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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Waiting on The Waiting Game

AHT Contributor, Greg Johnston Reports From the Stand:

The trail cameras prove they’re there, but this week I failed to lay eyes on any of the mature bucks that visited my Moultree cams throughout the summer and fall. The calendar tells us it’s getting to be that time of year, but the deer haven’t yet cooperated. That will soon change.

A doe feeds on corn Saturday morning.

I expect activity to increase this coming weekend and really get rocking the week of Nov. 7th.

My hunts this week were fairly uneventful, although I saw plenty of does and yearlings. The most action I saw was last Thursday morning when a 1.5-year-old 8-point bumped several does past my stand.

With a week and a half of vacation time coming up this week and next, I’m confident that I can get on some mature deer. I’ll certainly be trying. I’ve got my Dad in the field along with another hunting buddy, so hopefully between the three of us we’ll get our hands wrapped around some bone at some point during the next few weeks.

Stay tuned.

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Action on the Increase in WNY

AHT Contributor, Greg Johnston Reports From the Stand:

The action is heating up here in Western New York.  I hunted Livingston and Ontario Counties this Saturday and Sunday where I encountered some decent action – including one of my Hit List deer.

Two does work past my stand.

Deer movement is on the increase and this week’s cold snap shouldn’t hurt things.  I hunted our Livingston County Farm on Saturday where I encountered over a dozen deer, including one decent buck that I wasn’t able to get a good look at.

Sunday was warmer and sunny, but I hopped in the stand anyway for an afternoon hunt.  I didn’t have high hopes, but movement was swift throughout the afternoon.  I was able to grunt in one of the bucks on my Hit List, but he locked up at 30 yards, behind a blow down.  With a bad angle and a tree in my way I had to watch him walk.

If it hadn’t been for that tree, I’m guessing this entry would have had a different headline and topic, but hey, that’s why we hunt.  It’s worth noting that I also encountered a 1.5 buck who was clearly in the seeking mode.

I’d say it’s just a matter of time before we start seeing those older more mature bucks on their feet and cruising during daylight hours.  So, if you’ve got the time, I’d suggest you plant your rear in the seat of a stand somewhere.  The clock is ticking…

Be sure to check back weekly as I continue to chronicle my season and monitor deer movement here in the Northeast.

Greg Johnston



Maurer Buck Coverage Nets Wall Hanger Response

With my roots running deep through the rolling hills of Western New York, I always pay attention when I hear about big bucks killed in that area. Those that have a great story or stand taller than most are often chronicled right here for my readers.

Jake Maurer, 17, of Bergen, N.Y., holding his opening day trophy (image borrowed from The Batavian)


But I’m sharing the next one for a couple reasons. First, the beautiful buck killed by Jake Maurer, of Bergen, is very impressive. The 17-pointer by a 17-year old is one that will surely go down in the annals of Western New York history as an elite deer – not only in the 2011 season, but of all time.

But I’m also sharing it because of the way The Batavian editor Howard Owens handled a couple posts that were critical to his online community news site for posting a picture of “a murdered animal.” Simply put, well done Mr. Owens!

Let’s chat about the deer first. The young Maurer’s dad, Jeff, provided the following to The Batavian about his son’s quest.

“My 17-year-old son, Jake Hunter Maurer, took this 17 pointer on opening day of this year’s archery season, Saturday October 15, 2011.
He was hunting alone on the evening of the first day of this year’s bow season and though the weather was not ideal, a little windy and cool, this buck meandered through and was the only deer that he saw that afternoon. It presented a 20-yard shot and Jake was able to make it a successful one.

He found his arrow and returned home for an hour then went back out with his friend and father to track it. It had only traveled about 80 yards where they found out just how big he really was. With 17 scoreable points, it may have to be recorded as a non-typical due to the abnormal points on the antlers. But it appears to be big enough for the NYS record book, whether it is recorded as a typical or non-typical.

Jake photographed this same buck with a trail camera a few weeks before season and figured out his travel habits between his bedding area and feeding areas. He found a tree to put a stand in and went there the first day even though other hunters may have stayed out of the woods due to the high winds and cold rain. We took it to a local taxidermist to be mounted and look forward to several meals from all the meat as it weighed about 200 pounds.”

Awesome deer, Jake. Congratulations.

Now onto the second topic. As I scrolled through the feedback (it should be noted that the story was shared by contributing writer Greg Johnston), I was interested to see how the online site would handle the criticism posted in the very first post. In reading Mr. Owens’ reply, I almost stood to applaud! First, I am pleased that he did respond to the feedback. Not every editor, online or not, would choose to respond to the unfortunate response by a reader with zero open mind.

I opted to post the entire response, as I thought it was both well written and provided in great detail why the reader could expect more photos of dead deer in the future on The Batavian.

“Two years ago, we published a photo of somebody’s trophy, and there was a complaint. Last year, we published a photo of somebody’s trophy, and somebody complained. This year, we publish a photo, and get complaints. And next year, when we publish a similar photo, we’ll probably get complaints. And the year after that and the year after that and the year after that.

This is a hunting county. We will provide coverage of hunting news as it’s available. Most people like it.
Part of living in a diverse society is you sometimes get exposed to stuff you don’t like. Not everybody is going to be happy with everything we publish, but once I start trying to please everybody, then everybody is going to complain about how boring The Batavian is.

First, no dead deer pictures, then no arrest reports, and then no sports coverage because you covered that team and not this team, and then no political coverage because some people find politics upsetting, and then no city council coverage because they’re just politicians, and then no court coverage because that’s a private matter, and then no new business openings because that just gives people a sense of false hope, and then no barn photos because not everybody likes barns, etc. and etc. and etc.

There’s always somebody who doesn’t like something, but so long as most people seem to like the coverage we provide, we’ll do our best to provide coverage of a diverse and broad range of topics in Genesee County, including hunting, which will invariably include trophy shots.”

Awesome response, Mr. Owens. Congratulations.


Nate’s Journal

The following journal excerpts come from Nate Faulkner, 12, who enjoyed his first trip to North Dakota to hunt the non-resident duck season earlier this month. The trip included his father, Richard, as well as Richard’s friends DeWayne Taylor and Kurt Culbert.

Day 1. We arrive in Fargo, North Dakota at about 11:00 pm central standard time. I’m waiting for my luggage with my Dad and his friend Kurt. The airline opens the oversized luggage window, drop out Kurt’s gun case but not ours. Non of our luggage made it on the plane from Chicago, IL to Fargo ND. We drive to the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo ND to stay for the night. We had planned to pick up our luggage along with the final member of our hunting party. We slept on great beds, it would be the last time for the entire trip.

Day 2. We wake up early to go and scout for the hunting to come. We ride for a few minutes and pull into a field. All of a sudden the field erupts in a blanket of waterfowl. Ducks are flying everywhere, it is the most ducks I have ever seen. We decided to name it “Nate’s Place”. Everything appeared to be good, that feeling melted when we saw there were crops still in the field. The law in North Dakota states that you can not hunt property that has a posted sign or has crops in the field, without the permission of the land owner. So we drive away and plan to come back later to try and find a house near the field. We ride around and find a few good backup fields in case the owner of what we have called “Nates Place” says no. Next we go back to Fargo to pick up our luggage and the last member of our hunting party, DeWayne. We ride back to “Nates Place” and find a house next to the field. We go up and knock on the door, no answer, we knock again…..no answer. The positive thinking we had is starting to fade. Since no one was home we ride to another house close by. This time someone comes to the door, a lady comes to the door. It turns out she and her husband Dave own the field. She provides us with her husband Dave’s phone number. We wait to call him as he is working at harvesting beans. We ride on to New Rockford ND and pull into the Bison Lodge where we will stay the rest of the trip. We call Dave and he says have permission to hunt the field as long as we do not mess up any of the crops.

Day 3. This is the opening day of non-resident season in North Dakota. We head out early to “Nates Place.” We get out there and the ducks are here and there but not a whole lot of ducks. We are beginning to get concerned, but my dad says it should be a good hunt as when we came by yesterday it was later in the day. We get set up in the grass, decoys set, guns loaded. It was a little past legal and the ducks start flying like there is no tomorrow. My dad limits out in about 20 minutes. I have about 2 ducks and it started to slow down. the rest of the hunt was pretty good. I had fives ducks and the limit is 6. Mr. Dewayne and I moved down the bank as the birds started to fly a different path later in the morning. The birds would fly to us then move off. Finally we saw a pintail as it was making a line for us. I raised up and pulled the trigger. It was the first time I had ever limited out. I also shot my first gadwall, and blue wing teal that day. We spend the rest of the day scouting for the trip. We settle on a place my dad has hunted before and called the Juanita Spoonie Hole.

Day 4. We wake up and start driving to the Juanita Spoonie Hole. We get there and not much happens – most everyone has one bird. My dad and I move to a different hole that is not far away on the same block of land. Birds are constantly flying over us just too high. We try to move to where the birds are flying but the water is too deep and we have to keep looking for a spot until we find one where the water isn’t as deep. We move into the water and I shoot 3 more birds. I ended up with 4 ducks this day. We plan on trying to find a spot for an afternoon hunt but nothing ever comes up.

Day 5. This is the last day we get to hunt on this trip. We go back to “Nates Place” just in a different spot. We did not see many birds at all that day much less shoot many. One hen pintail came flying in and I raised up and shot it. The bird comes down 4 feet behind me. Other than that bird I didn’t shoot another bird. So we go back to the Bison lodge and pack up for our flying home in the morning. It was a great trip and some really neat land to see. I really enjoyed seeing another part of the country.

Nate Faulkner

Editor’s note: Great job, Nate! You’re welcome in my blind any time. Please look for a short video chronicling the father-son hunt very soon on http://www.AHuntersTales.com


Groceries almost a goner … Need restocking.

If it weren’t for the excursion zones, I’m not sure I’d have believed it. Seeing our five small food plots look like a field of dirt with a few scraggly green plants, I most likely would have cussed Mother Nature for not allowing all the seeds we sowed to grow this Fall.

Excursion zone shows the amount of browse taking place in one plot.


We have a new lease so we weren’t really sure what to expect once we started prepping and planting the plots. Clearly, the deer in our area are looking for more browse or our plot mix is just that tasty. Then again, it could most certainly be both too.

And the amount of browse at another plot


Curious what others think? Is the over-browsing of the plots a good indicator that we need more food sources in our area? The oak trees in our area are just now starting to drop a larger number of acorns. For our particular lease, there are not many crops within a range area of the deer on our land. The closest thing is a mature hayfield that borders our land. Any mast crops are miles away.

I’m anxious to see what these fields do the remainder of the fall – and whether or not there will be anything left to eat before late season rolls around (the time I really expected these to be “hot” spots).

Several deer eating from the first plot


When Deer Attack …

Among the several reasons I share for hunting deer, I can honestly say “self defense” has never been one of them.

After an unusual deer:human encounter last week in Preston, Idaho, I think protecting citizens from deer is a fine enough reason to hunt.

The screen shot shows the corn field where a struggle with a muley took place (image borrowed from localnews8.com)

AHT reader Jason Shell sent along the following story.

According to LocalNews8 in Idaho Falls, jogger Sue Panter was attacked by a shady mule deer as she ran alongside a corn field. She knew right away that something was unusual about the animal as it walked parallel with her as she made her way down the roadway. Could you imagine the fear?

Thankfully, for Panter, Michael Vaughan and his 17-year old daughter Alexis were able to play the roles of hero to make sure the buck didn’t kill Panter in the freak accident. And according the report, it was Alexis who should most be credited with going to combat against the muley.

The story is well worth reading. Click here for the written and video stories. Perhaps a rut-crazed young buck? Idaho officials are in search of the deer to try and figure that out.


An Hour-long Minute

Our trip to North Dakota was terrific. Nate Faulkner, 12, made sure his first hunting trip was a success. More on that to come in upcoming video and general blog entries over the next few days.

Check out a video we created while hunting a field pot hole (they’re famous in North Dakota). We put a small handheld camera on a tripod at the end of the pot hole and recorded the first hour of our hunt. I’ve sped the playback in this video to show the first hour of the morning (including the first 20 minutes prior to legal shooting) in just a shade more than a minute.

Even though the camera was a couple hundred yards from the reeds we were standing among, there are two spots near the end where you see a couple of birds being taken. This is a spot we hunted on opening day with much heavier bird traffic. On this day, it was a little slower. But, you still can see a few ducks zooming through the frame throughout the video.

The last shot is a single, made on a drake pintail, by Nate! If you miss it the first time, it’s worth playing back. The exuberant chant afterwards is his proud father, Richard. Turn up the speakers and watch in full screen!