I had one lone goal in the 2014 season and that was to finally get a harvest on video. I had been trying for 3 years prior and just was not able to seal the deal so to speak even though I kept getting closer and closer (I actually videoed Paul from the tree while he sneaked up on and shot a button buck we had come in and lay down, but it just looks like he is shooting at the ground in it). But that all changed in a matter of 2 hours, if that, into my first hunt last year. Watch it for yourself and I hope you enjoy!
A Season of Missed Opportunities - A Story About Disappearing and Taking Care of Others' Unfinished Business
As November continued on, the "fun" was just beginning to for me. The weekend after my small unloaded gun failure, Paul and I found ourselves perched 25-feet up a pine tree on section of Alcoa gamelands in Rowan County, NC. Muzzleloaders in hand and me running the camera as well, we sat that still morning hearing duck hunters break the silence as daylight slowly crept over the trees. The occasional muzzleloader shot rang out as well, putting that feeling that "it could happen any time now" in us. And it did, just as heavy fog rolled in.
Instead of doing a month by month recap of my hunting season after early October I've decided to highlight the small failures I encountered on the way to today, the day after Christmas, as I prepare for my final hunting trip of the year that starts this afternoon. All in all this has been a freezer-filling year for me, being blessed with 3 does and a spike (that I thought was a doe actually) and seeing 27 deer to date, making for one of this public land hunter's best seasons ever. But along the way I ran into missed opportunities that I would love to have back, with none more so than the one that happened last Thursday. First, however, we must start in October.
So I dropped the cash on a non-resident South Carolina hunting license this year so I could hunt with my dad and grandfather. Weekends in August and September were spend scouting in preparation for the first weekend in October. I had already been hunting a few Saturdays in September once North Carolina's archery season opened as well as the Eastern muzzleloader opener Paul posted a few weeks ago. But nothing beats October and the changing fall colors in brings to the deer woods and that first weekend of muzzleloader season in the Upstate of SC was what I had been waiting for. Friday the 4th found us hunting a strip of oaks running between pines and a clearcut on Sumter National Forest land in Laurens County, both in the morning and evening.
Cory and I decided to hunt Butner game lands with two other buddies of ours for the opening day of the Eastern NC Muzzleloader season. We had about an hour drive from my place in Burlington, NC to Falls Lake so we left the apartment around 4:30 a.m. and planned to meet up with the other guys around 5:45 to start heading into our spots. It was a cool morning in the upper 40's to low 50's. The cooler temperature had me excited for a couple of reasons: first, I would hopefully not be covered in sweat after the walk in to our stand location and, second, I had high hopes that it would have the deer up and moving around in the morning.
The first two full weeks of North Carolina's Archery season are in the books and we have been fortunate enough to spend a couple days in the woods. No deer yet but lots of valuable information has been gained on this particular piece of public land we are hunting.
Labor Day morning, Cory and I headed over to the Alcoa gameland for the opening day of the North Carolina Dove season. We have been scouting this area for deer hunting quite a bit during the off season so we decided to setup at first light near the power line clear cut to see if we could catch the morning flight of doves. Not long after we had setup we had a dove fly over us that caught us by total surprise. We saw a few others on the power lines but nothing that flew to us and decided to take a walk around and see if we could jump any on the new logging roads; we did but no shots were taken. On our way back to where we had our gear set I flushed one dove out ahead of us and took a shot but did not connect. Although we did not leave with any doves for dinner we used a good part of the day to scout for deer and are now very comfortable in the area and we do believe we will take some deer as the season progresses. All in all it was a great day out and it beat sitting in the office! Now hopefully our scouting endeavors pay off in the coming weeks. Be sure to keep an eye out for many new posts coming!
P.S. - We would love to hear from our readers how they did on dove this year, so feel free to share your stories with us!
North Carolinian hunters start pursuing deer today in the Eastern, Central and Northwestern zones as the 2013 Archery season has opened up in those zones, with the Western zone opening up on Monday. I'll be heading out for my first hunt of the year this afternoon, off to a Central zone gameland you've heard me mention many times before known as Alcoa. I just finished getting all the final details put together in the previous few days so I can just grab my stuff and go when I pull up to the parking area, so bear with me in the following video as I go over what I pack into the woods. Enjoy!
This Spring and Summer saw me going through my hunting clothes and equipment and selling a bunch of stuff to downsize on things, upgrade some items and pass on little used items to someone that would actually put them to use. My initial plan was to just upgrade some video equipment, so I sold my camera arm and one of my fluid heads. I've got a Muddy Outfitter Arm (review coming sometime during the season) waiting to be delivered at the moment so that portion of the initial plan is coming to fruition, however I have yet to find a deal on a fluid head I want so the one 701 HDV I kept will be pulling double duty on the camera arm and tripod this year. I also decided to hold-off on getting a portable voice recorder like the Zoom H1 to use for recording audio when using my Go Pro or Canon G15, unless there is a deal I just can't pass up. Unfortunately for my bank account and much to the dismay of my wife, that initial video equipment upgrade turned into an overhaul of my hunting clothing and storage for my gear. Camofire and Cabela's Bargain Cave have been my friend this pre-season as I have bought lightweight mesh pants, merino wool and liner socks, hats and a quarter-zip while updating my camo clothing. On the storage side of things, I snagged two Badlands Camera Cases to better organize my equipment and make it easier carrying it into the woods as I can now not be bothered with stuffing my larger camcorder case into my Eberlestock. Instead, I can either carry it around my waist like a fanny pack, strap it to my pack at one of the many lashing points or even slide the slimmer camera case into one of the side tubes on my pack. The design of the case also will make getting setup after I have the camera arm in place much easier on me. I also purchased a Badlands Adder duffel bag. It's made out of a PVC material (which is taking me a while to clear the distinctive smell out of it) so I can throw it in the back of my truck and not worry too much about the elements to and from where I will be hunting. This will also help keep the clothing and/or gear I store in it relatively free from outside odors. I'm sure I'll snag another item or two during season, possibly another PVC duffel so I can stop using the big plastic containers to store my hunting items in since they take up so much space in the man cave's closet. If I do, expect some reviews. Til then, remember to stay safe while out there enjoying the great outdoors!
The last few weekends have either been spent getting gear cleaned, organized and stored for the upcoming hunting season(s) or hitting the woods to do a little scouting of old and new places. Since I'll be hunting South Carolina for the first time in 10 years, I've been driving down an hour and a half from my house on Sundays to scout with my father and grandfather. They've driven me by places I used to hunt when in my teens and we have walked new places I have never been to before. Let's just say the amount of deer sign we have been finding has me pumped for the October 1st muzzleloader opener down there in the Upstate! I foresee a stocked freezer of SC deer just due to the number of good places we have to hunt, long season and liberal bag limits. Not to be forgotten, I've also been checking out a spot on Alcoa where Paul was blessed to take a mature doe last December on a hunt with me. We planned to cover the whole parcel of land one Friday, but a boot blowout back at the truck after making our way through one half of the area didn't let that happen. But we did a test run with my boat (a 10 minute boat ride saves us a mile to mile and a half walk!) last Saturday with our friend Seth, the cool morning making us all ready for deer season to get here. Parking the boat near just a 100 yards from a tree we had picked out for Seth, we were able to make a quick and quiet approach to said tree, validating the use of the boat come hunting season. But the day was just not for a test run, we let Seth practice using a climbing stand, got a video setup picked out and bushwhacked our way through head high weeds and briars to see where the deer that accompanied Paul's December doe had went to. Outside of a few Sundays in September scouting in South Carolina, my pre-season scouting will end on Monday morning at Alcoa after hunting the North Carolina dove season opener with Paul; I've got to get a tree picked out for next Saturday afternoon (that's right, bow season opens here in North Carolina a week from today!) so I can watch some oak trees from afar in order to pick out an ambush spot for the following weekend's hunt with Paul. From then on out it's in-season scouting, checking out spots on the walk out after morning hunts, during midday and on the walk in during afternoons.
Sometimes the great ideas that we have just need something to bring them to the forefront. The Inside Out team will be putting our talents to work and sharing our knowledge and love of the outdoors with anyone who wants to listen.
Curran's Outdoor Adventures
GoBlog (Get Outdoors)
Grants Blog (Growing Deer TV)
Hunt Like Your Hungry
inFOCUS (Campbell Cameras)
inMotion (Heartland Bowhunter)
Make It Happen Outdoors
Taking a Walk on the Wild Side
The Rivah Blog
The Will to Hunt
Wired to Hunt