It's been a while since I've posted a blog. Since February 9th to be exact. I've been tied up with some personal things that have kept me busy and just haven't had time to focus on writing. Nothing tragic has resulted. My kids and wife are healthy, which is the most important. Just life has been happening, and sometimes life can be distracting from the routines we have established. I'll work to get back in the groove. Given the lag, this one is pretty long so I appreciate your patience.
It's been a while since I thanked all of you who take the time and follow this blog and the web site. When I started doing this, it was to learn how to develop and manage a web site. I had no idea it would evolve into a means of me documenting the property improvements and the constant quest to harvest mature whitetails. Through the last couple of weeks I have learned this site has developed a following. The reality is the following is small, but nonetheless a following.
A fifteen year old boy has made it clear to my oldest daughter and wife that my delay in writing a blog is not acceptable. One of the local boys has been asking why I haven't written and when am I going to get back to work? I guess I'm surprised that a teenage boy in this day and age of electronics and all activities kids perform would take the time to read what I have to say. I know this kid well and he is very active in school and sports, running cross country and track with my daughter, and playing J.V. basketball. This also points to the fact that deer hunting and the passion many of us have for it may have a future long term, especially if a 15 year old boy is trying to learn as much as possible to be a successful hunter by reading my site. So thanks to everyone who reads this blog. Thanks C.B. and GO ROX!
It's been a while since I talked about the field day scheduled for March 8th. Plans are coming together and we have just over 30 people registered and planning on attending. When I posted the initial invitation on the QDMA Forum, I had no idea we would have people wanting to travel long distances just to walk the property. We have individuals signed up from Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, and all over Indiana. It should be a good time. The weather doesn't look bad at this point, but that will depend on how much snow we get this weekend and Monday. Hopefully no snow shoes are required.
It's been a while since I found a decent shed on the property. In fact, the largest shed we have ever found was off a 2.5 year old. Our bucks hold onto sheds very late each year. I always hear this is a good sign of a healthy herd with adequate forage. I'll take that, but as of Feb. 23rd the camera photos only had two 1.5 year old bucks with just one side missing. As a result, the hunting we did last Sunday produced nothing. Hopefully we find some this weekend, if indeed the bucks did drop a few.
It's been a while since the kids and I have spent a solid day at the property. Last weekend, we spent 8 hours working and playing out there. When you have kids ages 8 - 16 sometimes it is tough to keep them occupied and not fighting as siblings often do. This past weekend was awesome. The kids had fun, we cleaned up things in preparation for the property walk, and I was thrilled to simply enjoy spending time with them. A couple of my girls also learned an important skill....how to pee in the woods. See the photo below of the kids at the new staging area.
It's been a while since we made some major changes to the property. Jim Ward spent February 18th at the property focusing on making a new staging area on the SW Corner of the property. See the slide show below that shows how this came together. I am thrilled with the results and believe deer will be using this next fall to socialize and possibly give me a shot at a booner. The stumps you see are primarily because of the heavy snow on the ground prior to the melt, making it difficult to cut flush to the ground. I took the series of photos standing in the middle of the staging area. You can see that Jim made brush piles to help funnel the deer as necessary toward our bedding areas on top of the ridge illustrated in the 1st through 3rd photos. The screen along the west side in the first photo will help make the deer feel secure in this area given there is an open field along the west edge of the property. The idea behind this staging area is to have an "on and off ramp" for deer traveling through the long valley that runs south to north along the west side of our property. We want to draw deer into this area.
In addition, Jim worked on the north side of the property enhancing some natural beds at some of the points and also creating some good screening cover. The cover should improve the use of the connecting trails between the north staging area and the bedding. I'm kicking myself now for not taking pictures as one of the beds is on a point and turned out fantastic. He cut the trees making it secluded for the buck, but still providing enough vision for the buck to see down into the valley in front of the bed. I believe this bed will produce well given the location, terrain features, and the amount of doe travel on the adjacent connecting trail. We will be highlighting these areas during the property walk March 8th.
It's been a while since I've been to a deer expo. Last weekend Luke and I went to the Indiana Deer & Turkey Expo in Indianapolis. You can see in the photo below Luke standing next to the full mount of a large buck Jim Ward has taken. We ran into several people we knew and had a chance to see Jim speak on "Setting The Trap For Mature Whitetails". I always enjoy listening to Jim speak and learned a few things he had been keeping a secret from me. Jim has developed a schedule over the next few months to working in various states. If you are interested in scheduling consults or property work with Jim, click on the following link to see when he will be working in your state. http://www.jimwardwhitetailacademy.com/jims-schedule.html
It's been a while since I have seen a 300" deer. At the expo last weekend, the "Beck Buck" was proudly displayed on the Hoosier Hall of Fame. As you can see in the picture below, this was a monster. He scored 305 7/8 and is now the new shotgun world record, according to the posting. I'm guessing there will be a run on hunting property in Huntington County, IN. It's probably been a while since that has happened.
Andy Hayes is a devoted husband and father of 4 kids living in West Central Indiana. Outside of his family, his passion is hunting whitetails. He does not claim to be a professional hunter, but simply wants to share what he learns during his quest to improve whitetail habitat and hunt mature bucks.