You may have seen my blog post, Doe Harvest Extended and Suggested BP, about our ATCO biologist’s recommendation to extend the doe harvest until we meet our quota. I did not seek board input on extending it because I cannot see the club opposing the recommendation of ATCO’s biologist. I wanted to get a quick answer out there because Dec. 1 is tomorrow. Since my post, I have been contacted about two additional things and I thought the items should be discussed with the board as they are not directly related to ATCO like the doe quota. My rule of thumb is, ATCO-strict adherence, club policy-club decides.
- The first item is, are we going to allow people who have filled their doe allocation to take any more does? My feeling and my answer to the member who posed the question is, at this time we are not going to extend the doe allocation, to allow folks that haven’t harvested anything to have a chance to get their does. At some point, if we haven’t filled the quota I could see us go “open” on does until we fill it. When we hit fifteen we will cut off all doe harvest, again, that’s my opinion. We have five does so we are under by ten as of this date. It is OK per ATCO to take more than fifteen, but I think the general consensus among members is that we should stop at the quota.
- The other item is my recommendation as a best practice for people to only scout and place stands when they intend to hunt a particular area, rather than scouting or placing a stand and then hunting another area in the same day. More than one member came to me and that is the reason I suggested the “best practice”. I don’t like rules any more than the next person, if people can adhere to a best practice it eliminates the need for a rule, but you can go against a best practice for a good reason. Regarding the suggested best practice, Barry called me and made the suggestion of having a time during the day when you can scout move stands etc like noon to 1 or something. In my mind that doesn’t really address the reduction of trips into the woods, in fact it could promote it, but I said I would discuss it with everyone. Actually I like the best practice because it is not a “rule”, just a conscious effort to reduce human activity in the woods and potentially could leave more places undisturbed for people to sign-in and hunt.
Thanks, if you have a suggestion or opinion you are welcome to send it to me for the board to consider. It’s your club.
Unfortunately over the Thanksgiving holiday we didn’t harvest any does. I contacted our biologist and he has recommended extending the doe harvest until the quota is reached. Below are his comments:
Yes, you should extend the doe harvest opportunities into December until you reach the quota. For many reasons, it is always better to harvest does earlier rather than later. And actually between now and the actual rut (which will take place around Christmas and New Year’s) is the best opportunity to succeed at harvesting some does.
So, there’s your answer. Ragsdale will use the recommendations of our biologist and extend the doe harvest until our quota is reached. ( Now if we can only get the state legislature and the commission to do the same, listen to the biologists, that is!)
On a side bar, thank you for responding to my request to provide more information when logging hunting locations into the register book. I noticed everyone had added additional information as to road, hunting the food plot or not, direction from road etc. Good job; however, I did notice one sign-in that said simply “scouting”. Please pass the word, everyone needs to know where it is safe to hunt and out of respect for our other members, everyone wants to know where the woods may have been disturbed by scouting or stand placement activity as well. No one wants to hunt an area after someone has been walking all through it. At least I don’t.
Along similar lines, I would like to suggest, not a rule, but a “best practice” regarding scouting and moving stands. We would like to begin to limit the amount of human activity to help improve the hunting. I would like folks to NOT plan to move or place a stand somewhere and then in turn hunt another area. Please try to plan to hunt the area that you are scouting or moving a stand to the same day. That leaves another area undisturbed for someone to hunt as well as reduces the amount of ATV traffic, walking traffic, scent left in the woods etc.
Again, it’s a “best practice” recommendation, not a rule. Yes, I have had some complaints.
So far, so good, regarding this hunting season. I do have a few things to say. I will try to make this as painless as possible. Please reference the log-in book photo below:
- Signing in to stands – We are going to work on our map and numbering of stands for next year, but this year we will have to stick with our current form of signing in to a stand using the register book. Everyone is signing in with a stand number which is good; however, if you remember a few years back Stan complained that we were not being specific enough. Please sign in with the number of the stand but also include any description that will help folks determine where you are. For example, I remember Stan suggested anyone hunting the highway (that was me when he made the complaint) describe what ridge they are on, like “4th ridge South of Jesse’s house”. The same way for all other stands. When someone is standing at the sign in book, they see a number and then may have to look at the map. Please try to include what road, for example, if I am hunting stand 18, write “#18 RR” using RR for River Road. If you are hunting the food plot you might write “#18 RR food plot” or if in the hollow, mention where, like “#18 RR Hill’s Ditch bottom” or #18 RR West to ditch”. Please try to use North/South/East/West rather than “right” or “left”. Just whatever may help someone know where you are. Thanks, it will make me and Stan happy.
- Some folks have been signing in non-specifically to “scout” or “move stands”. It is hunting season now, you must sign in as to what you are doing, where and when in/out because members coming in to hunt need to know where they can go.
- Does – actually I think we have a pretty good start on the does, five as of Sunday evening, all good, QDM compliant, does. But many members are concerned and want to move the Dec 1 date back for doe harvest. Yes, we do need to accomplish Stan’s goal of 15 does; however, we are also trying to improve the quality of the buck hunting, the rut hunting specifically. Depending on the number of does harvested by Dec. 1 we will make a decision. That decision will be either to push back the date a week or so, or more probably, to simply re-open the doe harvest after the rut on Jan. 1.
- Please consider using a harness on your stand. State law requires it for WMA but not private property. I use one religiously. I had a minor accident a year ago, very simple, I was just getting out of my stand in the dark, fell, tore my hamstring. I now keep the harness on the tree until my feet touch the ground. Safety ropes are a good idea on metal stands. A man was killed the first day of archery season climbing a tripod near Brandon.
- Keep orange on at all times. I mean AT ALL TIMES when hunting. Yes, the law says you don’t have to have it on in your stand, but really just keep it on, the deer don’t see it and if you take it off, you may not remember to put it back on. Remember last year, 2015, a hunter left his orange in his stand to take a nature call and was killed by a fellow member of his hunting club.
Basically, just be careful out there. I already had an accident hunting Hillside this year. Crossing a log over a creek, I had to clear branches holding on with one hand and a bow in the other hand. Somehow an arrow came out of my quiver and got turned around and stabbed me in the leg. It was not a good day. Anybody who tells you they never had a bad day hunting never stabbed themselves in the leg with a broadhead.
I now have labels on my arrows that say “this end toward deer”. 🙂
I have heard from almost everyone about letting a buck walk this year because the member just wasn’t 100% sure. That’s been very pleasing for me to hear. Our biologist’s own suggestion is:
“Recommended best practice for those that are trying to field judge deer is to wait until you see that that there is NO question about whether it will make the specs or not. If you have to wonder and try to decide and waffle back and forth, then generally that deer is going to be too small.”
I know it can be discouraging, it just doesn’t feel like that shooter buck will ever appear. Fortunately, we have some early season inspiration, from the same source that started us out this year. Craig was the biggest contributor to our club QDM program, and he started out our year with a great Ragsdale buck, just to let us know what’s out there. But this weekend his sons Caleb and Seth piled it on by showing us what Craig’s QDM on his own property has produced. Caleb bagged this nice buck on Saturday at Craig’s place:
And then son Seth really knocked the ball out of the park with this deer:
WOW! That’s what quality deer management on property only 11 minutes away from the camp can produce.
Both of these youngsters passed on smaller deer the same afternoon, waiting for the one where there was NO QUESTION.
Combined with Craig’s Ragsdale deer from bow season, that’s quite a deer hunting family.
Since it is now gun season and there will be a lot of activity in and around the camp, the combinations on the locks will be changed. Initially we made the combination simple and even accessible, to get everyone acclimated to the new combination locks.
We are not saying just when the combinations will be changed, because we have to pay a visit to the camp to change them. So I have a methodology to accomplish the change. There are two additional locks the camp purchased which I have already re-combo’d. You will know them when you see them, they have “Club 2” written on them.
When you see these new locks there will of course be a new combination. You may not notice the locks are new but of course the old combination will not be working. When you see the new locks, check your email or text if you haven’t already seen what the new combination is. The new combination will not be listed here. The combination change will be sent out a few days in advance and also from a director’s phone to text and email exactly when the combination is changed. Those members not having text or email will get a phone call when the change occurs.
Larry is to bring the old keyed locks with new keys to the camp soon, so watch for the old locks to show up. Currently we have planned for only James and directors to get keys.
Now here’s something to look at and think about, ice age deer antlers with a span of ten feet. The antlers come from an Irish elk, which went extinct about 11,000 years ago, but the rumor is Joe saw one going into “Buck Hollow”. You know it was thought the coelacanth was extinct too, until someone caught one off the coast of Madagascar. So, an Irish Buck? Well, that’s also the name for Irish rye whiskey, ginger ale and a twist of lime, so one way or the other, I’m bagging one.
Check out this, looks like an Irish Buck to me!:
Potential New World Record Whitetail
Early Primitive Weapons opens today November 7, Anterless Deer Only. Archery continues.
There were no youth or archery harvests this weekend. Craig brought young son Caleb down but they didn’t see anything. No other youths were hunting the camp. I came down Sunday PM to hunt and visited with De, Joe and Clyde for a little while before hunting. My evening hunt was uneventful.
Both Clyde and De saw a doe in the food plot by the camp on Camp Road. Clyde said the doe had a young fawn with and it laid down by while he watched. Not sure if there might be something wrong with the deer or if it is just a young deer, to be so apparently unafraid of humans, but another reason could be the deer are heavily stressed by the drought. The deer are coming to the food plots even though there is very little in them. The camp plot is mostly just dust and dirt with a few plants where the shade lingers. The animals are very stressed, needing water and food, the vegetation in the woods has dried up. On a good note, acorns are plentiful this year.
I hunted Hillside and Panther Swamp refuges this weekend and they are dried up like Ragsdale. Keep your fingers crossed for rain this week.
I have picked up the camp Work Day Log book and will be entering the data and publishing it later in the week.
As gun season begins today I just want to emphasize that some members are on probation from last year due to under-sized harvests:
Membership Probation List from 2015-2016
The following members had violations during the 2015-2016 hunting season. These members are now at risk of having their membership suspended upon committing a violation in the 2016-2017 hunting season, requiring 2/3 majority vote to re-establish their membership the following year.
- Randy R
Youth season opens tomorrow. I thought a refresher on the youth or “first-ever” bucks portion of our bylaws might be in order.
Early Primitive weapon opens Monday, Nov. 7.
Archery is still open and is open through Nov. 18. Blaze orange is of course required for archers beginning tomorrow.