Thursday, September 30, 2010

SYC Deer Hunt

Last weekend was the annual deer hunt held by the Special Youth Challenge Ministries of Northwest Iowa. I got to participate again this year as one of the hunting guides and was once again blessed by the experience. If you aren't familiar with SYC, they are a non-profit ministry devoted to sharing the love of Christ to physically-challenged youth and their families. Through the efforts of a multitude of volunteers, SYC is able to offer opportunities for these kids to get out into the woods and hunt deer. It is an outstanding ministry and I'm blessed to be a part of it!

The weekend kicked off Friday evening with a banquet-style dinner where each of the hunters were introduced to the audience.

The event also featured a speaker who shared a message from God's word. This year's speaker was Blake Mattocks who is an associate pastor at Faith Bible Chapel in Denver, Colorado. Blake shared what God had put on his heart on several occasions throughout the weekend and did a fantastic job of conveying the message that the Christian life is not about "Religion", but rather about a "Relationship" with Jesus Christ.

Also at the banquet, each of the hunters who had harvested a turkey at the Spring Turkey Hunt held earlier this year were presented their fan mounts. Here is my hunter, Zach Olson from Minnesota, with his trophy bird.

Saturday was the first day of the actual hunt, and I was again paired up with Zach and fellow guides Greg Somers and Josh Nelson. We didn't see anything Saturday morning, but 9-year old Connor from Green Bay, Wisconsin was successful in harvesting his first deer - a nice 8-point buck.

Saturday evening we saw a couple does, but they never provided Zach with a shot opportunity.

But Sunday morning proved to be different. We had a doe come in to within about 25 yards of the stand and Zach made a perfect shot with the 20-guage slug to bring the deer down. Congratulations on making an awesome shot, Zach! Here are a couple pictures from the field right after the harvest.

Here is a picture of Zach with his deer back at camp along with myself, Greg and Josh.

There were a total of 28 hunters at this event and 13 got a deer. That's a pretty good success ratio!

The event was once again an all-around huge success in many aspects. Lives were changed, friends were made, and God's Word was preached. I encourage you to visit the SYC website at today and see what it is all about!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 Dove Season

I've been fortunate to have had several good dove hunts since the season opened on September 1st. Here is a quick recap:

For opening day I was invited to hunt a special piece of property just a few miles from my house with a group of about 18 guys. I got seven birds that morning, and I think everyone in the group did just as good or better. Unfortunately I was in a hurry to get to work, so I didn't get to take a group picture from that hunt.

On the first Saturday after the season started we had one of our workdays that we have each year at our hunting lease, and we were also able to get in a decent hunt that morning. The five of us got 18 birds.
(Back: Brad Black, Myself, Carter Morris; Front: Ben Hangartner, Scott Jordan-My Dad)

The following weekend we had a group hunt at our lease and had several guest hunters join us as well. It was a great time of fellowship and we were able to kill a bunch of birds. On the morning this picture was taken, the group killed 71 birds. We grilled them up for lunch that day by stuffing them with a jalepeno pepper and wrapping them in bacon. It doesn't get much better than that!
(Back row: David, Matt, Lance; Middle row: Carter, Brad, Myself, Ben; Front
row: My Dad, Jason)

With archery deer season starting up this Saturday, more than likely my dove season is just about wrapped up, as I will focus the majority of my efforts on being in a tree stand. I'm really excited about this deer season and hopefully will have some more pictures and stories to post on here soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Young 10-Point

I got a picture of a young 10-point on one of my game cameras this past week and I have been trying to look at some of my pictures from last year to figure out exactly which deer this is. I like to watch the progression their antlers make from year to year, and a good way to do this is by looking at game camera pictures of the animal. Here is one of the pictures from this year:

I'm pretty sure this is a 2.5 year old deer, as he looks young in the picture. I found this picture I had from last year that I think is this same deer at the age of 1.5. The similarities I'm noticing in the pictures from last year to this year are the G-2's that are shorter than the G-3's, and the brow tines are really short making me think this is the same deer. If it is the same buck, he went from an 8-point last year to a 10-point this year.

Here is a closer look from the front from last year as well as this year:

This is an example of a buck that would have been protected under the 13" antler restrictions last year. This year he appears to be a little wider than that, but I hope he is able to survive another season or two and reach maturity. I'd like to see what a couple more years would do for this buck's antlers.

A fun way to keep track of these deer from year to year (especially when you hunt with a group of people on the same property) is to name the deer based on some kind of characteristic that deer has. I haven't thought of a name for this one yet, but it will probably have something to do with those short brow tines.

Even though this is just a small buck you can see a difference in what another year of age can do for their antlers. You will never have big bucks on your property if you shoot the young ones before they can mature.