MY 2002 HUNTING JOURNAL
WELCOME to my 2002 Hunting Journal. I hope you enjoy reading this journal. My past journals have proven to be enjoyable and they seem to be appreciated by those that read them.
THURSDAY - 5th :
This hunting season should prove to be a very interesting one. The first thing that comes to mind is that I will be able to harvest three whitetails. One buck and two does.
Due to recent changes in the hunting laws here in Pennsylvania, I will not be able to harvest an antlered deer with LESS than three points to one antler. But thanks to a bonus tag I may harvest two does here in Jefferson County.
The other thing that will prove interesting is that due to a complete re-scheduling at work I will be working twelve hour shifts... 4 days one week and only two days the following week. This will give me several whole days of hunting during the week. I hope to take real advantage of this during archery season. In the past I have had few opportunities to hunt in the evenings (only Saturdays) so this year this situation will really be exciting...
SUNDAY - 15th :
Well some exciting news. I will be receiving a short-haired pointer named Jett on the 30th of September. He is five years old, trained and I am so excited about his arrival. I hope I can get him working in time to try him in the field this year !!
TUESDAY - 1st:
Today I bought a 15 foot ladder stand and have it set up in the backyard. I will try for some Whitetail photos in the morning. I am eagerly awaiting the beginning of archery season on Saturday. I am not sure where I will go yet, but I think I will try the ladder stand.
SATURDAY - 5th:
Clear Creek State Forest (CCSF)
AM.....Hunted from my ladder stand this morning It was quite windy, but what the heck.. it's the first day of Archery Season !!! Saw a doe at 7:10am did not come close enough to even get excited or get camera out.Two more doe showed up around 7:45am and remained around until about 10:30am. They would come out where I could see them - eat some acorns - then retreat to the thicket and come back out a few minutes later. I got a good view of how some Whitetails react to a windy day. Even thought it was first day of archery it was obvious they were "spooky".. branches would fall and they were OFF to the thicket for a while only to return a short time later to start feeding again. Saw about a dozen different grey squirrels, just like ever year I hunt this area. Does no one hunt squirrels anyone ?? Maybe I should harvest a few this year ! Unlike past years I saw no Black Squirrels today from the tree I had set-up on. Left for home at 11:00am..
MONDAY - 7th:
AM - took the climbing tree stand this morning and went to the same tree I shot my archery buck from last year on the last day of the season.Luck was not with me this morning. I saw absolutely NO DEER. At 8:30am a raccoon came hurrying by and went to his tree and quickly disappeared. That and a huge flock of turkeys in a field on the way home at 10:30am was all the wildlife I saw this morning. The wind was REALLY blowing so I imagine that was the problem with the deer not moving. I think I will try State Game Lands #54 tomorrow morning. I'll spend this afternoon building a wooden box with insulation around the box that came with Jett. His box was a plastic one and I do NOT think it would be warm enough for him this winter. So with another frame around and filled with insulation between the two boxes he should be good for the winter. If it gets TOO cold he'll just have to come inside with us.. 8-)
TUESDAY - 8th:
CCSF - Climbing stand
Left the house for an afternoon deer hunt at 2:30pm I arrived and had just settled into my tree stand at 2:45pm. When I heard some "rustling" behind me. Figuring it was a squirrel I grabbed the camcorder and turned to photograph the squirrel. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the squirrel was a black bear !!.....
Besides this bear, tons of squirrel activity and chipmunks; the afternoon produced nothing. I did see 14 on the way home in several fields feeding. I left the tree stand in the woods so I will return to this spot tommorrow morning ..
WEDNESDAY - 9th:
CCSF - climber
AM- Had a doe right behind me under my tree stand eating some oak leaves from a branch I broke off the Oak tree I was in yesterday. There were a lot of branches from nearby trees blocking any possible shot at her and she left with out coming out from under the leafy branches.That was it for the morning hunt.
PM- Went back to an area on State Game Lands #54 where I harvested last year's doe.. Used my climber and around 4:30 saw 3 deer in the distance coming out of the slashings I could see that they had large bodies but could not tell if any had antlers or not.. 5:00pm had what I would call a 6 point come right into range. I was not sure it would pass the AR requirements so I took video instead of taking a shot.
Around 5:45pm had two does cross just out of range. So that makes for a total of 6 whitetails spotted tonite and 1 this morning making a grand total of 7 for the day..Best day so far.. Again I left my tree stand so I will return in the morning . This was always a good morning spot for deer crossing from the other direction to go to the slashing to bed down. So I ought to see at least these 6 again tomorrow coming the other way... stay tuned... 8-)
THURSDAY - 10th:
SGL #54 - climber
AM-Hunted one of my old favorite spots and the #1 spot I take others to to harvest a doe if they would like to. I had two doe just about in range when a sudden sneeze put a stop to they progress towards my stand. Luckily they did not smell or see me so they took their time and fed and wandered away quietly. Saw a couple grey squirrels and that was it. This must be a evening site during archery season. Oh well there is always the next trip out into the woods.
I took Jett out to a small fenced in area at CCSF and let him run for about an hour. He came when I called and I was very pleased with his overall performance. I do know one thing.. there were no birds in that fenced in area. He covered the entire area and we saw nothing.
THURSDAY - 10th :
Spring Creek - climber
PM - Went to Spring Creek to try an afternoon hunt.Lots of grey squirrels again and this time I spotted a red/gray squirrel and got some photos. At 6:25pm after lowering bow down from stand I saw 2 doe and a spike buck walk by..Oh well it was getting late and I really have not hunted that much in the late afternoon. Would hate to lose one in the dark ! Work takes first place until Monday Morning and back to the woods... !
MONDAY - 14th :
Spring Creek (SGL #54) - climber
HEAVY FROST and 30 degree at 6:00am
AM - Returned to where I was on Thursday afternoon.I stayed until about 10:00am. There was absolutely nothing happening in the woods this morning... Went scouting the area and found a place with most of the acorns ate up, so I left my stand there and will return in the afternoon. Saw lots of turkeys on the way home.
PM - arrived at spot around 3:15pm and stayed until 6:30pm. Only thing I saw was squirrels and a hawk..
Lots of sign but this may very well be a night feeding area. I know I have never seen deer here in the daylight...Saw several flocks of turkeys on the ride back home in the fields and several deer..
TUESDAY - 15th :
AM Heavy frost and 35 at 6:00am.
I awoke to howling winds this morning so I decided
to not hunt but do some scouting in the road to Halton area of SGL #54. Found several nice set-up spots BUT did not see any deer. I know I made the right decision by not hunting. Maybe this afternoon if the winds calm down. Deer may be up and moving as soon as winds stop.
Pm - well the winds died down some so I went to a spot I found scouting this morning. Had two hen turkeys feeding and clucking away for about 10 minutes under stand about 10 yards away. Finally they decided to leave... Winds picked back up and it looked like rain so I decided to call it a day around 5:45pm... BAD DECISION !!!! after lowering bow and starting to climb down tree I saw 4 tails quickly exiting from behind me about 30 yards away. IF ONLY I would have wait another 5 minutes...Well back to work until Friday morning. I will definitely return to this spot. It looks very promising lots of teaberry and most of the acorns on the ground have been eaten, and lots of sign although I did not see any "rubs".
FRIDAY - 18th :
Hallton Area - climber
PM - Returned to the spot I saw the four deer on Tuesday afternoon. Around 4:30pm I had a big old porcupine walking all around under the tree stand for about an hour. I guess they like white oak acorns too... then about 5:30pm I saw a deer coming running towards me it stop suddenly and started to feed on acorns. I could tell it was small and upon looking closer I could see it was a "button buck". Passed on him for today. Maybe his momma will come along. Well that turned out to be wishful thinking , I did not see another thing. I climbed down and left at 6:30pm. Again I saw a lot of turkey flocks on the way home and about 6 does feeding in some fields.
MONDAY - 20th :
Callen Run Area - climber
AM- Got set up and nothing happened at all until about 9:00am when I saw a deer walking along the fence, unfortunately it looked down the hill and saw my old pick-up setting there and flew into the laurel and I did not see it again. While scouting this area yesterday I spotted lots of "sign" and hardly any acorns that were not eaten,also saw and photographed a hawk which was injured and could not fly. Maybe I found yet another evening feeding area..
May not get back out this week. It's my 4 day work week and on Wednesday morning I am going to a gamebird hatchery to buy some Chukars to help JETT train for bird hunting...
WEDNESDAY - 23rd :
Rainy Day Acres - ladder stand
AM - Went directly into the woods behind home after working my shift tonight. I had set-up the ladder stand there before going to work yesterday. Hunted until 8:30am.The wind was not in my favor and smoke from the wood burner in the house was traveling thru the area.Around 7:30am I spotted some deer moving in a the thicket of blackberry bushes and one was really "whistling".
She was upset about the smoke I guess. Anyhow I ended up spotting 6 (all does I THINK) moving around in the blackberry bushes BUT none came within shooting range or into any type of opening for a good shot. Left at 8:30am to keep my appointment at Wolfe's Gamebird Hatchery (814-849-3430) in Brookville for some chukars for Jett's training session. A long story shortened JETT did FANTASTIC !!!
I will return to the ladder stand in the morning.. and let all the birds go in a fenced area over at CCSF and let Jett do his thing only "this time I'll be carrying"......8-)
THURSDAY - 24th :
Rainy Day Acres - ladder stand
AM - A little bit "chilly" this morning. I sat in tree stand until 9:00am and saw NOTHING !!!
Rain and/or snow flurries are in the weather forecast for today, so I decided to quit and take Jett and the chukars to CCSF. I released the birds and within fifteen minutes JETT had found one of the birds.
We had a great time hunting those birds..I used my 22 handgun to make sure Jett was not "gun-shy".. He responded excellently, So now a little work on keeping his hunting range a little closer than it is right now and we will be ready for some pheasants !!
If it is not raining or snowing this afternoon I will return to SGL#54 for the evening hunt. I'll go where I saw the six point that I thought was too small. After reviewing the video I now think he is LEGAL, and now that I have a BIRD DOG to hunt with during small game season... This buck just may be harvested this afternoon if a good ethical shot is presented !!
PM - A car was already parked at the area I wanted to hunt so I went to another old standard spot on SGL #54..I only saw 2 young whitetails around 5:30pm. It was such an enjoyable experience. Those two were chasing each other all around in large circles for about 15 minutes. Several times they came "flying" by right in front of me at TOP SPEED..It was all I could do to keep quiet they were so funny. It must have been the cool temperatures and snow flurries coming down that got them "all fired up"..It was fun watching though !!!
MONDAY - 28th :
Halton Area - climber
AM - I returned to this area to see if I could at least hope to see more deer than I have been seeing. There was a nice snow covering the ground, if I would get lucky enough to shoot a deer today, the tracking should be easy with the snow on the ground. Luck was not a friend of mine today, I saw absolutely nothing, not even a squirrel...
TUESDAY - 29th :
Rainy Day Acres - ladder stand
PM - hunted behind the house this afternoon, did not expect to have much luck, the wind was blowing hard and there was a drizzle of sleet and snow mix coming down. I did not see any deer this trip. I did see a really nice buck along the road coming from "town" around 10:30am this morning, looked like a nice 8 point with really long brow tines, it was a very non-typical rack.
I must admit to this not being a very good Archery Season ----- so far I have seen fewer deer that I can ever remember seeing since I started archery hunting.The local weatherman said on TV that this has been the COLDEST October in recent years. Only four days with average or above average temperatures for the entire month.
Seeing the Black Bear, and being able to capture it on video did help make the month an enjoyable one though. I kind of wish now I would not have passed on that 6 point. Having to share the woods the first morning of rifle season in the areas I am hunting now for possible buck harvests ..does not seem too exciting to me...
I will still hope to harvest a buck with my bow during the remainder of archery season, that way I can hunt areas for doe that will not be as crowded with hunters.(my back yard)......
FRIDAY - 1st :
SGL #54 - climber
PM - Returned to where I had seen the 6 point and was hoping he would show himself again. As my luck has been going this year he did NOT appear. I did have a doe feeding about 45 yards away for about a half an hour she was not and did not get any closer than that. It really strains one's nerves when you have a deer present and not wanting to move around very much while feeding. It keeps you "on yours toes" for making any kind of movements of your head or body. You sure do NOT want to get "busted" by that feeding deer. My luck held there... she finally walked away quietly and about 15 minutes later I saw three nice big bodied whitetails crossing the road about 250 yards away heading towards the food plots. That was it for the evening except for a couple of gray squirrels hustling about gathering beechnuts...I checked the spot where the 3 deer crossed the road before I left for home and found two "rubs" and a "scrape" along the trail. I may have to try this trail on my next evening hunt..I left my climber fastened to the tree I was in.. I want to return there in the morning.
WOW.. I must admit I was really getting COLD this evening. these "old bones" (hands and feet) DO NOT TAKE THE COLD like they did when I was younger.... 8-(
I am really disappointed that I have not been able to take the camcorder on my recent hunting trips. But with temperatures around 30 degrees, the manufacturers suggest not having the camera in the cold for any length of time.
SATURDAY - 2nd :
SGL #54 - climber
AM - It was worse than cold this morning IT WAS FREEZING COLD... I had on TWO "jumpsuits" and after an hour and a half I was DONE !!!! I did see what appeared to be a small buck but I will count it as a doe because I saw no definite antlers.. walking through the slashings around 7:30am. My mistake this morning besides being COLD was that I FORGOT about it not being only the first day of small game BUT Fall turkey season as well. The cars started coming at first light and seemed to never quit !!!! I think all the sudden traffic probably caused the deer to cross the road somewhere else, or at least changed there daily route this morning. That one deer, lots of cars and trucks, and a couple of squirrels was all the action for the morning, although I did leave early (8:00am) FROZEN to the core !!!
I want to go back out this evening only at this time I am not sure where I want to go...??????
Next week is my "bad" week for having to work four 12 hour days... So hunting is limited..I certainly hope a warming spell hits this area for the last week of archery season when I can hunt almost every single day and just MAYBE the bucks will be busy chasing does by then !!! 8-)
THURSDAY - 7th :
Rainy Day Acres - ladder stand
AM - Hunted the first two hours from the ladder stand behind the house. I saw nothing for the two hours spent in the stand. Returned to the house and had a little breakfast then went to the McFadden Farm where I have not hunted in quite a while. I walked around for about and hour and saw one buck but it did not come within range. I think it was only a spike anyhow. Found a nice tree to set-up in so I will return this afternoon.
McFadden Farm - climber stand-
PM - Had only one deer come by it was directly under the stand, BUT was only a spike buck. Looked like an older deer as far as body size and face goes but had only about 12 inch spikes on its head.That was it for the afternoon action.
FRIDAY - 8th :
CCSF - climber
AM - Returned to my favorite spot to see what was happening there after not hunting this area for awhile. Made the right decision for the morning hunt. I passed on a small doe at 7:05am. She was right in front of the stand feeding. It was a "gimme" shot, but decided to pass and see what other action was going to happen for the morning.
The doe continued feeding and worked her way out of sight, At 8:30 a buck came walking towards me. I could see it was at least a four point BUT I could not find any brow tines, I was praying he would keep coming closer than the 50 yards he was at so I could get a better look and maybe a shot... He suddenly busted away towards the laurel patch. At 8:30 another doe was working her way towards me eating acorns when she too "took off" running. This time I saw what was possibly causing the deer to suddenly "take-off"... a really nice 8 point came busting out of cover and chased the doe back towards the road and right past me and then right past my truck.At the speed they were going there was no way I could get a shot off.
I stayed in the stand until 10:00am and then HAD to leave, sure did not want to leave that area this morning, but I needed to get home and get a little nap for my 12 hour shift tonight and toemorrow night. I will return here Sunday night and set up my climber then on Monday morning return for the hunt. I will make plans to stay most of the day this time AND I will call on a little assistance for this hunt...My deer decoy, I'll get those bucks in close on Monday morning and hopefully will be able to harvest one of them !!
I am really excited about the remainder of archery season. Finally the bucks have broken away from their groups and are chasing does, I was afraid the pre-rut and rut were going to be late this year around here, BUT it looks like it has started and that's great news since I only have to work two days next week giving me a lot of time for hunting whitetails next week!!!!
WOW !!!!! Do I miss not being able to have the camcorder with me on these cold mornings - I miss not being able to get photos of the action I witness !!!
MONDAY 11th :
CCSF - Climber
Wanted to hunt the morning BUT the weather was very NASTY.... High winds and raining. So I waited for an afternoon hunt. Arrived at site around 2:30pm. Stayed until dark, hunted until 5pm. I had one spike walk by at about 35 yards looking for does.Then around 4:30 I had two does feeding out in front of me at 75 yards when the spike returned and chased them over the hill...
I left the tree stand in the woods and will return EARLY tomorrow morning and hunt until noon. I also plan on using rattling antlers, my deer decoy, and of course some TINK'S 69 buck lure. I certainly hope a nice buck shows up sometime in the morning !!
TUESDAY - 12th :
CCSF - climber
AM - Had what sounded like a very large deer walking around under my stand before it got light enough to see. I never got a look at the deer it was really dark and I did not want to take a chance and "spook" it by using my flashlight. It ended up going into the laurel patch before I could ever make out any figure...
Other than a TON of grey squirrels running around and feeding on acorns. That was it for hunting action this morning. It started to rain at 11:00am so I decided to call it a morning.
PM - CCSF Area #2 - climber
Went out this afternoon with a neighbor to one of his favorite areas of CCSF. I set-up around 2;30pm and spotted a deer moving about 250 yards away, at 3:15pm. I never really got a good look at its head so I will count it as antlerless.The deer was by its self and walked a straight line up over the ridge and off towards a farm field a mile away. Oh, well....That was the deer action for both of us for the afternoon....
Joe saw nothing at all..
NOTE -------well I have to work the next two days, so my archery season has been reduced to this FRIDAY & SATURDAY......I must admit that this has been the worst archery season as far as numbers of deer spotted while hunting. I have seen MANY traveling to and from my sites, BUT after climbing into my stands there has NOT been much action. I realize there are quite a few acorns this year .. so deer do not have to travel too far to get feed, maybe that is why they are not visiting my stand areas. The most deer at one setting was in my backyard.. I can not remember this being the case in past archery seasons at all... Well I still have Fri. & Sat and after all I harvested my archery whitetail last year on the LAST DAY. Maybe I can repeat that this year...
STAY TUNED -------
SATURDAY - 16th :
SGL #54 - climber
AM - Well the last day of archery season 2002 was NOT productive at all. I saw one doe at 7:05am crossing along the slashings and not another thing. I got cold AGAIN around 9:00am and went for a ride. I stopped and explored the slashing around the gas line off the road to the old Game school.
To say I saw alot of rubs would be an UNDERSTATEMENT..... I found an area I should have been hunting this whole season... RUBS everywhere!!
Everything from one inch trees to trees at least three inches around. I found rubs two feet off the ground up to about four feet from the ground and LARGE trees at that !!!
I definitely found the area I will hunt the first day of rifle season. In fact I want to return there before rifle season with the camera and see if I can get some video of the bucks rubbing all these trees...
I did "jump" two deer but it was so thick with slashings that I could not tell if they were bucks or not, so I will count them as anterless in my total sightings..
2002 ARCHERY SEASON
Archery season 2002 was (to say the least) my worst ever since I started archery hunting...The total number of deer sightings was very low...I can not remember ever seeing so few deer while hunting. Possibly the abundance of mast was the reason. Tons of acorns, so maybe the deer were not moving into these areas that I have hunted for so long...Possibly.... I need to find new places to archery hunt ???
I am not sure I have any of the answers as to what went wrong with this archery season. The one bright spot was the Black Bear appearing underneath my tree stand, I guess that and the coyote from two years ago will keep me wanting to hunt whitetails during the early fall (archery season).
I have not completely made up my mind about Black Bear Season yet. I still have an invitation to join my buddy, Jim, at his camp...so I may just end up trying a one day bear hunt.
I also still want to take JETT out to see if we can get a pheasant or two, I will probably do this on Thursday of the upcoming week.
Wildlife Spotted from Tree stand or while hunting:
DOES ---- 40
BUCKS ---- 7
2002 BEAR SEASON
TUESDAY - 26th :
SGL # 54
Met two really nice guys from Pittsburgh, thru the internet and we enjoyed a day of pursuing Black Bears. Or we at least we tried. WE saw fresh tracks in some mud and a couple of piles of fresh "sign"... But NO Bears
The weather man is calling for A SNOW STORM
so I called JMF and told him I would NOT be traveling north to his camp this year.
2002 WHITETAIL RIFLE SEASON
MONDAY - December 2nd :
RAINY DAY ACRES
It was very cold this morning so I decided to "stay home" and hunt from my ladder stand behind the house. Saw a couple bucks that were for the first time NOT Legal to shoot. Had a HERD of about 20-25 does come "jogging" by at 11:30 and managed to harvest one for our winter food supply. 8-)
I saw a total of about 40 deer for the day..2 bucks and the rest were does.
Second year in a row none of the gang got a buck on first day. Most were to small (AR) to harvest or they were NOT SURE of the number of points.
OHIO CAMP = only Joe harvested a deer = in fact 2 = two does..
BILL'S CAMP = only Billy Jr. manages a doe.
Another neighboring camp did REAL well..scoring a - 10pt---9pt--6pt--(adult hunters) and a 3pt and doe harvested by Junior Hunters.
TUESDAY - 3rd :
RAINY DAY ACRES - ladder stand
0 DEGREES !!!!!!
Well I hunted from the tree stand then went on foot to see if I could find any deer. No Luck.. I did see three at first light running into the blackberry bushes behind the house but they were to far to shoot or spot any horns..Took my doe to the butcher to have it ground up this afternoon.
WEDNESDAY - 3rd :
SGL # 54
Very cold again this morning so I decided to hunt from the ground... moving whenever I started to get too cold.
I found lots of tracks but no deer. I heard a bunch of turkeys calling and saw a ton of places where they had been digging in the ground for food. I heard only about 10 shots ALL DAY.All the guys around here all left either last night or this afternoon. So with all the camps empty I am hoping the deer will get back into earier normal routines and I can still harvest at least one more....
I moved the ladder stand closer to the blackberry bushes this afternoon hoping to catch one going in there to bed down tomorrow morning...
I hope you have enjoyed reading my 2002 Hunting Journal. Be sure to check back for next year's journal......
THANKS FOR VIEWING !!
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