Posts Tagged With: deer

Feeder Pen Fail

First Bow Hunt of the Year

Date: June- October 19, 2013

Reported By: Craig Emmite

Just to give you a heads up for everyone to fully understand what happened on our first hunting trip of 2013 I will have to start at the beginning when the Lost Boys first started this journey. Every year we work so hard in the off season so our spot will be better than anyone else on our lease. We get out there when it’s the hottest part of the summer, putting stands up, filling feeders and for the first time ever building a feeder pen. We do all this well before the season opens  so when we get close to the start of deer season we don’t have to be out in the woods disturbing the area we plan on hunting in a few months. Like we do every year, we try to improve our spot in a different way so we can have a leg up on the other hunters in the area. Our big plan this year was to supplement feed something besides corn and a protein block. The trick was that we have cows that come onto our place, as well as, hogs that in the past have emptied our gravity feeders. We decided to build a large feeder pen and put both a gravity feeder with a protein pellet and corn mixture inside and a spin feeder with just corn.

It Was Hot

Feeder Ped From Tree Stand

When we drew up this plan in our heads it seemed easy enough but boy were we wrong,  this pen tested our dedication, being out in the hot summer sun, hammering t-post into the ground and clearing everything from bushes to small trees, all in hopes that deer would be the only ones to be able to get into the pen. After a day of blood, sweat and lots of talk of giving up, the pen was up. The only thing left to do was to put up the game camera and get back to some air conditioning and a much needed shower.

Trucks Packed With T-Post, Fencing, 4-Wheeler and Corn

Having A Little Fun While Getting It Done

After a few weeks we go back to check the game camera and see how everything was holding up and the pen looked great, no cows or hogs got in for sure but something was missing and to our surprise the game camera was gone, a sucky situation. Nothing will make you hate mankind like someone stealing your game camera but once we accepted the camera was gone and forgave the people in our County, we planned another trip. We go back up to fill the feeders one more time and to set up another game camera, this time with a lock box drilled into a nice big tree, mow the grass down inside the pen and make sure the last of what we needed to do for the bow stands was done. We also set up another camera over a bait site just down a game trail leading to the feeder pen just to be safe.

Bait Site

But a worrisome thought started creeping into our heads. Since we have no pictures of deer in the pen we had no idea if they were jumping in and normally by this time of the year we can start to put deer on our hit list but besides some tracks inside and around the pen we really didn’t know how everything was working. We had to cross our fingers and pray that we would finally get some good news the next time we came up

It’s now just a few days before the big weekend, Justin and I are so excited we are not sleeping so we throw caution to the wind and decided we would make a night trip up to the lease to check the game camera. We get out there in the middle of the night, get the first SD card out of the feeder pen, camera reads over 4000 pictures, excitement at an all-time max, grab the second SD card over the bait site, camera reads over 200 pictures we literally couldn’t be more excited. We get back into the truck and check both SD cards and our only possible fear came true.  The camera in the feeder pen took over 4000 pictures of squirrels and birds and only showed 3 deer actually in the pen. While the bait site had multiple deer running past it and eating out of the bait pile along with a bunch of hogs. We worked so hard to get this pen up only to find out we didn’t build a deer feeder pen but a squirrel sanctuary. The deer were going to the bait site behind the pen and we had pictures of them walking around it but only a brave few jumped in. With it only being days before the hunt there was nothing we could do about it. We decided to go up and hunt just liked we planned but we were going to have to cut the fence down if we wanted to save the rest of the season.

1 Of The Fews Bucks That Showed Up

We Had More Pigs Than Deer Show Up

The weekend comes and all that is going through my mind is we aren’t going to see a thing because why would we, the feeder was what was drawing them in. The only hope I had was that they would come into the area for the bait pile. We get up to the lease, and after a little debating we decided to go out in the middle of the night to toss some corn around the bait site and open up the door to the feeder pen.

What Our Bow Stand Looks Like

For the first time since we started hunting together Justin and I don’t pull an all-nighter, instead we get some sleep and wake up to early and get out there hours before the sun comes up. As we walk to the stand we nervously joke about running into hogs, it’s one thing to have a rifle with you but we had a bow strapped in a backpack and Justin had a pocket knife. To say the least it was a fast walk to the stands, insuring one another that what we just heard wasn’t bigfoot or hogs. As the sun came up and we started to see some action, we realized another problem that we were going to face, when we set up the lock on stands we planned on the deer walking down the main game trail focused on the feeder. The problem was the deer weren’t focused on the feeder, they were just walking around all willy dilly like, coming out of game trails we didn’t even think they were using which left us more visually exposed. And since we decided to throw out some corn the night before the deer could sense something sketchy and were very jumpy while walking in. At one point we had 2 does coming in and every little sound made them jump. They were about 14 yards away and before they came into one of my shooting lanes a squirrel literally chased them off. We ended up seeing around 10 does but only 2 of them came near us, the rest that we saw were out of bow range. Though the feeder pen was an epic fail there was a brighter side, the deer were there, it felt good that our area was so naturally good that even if we didn’t want to feed we would still see something. Our first hunt of the year wasn’t what I hoped it would be but at the same time it was a chance to escape from the real world, to take some time away from growing up and to chase an adventure.

No Matter What, You Have To Keep Your Spirits High

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Categories: camping, deer hunting, Hunting, outdoors, road trip, texas, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Weekend at Deer Camp

Date:  January 11-13, 2013

Report By:  Chris

Team Members:  Chris, Craig, Justin, Josh, Chad, Tommy

Weather Conditions:  Started out warm and humid in the high 70’s,  Strong cold front came through and dropped the temperature to the 40’s with a crazy thunderstorm.

We had been looking forward to this weekend for months!  It has been a long time since all the Lost Boys were able to get together at once.  The plans for the weekend were to head out to the woods of Trinity County, Texas to do some hunting and relaxing at deer camp.  Come five o’clock, the boys jumped in our trucks and set up without looking back.

The lease that we hunt on is an MLD management property.  MLD is a Texas program standing for Managed Land Deer.  The program pairs hunters up with a biologist who surveys the land and will assign a yearly bag limit.  The program focuses on managing a healthier heard and keeping the animal resources in balance.  One of the great benefits is that we get to hunt deer a few months longer than normal Texas deer season!

Craig, Chad and I were the first to arrive for the evening.  We got first dibs on bunks, and I made sure to get far away from the bad snorers.  Justin, Tommy, and Josh rolled up a few minutes later, while we were setting up camp and getting a fire ready.  We spent the evening sitting around the camp fire, telling stories, sippin on beers and whiskey, and hoping on a deer that the next morning may bring.  Things got a little crazy too, with random wrestling matches breaking out, and other foolish displays of masculinity.

Chad and Craig…Country as they wanna be

Justin’s New Head Lamp. It even made Dinosaur noises.

Whiskey fueled wrestling match

5 AM came way too fast.  Especially after not going to sleep until 3 hours prior.  Nevertheless, we were driven by adrenalin and excitement as we all suited up in camo, wished each other luck, jumped in the trucks and headed to the deer blinds!  The plans were for me and Chad to hunt together, Craig and Tommy, and Justin and Josh.  This is where the problems started!

Justin and Josh ran into the first set of problems.  When they arrived at the stand they were planning on hunting, they found that they had been locked out.  The blind wasn’t supposed to be locked and since they didn’t have the key, they had to try a backup blind.  At this time it started raining!  They had to walk through the woods, in complete darkness, with nothing but headlamps, while its raining, looking for the backup stand.  They finally arrive at the backup stand.  As they began to crawl in, they quickly found out that it was infested with Black Widow Spiders.  Since both Josh and Justin are like little girls and afraid of spiders, they decided to head back to camp and sit this hunt out.

Chad and I experienced problems of our own.  In Texas, it is a common practice to hunt over a feeder that is set to dispense a certain amount of corn each day to keep animals coming to the area regularly.   (We’ll address the debate about hunting over bait in a future article.)   The timer for our feeder was set to go off a few minutes before sunrise.  When the time came along we didn’t hear the click-clacking of corn being launched out of the spin feeder, but instead just the whir of the motor.  I knew this wasn’t a good sign and meant that the feeder was empty.  After an hour or so we left the stand and confirmed the the feeder had been empty for quite some time.  Oh well, it was back to camp for us to come up with plans for the rest of the day.

We got back to camp and met up with Josh and Justin.   Soon after Craig and Tommy showed up.  They had a moderately successful hunt.  They saw a few different deer, but were only targeting wild boar or a buck named Rufio that Craig has been chasing all season.  We decided our best bet for the evening was to go into town and buy some corn and jello mix to make some bait piles for the blinds where the feeders weren’t working.  That way would we have a chance to see some animals.

Pretty typical East Texas deer camp. No power or running water. Just a roof over our heads and a fire pit!

We spent the rest of the morning heading into town to get corn and groceries, setting up bait piles, and cooking some jalapeno sausage for breakfast.  We had some downtime before the evening hunt that we spent having fun with some throwing knives and axes that Craig had brought.  We made an Osama Bin Laden target and made use of our time ridding East Texas of this terrorist threat… Seal Team 6 style.  Justin, Chad and Josh also found a new hobby of whittling.  They made some pretty neat stuff with some oak branches that were lying around camp.

Osama Bin Laden… near lifelike representation by Craig

Justin was the first one to stick one. Couldn’t have been a better shot.

Chad and Justin Whittling

Once we had sufficiently worn out our throwing arms and whittling sticks, it was time to head out for the evening hunt.  We were hunting in the same teams, and Justin and Josh had found a new stand that was neither locked nor had any sort of infestation.

A couple hours into the sit, Craig and Tommy sent everyone a text message telling us about a very unique experience they had.  A bald eagle had landed in a tree nearby and they were able to watch it for close to 30 minutes.  Bald eagles are very rare in East Texas, and it is a definitely special to have the privilege to see the symbol of our great Nation in the wild.

Craig and Tommy were the only ones having any luck all evening.  They saw 6 different deer over the course of the evening.  No one else had seen anything.  darkness was creeping up, and we were running on 3 hours of sleep and a few breakfast sausages.  We were ready to call it a day.  I leaned over to Chad and told him that we should probably call it a day in 10 minutes.

A view from Chris and Chad’s stand

Just then, a big doe walked across the shooting lane.  By the time I got my Winchester 30.06 up she had just crossed into the treeline.  Dang!  Missed opportunity!  Just as I was about to lower my gun, another doe walks out following.  She was smaller than the leading deer, but would still be a great animal to fill the freezer with.  Since we had 5 does that we needed to take before the end of the season to according to the MLD program, I decided to take her.  She never stopped walking, so I steadied the cross hairs as well as possible just behind its shoulder, where the vitals lie.  I pulled the trigger and she dropped in her tracks.  It was a quick, efficient kill; the best kind.

Me (Chris) with my doe. I can taste the sausage already!

Chad and my excitement was overwhelming.  We were ready to give up and in about a 4 second period we had seen 2 deer and put one on the ground.  It all happened so quick that Chad barely had time to turn around and see the shot!  Upon inspection, I had hit the deer a little high and a little far back than my intended shot.  Luckily she still dropped in her tracks despite the poor shot placement.

The next hour was spent hauling the deer back to camp, filling out the proper MLD kill information, and cleaning and quartering the animal.  Once we had her cleaned and quartered we iced her down so we could take her to the butcher on the way home.  The whole deer is going to be made into Jalapeno Cheese Smoked Sausage…  Mmmmmmm Sausage!

We had something to celebrate.  Nights at camp are some of the best fun you can have with your clothes on.  Sitting around a campfire, sipping on a drink, and talking about life with my brothers and my best friends is an indescribably amazing feeling.  We spent the rest of the evening doing just that.  That is until the cold front decided to move in!

Tommy, Josh, Chad, Craig, and Me (Chris) enjoying the fire. I got my jeans pretty bloody so they went in the fire.

The whole weekend the temperature had been muggy and in the 70’s.  Literally, within a 10 minute period, the temperature dropped 10 degrees, and then another 20 degrees over the next 2 hours.  The rain was insane.  We had to move the group under the awning, but we still got to enjoy the evening.  The rain turned out to be kinda peaceful anyways, and it sure was nice to get rid of the humidity.

Chad, Justin, Tommy, and Josh

Craig, Justin, Tom, and Chad… Notice that the sleeveless shirts are gone and the jackets are on.

We finally called it a night and everyone except Tommy and Craig slept through what they describe as the loudest thunder that they had ever heard.  Craig said he could hear the lightning crackling before the thunder boomed.  Its hard to believe that we all slept through that!

We got our first ever all group picture before we left. Tommy, Justin, Craig, Josh, Chad, Chris

We packed up in the morning and reluctantly said goodbye to each other, the camp, and the woods.  Going back to work after a weekend hunting with the boys is one of the hardest things to do.  We had a great time and as usual made some great memories.  We’ll be back in the woods getting into some kind of trouble before too long.  Until next time we’ll be eating jalapeno deer sausage and day dreaming.

//

Categories: camping, deer hunting, Hunting, outdoors, road trip, texas, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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