Made the trip down to New Jersey for our annual Muzzle Loader deer camp at Mohican Outdoor center in the Delaware Water Gap. After missing last years camp, I was excited to be back and this year I brought my daughter. Yup, I broke the no girls in deer camp rule and I am proud of it. My daughter and I were the only ones from Connecticut this year and My brother Steve couldn't make it but the rest of the characters where all present including my dad.
Once we said hello to everyone, my dad, bill, my daughter and myself decided to do a quick scouting trip to check out the areas we were thinking about hunting in the morning. We started down a short section of the Appalachian trail that connected to the Copper Mine trail and continued down to kaiser trail and then cut back through the woods to our starting point. We didn't bump any deer but we did see plenty of fresh sign and some really good buck sign. With our plans confirmed we headed back to the cabin to unpack and settle in for our first evening. Raymond was busy manning the smoker as he was smoking some pork ribs which would be the main dish for dinner that night and they were delicious!
We got an early start on Monday morning and were headed down the trail just after 5am and there were not to many other hunters around which is not a good sign. The woods are big and the hiding spots for deer many so you need hunters in the woods to help move them around a bit. As legal shooting light approached I always sit in anticipation of the first shots and with Pennsylvania being just across the river and Monday being their firearms opener as well it didn't take long to hear the first shots of the season. It was a pretty quiet morning with the sound of distance shots breaking the silence every so often, but none that suggested the shots were close or from any of our 11 man crew which was spread out over 8 miles. About 8am we heard a close shot coming from the direction of where Bill and his son Eric had setup and withing a minute or two of the shot the radio cracked and it was Bill letting us know he just dropped a deer. That definitely got the attention of my daughter he she was scanning the woods hoping to see one for herself. About 9:30 my daughter was ready for a little walk to warm up and we headed off our perch and to the trail to head down to my dad and check in with him and then we heard another shot which sounded like it came from where Billy and Bob where setup just off the top of the mountain on the river side. It wasn't long before the radio went off and we confirmed that Billy shot a nice doe. We made it over to my dad and he had seen one nice deer to far off and we looked the area over and decided to build a hide for my daughter and I to sit on Tuesday. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and we headed back to camp a little before the end of legal shooting.
We spent some time getting dinner ready, while everyone cycled through the showers and participated in many discussions about what everyone saw and gave thoughts on their plans for Tuesday. Plenty of laughs to be had over dinner as well and then it was time to cleanup, sit back and watch Jeremiah Johnson on the computer before heading to the sack for a good nights rest.
Tuesday found us once again heading down the Coppermine Trail and into our blinds well before legal light. My dad had a spike sneak into him early and it headed our way but stayed low and we never did see it. We had two come by our setup but too far for a shot and they didn't stick around long. About 7:30 I get a text message and it was from Raymond who had just shot a 8 pointer about 5 miles down river from us. Turns out Raymond's deer would be the biggest buck and he would win the big buck pin and have bragging rights for the year! Billy missed twice that morning as well and young James also had a swing and a miss. My daughter and had had another encounter with 4 more deer in the brush but never did get a shot at them. We poked around the woods until about noon and then headed back to the cabin to get packed up and see what everyone wanted to do.
The Muzzle Loader season in the zone we hunt is a 15 day season, but the days are spread over a full month so we only had Monday and Tuesday to hunt. The other 13 days would occur after the 6 day firearm season ended. Kaleigh was tired and ready for a nap, so we decided to pack it up and head back to Connecticut which allowed me to beat all the dang traffic. No deer for us, but we will get back down for another hunt or two and hopefully get lucky.
So final count was 3 deer taken and 3 misses which makes for plenty of ribbing and a little bragging. as always time spent with family and friends is what really matters at our camp so it was a success for sure.