Posts Tagged ‘whitetail deer’

I see bucks, at least four different ones, though these photos are the only two I could get on camera. (Keep in mind, I’m using a ten year old Fuji FinePix that isn’t even 8 megapixel.) And I can only shoot hogs on this property. *sigh*

For 2016 – the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is instituting a game check system: all turkey and deer MUST be entered on your harvest record and checked through the Game Check system within 72 hours.

 

I also see two new Wildlife Management Areas and a new Outdoors Georgia app.

The new WMA’s are Altama Plantation, “The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently announced the opening of a 3,986-acre tract in Glynn County along I-95 and the Altamaha River, known as Altama Plantation WMA.” (GON.com, Jan 7 2016 )and Buck Shoals WMA. (The only ‘good’ information on Buck Shoals that I can find is above in the PDF.)

 

 

Yeah, no. Just no.  The wife and I took a drive up to John’s Mountain yesterday, specifically past the shooting range, which was packed as usual, and drove up through that section.  The WMA road at that point hits a ‘T’ intersection that dead ends in both directions, but Danny and I drove it in January and spotted some decent deer sign at the time, so I wanted to peek around during the summer.

It rained off and on yesterday in that part of Georgia, which simply turned it into a sauna. When I did get out of the truck, it was like having five layers of steamed wool blankets dropped on my head.  Between the heat, and the dense foliage, all we managed to see was some deer at Berry College as we drove by, and my favorite tree.

Johns_mountain_troll_tree

My hat is off to folks who can scout when it’s 95′ with over 60% humidity.  I can do it, but without a specific goal in mind, such as ‘I know a piece of property very well, I just need to check traffic patterns, or a trail camera, at THIS spot,’ I’m not going to randomly wander about and sweat without a reason.

Hopefully, we’ll get a few cooler days in the weeks ahead, where I can get into out into the woods without doing a Frosty impersonation.

(Sorry I’ve been absent lately, much to do and little time to do it in.)

It’s that time of year again: time to put in for quota hunts or add to your preference points!

GeorgiaDNR

Click to go to the Georgia DNR Quota Hunt page

Remember – if you just want to build preference points, select a quota hunt, but don’t select a hunt choice – the system will automatically add a preference point to your account after the close of open registration.

A few months ago, I sold my Savage M110 30-06 to somebody who loves building rifles, he wanted a long-action Savage receiver to start a new project, and I wanted a .308.  After reading dozens of reviews and customer comments on various models of rifle, I decided to take a chance on the new Mossberg Patriot .308.

Being something of a geek, I just HAD to get it in Kryptek Highlander Camo, because I very rarely buy a new rifle, and this one was going to be my go-to big game gun for deer, bear and boar for a long time.

Kryptec

Whenever I think about new firearms, I check prices using the Gun Genie at Gallery of Guns, it’s fast, and has inventory levels so I can really see if something is in stock or not without calling fifteen places. It’s also nice that when you purchase a firearm using this service, it’s shipped to the store you picked off of the list, where you finish paying for the firearm and fill out the BATF paperwork just like any other firearm purchase.

Of course, I’m a Gables Sporting Goods staff shooter, so last year when I noticed that Gables wasn’t showing up on a search for my zip code, I asked at the shop, and they called Davidsons and figured out what the problem was, so when it was time to order my Mossberg, that’s the shop I chose to ship to.  Ordering was fairly easy, though the shopping cart system could be improved a bit on the Gallery page, and my shipment arrived in about a week. (I ordered a Taurus PT111 G2 9mm as well, and I have to say, for an economy compact 9mm, it’s very accurate and reliable so far.)

After the rifle arrived, I unpacked it at the shop and the nice folks there mounted my Zeiss Conquest 3-9 x 50mm scope on the rifle. A few people snickered, but I’d rather have a six hundred dollar scope on a three hundred dollar rifle than the other way around.  Because you can have a two THOUSAND dollar rifle, but if you can’t see what your shooting at, you aren’t going to shoot very well.

The one issue I had with the rifle out of the box was the camouflage.  It didn’t look very good, almost like it was dipped/applied by somebody who hadn’t had a good day. I called Mossberg and explained that while I know this is a budget rifle, I paid a bit extra for the Kryptek camouflage, and wanted to know if what I got was normal. They emailed me a prepaid FedEx label and said ‘ship it back, we’ll take care of it.’  And they did, too, about two weeks later I got the rifle back, and they must have searched for the best looking stock they had in the warehouse, because it couldn’t be any better looking.

At that point, with the holidays around the corner, I mounted the scope back on the rifle and stuck it in the safe for a month and a half. Yesterday, we tried to take it to Johns Mountain, but the range was packed, so we skedaddled.

Today, I ran up to Buford, GA, to the Georgia Gun Club.  I’ve never been there before, but they have a 100 yard indoor rifle range, so I thought I’d head that way and sight in the .308 and my .243.

Georgia_gun_club

Now, I’ve been to indoor rifle ranges in several states, but I’ve never been in one as nice as this. I was somewhat expecting an old warehouse that had been re-purposed as a range. I was in one like that in Ohio once that was so run down and  gnarly, I’m surprised there wasn’t a secret password to get in the door. *Psssst! Swordfish!*

Georgia_gun_club_insideThis was a VERY nice building, with plenty of parking.  The interior was very clean and open, with room to walk around and a nice lounge area for people waiting on a lane to open up. The web site had mentioned that waiting on lanes was normal, so I took my tablet with me, since that’s my portable patience generator, and signed in.  The process is simple for a first-time customer. You fill out a waiver with general safety and legal statements (not unusual, you have to do that at archery shoots anymore once per year as well), then watch a National Shooting Sports Foundation seven or eight minute long Range Safety video and initial that you’ve watched it, and then you wait.


I wish I took more photos – I forgot my camera, and once you’re in the range, you are on the clock for however many hours you purchased, and I wasn’t thinking about writing this post, I wanted to get the rifles sighted in.  The range was good – easy to use electronic target controls, range master in the room with you. The only thing I could complain about is my own fault – I took two rifle cases and my range bag, so navigating all of the doors was hectic, since I had zero hands to use getting through the place.

The staff were fantastic.  I will be going back, soon, even though it’s about an hour and fifteen minutes from the house.

The rifles I had with me were the Mossberg Patriot .308, and a Winchester Model 70 Ultimate Shadow Extreme Weather .243.  I love the Winchester, though I wish it was in 7mm-08 (I got it in a trade), and was curious to see how the Mossberg stacked up against a firearm that is almost three times more expensive.

lba

Image Property of Shooting Illustrated

The Mossberg kicked butt.  The trigger is CRISP. As in ‘activate the Lightning Bolt Action, and start to put pressure on the trigger BOOM’ crisp.  For folks familiar with the Savage Accu-Trigger, the Lightning Bolt Action is similar – a light metal safety in the center of the actual trigger, the rifle cannot fire until the LBA is depressed first.  After nine shots with the Mossberg, I felt like I had to work to get the Winchester to fire, where before, I thought the Winchester had the best trigger of all of my long guns.

I shot Federal Fusion 150 grain, Hornady American Whitetail 165 grain, and Winchester Hog Special 150 grain ammunition out of the Mossberg. I find it interesting that I can’t find a link to the Hog Special ammunition on Winchester’s web site, making me wonder if they still make it.  I fired three rounds of each, with a few minutes between groups to let the barrel cool down, and honestly, the Winchester group was small enough at 25 yards for me to cover with a single target cover dot – but I’m NOT a professional shooter when it comes to rifles, and as far as I can tell, that could have been because I shot the Winchester ammunition last and had finally gotten used to the rifle.

I finally moved the target to 100 yards and adjusted the sights – the Hog ammunition was about an inch high with a nice group – the Fusion ammunition was about three inches high (higher listed velocity), so I readjusted for the Fusion ammunition and shot a great group, wrapping up my sight in for the day.

I can’t wait to go back to Georgia Gun Club – if I lived half an hour closer, I’d buy a membership in a heartbeat.

I saw this while browsing Twitter today, and it’s great information for anyone with a plot of woods they want to develop into better habitat.

QDMA_twitter

Well, following the link leads to a fact-sheet from Clemson University Cooperative Extension, and it’s something I’ll be printing out and adding to my collection. The link leads to the following paper (Click the title to go directly to the paper.)

White-tailed Deer Biology and Management

Greg Yarrow, Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Fact Sheet 34: Revised May 2009

The part referenced in the QDMA twitter post above starts with this paragraph:

Forest Management

Pure stands of unmanaged pine timber generally provide poor deer habitat because of the low quality forage and the scarcity of mast-producing hardwoods (e.g. oaks and other fruit-producing trees). Dense stands and closed canopies reduce browse and fruit yields. Management efforts in this forest type should be directed toward increasing browse production. Intermediate thinning of pine stands is recommended to open the overstory and encourage desirable understory vegetation. Thinning should be sufficient to achieve a basal area of 50 to 60 square feet per acre prior to stand regeneration.

This is seriously good information, I’d recommend anyone who is interested in improving their property for whitetail habitat take a few minutes and read the whole thing.

 

From Whitetail Properties

dan_and_skull.26.36_am__large

There are lots of news articles and state agency reports coming out about declining deer populations and harvest rates in several states. Some of these declines are reported in powerhouse deer hunting states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and more.

While your hunting skills and luck play a major role in harvesting big bucks, neither will bring back your deer herd to record levels. Simple math and science can speed up the recovery and here’s how you do it.

The 100-acre Example
Let’s say you hunt on 100 acres. And let’s say 20 deer live on your land. Each year on average, you harvest 4 deer. Now you’re at 16. Predators, weather, vehicle accidents, natural causes, etc. average another 5 mortalities. Now you’re at 11 deer. Let’s say 5 of those 11 are bucks and the other 6 are does. When fawning season comes, let’s say 5 of those 6 does have twin fawns – the other doe has no fawn.

5 does + 10 fawns + 1 doe + 5 bucks means you’re back to 21 deer. Near your average.

The scenario above is your average year. It’s not the exact same every year, but it’s close. You are happy with the 4 deer you kill each year and things are going great.

Now, let’s introduce EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease) to your deer like we saw in widespread, record-setting levels in 2012 and even again in 2013 in some areas.

2012
As usual, you have 20 deer. Like always, you kill 4 and the other factors kill 5. Business as usual. But now, EHD kills FIVE MORE deer including your two mature bucks. Instead of 11 total deer like above, you only have 6 total deer heading into fawning season and 4 are does. They each have twins. Now your property has only 14 deer.

4 does + 8 fawns + 2 bucks = 14 deer

2013
With just 14 deer, you enter the season with about 30% less than your normal deer population. You see fewer deer, have fewer opportunities to harvest deer and you don’t see a mature buck all year. Not knowing any better, you still kill 4 deer, like usual. Coyotes haven’t gone anywhere. Natural causes deaths haven’t gone anywhere. As usual, predators and natural causes kill 5 deer. Plus, EHD happened AGAIN in 2013. Let’s say EHD (not as bad as 2012) gets 2 deer. You started with 14. You killed 4. Predators and natural causes got 5. EHD got 2.

Do the math. You have 3 deer left on your property that usually supports 20.

This sounds awful right? Amazingly, there are hunters facing situations like the one above. There’s good news and bad news.

Good News
White-tailed deer are some of the most resilient creatures in the world. In just a year or two, they have the ability to reproduce quickly. Remember, most does have twin fawns. So deer can repopulate about twice as fast as humans. The other good news is that EHD is a disease that happens in pockets. Your hunting property may have taken a beating, but your neighbors down the road might not even have had a single deer die of EHD. So just because things are bleak on your 100 acres, doesn’t mean your county or region is nearly as bad. And we all know by habitat improvement, you can attract deer from surrounding areas. We’ve been dealing with EHD for years and deer will continue to bounce back as random outbreaks occur.

Read the rest of the article at Whitetail Properties

From Georgia Outdoor News
Hunters may need to check the calendar before pulling the trigger. Proposed regs include more buck-only days, including opening week of gun season for many counties.
By Daryl Kirby
Posted Wednesday April 29 2015, 4:29 PM

When it comes to setting hunting regulations, it’s quite impossible to please everyone. Based on reaction to proposed changes to next year’s Georgia deer season, quite a few groups are far from pleased.

Click on the map to go to the original article

Click on the map to go to the original article

Small-game hunters aren’t happy that the Northern Zone deer season would now stay open until the second Sunday of January. Meanwhile, Southern Zone deer hunters aren’t pleased their deer season would now close as early as Jan. 8 some calendar years. And even some Northern Zone deer hunters, who got their desired “one statewide deer season for the entire state,” are now hiccuping at a proposal to limit the either-sex days.

If the proposed regs pass, there will no longer be Northern and Southern deer zones—except in defining where baiting for deer is illegal. All deer hunters would be able to hunt deer until the second Sunday in January—Jan. 10 next season. However, in much of the old Northern Zone counties, it will be buck-only after Jan. 1.

Except for in the Upper Coastal Plain counties, in a few Piedmont counties in west Georgia and in suburban counties, antlerless deer also won’t be legal the first week of gun season. In the heart of the Piedmont region, it will be buck-only the first two weeks of gun season. It’s been a while since deer hunters have had to plan a special “meat trip” to the hunting club to hit the open doe days.

The proposed doe days won’t be finalized until a DNR Board of Natural Resources meeting May 20 at Middle Georgia College in Macon.

Read more at Georgia Outdoor News

Sorry for the delay, I’ve been trying to retrieve the photographs from my camera, which was accidentally sacrificed in the line of duty during my week at Joe Kurz this November.

We (Clay, Kevin the Elder, Kevin the Younger, Jesus, and a whole bunch o’ other folks) had a great time, though we actually didn’t see many deer this year.  We found some good sign, not great, but decent, and Clay did harvest a deer at the end of the week, but after the firearm quota hunt, the deer were definately moving more at night.

Sadly, with the demise of my camera on day three, I have very few photos to share compared to a normal, week long trip, but here they are.

We had a great time, hanging out with Jesus (hunting buddy we met last year at camp) and a bunch of other folks, but only Clay and Jesus managed to get any action: The deer I saw driving in on Saturday in somebody’s front yard, and some deer at dusk that night as Jesus and I drove around looking for critters, were almost the only deer I saw the entire week.   I did see a deer Sunday evening when I was in the stand – I managed to draw my bow three times on a small doe, and just couldn’t get a good, clear shot.

It was cold again this year mid-week, very cold in fact, though not into the teens like last year.  My Zippo Outdoor 4-in-1 came in very handy, since Kevin (Clay’s step-son) loves cutting up firewood. I brought a chainsaw, and we never had to use it, Kevin just used the saw feature on the Zippo axe and we were all set for a bonfire every night.

One thing is for sure, if you love to hunt coyotes, you need to head to Joe Kurz WMA and take some out, they are all over the place. I don’t think I saw a single patch of dirt that didn’t have a paw print in it the whole week.

Well, I’m packing my gear and heading to Joe Kurz for the final week of bowhunting at that wildlife management area for the year.  I really wish the bowhunting week was BEFORE the six days (two three day quota hunts) of rifle season, last year the deer still had that “OMG! They’re SHOOTING AT US!” look and behavior during this week. But it’s a week of camping with friends and climbing trees in search of venison, and I’ll take it.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES