2000-2001 Bow Season
November 06 - So far this bow season has been a major disappointment. Deer sightings have been considerably down from previous years due primarily to the weather. I have been unseasonably hot and dry for this time of year. We had that one cold front move through before the season opened and I really thought we were in for a great bow season. Boy was I wrong! We had several mornings of a good hard frost and then the weather turned back to summer like. We finally got some rain over the weekend, however I'm beginning to think the white oaks are barren of acorns this year. I still had hopes until a week or so ago. I notice the squirrels are in red oaks cutting acorns not the white oaks not to mention most of the white oak leaves are gone and still no acorns. It will be a great year for greenfields but tough on the acorn hunters, which I consider myself. I love to hunt white oaks - I love to find those hot white oaks for bow hunting!
South Alabama - Tishabee Farms - Greene County
Opening Day - October 14 - Morning - Hunting at Tishabee Farms and saw 4 does/yearlings. I was in a thick draw and they stayed 40 yards out just moving through browsing.
Afternoon - Hunting a travel area - saw one deer - a spike - had many good 15-20 yard shots at him but we have a size limit on bucks, which I agree with.
October 15 - Morning - Hunted same stand as last afternoon and saw zero deer
Afternoon - Hunted thicket - saw several deer and harvested a doe. Shot her at 15 yards and she traveled about 60 yards. Double bogey hit - Muzzy 115gr 4-blade did an excellent job as usual. This is the day Dale Earnhardt won the Talladega 500 - every time Earnhardt wins I harvest a deer - I just wish he won more - I told everyone that it "was on" after the race and sure enough out of 6 hunters - 4 of us got a shot and 1 other had a good shot at a small buck under the size limit - Go Dale Go!
Jim Childers harvested a doe this afternoon hunting with me at Tishabee Farms. 20 yard shot in the liver - deer traveled 75 yards.
October 16 - Slept in that morning and hunted the same stand as last afternoon - saw zero deer
Tishabee Farms has very few acorn trees and what are there were not dropping at the beginning of the season. The greenfields were not up due to the lack of rain, therefore the only thing to hunt were tickets trying to catch deer moving through browsing on greenbrier and honeysuckle. A tough way to hunt.
October 29 - Jim and I drove down for an afternoon hunt - we doubled on a 5 acre cornfield - we both saw around 10 deer but all stayed out of bow range. See pictures under "Treestands" for treestand setup.
November 01 - Drove down that morning with intensions of staying through Friday. It was 90 degrees when I left to hunt that afternoon. Still no acorns! Saw zero deer and the mosquitoes drained me of at least a pint of blood. Decided to come back home and work the rest of the week to save vacation time for cooler weather.
November 14-16 - Hunted with David Crump at Tishabee Farms. We saw several deer and David harvested a doe on the morning of the 17th. See information below.
North Alabama - Morgan County
November 06 - My North Alabama hunting has been the worst in years. We do not have a lot of deer in Morgan County compared to South Alabama, however I normally see some deer during bow season. In recent years, I see most of the deer during bow season and at the end of the season. From around the opening of gun season until Christmas is always a down time for seeing deer on our farm. This bow season was very bad. I've hunted eight times from a treestand and saw deer one time. I saw a doe and two yearling back at the beginning of the season and that is all. Not to mention, I've been on the farm over a dozen times not hunting just viewing soybean fields and the such without seeing a single deer. I don't jump deer going in or run them off coming out. The hot and dry weather has what few deer we have totally nocturnal. Maybe this rain and wind will get them moving a little.
November 11 - A few days ago I scouted an area and found a couple of red oaks dropping. The white oaks on the bench above them were not dropping but normally do even in bad acorn years. There were a few deer on the red oaks, but I decided to hang a stand on the white oaks as I know the deer will abandon red oak acorns for the white oaks when they start to drop. I was not going to hunt the stand for a week or so and give the white oaks time to drop. On the afternoon of the 11th, I went to hunt another stand a couple of miles away and the wind had completely changed and made the stand unhuntable. The wind was perfect for the white oak stand so I headed to it. These white oaks were not dropping and never did for that matter. It's a long walk to the stand probably a 1/2-mile or more. I decided to hunt the stand and hope that a deer would pass by on the way to the red oaks. Sure enough about an hour before dark three deer came by headed down the mountain. I had a natural shooting lane from the right side of the stand down the mountain. I knew that it was 30 yards to a tree in the lane and it appeared the deer was right at that tree. I shot the deer for 30 yards and she was actually 35 yards. She seemed to haunch up as the arrow was on the way. Gut shot - bad news. I have not lost a deer with a bow on our farm and it appeared this would be the first. I waited until 9:00pm that night and went back to track her. Jim Childers went with me and armed with lanterns we set in. We tracked her for 80 or 90 yards and lost blood. We marked the last blood and I went back the next day to try and find her. To no avail, I tried to find more blood - I conducted a grid search and never found her. I hate it for the deer. It's sad to take an animals life and it just be wasted. It just shows that those 20 yard broadside shots with the deer unalert has a much higher success rate - at least for me they do.
Deer sighting on our farm for the 2000-2001 bow season: 5 deer (3 does and 2 small bucks)
Weapon: Hoyt SuperSlam Bow
Arrow: Easton XX78 - 2312
Broadhead: Muzzy 115gr.
Treestand: Loc-On Limit
Range: 15 yards
I harvested this deer on October 15 while hunting at Tishabee Farms. The deer was 15 yards broadside looking the other way - a suicide mission. The deer was alone and did not have fawns with her. She had a small amount of milk present - probably less than 4 ounces. She weighed 90 pounds and according to the jawbone was an older deer. At least 2.5 years old but probably 3.5 or 4.5. Here's the weird part - she had small 1/2-inch spikes under the skin. You can barely see the two brown knots on her head. It is strange for a deer to be that small at her age and to have spikes. It's not really that rare to see a doe with antlers but they are normally the correct size according to age.
Weapon: Hoyt Bow
Broadhead: Muzzy 125gr.
Range: 20 yards
David Crump harvested this doe while hunting at Tishabee Farms on November 15, 2000. It was one of those hunts that work out perfectly. While scouting is an area with White Oaks, we found a few trees that were dropping acorns. We found enough deer sign to give it a try. Due to land contour and wind direction, we selected a two trees approximately 60 yards apart to hunt from. At 8:30am, a spike and a doe came into the area from the direction we thought they would. The wind was out of the North West as we had planned and the deer came to the white oak trees to feed along the prefect trail for a shot. The spike came through first and David held his shot as we have buck size requirements in place. The doe was close behind and David made a perfect double bogey pass through. She ran 30 or 40 yards before expiring. Just another example of how great Muzzy broadheads work. To me, when a hunting plan comes together like this one it is the most rewarding and memorable type of hunt. It's fun to scout, find the sign, interpret the deer travel, play the wind and select a tree to hunt from. When the deer cooperate and you are right it's a very rewarding feeling.