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Hunting Hardcore....My Way part 2 or Gate to the Promised Land by Trophy Ridge Prostaffer Dan Schultz
Gate To The Promised Land?
The drive seemed to take forever, when in actuality, it was only twenty five minutes from my driveway. I knew the way well, and found myself pushing the Suburban like a NASCAR, every corner bringing me closer to the finish line. But instead of a trophy, my reward is hunting land.
To say I was eager to check out this new spot would be an understatement. What wonders awaiting me on the other side of this gate?
The “smaller” property the Biologist was referring to was actually 85 acres, and to a guy hunting micro-properties of two to 30 acres, this was huge! Like having all of Iowa to myself! I could see right away exactly why they did not use this spot too often for their research, access is limited. There is one way in, and the same way out, through two gates and a cable with a lock….oh, you have to drive through a neighbor’s yard too. That is the only part I don’t like….being a lawn nut myself, I would not appreciate someone driving a big, heavy Suburban towing a 4 wheeler on a trailer over my grass….but it is a legal right of way, so all is well. I will make a point to meet and introduce myself to the homeowner when I see them.
Now as with any new hunting property, scouting starts from home (or work) via the internet. In Dutchess County the county has a parcel access map, with all the information you need about a property for owner, taxes, and acreage info, so that was my first stop. Then I pored over the plot on Google Maps, checked the weather information for the township on Weather Underground, then a look at the terrain on MyTopo.com. It is GREAT that we have such resources available to us today!
Once I got into the woods and parked my truck, I was amazed at how similar this property was to my grandfather’s old farm in regards to its layout. The ridges, benches, hardwoods, even the trails…it was awesome. I bumped a few does, saw two small bucks, and found a nice rub line on substantial tree. I was pretty psyched! But with the good, there is usually some bad…and the bad was this property was obviously being used by people on ATV’s and dirt bikes. That troubled me as I didn’t know if they were hunting without permission or just joy riding. It would not take long to find out the answer…
The property was really cool, it was an old farmstead, and the remnants of a collapsed barn, old machinery, and two old cars were left behind. I picked out a few likely stand sites to use my climber on and marked the trees. That is one thing I like to do on a new property, I tend to hunt it for the first season with my climber and try to get a feel for the deer movement, then go in during the summer and place stands according to that research. It is cumbersome, yet effective and a real time saver in the long run.
Bow season came and went relatively uneventful with the exception of stopping a group of teenagers on dirt bikes and one great encounter with a 4 pointer. I made it very clear to the trespassers that they were not welcome until after deer season. I also had people riding horses through the land, but they were OK according to the biologist. By season’s end I had a few stand selections picked out, including one spot that I had a neat encounter with a buck.
It was my first year at self-filming my hunts. I had gotten hooked up with some guys from Massachusetts that put out a DVD and hoped to lay down some good kill footage and become an overnight sensation. After getting my Summit climber up in a tree, setting up the camera, getting the bow hung, and surveying the area, I settled in. It wasn’t long before I caught a glimpse of a deer about 80 yards in front of me, travelling along a creek bed. I wasn’t able to see anything through my binos other than it was a buck, and he was headed away from me. I grunted a few times with a Primos Buck Roar and he turned, and headed right towards me. I followed him with the video camera as he crossed the creek, came up the hill, and stopped to work a scrape 20 yards from me. I knew once I saw he was a 4 pointer that I would pass on him, but kept rolling film to see what he would do. He licked the braches above the scrape, and then walked the roadway right to my tree, where he loitered at 5 yards for a few minutes. Eventually he walked off, but not after giving me a ton of shot opportunities. It was great! What a fantastic encounter!
I left that night with high hopes for this property and knew if I put in time in the stand, that I would be rewarded.
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