Winter is on the way

It is cold and rainy here today in New Hope.  Tomorrow, it will be back in the 70s.  Not too long before running or riding with layers of protective apparel will be a necessity.  Shooting outdoors isn’t immune to the cold.  This morning I wore several layers and a pair of thin gloves. Even though the gloves are thin, and don’t offer a lot of warmth, they’re better than nothing even if they effect my anchor point. Thicker gloves really throw things off.

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No more fun in the sun for awhile.

Tomorrow, as I mentioned, we’ll have nicer weather.  But, there’s no stopping the winter.  It shows up on an annual basis. Until then, I enjoy the last few warm days of fall.

The Golden Rule

We made home from 17 days in Georgia. Coming back with us were two coolers of venison and pork. A few deer were left behind; we’ll pick those up on our next trip. On the drive home, one of the topics of discussion between Brenda and I was how inconsiderate people have become.

This lack of consideration we’ve noticed has become rather prevalent. For example, the other night at 12:46 AM people near us put their dogs out into their fenced yard. These dogs barked non-stop. I turned on the outside spotlight hoping they’d pick up the hint and call the animals back in the house. No way, those dogs just kept running around the yard and barking.

Earlier that day, we’d stopped in Savannah, before driving back to North Carolina, to visit my mother who lives on Isle of Hope. It was a nice day, so we sat and talked in her back yard. The entire time we sat there, her neighbor’s two dogs barked at us from behind their white picket fence.

In Tignall, week-enders showed up at the lake and commenced having all night parties that weren’t subdued in any sense of the imagination. There was total disregard for the permanent residents and other part-time neighbors.

At an archery tournament, spectators had covered the bleachers with gear, clothing, backpacks, food and other debris so that the competitors were left with few if any places to sit. Standing for 3 to 3.5 hours isn’t fun. (Heck, I’d rather run or ride a bike that long rather than just stand). When I’d asked people would always move their piles off the bleachers, but I shouldn’t have had to ask.

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I left a trail cam on my porch to see what might come out of the woods while we were gone – I didn’t expect this.

Then, when we got home I noticed my yard was covered with holes. The holes clearly caused my horses’ hooves. The owners of the horses, noticing we were out of town sent three horses to graze on my lawn. I will be speaking with them tomorrow.

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That black horse ran across my lawn (captured his blur on the trail cam) and ripped it up.

Perhaps I am old school or old South, but I’d never do or allow my animals to do any of those infringements on another person. I still believe in good manners, being polite, and (at least trying) to treat others the way you’d like to be treated. That “Golden Rule” is an excellent one to practice. We don’t seem to have enough people today trying to get it right.

Taking a Break from Hunting to Practice

Hunting, spending hours each day in the woods, eats into practice time. Getting two practice sessions per day wasn’t a top priority. Hunting was the top priority, at least for the moment. Actually, a couple of days, I didn’t go over to the range. Today was another matter.

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River decided she’s come along to watch.

Eager to shoot and well stocked with venison, I took time to practice. Shooting dots is fun, but after a 100 or so shots I needed to mix it up. I started practice in the morning. I took a break for lunch and a short rest before headed back to the 20-yard Vegas style three spot.

The three spot had been a vertical three spot. To make the vertical targets fit on the blocks to which it was pinned I set one block on top of another. That failed on the first shot. The bottom arrow shot through the lower block. The block was less robust than it first appeared.

So, I cut one of the three vertical spots off, turned the other two sideways and tacked the freed spot above them making a Vegas style three spot. The for real excitement, I turned the makeshift target upside down.

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I’ve worn a trail walking back and forth

When I was done for the day, the change in target perspective made no difference to my shooting performance, but it was kind of fun.

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Ray’s tractor

This hunting trip ended with plenty of meat

IMG_4391We’re just about to wrap up this hunting trip to Georgia. We didn’t get out everyday, we stayed home during the worst rain, and a few days didn’t pan out. Overall, it was fairly successful.

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Shot from the “luxury box” and took a small buck

We got out into the woods five times. I ended up with two does and one buck. Ray shot a doe, an 8-point buck, and a 250-pound pig. We might go out again, but I think we’ve got enough meat.

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The rack from Ray’s 8-pt
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Little 8-pointers don’t make it to the taxidermy shop. (Ray has many others matching this fellow)

The last two deer we took today. Ray shot his around 4 PM and I shot mine at around 5:15 PM. Both were taken to Adam Bohler in Tignal for processing. I’ve already picked up the first deer I shot and hope he’s got my second ready by Friday. These last two won’t be ready before I head back to NC. Ray will get them both up and store mine in a freezer until I can get back down to pick it up.

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Lady bugs were all over the place

There’s a nice 10-point buck roaming around on the property. I might head out for a bit tomorrow and see if I can get him. Or maybe I’ll hang out and practice shooting dots. In either case, we’ll be heading back to NC with plenty of meat.

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Ray, the tall fellow next to his good friend Guy.

 

A Slow Day in the Woods

Another damp day with only a few deer spotted. I hunted with Ray, my father-in-law, and John a friend from Savannah. John’s also a paramedic so we’ve exchanged some medical war stories. Sadly, the war stories from the hunt today related a lost deer and one that never moved into range.

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A light rain in the woods today

Ray, today hunting with a rifle, hit an 8-point buck. The deer fell immediately, kicked then didn’t move. After a few minutes he left his blind and walked over to the fallen animal. As he approached, the wounded deer got up and ran off. A search for the deer ended when it became dark and the terrain too risky. We’ll continue at dawn.

John saw one buck from his tree stand but couldn’t get an angle to take a shot before the deer was gone.

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This hog waller is a mud hole thanks to the recent rain
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The height of the pigs is indicated by the rubs against this pine tree

I was primarily hunting pigs. Pigs migrate around the property and I seem to be either ahead or behind them for the moment.

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Keeping out of the rain

The hunt for pigs is on….

When I aim to shot a wild pig, I am not looking for a trophy. That’s not to say that is a true monster came within range that I wouldn’t shoot it. I’d shot it. But, I’ve seen lots of big wild pigs and I’m not easily impressed. What I want to get are the young smaller female pigs. Why? Because they taste best.

The first couple of days on this hunt in Georgia I was hunting deer. There are an abundance of them on Ray’s (my father-in-law) property. I harvested exactly what I was after. A smallish doe. I had a pick of deer and I chose her guessing that one of the bunch would be the best for cooking. The next week or so, it is strictly a hunt for pigs.

Like I said, I want the pork, which for me means a small pig. Ray shot one, a 250 pound boar. It made decent sausage but the pork chops were too tough. When I worked for a hunting club, Hall Brothers in Savannah, and we’d have a pig barbecue I’d always chose a nice smaller pig. Slow cooked for hours it was excellent.

Today, I didn’t see anything in the woods other than a squirrel. Grilled squirrel isn’t so bad, as I remember it, however squirrel isn’t on the menu. Tomorrow there’s a 70% chance of rain and I may skip the woods and head over to Social Circle to shoot. Depends on how hard it rains.

Deer, Pigs and Coyote

Thus far, the hunting has been getting colder and wetter. We’ve seen a lot of animals on the trail cams. There have been deer spotted on the trails coming into the wood both early, mid-day, and in the evening. I’ve only shot one so far.

It rained hard the other day, which kept us away from hunting. When we did go back into the woods the red clay paths we follow were extremely slippery. The early morning temperatures have been in the upper 30s.

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At this point what I am aiming for are small pigs. Ray, my father-in-law, shot a big one. We’ve eaten some of it and it was a tad on the tough side. Even though the pigs mostly come out at night, we’ve recorded then on the Bush Trail Cameras throughout the day.

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One more doe will be plenty for Brenda and I. I expect I’ll get that one once I can shoot a doe, again. In Georgia there a short time period during deer season where does are off limit. We’re in that time frame at the moment – it ends on Monday. Unless I see a 10-pt or 8-pt buck, and we’ve seen them in pictures, I’ll hunt pigs.

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There’s also an abundance of coyote here this year and I wouldn’t mind getting one or two of them off the property.

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2nd Annual EAC Indoor 18 Meter Tournament

The 2nd Annual EAC took place on Saturday November 14 in Madison, GA. The event sold out. The venue could accommodate between 168 – 192 archers. Competitors ranged in age from around 10 to around 60.

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I shot the 1st Annual EAC. The contest occurs during one of my  hunting trips to Tignall. I made sure to sign up for the 2nd Annual event.  Prior to registering the organizers sent out an email to let folks know the 1:00 PM time slot was totally booked. The left me with one option, the 9:00 AM slot.

The drive from Tignall to Madison is about one and a half hours. That meant I’d need to set an alarm for 5:00 AM. Typically, I’m up between 5:30 and 6:00 AM. I don’t set an alarm. The mere knowledge I needed to set an alarm was a bit irritating.

I don’t like alarms. When I race it is not unusual that I need to be up before 5:00 AM. It is one of the least pleasant parts of sports. Athletes that have a natural internal clock making them early risers have an advantage over athletes that are late sleepers. I am fine waking up early, on my terms. But, I’ve never seen any advantage to getting up earlier than 6:00.

Even though I set the alarm, as usual I woke a few minutes before the alarm activated. It is common for me to wake up before the alarm goes off. It is simply the knowledge that one is set and I might hear that awful sound that is burdensome.

After getting out of bed, getting ready, cooking a nice breakfast, feeding the dogs, and going out with them to chase away deer and fox, I headed to Madison.

The tournament was packed and every lane was filled, except one. I shot with two fellows, Tommy and Joe. Tommy is on the Mathews Pro Staff and is primarily a 3D competitor. Joe shoots a recurve. It looked like the only missing person from the morning session was Angie, an archer that was AWOL from our group.

Tommy wore out the centers of his targets. Joe gave a seminar in recurve archery. They were great guys to share a morning shooting arrows. Joe called the arrows while Tommy and I recorded the values and did our best to make mathematicians proud of our arithmetic skills. When the shooting was over, I’d improved my 3rd place finish score from 2014 by 32 points. Interesting, in 2014 I was shooting on target 11B, this year I got 11D.

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Another highlight was that the people sponsoring the EAC event arranged to sell barbequed Boston butts. I bought one and it was money well spent.

I hope these folks in Madison can manage a 3rd Annual EAC competition. I’m already looking forward to it.

 

 

First Two Days of Hunting in Georgia

I didn’t see anything my first day of hunting in Wilkes County, if I exclude the two doves. I headed out of the woods about 5:45 PM. I packed my gear on a Ranger ATV and while driving back to my truck nearly ran over a deer. It just walked across the trail. It isn’t like a gas powered ATV is quiet. The deer, a large doe, never even hurried to get out of the way. She acted like she had the right of way. Aside from that – nothing

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My father-in-law, Ray, hunting several kilometers away on his 800-acre property had at least seen several doe. (Note: plural does or doe –Both does and doe are correct for plural.) He’d spied a large buck and hoped it move out of the thicker woods so that he might get a shot. The buck stayed away and Ray didn’t bother with the other deer. As a result, we ended day one empty handed.

On the second day, Ray saw the two doves, or at least a similar pair. When 6 doe came my way I was less picky than Ray had been on the previous day and took one. I didn’t shoot the largest. I was “way-back” in the woods with plenty of wet red clay to deal with on the way out. I made sure that whatever I decided to shoot, I’d be able to get it on the ATV. Still, getting the doe on the ATV was a bloody mess.

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Lots of turkey this year

Last year, Ray and I hauled several big deer out of the woods. More than once one of us bit the dust trying to get a deer out of ravines and thickets. So, I like having a plan of how I’m going to get what I harvest to the fellow that processes the meat.

Today’s plan went well; basically shot what I could haul. I got the doe on the Ranger then into the bed of the truck. Dropping the deer off for processing I had help unloading it. Before we left, Ray picked up the deer he shot last week to add to the pig he’d shot that we’d picked up yesterday. (both shot with a bow)

Ray’s got three refrigerators here and their freezer sections are all full. I’m hoping to get another pig and one more deer. Ray’s considering buying a freezer, I’m thinking I may need another ice chest to get this year’s meat back to North Carolina. We’ve still got another two weeks of hunting to go here before heading back to Hertford.