Saturday, September 30,2006 The anticipation, the waiting all peaks tomorrow morning at sunrise! All the time scouting, setting up blinds, treestands, filling feeders and sighting in crossbows will all be worth it as I set up before sunrise hoping once again to get a shot at that trophy whitetail buck!
Bob and I have 3 different properties this year. One we have not hunted before for whitetail but know the property quite well from turkey hunting. The other two we know well and have hunted there in the past. All three properties are great and all have their own advantages and different dynamics. We are so blessed to be able to hunt on 3 great properties. Given free access to these properties and be able to go and come as we want. Thanks to Gerald, Jay and Ted!
I will be going out by myself tomorrow morning October 1st. Bob is up north spending a week musky fishing with a few buddies. I am sure as he heads out fishing tomorrow he will be half wishing he were going out after deer. It will take a little more work for me tomorrow. I will have to drive into my blind in my truck and drop off my bow and accessories. Then I will drive back out and park my truck and then roll back 300-400 yards across the field. It's raining out now so no doubt the field will be a little muddy. Let's make that a lot muddy! But the drive deep inside me to hunt again after a few months without it overcomes any extra work I will have to do without my right hand man, Bob! I will have to wait a few more years before Colton, my son, will be old enough to tag along with dad on a whitetail hunt! He did tell me to shoot a small one for him.........or a huge one! His eyes wide as he says it! I can hardly wait for that day to be able to share that with him. Some of my best memories growing up was times I myself spent with dad either hunting or fishing.
I know sleep will be hard to find tonight as I run thru in my mind making sure I have all my gear and have not forgotten anything! Sunrise is at about 0715 so I will be in my blind by the latest 0600 and will be there for the full day. There is suppose to be rain showrs and a west wing which is perfect for my blind setup. I have a couple friends I can call if I happen to fortunate enough to harvest a deer. I have a tag both a buck or doe but will only take a buck if he is a "wallhanger". The doe I will take and fill the freezer. Gotta love the anticipation!
Saturday morning I woke after little or no sleep and headed for the property. It wasn't raining now but had been raining all night. I drove in to my blind and dropped off my bow and gear and then drove back out to another field and parked my 4Runner. I now had about a 300 yard roll over the now muddy field through what was left of the winter wheat stalks. I liken it to a able body man walking the same distance in 3 feet of snow! My anticipation was so high I would have rolled much further if I had to. I got set up and ready in my blind at 0600 and waited until the sun rose at 0715. The sky was overcast and wind was pretty calm but what little wind was blowing was directly in my face. Perfect! The day was pretty uneventful and I passed the day just scanning the field looking for any sign of something unusual. I called Bob in the afternoon to check on his fishing trip. He was into a intense battle with his buddies over a musky tournament! All friendship aside when a man's pride is on the line! He was having a great trip and was looking forward to hunting on the weekend.
There was nothing to be seen or heard until about 1800 when I heard a deer walking up the treeline behind my blind in the other field. It kept walking by but I could not see it thru the thick cedars. I let it walk by and then gave a couple fawn calls in hoping it may jump across into the field I was facing but nothing. I packed it in around 1930 and headed back to my truck. I will come out again sometime this week but not quite sure when right now.
Saturday, October 7th and I was up at 0415 and suppose to meet Russ (my brother-in-law) at our property in Puslinch at 0545. It was a beautiful morning with frost on the ground and a fullmoon lighting up the field almost like daylight. I sat in my blind about an hour and half before sunrise and could easily see out 80 yards or more. The morning was pretty quiet other then we seen a huge Tom torkey that wasn't about to be on someones plate this Thanksgiving weekend! One lucky bird! We never seen or heard anything and headed home at about 1100. I went back again around 1600 and stayed for the eveing. Again all was quiet and never seen nor heard a deer.
Sunday, October 8th and today was about to be Bob's first day of the season hunting. We would be hunting our new property up in Caledon for the first time. There had been lots of sign and we were both tossing all night with anticipation. The fields had literally hundreds of trails leading thru it from the hardwood up across to where the deer would feed during the night. I would be using the Timberlift this morning for the first time. It was a treat again to be able to hunt from the tree instead of being confined to a ground blind. Bob and I grabbed our usual coffee and bagel and headed up to Caledon around 0500. I drove into my stand and Bob helped me get situated in the Timberlift and then I headed up the tree! Gotta love it! Bob then headed back out to his spot where he would be seated inside a thick growth of cedars with his shooting lanes trimmed out. It was a clear crisp morning around 0 degrees with a touch of frost on the ground. I had not seen or heard anything until Bob radioed me and said he had a huge buck across the field about 250 yards. Bob positioned himself and waited to see if he would make his way down. The buck made his way down painfully slow moving in and out of sight up and down the hollows as he tried sticking to the lower ground. He made his way right into Bob and stopped about 40 yards out with just his head and neck sticking out of the tall grass. He was a massive 10 pointer but would not present Bob a sure shot so Bob had to hold back in hopes that he would get another chance at him in the future. Bob said his heart was in his throat and he was sure that the buck could hear his heart beating. The buck made his way off and kept well hidden in the tall grass until he again drifted out of sight about 250 yards away. Bob radioed me and told me the story and then later that morning came in to get me and we called it a morning. On our way back to my truck we looked across the field and there was another nice looking 8 point watching us. We watched him for a couple of minutes until he had enough and bounded off across the field. He would be back on another day and so would we!
I came up by myself on Sunday evening and got talking to the landowner for a while. He told me he keeps seeing two big bucks together during the day time and also a bunch of does just up from my stand. I got myself set up in the Timberlift around 1600 and relaxed ( as much as one can) for the evening hunt. Shortly around 1800 I hear a smacking of antlers off to my right about 50 yards or so. WOW! They are started already. I guess the bucks are starting to establish their rank for the upcoming rut. It went on for a few seconds and then stopped. What a treat to be able to listen to that. I sat there and waited until dark and then called it an evening without seeing or hearing anything else. Bob and I would be back in the morning hoping to get another chance at the big buck.October 12th & 13th Bob went up to Caledon by himself for the morning hunt. Both days were pretty quiet other then one deer busted Bob as he had to answer the call of nature and as son as he moved a deer that was about 70 yards our busted him and hightailed it out of there!
Saturday morning the 14th Bob and I headed up to Caledon again to hunt the morning. I would be hunting the ground from a cedar patch about 150 yards from Bob. Driving to my spot we busted a deer that was standing about 10 yards from my ground blind. There was no avoiding it due to the fact that it was the only way I could access it in my wheelchair was to drive there. The wind was really high all morning and there was nothing moving at all. We called it a day around 11. I went up for the evening hunt and decided to hunt from my Timberlift tree stand. I stayed until dark and nothing moved at all.
Sunday Bob and I headed up again for the morning hunt with the same result. This was our first trip up there without seeing a deer. It was a beautiful day and we headed home around 11 again. I hunted my ground blind out in Puslinch in the evening but never seen anything.
Sorry for the delay in the updates but after having our site hacked into I had to redo the whole site behind the scenes and that took a lot of time.
In the past few weeks Bob and I have had a few trips up to Caledon and also out to Guelph. One particular evening up in Caledon I had a chance at a couple nice animals but they got spooked by another hunter on the property. Stinking bad timing on those. Bob also had an eventful day up there which he wrote about in the article on the site called "Click". Bob was also fortunate enough to shoot a 4 point buck out in Guelph.
We did a short spot on the news for CBC French. They spent the day with ACA and Brian Hachez ( a disabled hunter from Kapuskasing) out in Guelph on a hunt. They did interviews with us and also filmed us getting ready for the hunt that included the ground blinds and the Timberlift in operation. Excalibur was also very generous to supply us with 4 Exomax crossbows for the hunt! Thanks a million to Kathy and Bill Troubridge at Excalibur! They are a first class organization all the way! We were not fortunate enough to get a deer but all in all it was a good time and good exposure for ACA and disabled hunters in general. We will place the video on the site as soon as we have a copy.
I was out to Guelph by myself in the first week of December. We happned to have a couple inches of snow which was great. I got myself up in the Timberlift by 2PM and settled in for the afternoon. At about 1630 I caught movement to my right and looked through the trees and caught a doe moving down the fenceline. Behind her she was followed by 5 more does. They jumped the fence and move towards my shooting lane but stopped just short and turned and went back into the woods. Five minutes later 3 more does walked down the same fence line and jumped the fence. Again none came into the shooting lanes but one did walk up to within 10 yards of me and looked up but was still in fairly thick cover. They trotted off and five minutes later two more did the same route and jumped the fence and walked down in front of my truck and stopped to feed on corn we had placed on the ground. They trotted off at dark and I rode down the tree and headed home. All in all it was an eventful afternoon and it's always great to be able to sit and watch them.
The weather has been unseasonably warm and we are now just waiting for snow for the last couple weeks of the hunt.
Bob and I joined Jay out at his property in Guelph on Dec. 29th for the morning and afternoon hunt. We did see 3 does but neither was within range of us and the day ended without much happening.
I was on my own for Dec. 30th and decided to try out Caledon since I hadn't been up there since November. I had no ground blind or Timberlift up there now, so I would have to hunt from the ground. I got up there around 2pm and set up with my back to some low cedars. I popped my wheels off my chair and dropped myself lower and covered myself up with some cedar bows that were cut from my shooting lanes for the Timberlift.
I settled back and just watched for a couple of hours. The only thing that seemed to be moving was a woodpecker that kept busy pecking a tree across the clearing. He went non stop for about two hours. I have no idea how they don't get a headache because I was close to getting one!
At about 5 pm I looked at my watch and figured I would have about another 5 minutes of good light. When I looked up I caught movement to my left. A doe had snuck in and was grazing there about 35 yards out. She looked down my way and then put her head down again. I had my bow pointing to the right side so I now had to do the dreaded switch! I kept my eyes on her until she put her head down again and then she turned and was quartering away from me. With her head lowered and back to me I started to raise my bow. I got my bow about half way across and her head popped up! I said to myself there is no way she seen me! No way she heard me! The wind was right so no way she smelled me! How could she know? While those thoughts whipped through my mind I heard the sickening snort and up goes the white flag and shes gone! Then and only then did I realize how she knew I was there or danger was close by. Another doe that I had no idea was there was just inside the trees across the clearing and had seen when I was trying to switch sides! The second doe which was much larger hightailed it across the clearing and chased the first very fortunate doe. I felt so beat up and schooled once again by the whitetail deer. I keep hearing and reading about guys and gals rumbling, stumbling, bumbling into deer and I can't seem to get one in my sights! It's not like I am new to hunting but was once again humbled and taken to school by the whitetail! I will win....maybe not this year but I will win!
So with that "great" end to the day I tossed my chair back together while arguing with myself and wondered what I could have done different and how I could end up getting another set of eyes. I drove home and decided I would be back the next day for the last evening of the season.
Sunday, December 31st I arrived up in Caledon at about 2 PM. This time I decided to set up across from yesterday's setup where I had a much greater view of the narrow field I was hunting. As 4 pm rolled around the wind was perfect and right in my face and everything seemed right other then rain started to fall. This amazingly warm weather just doesn't want to end. I spent the next hour and a bit sitting there and reflecting on the past season. The highs and the lows. Knowing no matter what I was out hunting and enjoying the outdoors which I think so many take for granted. I know I did before my accident. I can't even go into what my mind goes through while sitting out there like that and reflecting but all I can say as Bob and I keep saying, "It's all about the memories!"
Happy New Year to all!