Nov 27, 2013

2013 Connecticut Goose and Deer Openers - Recap

What can possibly be better then opening day?  Well how about two opening days just a day apart!  That's right last week on Thursday was the opener  for the second split of goose season here in Connecticut and Wednesday was out Firearms Deer opener.  It was definitely a busy week and our crew did well for the most part filling the freezer with deer, geese and ducks.

I couldn't make the goose opener on Tuesday but the boys had a full blind and had a 6 man limit on the ground by 7am and it included one banded bird from Labrador Canada.

Wednesday found our crew out in the woods chasing deer.  My son and I hunted state land and he let 3 does walk looking for a buck.  Most of the shooting we heard occurred before 8:30am.   Bubba shot a nice little spike buck on Private land and Busch Pilot took a doe.

Thursday found me in the office and my son in school while the boys hit the goose blind with a few new faces where they once again ended the morning with a limit of geese and 4 banded birds from Labrador Canada.

Friday it rained hard and once again I was in the office - I have 4 days vacation coming up so I couldn't take any more time off, while Bubba and Busch Pilot fought the wind and rain and chased ducks and geese.

Saturday my son, daughter and I were back out on state land chasing deer.  For the first Saturday of the season it was really quiet.  Too quiet.  It could have had something to do with the high winds which were blowing a consistent 20mph and gusting damn near 40.  We heard a few shots way off in the distance early and that was about it.  Around 9am, we were cold and needed a walk so off we went.  We were working around the thickets making a big loop around and through them when my son hit the ground and whispered deer.  I had never seen them or heard them until I caught a deer butt on top of a knoll.  My son said they were in the thick brush about 30 yards from us, and I never even saw them.  My daughter said one was a buck, so I took out the doe in a can call and played soem sweet music.  Sure enough I caught some movement through the brush and could see deer legs coming our way.  Still couldn't see the deer though but knew it had to be a buck.  No one could see it in the thick brush, but I could catch his legs as I was laying flat on the ground.  So I hit the can some more and saw those legs move closer to us.  I told my daughter that if she has a shot to take it, but she still couldn't see him and the deer was less then 25 yards away.  My son was about 10 feet to our right and he couldn't see him either.  He wanted my daughter to shoot but gave him the okay if he had a shot.  It seemed like 20 minutes but it was only about 2 before I saw the legs turn to my right and I told Brendan to get on him.  My daughter and I still had lots of brush in our way and could only see parts of the deer but he must have stepped into an opening because I heard my son bleat at him, the deer stopped and the Remington 11-87 barked.  My daughter excitedly said, holy crap I just saw you shoot him in the shoulder through my scope.  We walked over to where the deer was and had great blood so my daughter and son took up the lead and fought through the thicket to find a nice little spike buck piled up less then 30 yards away.

Bubba and Busch Pilot hit the goose blind Saturday morning with the kids and limited out once again.  No jewelry though.

Sunday we spent the day processing deer and making all kinds of tasty venison treats like Sausage, bolonga and hot dogs.  It was a busy week with plenty of happy hunters and delicious food in our freezer from natures Pantry.

Hope everyone is having a safe and successful hunting season and we wish everyone a very Happy  Thanksgiving!

Nov 13, 2013

Moose Update and Other Ramblings

Quick update on our resident moose.  We haven't seen here since the previous weekend but we did run into some new moose sign that wasn't there the previous outing. 

I found this tree which looks just like the first one we found and the more I think about it, I don't believe this was done by a bull moose with his antlers, but by our resident cow moose who is stripping and eating the bark.  I'm sure some of you in moose country can chime in here, what do you think?  

I even took my better half out for a walk to retreive a seat we left in one of our blinds so while out there we tried to find Mrs. Moose but we didn't.  We did have a great hike on a cool fall afternoon though.  Very refreshing.

This is an old foundation out on a piece of State forest land.  I sure would have liked to live out here back in the day.

The deer activity out in this area has been quiet and with the rut about to kick in and the cool weather I was a little discourage with the lack of sightings and sign.  We only have one more week until our gun season opens and that will change it even more.

Haven't seen many ducks around lately but the beavers have done such a good job with their damn and widening out this brook, I'm hoping it will stay open through this recent cold snap and offer up a little hiding spot for some traveling ducks.  Just need to get through gun season before I hunt this area.

Nov 4, 2013

Connecticut Moose Sighting

The little Northeast Connecticut town of Stafford Springs that I live in is the third largest land area town in Connecticut with a population of just over 11,000 people and a wide variety of forested land and one that usually isn't mentioned in the same sentence as a moose, but lately it has. 

Photo published on WFSB.COM
We have had a few moose sightings over the past few years as reported in the July/August issue of Connecticut Wildlife Magazine, but recently we just had another.  This past Wednesday morning just a few hundred yards down the road from where I live a large moose was spotted out in the open farm field shared by some cows.  Of course, I drive the other direction to work and missed out on this wonderful sight and I was not happy about it.

Back in late September  while doing some bowhunting the boys and I came across a few different piles of old moose scat and we figured it was left by the moose that was reported back in May, but actually it may have been left by one of the moose being reported to be around in town this fall.  We had talked about how cool it would to see a moose here in our little neck of the woods and at that time little did we know that we would actually see one in this area.

Moose scat we found in late September

This past Friday we had rain and wind in the am so when it stopped that afternoon the boys decided to take advantage of the damp and quiet forest floor and do a little ins season scouting.  They headed out to the same little section of sate forest land near our house that just happens to be up the road from where were the recent moose sighting occured.  As they were nosing around along the edge of  a swamp they came across a small tree that had what looked like an extremely large deer rub.  It was over 6 foot high and there was no way a deer did this, so they decided it was made by a moose and it most certainly would look so.  They got talking a bit about what they would do if they saw a moose and not 40 yards later my son Brendan spotted something large and black under some dark thick pines and thought it was a bear, but it turned out to be the same cow moose spotted on Wednesday.  They watched her a bit, moved around to get a better look and she must have noticed them because she turned towards them, made some noises and started moving their way.  Obviously they were a little concerned and put a little distance between them and the moose but watched her for a bit before continuing off on their walk about.

Brandon and Brendan with their find

When they arrived home and showed me the picture of the rub and then told me the story about the moose I was so wound up I wanted to jump out of my skin oh and just a little jealous.  I have seen moose in the wild, but never one in my home state.   Well Saturday morning we headed out to the same section of state forest for some bow hunting.  Brandon got setup in one of our ground blinds, not far from where they saw the moose while my son Brendan setup along a swamp and I went on a scouting mission.  It was a great morning as well all saw deer and Brendan almost got a shot at a nice doe and we had considered it a win for sure.  Little did we know it would get even better.

I met up with my son Brendan and we continued my walk about over the back part of the property so we could check for some newer deer sign and as we started off the hill and down into some thick brush we heard the sound of branches cracking.  at first we thought we jumped a deer, but the noise was way to loud and a whole lot slower.  We stopped dead and listened. Once again we could hear loud crunching and branches breaking and then we heard something that sounded like the sounds I heard a moose make and Brendan confirmed it was the same noise the moose made the day before.  We both thought there was no way in heck we were going to see this moose two days in a row.  Well we didn't want to push her around so we sat and watched and listened, but the noise went off the hill and away from us in a very slow and methodical manner without a sighting.  I was excited and a little disappointed but I was sure it was the moose.  We continued on our way to pick up Brandon at his ground blind and never did see the moose but we did jump a deer that went running by Brandon at warp speed.  He was amazed at how fast and how far it was jumping and how quiet it was.

When we got to Brandon we told him what had just heard and he claimed he heard loud noises from that direction earlier as well.  I wanted the boys to take me to the rub they found so I could see it myself so off we went.  As we were working through the thick brush about 200 yards away from where we started we jumped something and my son whispered MOOSE!  Sure enough I caught a glimpse of her through the brush.  I quickly pulled out my video camera and waited to see here again.  It was like she had disappeared and I kept wondering how the heck something that dark and large just blends in.  I decided to sneak up on the hill where she ran and I quickly found her tracks and took about 4 or 5 more steps and heard here moving through the brush but couldn't see her.  All of a sudden I heard loud crunching coming my way but I knew it was her and sure enough a nice whitetail doe came running my way and I was happy to have my camera rolling.  At one point she stopped and turned to look right at me before bounding off and running by the boys.

I didn't want to disturb the moose any more then we had already done, so we backed out of there and took another route to the rub.   I did get to see the rub and it definitely looks like a rub from a very large animal, but you can be the judge and comment on what you think it is.

I do hope Mrs. Moose sticks around so I can take her picture.  Gun season is a few weeks away and we will definitely see more hunting pressure in the woods here and that just might push her away.

November is always a magical time in the deer woods here in New England, but little did we know just how magical it would be for us and being able to share that with the boys makes it even more magical.