It's On in the Northeast

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It's On in the Northeast

Post  MEhunter on Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:58 am

Well the rut is finally cranking up here in the far Northeast. It's been a hard season this year. I've done a ton of still hunting and bouncing in new pieces of woods I've never hunted searching for that spot that just feels like it will happen at any moment. My normal places are just really slow this year with very low deer numbers,  but things finally came together for me in Maine last Wednesday. I was in a spot I had never hunted prior to Monday afternoon. The way I like to attack a new piece of woods is via a water way; stream, river, brook, swamp, etc. If I've never been in a piece of woods those are the first places I head for. This one particular piece of woods had a nice stream that flowed right down the middle of the property and made for an excellent place to start the "search." It didn't take long before I was into quite a bit of deer sign. There wasn't a whole lot of buck sign, but there were several rubs and some older looking scrapes, but it was evident by the number of tracks in the area that there were a lot of does close by. I didn't see any deer in there on Monday afternoon, but when I returned on Tuesday morning it was a little different. On my walk in on Tuesday it was evident that the deer were in there the previous night. I didn't see anything while sitting that morning, but while still hunting my way out back to the truck I did see 3 different does and found a real nice spot to sit about 75 yards off the river on a nice high spot over looking a skinny strip of hardwoods in between big stands of hemlocks with small jack pines mixed in the middle. From this one high spot I could see down to the stream which had several heavily used deer trails along it, as well as several trails that were 50-60 yards off the stream that lead straight into the strip of hardwoods the high spot was in. My plan was to continue hunting the couple miles back to my truck, hunt NH that afternoon and then return to the high spot the following morning. I came across another doe while leaving the woods as well as some other heavily used deer runs. I was finally getting excited about hunting a spot! That afternoon while hunting in NH, I called what I would assume was a buck across a large swale swamp. I could hear him cross two brooks before he came up out of the brook that was closest to me. Just before he was about to pop out of the tall grass he winded me and went back the opposite direction he had came from! A little disappointing, but always nice to get the blood pumping! The next morning I headed back into the deep woods high spot along the brook I had found. The first part of my walk is about 3/4 of mile up a gas line. While walking up the gas line in the dark I jumped several deer off to the side. Once I got to the second trail I was going to take into the high spot I waited for it to be a little light so I would be able to shoot if I saw another deer. Sure enough as soon as I got to my spot I had a doe waiting for me. She got a little spooky at first, but after bleating at her a couple times she seemed to calm down and walk off slowly down the stream. The next hour and a half passed fairly uneventfully. At about 7:30 I hear what sounds like a deer coming at me on one of the trails that's 50-60 yards off the stream. When I first caught a glimpse of the deer I immediately thought it was a smaller deer. It was on a trail that would have the deer pop out 30 yards in the wide open so I figured I would pull my phone out for a quick video. Well my initial thoughts of it being small was because the deer was standing down in a  slight depression I wasn't aware was there. As soon as it came out of the depression I caught a quick glimpse of a rack and said to myself, well i better put this phone down. So sooner do i slide the phone back in my pocket, the buck pops out in the wide open 40 yards away. I immediately say, yup he's a shooter. Safety off, rifle shouldered, and in i let him walk. Once he hits 30 yards he stops perfectly broadside on his own. As i slide the gun up to look through my scope and shoot, i discover that while the gun was in front of my face i was breathing on the scope and i now have a half fogged half frozen scope!! Luckily a quick swipe with my thumb and the scope was clean. I raised the gun back up and fired. Off the buck ran, but i was pretty certain i heard him crash not far away. When i got to where the buck was standing i immediately found a good blood trail and followed the painted leaves to my buck. A nice main frame 8 with a small kicker off his right G2!





The beaver dam i had to cross in order to find my "high spot" the day prior.


The next few days I spent over in NH looking to find another buck. In and out of several more pieces, saw a few more does, but nothing that really got my blood flowing. On Saturday I was able to get a quick look at a decent buck while hunting a swamp i know well. I was hunting with a couple other buddies that day and they each saw several does. One of the guys decided the area he had gone in was where he needed to be all day Sunday so I elected to let him sit there for the day without me walking around him bothering the deer. I tried another new spot yesterday and instantly fell in love with it. It again was another water spot with about a 10 foot wide stream meandering through a rather large piece of woods with 50 yards of swale either side of it. My plan was to hunt about a 3 mile stretch of the stream from one woods road to another. The entire time I was working my way up the edge I just had that feeling it was going to happen. Cold, cloudy, drizzly, tracks, rubs, scrapes, etc. About half way into my journey i stop in another one of the many spots that just had the look of buck stepping out. I made a couple of bleats followed by a couple grunts and sure enough I can hear something coming out of the woods. About 100-125 yards up the swale out steps what looked to be gorgeous 10 pointer. Not huge, but very symmetrical rack. Wide open, not a twig in the way, I raise my guy, bleat with my voice and he stops slightly quartering to me. POW, off he goes. I assume he is going to be piled up not far away like the other deer i shot in Maine. So i snap a quick panorama picture of where i was standing and where he was. As i get up to the area he was standing in, no blood, no hair. Hmmmmm. I was easily able to follow his running tracks through the leaves and not a drop of blood!! I went back to where he was standing several times, retraced all of his steps, went in different directions, and never found a drop!!! A clean miss I do believe. How, I don't know, but obviously I was a little excited and must have pulled the shot. I took a few minutes to clear my head and got back onto his tracks figuring i might as well follow him to be sure that it's not one of those freak no blood stories you hear about from time to time. Sure enough he brings me into a nasty little thicket and then out into another large boggy area. Once in the boggy area I find an area where two bucks had fought the night before. The ground was absolutely rototilled!! I take a quick video of that area with my phone and as I stick it back in my pocket i hear running behind me! A buck chases a doe through the thicket I had just gone through not 40 behind me! No shot!! Now I'm pushing it on time because I had promised a friend that i was going to be there to help him skin several of the deer that were hanging at his house. Not wanting to be late I continued to hunt my way around the bog towards my truck. After going another 100 yards another nice buck like the one i shot at (Could have actually been the same one) chases a doe by me about 100 yards out. Again I don't really have a great shot so i elect to pass. The rest of the way back to my truck was full of sign. I wasn't able to return to the area yesterday afternoon, but you can sure bet after working today and tomorrow I will be spending Wed-Mon in there.

This is one picture i took about 200 yards from where i shot

This is where i shot. The buck came out of the dark spot in the pines up on the right where the pines jet out a little. Pretty much straight up from the deer trail you can see I'm walking on in the swale.

And here is what my good friends barn we hang out looked like this weekend. Like I said the rut is on! Three nice bucks and several small ones. Not a lot of guys get time to hunt (no Sunday's in Maine) and they really enjoy the taste of deer meat, as well as the thrill of the chase. So to them any buck is a good buck. Even though I would enjoy seeing some of these smaller deer passed on, I still get a way better kick out of seeing the excitement on some of the faces of the guys that come to hang their deer. They are all just as proud as I was with my big  buck and that's truly all that matters. 3 of the deer hanging were first deer for the guys. One of them was a 5 pointer that was a 12 year olds first. His comment when he got their to hang it was. "My dream has always been to be able to shoot my deer and hang it from the barn with all of you guys." It's stuff like that makes the month of November so damn special! Guns, bows, crossbows, big bucks, spikes, and does, I don't care, if you're having fun that's all the matters, PERIOD!

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Re: It's On in the Northeast

Post  chukbuk on Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:57 am

Congrats MEHunter!  That was a really good read and I absolutely love seeing the pics of where you hunted!  Love that first pic of your buck down, he's a beautiful buck!  Thks!
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Re: It's On in the Northeast

Post  Mountainman Vic on Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:05 am

As always, Great read Dave. And Awesome buck. How long is New Hampshire's gun season in?

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Re: It's On in the Northeast

Post  bowGal on Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:15 am

Great times  made there,  Congratulations  on your buck , Dave and to all your buddies,
  Always love  reading about your journeys

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Re: It's On in the Northeast

Post  MEhunter on Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:35 am

Thanks guys!

Vic, I've got til this Sunday in NH. That spot that was real active that one day I was in there has died off. No fresh sign and only saw two does in there in 5 trips in over the last 5-6 days. Have mornings before work this week and then Fri-Sat-Sun to get it done!

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Re: It's On in the Northeast

Post  VABuckSlayer on Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:20 pm

Congratulations on a great buck MEhunter! Great story too!
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Re: It's On in the Northeast

Post  shedder on Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:24 am

Congrats Dave!!  I so have enjoyed reading all of your posts through the years!! I expect to find you in print somewhere!!
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Re: It's On in the Northeast

Post  ElkHunter65x on Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:24 pm

Amazing story, what a fun read! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the successful hunt!!
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