season ends. I really feel that if I can harvest one of the two bucks I've found they'll be wall hangers.

January 25, 2002 - I was hunting this afternoon on a ridge watching a rub line along a creek bottom. At 5:15pm a couple of coyotes came moving along the creek. In my years of hunting, I've never seen deer and coyotes in the same area within a reasonable timeframe. I decided to shoot the coyotes due to their booming numbers in that area. They have basically wiped out a lot of the turkeys that were restocked. I shot the first one at a steady walk 75 yards away and he hit the ground. The second one ran up the mountain and stopped about that same distance and all I could see was his head and neck. I fired and he dropped as well. I guess my rifle is still shooting well. The load I have worked up for that rifle uses Hodgdon 450 powder and they quit making it. Bummer - it's a great powder and easy to load. I only have 6 rounds remaining, but with the deer sightings I've had that will more than likely be 6 more than I need.

January 24, 2002 - It's been a difficult year. I'm very depressed about the deer sightings on our land. I've only seen 3 bucks all year on our property. From the week before gun season opened until Christmas, I saw virtually no deer. I saw a few deer between Christmas and New Years while I was off work for eleven straight days. Since Decemeber 31st, I've seen three deer on our land.

I'm very concerned about our deer herd in SE Morgan County. Earlier this season, I hunted 23 straight times from a treestand without seeing a single deer. The buck I harvested last weekend was the only buck I've seen on our land since October 23, 2001. That amazing as most of you know I hunt almost every afternoon. Last year I only missed Christmas day from October 15, 2000 until January 31, 2001. I normally see what deer we have in a season at least once and this year the numbers are really down! I'm afraid the extended antlerless harvest has really taken a toll on our herd. I'm seeing very few doe and fawns as is most everyone in that part of the county.

January 14, 2002 - What a terrible year! I hunted Saturday morning and saw a big buck with a doe. Of course they were 30 yards over the property line and never crossed it. I was hunting on top of a ridge overlooking some rubs and trails. There's a pasture behind me that's on another persons property. Just after daylight a big buck, doe and fawn was in the pasture. I watched them for 30 minutes before they left. The buck was a true 200lb+ deer with a good but not great rack. It had very heavy mass but was a narrow rack probably 14" wide. Big long points but not many of them. Just one of those real old deer that has seen his prime come and go. I've harvested a lot of bucks in the 160-180 lb range and some even heavier including a 220lb buck ... this buck would probably out weigh all of them. He looked like a quarter horse! I watched him through a pair of Zeiss binoculars for a good 30 minutes. He had a bad front leg with a terrible limp. I thought they would cross the property line and proceed in my direction. I would shoot him on our land but not across the line. It's been a bad year but if I can't harvest him legally then I'll go home empty handed.

Later Saturday morning, I went to scout another location around 10:30am. As I was walking down an old logging road, a fawn almost ran over me and the mother was right behind the little one. I don't know what was up with that. I waited for a buck, dog, coyote, etc.. but nothing showed up.

I hunted Saturday and Sunday afternoon without seeing a single deer.

January 07, 2002 - I harvested my first deer of gun season over the weekend. That was good!

Saturday - I hunted Saturday morning on our property and didn't see a single deer. I couldn't hunt Saturday afternoon due to Amber having a basketball game at 5:00pm that day. Of course they were almost 2 hours behind, so I would've had plenty of time to hunt and make the game had I known.

Sunday Morning - I got up early on Sunday morning and the ground was white with snow. It was still snowing a lot. I've hunted quite a bit in the snow and haven't had very much luck. It seems the deer just bed down in Alabama during snow days, as they know it will not last long. I hunted that morning until 8:00am and decided to get down. My treestand had around 1/2 an inch of snow/ice on it and it would stick to my clothes. Every time I moved it would make a lot of noise. I rambled around some and found some fresh tracks in the snow. One place looked like a buck chasing a doe and of course they went right over the property line. I cut across one big set of tracks that were a single deer. By the direction he was headed, I had a treestand about a half-mile from there. I decided to give it a try. Heck, why not ... can't hurt. I drove my truck around the property on a highway to try and basically circle him. I got in the stand and started to rattle with some shed antlers. It didn't work. I put a ham on to bake the night before ... so I went home, took it out of the oven and had a feast.

Just as I was finishing the meal, the phone rang. It was Jim and he had shot a buck. It was from a stand we put up the day before. I helped him get the deer out. This is only the second deer I've known to be harvested in the snow ... ever. The other one was more from hunting pressure than from true deer movement. I'll post some pictures when I get them developed.

Sunday Afternoon - Jim invited me over to hunt with him that afternoon. With the wind out of the North/Northwest, it limited our possibilities. We decided to hunt a couple of food plots. See story under the hunting section for details on my harvest of a buck.

January 03, 2002 - It's been a tough gun season! I hunted for 23 straight times from a treestand without seeing a single deer. I hunted different types of terrain and weather conditions to no avail. I finally started to see a few deer over the past week or so with the weather getting much colder. I still haven't seen a buck since October 21, 2001. That's around 40 or so hunting opportunities. I've found some good buck sign and lots of deer sign in general. It's been a challenge to be there at the same time the deer are. Maybe the remainder of the season will be better.

December 11, 2001 - Gun season has been open for several weeks now and I've seen very few deer on our property in Morgan County. I have yet to see a single deer the last 18 or so times I've hunted from a treestand. I saw three one afternoon while stalk hunting in the rain and jumped a couple one afternoon. I haven't seen a single buck all of gun season! I hunted with a friend in another part of Morgan County and saw four deer that afternoon in a food plot. I got some pictures and will post soon. I hunted in Greene County for three sittings and saw a total of three deer. It's been a rough season so far, however I don't plan to give up any time soon. I still enjoy just getting out in the woods and who knows Ole Mossy Horns might just appear :)

December 03, 2001 - It's been a rough gun season so far. The last 16 times I've sat in a treestand on our property, I haven't seen a single deer. I've had some rough times over the past several years, but this takes the cake! I've hunted lots of different locations and the deer are not cooperating. I'm seeing some fresh sign but no deer. I hunted yesterday afternoon on a friend's property and saw four deer. I took some pictures and plan to post them later. I talked with others who are hunting around that area and they are not seeing any deer as well. Maybe it will pick up around Christmas.

November 30, 2001 - Gun season has been very slow. I've hunting every afternoon and a few morning so far. I've seen zero deer from my treestand. Maybe it will pick up soon. The weather has been very warm!

November 19, 2001 - I hunted hard over the weekend and didn't see a single deer. The last eleven times I've sat in a treestand I've seen zero deer. That's a long time without see deer. I have around a dozen or so treestands scattered across the 2000 acres of hunting land, I've hunted many different areas during the time to no avail. Many of the areas have fresh sign, however it doesn't take a brain surgeon to determine the deer are making the sign at night. With the hot weather and the deer dressed for winter, I'd be lying low during the hot days and moving in the cool of night as well. On Saturday, it was over 70 degrees by 11:00am. We have a small cold front moving through today, maybe the deer movement will pick up.

November 16, 2001 - Gun season opens tomorrow morning and effectively my bow hunting for the year has wrapped up. I enjoy bow hunting, however I tend to leave the bow at home and opt for a rifle during the cold winter months. So far this season I've hunted 20 times out of the 33 days the season has been opened. During the 20 hunts I saw deer only five times from my treestand, however I got four shots at least than 20 yards. That's not bad! Two shots were at bucks and the other two at doe. In my opinion, the weather was really bad this year. The warm weather seemed to cause the deer to be nocturnal or move right at dusk when the light was at a minimum. With the amount of acorns and the lack of deer, they are not hurting for food and can eat at their leisure. Of course the deer already have their winter coats at this time and I know I wouldn't move much in a pair of goose down coveralls in 75-degree weather. Out of the five times I saw deer, I only saw eight deer total! A total of eight deer in 20 hunting trips is really low. It's a shame that the Alabama Game and Fish Department thinks Morgan County has enough deer to allow "Hunters Choice" for 9 days at two doe a day. They are truly unbelievable, misinformed and clueless on what is really happening with the deer herd in Northern Alabama!! I told them this - click on My Way of Thinking and then select Morgan County. Maybe the remainder of the season will pick up.

Bow Season

November 14, 2001- I've hunted 7 out of the last 9 days and have not seen one single deer. This in not uncommon here in Morgan County for me. The week or so right before gun season always tends to be real slow and doesn't pick up much until after Christmas. I've spent a lot of time scouting and getting more stands setup for the next few weeks. I now have around 15 trees ready for a stands. Some stands are already in place and some just have the steps up waiting on a stand.

November 06, 2001- What a strange bow season! I didn't get back in that club in Greene County this year due to the fact that Kim and the kids went to Gulf Shores with her parents the week before bow season and the third week of the season I had to go to Charleston, WV on a business trip. Basically the first month of bow season I wouldn't have been able to stay gone from home hunting and spend the time I need with the family. Many of you know that I'm a hunting fanatic, but my family means much more to me than a "hobby" ever will. The club in Greene County has some really good people in it and I miss the commodore. Mac Moncus is one of the landowners, hunters and a truly good person. It was allows a pleasure and honor to talk and hunt with him.

Considering the circumstances it has been a very good bow season. It started off really strange!

September 29, 2001 -This is the first year in the last 10 that I haven't been a member in a deer-hunting club somewhere in the state. This year I'll be relying on the family land and other associations I have with people in and around Morgan County for a place to hunt. It's not uncommon to hunt for days at a time in Morgan County without seeing a deer ... I've settled in with the mind set for a long-hard bow season.

I have a string of 12 straight years that I've harvested at least one deer with a bow. For the last 8-9 years, I've been a member of a good club in Jackson or Greene County. I always knew if I were patient, I'd get a few really good shots during the bow season. Without that to fall back on, the streak could be in jeopardy this year with only Morgan County to hunt. One things for sure, if it gets down to January and I haven't harvested a deer with a bow - I'll be toughing it out with no cover, cold temps and a bow in my hand.

Dove Season

September 20, 2001 - Where are the birds? I hunted again this year with Jim Childers and his gang on part of their family land. We had been scouting fields, shooting skeet, working the dogs, building blinds and other miscellaneous ramblings getting ready for the season to open. The Friday night before opening day we fired up the big smoker with enough ribs to feed 20 people on Saturday. The next day the ribs were heated and all had a feast for lunch. The food was excellent! It was a lot of fun but not a tremendous amount of birds. No one in the field even got close to a limit and some didn't even fire a shot. Peaches did real good again this year! Amber and Austin didn't go on opening day but did go on the following Sunday afternoon. They shot about 1000 BB's at everything known to man.

Just not a lot of birds like in the old days!