Well, just got back from hunting Meigs county OH yesterday. I'm up in PA for Thanksgiving visiting family and friends. I'm hijacking a connection at a friends house as we speak!
I spent from 11/13 until 11/22 hunting OH with fellow ATer DJ aka snoopy. My hats off to him and his parents, absolutely some of the nicest people I've ever met. They were incredibly generous and accomodating, I just never expected such hospitality. We all had some great conversations, and his dad is a big time rabbit hunter and has some awesome beagles...apparently some of the best in the area if not the state! I never knew much about rabbit hunting, and was surprised to see all that was involved and how sneaky those rabbits can be. Some great stories and great post hunt evenings with dinner and conversation! Man, missing them already! I had an incredible time just being out there, having such an opportunity to hunt those open hardwoods of OH. Absolutely beautiful and great to apply some aerial and topo tech to hunting out there.
It was a very, very tough week of hunting with the rut being super slow. DJ has hunted this property growing up and you can see the trails deer have used for years and years and how his proven spots *should* have been perfect ambushes. Interestingly, this year the deer didn't stick to those patterns and were very sporadic in their movements...so much that DJ was just baffled never having seen such a shift in their movements with deer bedding and traveling in very non traditional locations. Not much chasing or heavy rutting, and random seeking/chasing one day and then silence the next 2 or 3. Totally a hit or miss situation, and in talking with his local friends and fellow bowhunters, it seemed to be the case all around.
One of the most exciting hunts was the very first. We had power scouted the area in the morning of 11/14 and then quickly set up stands midday for an evening hunt. Then off for some lunch and quick showers and we were in the stands. I was hunting a mega scrape line with some HUGE rubs, one of which was like a thigh size cedar blazed for 4 feet in height. I knew it had to be a brusier and soon discovered he indeed was. About 5:00PM I hit the Primos can and heard some footsteps shortly thereafter. Getting ready and peering over to the source of the noise, I saw a nice rack coming and stopping about 45-50 yards out. At first I was thinking, "man, this is the FIRST night, am I really going to shoot already? I just got here. This has to be a pretty good buck for me to shoot right now." Well, then he closed the distance another 10 yards and stepped into an opening facing me and stopped, turned his head and all I saw was a HIGH and WIDE rack. I knew instantly, I was shooting if he gave me the opportunity, but he never did. He took another step and looked and looked, then just didn't like the situation but was determined to get to the other side of the ridge. Instead of coming down the rubline and the trail that would have given me an awesome 25 yard shot, he skirted down the ridge 30 yards or so and passed in front of me at 50-60 yards or so then hooked right back up and out of range. Man what a monster, and the first thought that came to mind was..."I hope every day turns out like this, man hunting OH seems so much easier than NJ!".
Well, that was the most inaccurate thought I could have had because the hunting got harder, and we tried to offset it by hunting harder but just couldn't get lucky. DJ and I hung 6 cams on the property and got some pics of some good bucks, but not the monster I saw the first night or another nice 8 or 10 I saw.
There was this 8 pointer that showed up to tease me the first morning I din't hunt this stand but opted another. Showed up at a convenient 9:30AM and is standing right in a mock scrape I made. You can actually see my stand in the background up the ridge.
Then there was this buck with some WICKED brow tines. Like 8-9 inch double and triple brow tines. I had him on the cam sniffing the mock around 12AM and DJ had him on his cam (before hanging a stand) at 8:30AM. He then went in to hang a stand and bumped this buck across out in front of me at 60-70 yards. What a buck, man we would have loved a shot at him but he disappeared after that bump.
DJ also has pics of a nice wide 8, probably a upper 120 to 130ish buck. Not bad, but the way things were going, certainly a shooter for us!
I recognized a travel pattern after seeing the third buck and various does cross a common ridge point that adjoined two others but was lower in the ravine I was hunting. I moved my stand and hunted it the next 3 days but no shooters came by. I did take a doe out of that stand the 2nd hunt, and called in a 4 pointer from wayyyyyyyyyy down the ridge on the final morning. Too bad he wasn't a bigger buck, he offered me a great 20 yard quatering away shot!
But in the end, it just wasn't meant to be this time. But no matter, I had just an awesome time out there and hope to go back sometime soon. DJ told me he is hoping to draw a Montana elk tag next year and as much as I'd like to see him get it, I won't mind if he doesn't and we wind up in OH again!
Thanks again DJ, to both you and your parents for a fantastic week of hunting the beautiful state of OH. I really couldn't have asked for a better time and sure hope we can do it again!
Now onto NJ gun seasons, and winter bow in January. It's been a tough season with a slow and spotty rut in the areas I've hunted. Hopefully things will turn around and some bucks will start crossing both our paths!