Taking Out the Trash, New Locks, Doe Date Extended

Taking Out the Trash

Talk about taking out the trash, Barry’s contact Frank has really been taking it out.   Three derelict old trailers, numerous old grills, barrels, miscellaneous chairs, metal, wood and tin.  The camp is looking much better and it feels good to see the eyesores removed.

New Locks

We have new locks for the gates.   The new keys were mailed Tuesday 11/28/17.  All of the keys have been tried with the new lock and work perfectly.

When the new lock appears, you can expect that the combination will also have been changed, on both combination locks.  The new combination was mailed out in an email yesterday and it is included in the letter accompanying the key.

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Doe Harvest Date Extended

Currently the bylaws state that there should be no doe harvests after Dec. 1, subject to board discretion.
After a discussion with Brian, myself and Barry, due to the difficulty in reaching the doe quota last year, we are extending that cutoff date indefinitely.
 
This QDM rule was to reduce accidental button buck harvests due to mistaken identity.  Please do be particularly careful of single “does” as it is this time of year the maternal does push their yearling bucks out.  The young bucks don’t have a clue without the doe to keep them out of trouble and they will walk out anywhere until they get more mature.  It is also difficult to determine “this year deer” are fawns without other deer present to help judge size as they have lost their spots and look just like a regular deer.  Something to look for is a somewhat “fuzzy” appearance which “this year deer” have as well as small heads.  Look for that big two-liter coke bottle head the mature does have.  Also the flat, black spots on the head where the antler pedicles would be are present on fawn bucks.  Admittedly, they can be hard to detect.

Gender Reveal

On that topic of determining a fawn buck, I did pick up a trick the other day watching a deer.  I was watching the deer in the pic below and I felt sure it was a fawn buck but couldn’t tell for sure until it picked up its leg to scratch.  You can see the evidence in the photo, hard to see but with binoculars I could see it.  Actually the young deer are often scratching with their back leg so its something you can anticipate.
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First Weekend of Gun Season Update

Wow, already Thanksgiving.  No bucks harvested but some activity reported.  Seems like everyone has seen does.  Buckethead actually popped a couple of caps but apparently he needs to take his gun to a range before he tries again.

I have seen eleven does, all appeared to me to be harvestable; however I didn’t see any fawns.  Oops, that’s a potential problem.  I wanted to bring this up to let folks know that there are rarely any 90 lb fawns and none really over 90, even in late season.  And, by the data I have looked at plus what our biologist tells me, a 90 lb fawn will be a buttonhead.  So be careful in looking at these deer.  I carry binoculars and have been looking them over carefully and the deer I have seen that are smaller than the obvious mother had no spots and appeared to be in the 100 lb range.  Of course, that’s the problem, trying to weigh deer with your mind.  I guess in fact the deer I have seen could have been fawns but just looked like 1 1/2 year olds.   I bow hunt and so I’m very close and even using binoculars but I am still skeptical, so I wonder about how my brethren are doing since I seem to have the only pair of binoculars in the camp.   Could it be there may have been an early fawn drop and I was actually seeing fawns out of spots?    Data says fawns should be weighing around 60 lbs right now.  I am sure the deer I saw weighed more than that.  But I am err’ing on the side of caution.  After all, chances are that what you think is a big yearling doe may actually be a buttonhead.

According to one of our own Mississippi State researchers:

In January, Thick Loess male fawns average 68 pounds, and 95% of the buck fawn population will weigh between  44 and 92 lbs. This is for the entire soil region – better habitat quality will increase the likelihood, while lower quality habitat would decrease it. So, depending on your property’s characteristics, you could certainly have some late season fawns weighing over 90 lb.  Not a lot of them, but you could have some.  

Our own biologist says this:

Doe fawns do not ever get to be 100 pounds.  60 pounds at the most for a doe fawn. 

So, please be careful.   I know some may think its no big deal, but, there should be no deer turned in with a recording of 90+ lbs that our biologist determines is a fawn.  The jaw bones tell the truth every time.  For your own sake, please take a photo of any deer you record that is 90 – 100 lbs while it is on the scale with the scale in view.   We are obligated to provide accurate data to ATCO and there is a fine for deer less than 90 lbs.

I finally got a look at what De has been talking about in Hollow Tree Hollow.  The tornado has absolutely wrecked it.   So sad to see all those beautiful trees down. Also the highway area I hunt had a lot of tops and trees down, but nothing like Hollow Tree Hollow.  It is wrecked.  You can’t really get in it and its all sunshine due to the trees down.

The good news is, the deer are there and I think our “no fines and no dogs” year is paying off because I have been seeing the does, and there are good bucks in there  making sign.  Part of the improvement I think is reducing our vehicular and human activity.  It is time now to end the fixed stand placements and avoid any activities on the roads except for hunting.  Please limit chainsaw and noisy activities to the immediate camp area.  You will be glad you did.  Our deer are starting to act more like I see in the rest of the state. Some sparring and even some fighting has been heard.  I’m excited!

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Here’s some of my pics from my season, in the Delta.  Below is son Chris getting a tow from my kayak that has a trolling motor.  Beautiful morning.

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My trusty redfish and deer getting vessel on a cold, beautiful morning:

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Chris getting ready:

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Update from Weekend of 11/4/2017

Just a little update on a few fronts.  De and I have been working on getting a map made which would replace the one we have.   It will be a big wide vinyl map.  It is a work in progress, so don’t think we’re finished.  This is a black and white but we have the boundaries outlined on a topo and we have been putting the stand numbers on it.  Not quite sure how to do the stand numbers but we think just sticking to what we have for starters is the best idea.   Our discussion this weekend was basically that we should stick to the old numbers and not try to label every possible stand location.  There are some issues with printing alphanumeric stand labels, we need to use just numeric, but because we no longer hunt with dogs, the need for stand numbers is not as great.  We don’t line up on the roads and count standers etc.

So we are not including the stands with an alphabetic suffix, like 23a, 23b, 23c. We will just have 23 and you will be expected to describe where you are in relation to that stand when you log in.  We will have tags you can put on a stand, which is a help visually but THE LOG BOOK WILL NOT GO AWAY because it is a requirement of ATCO.  Also the description in the log book is necessary because ATCO wants that.  For example, let’s use 23 again, instead of writing 23b, you would write 23 and include “N of bridge in Flat” or for 23c,  you might write “N of Hill’ Ditch bridge near the river”.

Simply writing the stand number is not enough.  This way, members who are familiar with stand numbers won’t have to change and including a short description makes it very specific in case we need to hunt for you if you don’t return to camp.  Ideally since we are “still” hunting, people should not be hunting close to each other, unless you are going in and out of the woods with one another.

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I did not make it down Saturday, Chris and I hunted our own property and Chris shot a doe in the evening so he and I did not get to partake in the shrimp boil, but as I understand it was delicious!  Everybody had a good time.  There is a nice stack of wood in the wood shed now.   I understand new member Phil was down with his son Lee.  Nice to see folks getting settled in to the camp.

De and Barry, with Boo’s help installed a big double wide box stand on the first food plot on cable road.  Would be great for youth hunters for their adult to hunt with them.

I did a little evening hunt Sunday afternoon, the food plots look really good.  Looks like we dodged a bullet missing a frost, it was close but I think we’re all good.
I didn’t see any deer, but I did find some nice rubs.

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Acorn crop is a little weird, I was expecting acorns to be raining down like I have seen in other areas of the state but the acorns seem to be a little spotty.  Did see some swamp chestnuts hanging, some have started falling.

Barry wants to move his camper to a spot vacated by an ex-member.  He wants to cut three trees. I have sent the photos to ATCO for permission.  Barry please examine the photos and let me know if I got it right.  If not just let me know.

 

 

And to end this post on a really great note, here is a pic of Stan with a big 5×5 bull elk he harvested just recently with his muzzleloader in Colorado!  Way to go Stan!

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