Monday, December 29, 2008

After Christmas Hunting Trip

This Christmas season has been very memorable. I am in the middle of about a two-week vacation from work (it sure is nice to have enough leave built up to have to use it to keep from losing it). I have been able to enjoy spending time with my family, go hunting, tinker with some projects around the house, but most importantly - celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My family came over on Christmas Eve and we spent Christmas Day with Steph's family. After all of the Christmas get-togethers were through, Daddy and I drove out to the lease for some late-season archery hunting.

We enjoyed very pleasant temperatures as we sat in our treestands on Friday morning. I saw four deer (3 doe and a 3-point buck), three of which walked within bow range. Daddy also saw a few deer and attempted a shot at a doe that was about 30 yards away. Unfortunately, a treelimb was in the flightpath of the arrow and redirected it away from the intended target.

After the morning hunt, we checked the status of the protein feeder/food plot area in the middle of our deer sanctuary. There were a few signs of deer around, but they still haven't started hitting the protein yet. The oats/clover mixture that we planted earlier in the fall has been grazed down quite a bit. Shane moved his trail camera to the protein feeder so hopefully we will get some deer pictures. This is a picture I took last month showing the feeder area (which we have fenced off to keep the cows out) and the oats that were beginning to come up.
Since the last few times sitting in my easternmost stand have provided shot opportunities, I decided to put my Dad in this stand on Friday evening. Once again, deer walked within bow range of this stand, but Daddy decided to pass on the shot because it was just a very small yearling doe.

I decided to hunt out of my stand behind the lake that hasn't been hunted in over a month. I didn't see any deer activity that evening, but about 4:30 a large male bobcat walked down the ridge behind me and into a clearing about 25 - 30 yards to my right. Just as I was about to draw my bow I noticed he was turning in my direction. He continued on a trail that passes almost directly under my stand. As he approached he walked behind a thicket allowing me to draw my bow undetected. When he stepped out from behind the thicket, five yards from the base of the tree I was in, I made a grunt noise to stop him and loosed the arrow. It was a perfect shot and the cat never knew what hit him. He managed to make it 15 yards before expiring.
I weighed the cat on the game hanger we have at the bunkhouse and he weighed right at 30 pounds, which is quite a bit larger than the average bobcat. I found a publication on the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website that said the average weight of an adult bobcat is 12 - 20 pounds, with the occasional older cat reaching up to 36 pounds. The largest one ever recorded in Texas weighed a little over 37 pounds.
I plan to have a lifesize mount of the bobcat made for my trophy room. I'm thinking maybe it would look good to have him mounted in a leaping position where he is swatting at a quail.
Saturday morning there was a threat of thunderstorms so my Dad and I decided to wait the storms out. So we didn't get in our stands until about 8:30 that morning. I didn't see any deer so I took the opportunity to try to take a few pictures. I think this is a Black-capped Chickadee (poecile atricapillus).

Saturday evening I saw one doe. A large grass fire had started about a mile from where we hunt earlier in the day at someone's deer camp. The wind was really strong and the fire got out of control in a hurry and ended up burning a house to the ground. Here are a couple pictures I snapped of the fire.

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