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» Trad » Main Forums » PowWow » Critter population management 2017-18 (Season Synopsis) (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Critter population management 2017-18 (Season Synopsis)
Member # 518

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My family and I moved to Georgia the summer of 2016. Of course one of the first things is finding someplace to hunt! Well, found what is actually local piece of Government Property that was open to hunting... But, for the most part it is Game Management to keep their numbers down (and off their runway!).

Well, they have multiple zones to choose from including a "Bow Only" zone. Of course this intrigued me, and I scouted it pretty thoroughly. Not a big piece of property, but thick! After a lot of tree time last year, and a number of critters thinned I think I've figured it out... Kinda... With the relatively high pressure from other hunters I focused on escape routes and had pretty good success once doing so last year.

That's enough background... let's jump to this year! Got in early and put my 2 allowed ladder stands in on the best escape routes I'd found last year. Basically staking my claim to them. One good for a South wind and one good for a North... Well, Hurricane "Irma" had other plans for my "South" tree/tree stand location from last year...


Took three does and a sow hog out of that setup last year... it was a perfect tree too, well concealed, and perfect for South wind... Anyway, can't fight Mother Nature... Removed my tree stand (which was unusable...), ordered another and got it setup in same area... It will work, but not as nice of setup as the first...

Let's get to some hunting!

Sept 26: morning hunt, got in my other stand as the wind was better at that one that day. Was expecting deer as this is what I've seen at this setup last year especially if any other hunters were trouncing through the area... Well before shooting light I could hear a hog grunting/working around literally directly down wind from me, but seems to be getting closer anyway...

As shooting light arrives I can start seeing movement through the trees and brush as he is no where near my shooting lanes but 15 - 25 yards away in the thick stuff with me trying to get a clear shot at him... Finally, he stepped into a little clear spot with his vitals silhouetted by trees/brush at 20 yd, I was at full draw and let it go when he did... Seen a flash of the arrow on the way and heard the hit, he took a quick 3-4 steps and stood there for about 5 seconds... then bolted into the thick stuff...

Pretty sure I'd heard him crash not to far into the scrub, but literally 20 min before sunrise... so I hunted for the next 2 hours without seeing anything else... Temps were rising and I needed to make sure what I thought happened did... Got down and found my arrow sticking in the dirt with a nice crimson coat of blood on it... Short 20 yd track job from there and this is how I found him...


That is the entrance and the exit is about 4" lower and 2" forward. Unfortunately this is the only photo I have of him, got caught up in getting him out of there and to the processor... 125# Boar shot with a bow I finally got Terry to sell to me last Summer... 60" Thunderstick MOAB 83# at my draw, 250 gr VPA 1 1/4" Terminator on a weighted Gold Tip. Fitting first critter for Terry's old MOAB, and it has been "Blooded" proper!

Oct 5: morning hunt, best stand for wind, pretty quiet till 9:00 when I heard a familiar sound faintly behind me... Again, opposite direction I expect anything to be coming from, but I can see glimpses of movement through the scrub. Made out that it was a small Buck, but with the theme of the hunt to decrease the numbers it's game on!

He was working from my right to left and cut my scent trail (Scent control is a given, but I'd also layed down a scent trail of Buck Bomb Ambush (Not affiliated at all, I have just had good luck calming the deer here...) on my way in... On my boots and sporadic sprays including my shooting lanes), and started walking right down the trail to me... He finally walked into my first shooting lane sniffing all the way... Slight quartering away shot at 20 yds and you can see the entrance and the exit is low and tight at the elbow on the other side and the arrow stuck in a tree about 1/2 way up the broadhead. He went about 50 yards and piled up, seen him go down.

56" Black Widow PCH II 69# at my draw, 250 gr VPA 1 1/4" Terminator on a weighted Gold Tip.



So far there hasn't been nearly the hunting pressure there was last year, thus the weird scenarios that have unfolded so far... Almost makes me want to swap stands for the wind as even with the wrong wind, or at least perceived wrong wind, the animals are still coming through it... Thus coming into the area rather then escaping from it... Time will tell, and I'll update as the season unfolds.

Oct 22: Was in the stand Saturday evening, and little after 5:00 I hear something coming my way directly towards me on the escape trail I’m watching...

I get ready, and see movement through the scrub and it’s black... Then seen another bigger black critter about 15 yds behind the first... Figuring it was a group of hogs I stood and prepared for a shot...

But, when the first one moved into my first shooting lane it wasn’t a hog! It was a 100# or so Black Bear! So I just watched as it moved down the trail... the second one got to the first shooting lane and it was about a 200# Black Bear!

Well, Black Bears are not on the “Critter” list to be taken out (season isn’t open now anyway) so they were safe from me. Just watched them walk the trail and pass on by at 10 yards at their closest... I was told at the Safety Briefing that there were Bears around, especially in the Bow Zone, but those were the first two I’ve seen while hunting this area... Figure it was a Sow and a year old cub given they were traveling together...

Pretty neat to see, but also wish they weren’t hanging around the area at the same time...

Nov 5: Been some rough hunting... Very few critters seen while on stand, and haven’t loosed an arrow with purpose in quite a while... But, that changed today...

No wind this morning, foggy, 59 degrees when I got into the stand. The woods came to life without incident, but about 10:45 I heard movement near my second shooting lane, and it sounded big! Replaced my arrow with the Big Jim Big-3 on the end for a 300 gr VPA Penetrator 1 1/4”...

Then like clockwork it cleared into my shooting lane at 18 yds, I hit anchor and the arrow was on the way! Hit looked good, but the arrow stayed in it... I could hear brush rustling for about 8 - 10 seconds then all went silent...

71# Thunderstick MOAB, weighted Goldtip with the a-for-mentioned 300 gr VPA Penetrator... I’ve never had an arrow stay in a critter with the Big-3, but with the shields on some of them big Hogs I always carry an arrow with the 2-blade Penetrator for the extra penetration... Was a little worried about the arrow still in it...

Gave it the allotted time and got down and took up the trail. Thankfully it was very short, and another critter down!

Here’s the pics...





I think the ground slowed the arrow down to make it stay in her... [Big Grin]

I also use the Penetrator as a Squirrel/practice arrow... The thing is like a wood splitting wedge! Tough as nails, and sharpens back easily...

Sorry for the hoax, but haven’t had a big game critter opportunity to share... I’ll keep at it, and keep y’all in the loop...

11/14: Went out of town again for about a week for Continuing Education, and visit our oldest daughter at Oklahoma State... But got out this AM, low 40’s very slight wind from the North... Got into stand about an hour before sunrise. The woods came to life without incident and nothing seen but squirrels...

As you now know, I’m not above shooting a squirrel if the timing is right... I hunted until 10:30, didn’t see anything but the a for mentioned squirrels... Was getting ready to get down for the morning and I didn’t have a practice/squirrel arrow with this bow so I wasn’t going to take a practice shot today... But...

Had the bow tied up and ready to lower when I seen a squirrel heading directly at me. Untied the bow and grabbed an arrow out of the quiver and got it on the string without spooking the squirrel. It was basically under my stand now, so I slowly stood and was able to get turned around to get a shot as it was going away at maybe 8-10 yds actually quartering to... Arrow went where I was looking, directly into the shoulder and almost functionally eviscerated it right there...





Black Widow 58”, PSA III, 74#, 250 gr VPA Terminator 1 1/4” on the end of a weighted Gold Tip.

Little side note to this story... A friend and I had a “discussion” after I bought that MOAB from T last Summer... The crux of the conversation was he couldn’t understand why I need/have that many Bows... He has one “Bow”, well Crossbow... Technically I don’t “need” that many Bows, and told him I have that many because I can make meat with any of them... He didn’t believe that I could, so I’m switching Bows after each harvest... A little out of my normal season, and a little more shooting then I normally do in season, which isn’t a bad thing I guess...

Right now I’ve got 7 Bows, and an extra set of limbs for one of them. Next is my last MOAB... Stay tuned, hopefully I’ll start seeing some Big Game rather then continuing the squirrel carnage...

11/25: Went out this morning, 36 degrees with no wind... Got into the stand about an hour before sunrise. On the way in I could hear critters moving about, sounded like chasing... Got into the stand without spooking them out...

Got to actual shooting light and I was able to start seeing glimpses of forms through the scrub, and it appeared to be a buck chasing a doe... Now I have to make sure he has at least 4 points of 1” or more on one side to make him legal for me to shoot, and if he doesn’t have the goods I’d like to get a shot at the doe, in the essence of the hunt, decrease the critter numbers...

Well, this got put to the test of my eyesight pretty quick! She came right down the trail I was watching, and it was difficult to see for sure she was even a doe. But, at maybe 8 yds under my stand I could see that she was for sure a doe. With her perfectly broadside at 8 yds I can see/hear him coming and make out he is a small “rack” buck so I roll the dice and wait for him to come in... Another 20 yards closer I could make out his right side and I’m only seeing 3 points with the browtine...

Now, I’m straining hard to make out the left side and when he got to about where the doe was less than a minute ago I can see he has 4 points on that side! Now I realize the actual position I’m in with a shot opportunity presented. I’m standing, but so scrunched over from straining to see what I needed to see that I need to make a lot of movement with the buck literally in spitting distance...

Luckily the low light conditions work both ways... And he was distracted by where his girlfriend went... I was able to stand and get into proper position as he continued by... A small mouth grunt stopped him at 15 yards broadside and the arrow was away... Didn’t see the arrow at all, but heard the hit and seen his high hind leg kick and watched him run back the way he came in... Then everything went silent for about 10 seconds, then I heard what sounded like a crash with a few short kicks from that same direction...

Nocked another arrow, sat down, and checked the time... 6:58... Actual sunrise is at 7:13 today, so you get the full idea of the light conditions I was dealing with... Now, I’m pretty sure he is down about 50 - 75 yards to my left and behind me, but I’m planning on continuing my hunt in case a doe wonders by and give him the requisite time to expire if he hasn’t already...

About 8:30 I hear footfalls coming directly at me, and I make out it is a Coyote coming through the scrub. Normally I would be the first in line to let the air out of a song dog, but they are not on the legal shooting list on this property... So, I proceed to scare him off as he was literally heading right to my deer... so I pack up my stuff and get down from the stand and check out the situation...

Nice crimson coated arrow sticking in the dirt, and a fantastic blood trail that started right at the shot sight. Leisurely walk following a 3 foot wide bloodtrail for about 60 yds to my buck.


That’s the exit hole, and the entrance is about 8” directly above it on the other side... 60” Thunderstick MOAB 68# with a Big Jim Big-3 on a weighted Gold Tip. This is the biggest buck I’ve seen within the hunting zone since I started hunting it last year... Now I’m Doe/Hog/Squirrel hunting... [Big Grin]

Dec 17: Been some rough hunting still... For the most part I’ve had the Bow Zone to myself, but this morning there were three other hunters out there I seen... This benefits me and my stand sights, but can’t rely on this type of “pressure” to be consistent...

Did have a “Button Buck” come through yesterday and even with the true meaning of this hunt I couldn’t bring myself to drop the string on him... He would have counted as a doe on my license, but he was young and dumb... Only reason he gave me every opportunity to do so... With the true meaning of this hunt I should have taken him, but my own hunting roots just didn’t allow me to...

We recently found out we will be moving next Summer again... Which we really already knew was going to happen... So the next few weeks will be it for my “Resident” deer hunting... I’ll stay after it, and keep you all informed as to how the season ends up...

Feb 1: Well, deer season has come to an end with no other opportunities... Hunted 4 - 5 days a week through Jan 14...

Talked with the guy who oversees the hunting on the base, and the total number of big game animals taken in the Bow Only Zone was 5, with 18 different hunters hunting it throughout the season. The 2 bucks and hog I took, 1 doe, and another hog by two other separate hunters. One with a compound and the other with a crossbow... Can’t remember who he said took what, but doesn’t really matter...

Took my stands down right after the season, which is always bittersweet... Reminiscing in my mind with all encounters from this year and last at both sights... Even more so, as we will be moving and I will probably never hunt those locals again...

Anyway, thanks for following along, it was a fun season hope you enjoyed it...

"Bowhunting isn't a hobby or a sport... It's a way of life!"

Quote: "Everything you read on the internet is the truth." -Abraham Lincoln

>>>-TGMM Family of the Bow--->

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J. Cook
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Good start!!!!!!

"Huntin', fishin', and lovin' every day!"

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Contributor 2017
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Heck of a start!

Thanks for sharing and congrats!

Never wait too long!

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Sam McMichael
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Jeff, I live in Jones county, and there is a lot of public land available in the Oconee National Forest which lies in several counties. It has been quite a while since I concentrated on public land, but I do know you can find some uncrowded places, especially since you don't mind getting into the thick stuff. Archery season doesn't seem to attract near as many pickup trucks to the roadside as gun season does, so some degree of isolation is possible.


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Great stuff, awesome write-up

"The Push - A Traditional Archery Film"


Podcast - "The Push - A Traditional Archery Podcast" iTunes Podbean Stitcher

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Contributor 2018
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Well Done [clapper] [clapper]

The Lord Is My Provider......

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Danny Rowan
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Good shooting Jeff. Did not realize you were in Gawja now.

"When shooting instinctivly,it matters not which eye is dominant"

Jay Kidwell and Glenn St. Charles

TGMM Family Of The Bow
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Retired CPO US Navy 1972-1993
Retired USCBP Supervisory Officer 1999-2017

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Try to be the person your dog thinks you are :0)
TGMM Family of the Bow
N.Y. Bowhunters member
BigJim 3 pc buffalo 48@28
BigJim thunderchild 55@31
BigJim thunderchild 55@32 Jim's bow

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Nice shooting....



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Nice job!

Aim small...Miss small!!

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Possum Head
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Looks like you gotem figured out. Hunt that leaning stand and you wont have to cant yur bow! Keep up the good work and keep us posted.
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Charlie Lamb
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Sweet! Give us more.

Hunt Sharp


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Well Done!

Proud Dad to two awesome Kids and a very passionate pig hunter.

Right handed but left eye dominant.

Proud to be a Native TEXAN!!!!!

"TGMM Family of the Bow"

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Awesome start to your season. Filling the freezer pretty quickly.
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