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Hunting Hardcore....My Way by Trophy Ridge Prostaffer Dan Schultz
Welcome to my Deer Diary…a blog following me, Trophy Ridge Pro Staffer Dan Shultz, in my hunting antics! Now first off, don’t get all excited thinking you will be following me as I hunt prime whitetail states in search of Booner after Booner, because that isn’t quite happening…although I can dream about it! Nope..Instead, this blog will take a different direction, one I think, and hope, will connect with a majority of readers and Trophy Ridge customers.
About me….well, I am certainly no hunting celebrity, like David Blanton, Dan Perez, or any of the other Trophy Ridge Pros you see on TV…I consider myself to be an average hunter, like a lot of you….with the exception that I have been blessed to be a part of a great company and represent them since 2005. I struggle to fit hunting in with work, family, and other activities…I fight to find and keep hunting properties here in New York….I work to make hunting enjoyable as the world around us makes it so hard to be a hunter. More importantly, I am a father of two, my boy is almost 9, and my daughter is 3…they are without a doubt my absolute world. I have been married to their mother for over 11 years and thank the Good Lord each day for her. We have a small house, a dog that doesn’t listen, and all the associated “stuff” that accompanies the American Dream. Life is good.
Deer hunting here in NY is good but it is tough in certain aspects. We are not known as a “big buck state”, but we have our fair share of bruisers running around. Add to that “enough” properties are practicing some sort of QDM techniques, as we can see the caliber of bucks slowly grow. New York, even southern NY has a lot to offer us hunters.
The single biggest problem in my area is finding and keeping permission to hunt on properties. Bar none. Growing up, my grandfather was a dairy farmer, and from his barnyard, anything we could see, we could hunt, and then some..We would get off the school bus, run to his cabin and throw our Trebark coveralls over our clothes and hit the woods for the evening…It was Heaven! After Gramp retired, the farm was slowly sold off to people who didn’t allow hunting, or who had other people hunting..On November 9, 2003 I shot the biggest buck of my life, a 138 inch ten pointer…364 days later, the last remaining 100 acres was sold..right in the middle of the pre-rut! I was able to hunt 15 acres of woods behind Gramp’s house that year, and connected on a fine eight pointer, but didn’t like that I could see his house from my stand.
The next summer I tried my hardest to find a new spot, but living in the shadow of New York City, a lot of the weekenders that own these properties now don’t want strangers on their land for whatever reason..most commonly the fear of a lawsuit. I did get 2 spots..one of which was Gramp’s 15 acres, the other was my wife’s grandfather’s property in another town nearby..a whopping 29 acres! I was pumped and took a great buck off that land that Fall. He was a four and a half year old FORKHORN..no lie!
As the years went on, I acquired a few more, but much smaller properties in a more suburban setting..I got pretty good hunting these “micro-properties” and enjoyed success, at least enough to keep the fire inside stoked. One deer season I realized that from every stand I had up, I could see a house. Not exactly ideal, but at least I was in the woods. As I soon discovered – small properties are easy to “burn out” and it didn’t take long till deer sightings were almost nil….I knew I had to do something, find somewhere that I could hunt and be alone. Leasing or travelling to outfitters wasn’t, and still isn’t an option…not that I don’t agree with it, but because as always, there are other things we could use the money for. Two years ago, I inquired about permission for a large tract of land owned by an ecosystem research company. I was turned down, but persisted. The wildlife biologist that runs their hunting program offered me a chance to check out a smaller property that they don’t use too often and I jumped at it! He gave me a key to the gate and directions….I felt like I just won the lottery.
In my next blog entry – we will take a tour of the new spot…then the process of deciphering new land begins. Thanks for reading!
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