Monday, February 28, 2011

First Fresh Shed Antler of the Year

I've been out shed hunting a few times already this year and have found a number of old antlers from previous years that were faded and chalky. But last week I managed to find a really nice fresh one that had just recently dropped.

This antler was a 5-point left side with really good mass. I put the tape measure to it and it scored 55 4/8" by itself. So it would be safe to say that if the other side looked the same it would be approximately a 125" - 130" buck. Not too shabby!

But what did the other side look like? I've had trail cameras running on this property for several months and have never gotten a picture of this particular buck so I have no real way of knowing for sure what that right-side antler looks like. But earlier that same day, my friend Cliff found an antler within just a couple hundred yards of where I located this one that I think could be the match.

Take a look at that drop-tine! This picture makes them look a little different, but it is because of the way the drop tine makes the antler sit when it is rested on the floor, so the angle is a little off. But holding them together the mass, main beams, brow tines, and overall tine length match up very closely. Regardless of whether it is a match or not, we each both found a nice trophy. I'm really getting hooked on shed hunting and seem to enjoy it as much or more than hunting itself. Hopefully there will be more fresh ones discovered in the next couple of weeks before the vegetation gets too thick.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Predator Hunting

A few weeks back we had some winter weather arrive here in North Texas. We had some icy road conditions topped off with several inches of snow. To some of you that might not mean much, as you may live in an area that recieves lots of winter weather and your local road departments are prepared to clear the roads. That doesn't happen here!

When we get some substantial winter weather it pretty much shuts things down. That means my office closes as well. During this recent 4-day winter storm my friend David and I decided to go predator hunting one morning since we didn't have to work. David lives within just a mile or so from my house and he had secured permission for us to hunt on a farmer's property right next door.

David had seen the property before and informed me that there was a nice vantage point from a fairly open hillside that faces down toward a low-lying wooded area. We made the short 5-minute walk to the area and found a good place to set up at the corner of a fenceline. Once we got settled into shooting position we sat quietly for a few minutes to allow any disturbance we had made on our way in to fade away. Then I began calling with the hand-held mouth call, trying my best to imitate a rabbit in distress.

David was to my right scanning the western horizon armed with a shotgun loaded with buckshot while I was looking in a southern direction with my Remington .22-250 rifle. I had been calling approximately 30 seconds when I spotted a coyote trotting in straight for us at about 70 yards. I whispered to David, "Here comes one" and I don't think he believed me at first because it was such a quick response to the call.

The coyote closed the distance to about 35 yards and stopped. I waited for David to shoot, but the shot angle would have been a little dangerous as he would have had to shoot across the front of my body, so he opted to wait for the coyote to move. It began to move and angled off to our right and got just out of shotgun range so I hit the mouth call once again. Curiosity must have got the best of him as he stopped once again broadside looking in our direction. This time I eased the gun up, settled the crosshairs just behind the front shoulder, and squeezed off a round.

The shot was true and the coyote didn't go 30 yards. And just like that our predator hunt had been a quick success. I've always enjoyed hunting with snow on the ground and this time was no different. Seems like the animals are much easier to see with that backdrop of white on the ground. And it sure does make a blood trail easy to follow as well!

Here I am with the coyote, a pretty good-sized male with a decent coat. I ended up skinning it and plan to get the hide tanned one of these days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Recent Game Camera Pics

Well I guess it is about time that I update this blog with something. I've been extremely busy lately, so I just haven't had the time. Here are some recent game camera pictures from the protein feeder on my hunting lease. Enjoy!

This is a neat picture...check out the deer in mid-air hopping the fence!