Hunting season snuck up on me this year! I was spending a lot of time with our move into our new house, and several trips to the states, so I was not as ready for the season as I would have liked to be. "All is well that ends well" is a quote that definitely describes the first 2 weeks of this hunting season:
13 Nov: took a power walk in the woods to check my still five different hunting blinds from last year, cleared the dry leaves and trimmed a few branches, and fortunately saw a lot of fresh tracks. Scouted an area I have been meaning to set my tree stand in, and made a plan to hang it on the 14th.
14 Nov: went with the wife and daughter to hang my stand and realized that there was a major horse riding event on opening day just 150 meters from my stand! Normally I hunt on the weekdays so the horse stable is closed. Looks like no tree stand for opening day!
15 Nov: Opening day came and went with me only getting 2 hours in the afternoon in my blind.
16 Nov: 3:30pm a nice 5 1/2 year old "Ma-Jika" (Original Japanese Sika Deer) made the fatal mistake of strolling across the creek about 40 meters east of my stand. One slow and easy shot stopped him in his tracks! Fresh meat in the freezer!
17 Nov: 4:00pm I spotted a monster Nihon Jika (modern Japanese Sika Deer) about 85 meters west of my stand. With the sun setting behind him I kept losing him in the glare and he appeared to turn around and walk away. About 10 minutes later he reappeared on the top of the slope almost directly across the creek from my stand! I instantly recognized him as one of the two brothers that had eluded me all last season! After a few anxious moments and several false starts toward the creek, he made the mistake of thinking it was all clear...1 carefully placed hydra-shok hollow point ended his journey. Now the hard part began..after field dressing him, and saving the heart in a bag for the BBQ later, I needed to call one of my hunting buddies to drag him up out of the creek bed. I sat in the dark for about an hour before my friend to arrive then we did the double drag up the hill and another 150 meters to the nearest trail my mini kei truck can negotiate. This was a very late night with us not finishing kaitai (butchering) this huge deer and packing the meat for freezing nut it was well worth it! Since I took a high neck shot, not a scrap of meat was wasted! BTW, he will make a nice trophy as soon as I finish my garage!
18 Nov: The family and I traveled to all our neighbors' homes delivering fresh venison to all! Everyone was please with our gift, but I was but I was the happiest seeing all this meet help out so many people!
19 Nov: Another afternoon in the lowest blind along the creek, less than 200 meters below where I took the huge buck 2 days earlier, a huge buck appeared from my blind spot on the left and had already crossed the creek and was on my side! A closer look indicated that he was definitely a shooter about 4 1/2 years old so I loaded a round in the chamber and shouldered my gun. After about 5 minutes of him meandering around behind some thick brush, he started toward the scrub oak stand behind me and stepped into a shooting lane I had cleared 2 years back. Big mistake! He joined his older brother in my freezer. The perfect broadside shot exploded his heart but ruined very little meat, ribs on one side and a small piece of shoulder on the other.
20-28 Nov: 2 dozen hours in the woods and only spotted a dozen deer. Since it is either sex season, any of them could have been shot but I do not want to waste any meat, and am very cautious about killing a doe that may have a fawn with her.
29 Nov: Hunted with the local hunting association for one of 5 group hunts we will have this year. 18 members, 4 missed shots by other hunters, and I closed the day with a single neck shot and put a nice 4 1/2 year old Ma-Jika on the butcher block. After the meat was divided up everyone got a few kilos, that's it.
30 Nov: I thought I had figured out the pattern of a big buck that has been spotted several times in a lower area of our range, between t creek beds. I sat in my stand until sunset and saw absolutely no animals except one crow headed home. I packed my gear and trekked back to my truck. While I was driving home, on a tiny trail about 150 meters from my stand location, a horse jumped in front of my truck and then jumped into the brush! Well, that's my story!!! Actually, it was a huge bodied, heavy racked buck with a super dark coat. He scared the life out of me! I set my mind on it and I will be hunting for him specifically until the last day of the season! It is an obsession!
I'll keep you posted!
See you in the Yama!