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Hunting Journal

 

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Biggest Buck of my Life!
December 2, 2023
Over the last 11 years Illinois has produced a lot of great bucks for us. Yet, it seems like the biggest of the big bucks there always seem to elude me while we are there. This year that changed. I had a giant perfect 12 pointer on camera off and on all Fall, and on November 30th I finally was in the right place at the right time! I hope you enjoy the video, I got a little excited, hopefully understandably.

The U.P. has been challenging to say the least this year, and the statistics show that the harvest is way, way down. I watched our local DNR Official on a TV interview say this was to be expected because of the last 2 hard winters and non-ideal hunting conditions. We also all know that wolves/predation are becoming a huge factor, but he decided not to mention that specific factor. I'll never understand what pushes so much denial in that department about the true size and effect of our wolf population.

Either way, I feel very lucky that Landon was able to get a great buck this year, that was as much fun as I've had in a long time. I'm still going to keep at it all through December, but I've yet to get a picture of or see any bucks that would be remotely mature enough that I would want to harvest. I sure hope things turn around for the better up here.
 

 
Keweenaw Swamp Buck!
October 31, 2023
Sunday afternoon was the first snow of the year, and I took my son Landon up north to a new spot in a huge cedar swamp. I had a couple of 2.5 year old bucks on cam that I thought would be good for him to target. A few hours into our hunt, a buck slowly worked our way that I did not recognize at all. He ended up giving Landon a close shot, and he connected! I never had any trail cam pics of that buck, and he was much bigger than I thought when we recovered him. A beautiful deer, a happy kid, and a memory that will last us a lifetime!
 

 
23" Wide Illinois Buck at 70 Yards!
October 27, 2023
I went down to Illinois this summer to deploy several Spartan Cellular Trail Cams and it paid off! I had a super wide buck throughout the summer and fall, and was able to get down for a hunt on 10/21/23. My shoulder surgery hasn't given the results I had hoped for, and the crossbow is looking like the only way for me to effectively hunt during archery season from here on out. That being said, now that I've accepted that fact, I'm really liking my Sub-1 Crossbow. I got a sweet new Oracle X scope for Christmas, and practiced a bunch this summer, and my effective range has really expanded. It paid off in Illinois, as the only shot I had at that buck was 70 yards. Typically deer begin to duck your arrow at long distance, so I aimed down towards the heart, and it worked out perfect as the big buck ducked right into it, and ended up being a double lung shot and he only went about 70 yards before going down.

Now I'm back at it in the U.P. I haven't had any shooter bucks on cam yet this year, but that will hopefully change in the coming weeks. I'm trying out some new spots as usual, and I'm also hoping to find a buck for Landon to go after as well. It is getting to be that good time of year!
 

 
First U.P. Buck Down!
October 17, 2023
The 2023 season is underway! I haven't found any bucks on camera that I wanted yet, so I realized it would be a good time to take a young person out hunting! Our friend Marcus Tomashek from Wisconsin had never taken a Michigan buck, and we made that happen on 10/6/23! It was a fun, memorable hunt, and even though Marcus didn't care to talk on camera, he was super pumped to take a nice deer that dressed out at 153 lbs!

Good luck out there and hope to have another update soon!
 

 
2022 Season Wrap Up
January 26, 2023
Well, it was a fun deer season. I was fortunate to take a great buck in the UP, and another nice one during IL gun. I went back to IL and tried to fill my bow tag, but just didn't have any encounters with any of my target bucks. I did have a good buck show up in late season in the UP, but the day I planned to hunt him, I already had a cellular pic of him with only one antler left.

Gun season weather was good up here this year, so a lot of bucks were harvested in our areas. I was skeptical at how many bigger bucks would be around next year, but I did end up seeing more 2.5 year old bucks still alive in late season than I expected, so it gives you hope for next year!

Now it's time for offseason, when the real work really happens. Scouting, new spots, new stands, soil tests, food plot work...it's all enjoyable. Talk to you soon!

 
2022 Illinois Shotgun 10 Pointer
December 10, 2022
Here is the video of this year's IL gun buck! We've still got plenty of season left here in the U.P. so we'll see what the rest of December brings!
 

 
December Illinois Buck
December 5, 2022
Shot a nice buck in Illinois a few days back during their 2nd Gun Season. Turned out to be a good deer to take, as he had a nasty broken foot. I should have a video of the hunt posted here soon. For now you can see pics on the Buck Pole. Now it's time to buckle down for the U.P. Late Season! I don't have any target bucks in mind at the moment, but usually some new deer will pop up here and there when they start to migrate, so we'll see what happens! Good luck to those of you still hunting, and if not, I hope you had an enjoyable season! The weather was good for gun season in Michigan, and I know a lot of hunters were successful. I'll check in again soon!

 
U.P. Buck Recovery Video!
November 16, 2022
Ok! Here is the video and story of my buck taken on 11/7/22. This buck showed up at one of my spots last November and appeared to be a decent 2.5 year old buck. I saw him on the last day of gun season and elected to pass him, and did again throughout late season. We found both of his sheds in early January.

I never saw him again until one trail cam image on September 1st. I couldn't believe how much height he had put on in one season, but it was definitely him. I never saw him again until on my cellular camera on October 1st. I was surprised and frustrated that I was in the wrong spot when he magically appeared in daylight on opening day of bow season. After that, the cat and mouse game was on.

His appearances were very sporadic and never regular. I was hoping he would start showing up more frequently as the rut approached, which is when he had shown up during the previous season. After late October, I only had a couple of pics of him, both in the middle of the night. I did have one pic of him at a new food plot I created this summer that I hoped might be a good place to kill him this year.

We had great hunting conditions on 11/7, and I decided to try the new food plot that I hadn't hunted since opening day. I saw pretty good deer movement that night, but really wasn't expecting to see him in daylight, as I had put in 13 hunts for him this year and never laid eyes on him yet. Just a bit after sunset, a doe looked down in the far corner of my plot and I saw a buck approaching. I looked through the binoculars, he lifted his head and I couldn't believe I was finally seeing this buck in person. He slowly worked his way straight at me. My camera tripod was set up to shoot/film to my left, but he started veering to my right. He stopped and started working on a Hodag licking stick that I had set up at 30 yards. I had no way of filming him unless I switched around my tripod and opened an additional window, but I just couldn't take that change with him facing me at 30 yards. As he prepared to leave, he was no longer facing me but still quartering to me. I knew that was the only shot opportunity I was going to get, and I was comfort taking it at that point.

I knew I better wait until morning to be safe, but I did see some blood at the shot site that gave me confidence that I hit one lung, liver and guts on the way out. In the morning that plan was to just track a bit and peek over the ridge where he disappeared the previous night. Fortunately, he was right there in the morning! 192 lbs dressed and one of my nicest Michigan bucks ever. It's amazing to me how big a 3.5 year old buck can get here in the U.P. An old timer once told me, 'if you want to shoot big bucks, don't shoot small bucks'. That line seemed so simple it was almost silly, but the older I get, the more truth I see in that. Good luck and happy hunting!
 

 
Big U.P. Buck Down!
November 9, 2022
Had a hunt to remember on 11/7/22! I'll post more story details and some video footage next week, but CLICK HERE to check out pics in the meantime of a beautiful U.P. buck that I hunted hard for this year. I hope that you are enjoying your outdoor time as well and I'll check back in with some video soon. Have a great day!

 
November
November 2, 2022
The season so far started off cool, but then has been unseasonably warm in the second half. Illinois was the worst hunt we've had down there with temps in the mid 80's, so deer movement was slow to non-existent. Hunting has still been fairly fun in the U.P., just trying to find a shooter in daylight. Once these temps drop next week, deer movement should really start to ramp up. Hope you are getting out and enjoying the season!

 

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REAL ESTATE

Search MLS Properties
Today's New Listings

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JOURNALS, MEDIA
& MORE

Pic of the Day
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WEBCAMS

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Bridge Cam
Bald Eagle Cam
Duluth Canal Cam
Mackinaw Bridge Cam

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HUNTING &
FORESTRY

Hunting Journal
Buck Pole
U.P. Deer Blind
Northwoods Forest Mgmt.

 

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