Opening Weekend: Archery, and More Public Land Silliness

The view from sitting in a tree opening day.

The view from sitting in a tree opening day.

There isn’t really a whole lot to report from opening weekend. We made it out both evenings. Saturday, there were more tractors and trucks out there, picking up the mowed clover. We also saw a guy walking in carrying a rifle- the area around Madison is shotgun only, and it’s only bow season. Not clear on what he was hunting. Matt took his climbing stand one way, I went another. I ended up sitting up in the tree where we placed one of our trailcams. It hadn’t captured anything, but I’d seen deer here a couple times. I saw another bow hunter walking in, and warned him about the guy with the rifle, and told him Matt’s location. Other than that, all I saw or heard was a little chipmunk, some bees, and a buck just across the nearby property line snorting at me. He would have been downwind of me, on the Christmas tree farm on the other side of the fence. We’ve seen them flee over there a number of times. By sundown, my butt was pretty sore.

Matt was the only one of us who saw deer that afternoon. He saw three does, all about 60 yards out, just out of his range. When I was walking out that night, I would see some eyes reflecting my flashlight. They were at the top of the hill I’d end up sitting on the next day.

Sunday, we got out a bit earlier in the afternoon. It was another fairly uneventful day. Matt kept to the same field, opting to sit in a popup blind. I took the ground on top of that hill, behind that portable blind I favor.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

It had been raining all day long. On the walk back, I scared out turkeys (this seems to be a trend). If I’d had my bow ready, I might have had a chance to fill my tag. But I didn’t. We were out more than 45 minutes when we began to see other people. Kind of a lot of them, actually. I first saw another hunter wearing a white ballcap. With a rifle. He tromped back and forth down the cut line for the power lines you can see in the second photo. I saw him walk in front of me three times, during prime shooting hours. Matt and I would both hear gun shots alarmingly close to my location. To his practiced ear, they sounded like a .22 and a .410. I only knew they were smaller guns. After the genius with the white ballcap tromped back past me the third time, Matt told me he saw a pair of hikers on the access road. Not long after, they walked across the bottom of my hill, about 300 yards away.

I saw the one deer between the two of us yesterday. At the bottom of the hill, not too long after the hikers passed, I saw movement in a break in that line of pine trees you can see just right of center in the first photo above. Definitely a deer, and definitely a very large one. Without binoculars, I couldn’t see far enough to definitely say it was a buck. Eventually, it wandered off as well, and the rest of the evening passed uneventfully, except for hearing coyotes howling.

I have tonight off from the golf course. After I make a grocery run and pick up the house a bit, I want to make it out there, and sit in those pines. I’d like to also put a camera up in there. Who knows. Maybe I’ll have a little luck.

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8 thoughts on “Opening Weekend: Archery, and More Public Land Silliness

  1. Stay with it. The best buck I ever shot, came 20 minutes after my neighbors quit cutting firewood with a chainsaw. I was watching them from my stand the whole time. They left, and out came the buck. All the yahoos out running around may send a good one your direction.

    • Yeah, these deer are definitely used to a ruckus. Farms on three sides chainsaws at the Christmas tree farm. Yahoos running around all the time, plus haying in the summer. And the land is on a local highway (US 14 heading west to Spring Green and House On The Rock). I just wish other hunters were more courteous. The one other bowhunter we saw was, everyone else was jerks.

  2. Here I am being thick again, but isn’t there anyone you can report the men with the guns too?

    We don’t have anything like this in the UK, most hunting is done on private land, unless its poachers of course 😀

    • No, it’s ok 😛 We’ve mostly just grumbled so far, but if it goes beyond this week I was going to call. If I had to guess, I could probably contact the Department of Natural Resources. At most, they’d probably start sending out more rangers. I heard yet more rifle shots last night (probably another small one like the .22, and a much larger one which caliber I can’t identify by sound). It wouldn’t be a bad idea, there are houses close by and they’re scaring the deer away, dammit.

    • Though, researching right now, it looks like it’s shotgun-only for just gun-deer season. They can hunt squirrels with whatever they like, and shoot coyotes and other “varmints” with rifles up until gun season. Hm. That sucks :/ we didn’t see nearly as many guys last year.

  3. Pingback: Buck Fever | Play Outdoors

  4. As me2013 said, we also do all our hunting on private land here in South Africa. An unknown guy walking around with a gun and a white baseball cap would be a brave man indeed 😉 I admire your guys’s spirit to head out there, with that kind of competition. On the one hand its great because all you need is a tag and a bow ( or shotgun) and off you go. No phone calls to farmers, no paying up at the end of the hunt, but on the other hand, you have to not only compete with very elusive hunter wary deer, but also other hunters. Good on you! Hope the season pans out great for you two!

    • Thank you! Many people here still opt for private land- owning their own, or asking people. Matt and I had to ask some farmers to hunt their fields for Canada geese once the corn gets cut. Our going payment right now is either goose meat, or I promise them baked goods. However, in lieu of knowing people or owning land ourselves, public land is an excellent option, even with the hang ups.

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