Firearms deer season in full swing

As most of you know, rifle season for eastern South Dakota deer opened up last weekend. My father, brother and I did some hunting around Iroquois and found some good success. My dad took a warrior of a buck that was missing one eye from fighting.  Strange thing is he shot it out of a layout blind ussally used to waterfowl hunt. Because of good scouting, and the use to trail cameras he knew where and when his best chance to harvest a buck would be and put his layout blind near that area. The blind concealed his position and scent perfectly.  The buck came within 30 yards of the blind. He popped out and shot it. Going through trail cam pictures we found the buck he shot, in a photo from two weeks earlier.  It still have both eyes at that point.

My brother also took a nice buck with heavy mass throughout his rack. The two kickers on the left side make it a 5 by 7.  Carefully glassing through binos, he found his buck bedded down on a fence line and throughout the course of a half hour was able to sneak close to get in position for a shot.

 

My brother’s nice whitetail

I on the other hand didn’t see to much. And wow was it cold, raging wind and sleet the first morning, and temperatures that hit negative 16 when I got out to hunt the second morning.  Could have shot a couple does, heck could have about tackled one while laying in a field Sunday. But so goes hunting, I will try to put some meat in the freezer again this weekend.

I want to see if you had success from the weekend. Submit your photos to Northland Outdoors Trophy Room (http://www.northlandoutdoors.com/pages/submit_photo) and send me an email (chuber@mitchellrepublic.com ) with your story on how you harvested your deer. You may see you photo in the print edition of The Daily Republic or on this blog.

My Hunting Year in Review

I may have spent more days hunting in 2010 than any other year. From a spring bear hunt in Montana through waterfowl and pheasant season to a elk hunt in the hills it has been a great, and successful hunting year for me. 

Bear Hunting

My 2010 hunting season really started in May when I traveled with my dad outside Thompson Falls Montana to take in a spring bear hunting. This wasn’t your sit above bait bear hunt.  Hiking over 10 miles a day along logging trails, drainage ditches and hillsides this was hard work but in the end it was worth it.  The second to last day I took this mature brown phase black bear and I couldn’t be happier.  One side note.  Bear ham is delicious. 

Montana, as I said in my last post with the Black Hills, should be on every hunters bucket list.  Whether you are hunting, elk, bear, deer or fly fishing along one of it’s blue ribbon rivers it’s a wild place that anyone who loves the outdoors would enjoy. 

Click on images for a larger view

   

Goose Hunting

When SD GFP upped the early goose hunting limit to 8 this year I knew there was possibility for some great hunts and that is exactly what we had.  Whether it was with Luke, My dad and brother, or Father in law and brother in law we never got skunked when we went out this year.  My most successful day was hunting over a small dugout the geese were using to rest after feeding.

 

 

Duck Hunting

Luke and I spent a lot of days this year duck hunting and we had some great times. I estimate I bagged around 80 ducks this year by myself and I know Luke exceeded that number. Whether flooded corn, sloughs, picked corn or big water if Luke and I had a day off together during the season we were probably out in the field trying to shoot ducks.

Deer Hunting

I didn’t get to deer hunt as much as I would have liked but it was no ones fault other than my own.  I have yet to fill my archery tag and I have doubt that I will.  After passing on some small bucks on my days spent on the stand rifle season was here before I knew it.  I took a respectable buck on the opening weekend. He tastes delicious. 

 

Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant hunting since I can remember has been good.  We took large numbers of birds throughout the season, but perhaps more important than shooting birds is the time I get to spend with my family, great memories are made stomping through the fields every year.

I can only hope my 2011 season is as successful both in game taken and memories made as this year was.

Hunting Elk in the Snow

When my dad, brother and I drew cow elk tags on the second draw for the northern unit of the Black Hills I was pretty excited at the thought of a freezer full delicious steaks and burger.  Mother nature, however had different plans. 

Heavy snows just before Thanksgiving had moved most of the elk out of our unit and to lower elevations by the time the December season rolled around.  Cutting tracks was difficult, as we hiked several miles from the road through knee deep or higher snow only to find old tracks.  On the last day of our hunt we finally found some fresh tracks unfortunately so did the other 10 hunters in that area.  Hiking deep into the woods following fresh tracks we heard a shot ring out over the next ridge sealing our fate of getting an elk by pushing the elk herd deeper into the forest and out of reach for that day.

For me, time spent in the hills is never wasted.  Even though we didn’t bag an elk spending time hiking the same trails I did when I was younger is reward enough.  Hiking miles through snow filled pine forests that open to calm untouched meadows provides a peace that is hard to match.

The variety  and abundance of wild game in the hills is simply astounding.  Every night, after a day of hunting, we would drive to the flats to glass. Watching hundreds of mule and whitetail deer come out of the hills to feed.  Flocks of a hundred turkeys could been seen making there way towards the forest to roost for the night. 

If you enjoy hunting or the outdoors, try for a tag in the Black Hills.  Get out of your truck, out of a tree stand and hike.  Get deep into the forest before first light and glass a ridgeline or better yet listen to the sound of a huge bull bugling through a valley. Fill your tag or not you won’t be disappointed.

Click on images for a larger view

From Trees to Table, Cooking Wild Game

Going from this,

To this,

-can be a scary journey for most people but cooking wild game should be an enjoyable and flavorful experience.

When I talk to people about a recent successful hunt they often time say what do you do with if once you shoot it.  I instantly say “I eat it” and honestly I enjoy it.

I am lucky enough to be blessed with a wife whom not only cooks wild game on a regular basis but also enjoys eating it.  We usually eat one or two meals a week that have been taken through hunting (usually duck, pheasant or goose but lately a lot of bear)

The stigma that wild game has to be tough or ”gamey” tasting is simply not true.  Wild game can be just as tender and flavorful as prime cuts of beef if it is prepared properly.

Here are some general rules to live by when cooking wild game.

Marinate

This will give your meat the tenderness and juicy flavor that you and your family have grown accustomed to from your typical meats.

We generally marinate wild game meats for at least 3 hours and most times  leave them overnight. 

Don’t Overcook. 

Wild game, such as venison, does not contain marbling so it can dry out and toughen up a lot faster than beef.  Cook till your meat is rare to medium, depending on your preference, but never further unless you are using a slow cooker.  Try to turn your meats while on the grill only once to keep juices from escaping.  This will keep your meats succulant and delicious

Eat What is Fresh

Birds killed earlier that morning are going to taste a lot better then those that have been sitting in your freezer for 6 months.  Just like fresh vegetables, fresh game will always taste better.

In light of filling my Rifle Deer Tag this past weekend I will leave you with my recipe for grilled whitetail tenderloins.

Marinade:

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbls soy sauce

1 tsp ground coffee

4 tsp olive oil

1tsp black pepper

a pinch of rosemary

Combine marinade in a small bowl and then score the meat with a small knife (2 inch long 1/4 inch deep diagonal incisions).  Spoon marinade over the loins covering both sides and cover on a plate with plastic wrap.  Leave sit for at least 3 hours, overnight is preferable.

In a large high skillet heat olive oil on medium heat.  Sear each side of the tenderloin for about 5-7 mins depending on how you prefer your meat.  Slice in 2 inch wide cuts. Serve with potatoes or your favorite green vegetable, and a dark beer and enjoy.

Whitetail calling strategies

I have to admit I am new to treestand hunting, having harvested all my deer in a spot and stalk rather then sit and wait situation the idea of calling deer in is foreign to me and admittedly I was little skeptical on how well it would work.

Sitting on the stand Friday morning I saw five deer two of which( a small 4×4 and a taller 3×3 where  25 yards broadside.)  All deer had their noses to the ground and were running around not paying  attention to me even though I was downwind of them. 

Letting the 3×3 pass out of range I decided to try my grunt call to see if I could get it’s attention.  As soon as I let out the grunt that buck came running back around snorting, grunting and stomping his hooves.  Believing I was another buck and was trying to take over his area he was ready for a fight.

I don’t know if it was the rut or if this was just a buck that was ready to fight but it was amazing to be able to bring in a deer into shooting range with sound alone.  I don’t know from experience but I have heard you shouldn’t grunt call until you can see the deer you want to bring in. While you can use a doe bleet or rattling of horns as soon as shooting time hits. 

Obviously calling will be more effective during the rut as deer are more active and more apt to fight for available does. 

And everything I have heard on the subject is be conservative with any noise you make.  Rattling horns once every ten minutes or giving one or two grunts just to get the deers attention.

Comment on how you get that big deer to come in. Do you relay on good research and patterning or do you use calling and scents to lure them to the spot?

Also send pictures of any deer you have taken from this year. chuber@mitchellrepublic.com The rut is in full swing now and I know there has to have been some good deer harvested.

Broadhead debate

With the rut about to explode deer movement will be at it’s peak for the next couple of weeks.  This is a great chance to get out in the deer stand and try to fill that archery tag.   Before you hit the field making sure your equipment preforms as you intend is vital when the wall hanger buck walks into range.  One of the most important and hotly debated pieces of equipment  over the years is your broadhead.

More than likely you are either a mechanical or fixed blade hunter and you aren’t inclined to change your ways.  You either like the accuracy of a mechanical can afford, or the confidence of a large cutting surface immediately upon impact that a fixed blade provides.

Personally, I am trying out the Epek XC-3 mechanical broadhead. http://epekhunting.com/XC3.aspx  Using this broadhead in practice mode (an ability to lock up the blades so they don’t deploy upon impact) I found field point accuracy and great penetration with the chisel head even without the deploying the blades. Pushing the tip of the head with little pressure made me confident that they blades will deploy upon impact when in regular mode.

I want to know what type of broadhead you are hunting with this year and why.

Leave a comment on the blog or if you have already harvested your deer send me a picture and your story with the type of broadhead you used.  chuber@mitchellrepublic.com

Whitetail rut almost here

The rut in South Dakota is almost here and I know bowhunters around the area are itching to get out and spend some quality time in those stands. 

Take a look at Outdoor Life’s new weather calculator.  http://www.outdoorlife.com/weather/whitetail

It uses temperature, wind, moon phases and other factors to give you a five day forecast for hunting whitetails.  I wouldn’t live by these numbers by any means but they are interesting to look at before heading out into the field

Send me your trail cam pics of that monster you are going after or a picture of a deer you have already harvested this year and I will post it on the blog. chuber@mitchellrepublic.com

Personally, I have a couple places scoped out I want to sit at this year  and I saw a couple nice bucks while pheasant hunting last weekend.