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Deer Hunting:

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My first hunt
                  for deer!
2014 - 2015
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2016 - 2017
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2017 - 2018
My fifth deer
2018 - 2019
My sixth deer
2019 - 2020

2015-2016:  My Second Deer Season!
Alabama only this time...

Click on the hunting event below to jump to the corresponding place on this page:

Weekend #1: Friday, November 27, 2015

Weekend #2:  Saturday, December 19, 2015

Weekend #3:  Friday, January 1, 2016

Weekend #4:  Saturday, January 16, 2016

Weekend #5:  Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekend #6:  Saturday, January 30, 2016

(see bottom of this page for zones)

First weekend:  November 27 & 28

No luck getting anything!
Nonetheless, here are some photos, very detailed, due to this being a first at this location...

first day, Friday, November 27:

Both Tim and I getting ready to hunt:
Mark ready to
                  hunt 1
                    ready to hunt 2 Tim ready to
                  hunt 1
                    ready to hunt 2
I am leaving my home in Norcross
Here, I am half-way to the frog pond where the platform is located
Tim getting stuff out of his truck
Tim ready to snag any deer that comes across the field

View of me on the platform and through my Leupold rifle scope:
on platform 1 on platform 2

through scope 1 through scope 2
First hunting selfie;
shows view behind me
Second selfie;
I try not to make a habit of this
Platform photo one week
earlier; shows how high up
View through reticle
This gives better idea of
target acquisition

View from my platform as time wore on this evening-only hunt:
pic6 pic7
3:28 p.m. CST 4:43 p.m. CST 5:00 p.m. CST 5:25 p.m. CST 5:38 p.m. CST 5:48 p.m. CST 5:59 p.m. CST

The platform is just next to the Frog Pond; no deer showed Friday evening.

Next day, Saturday, November 28:
I first used the blind at Tim's former location in the morning
and then I used the platform on Saturday evening, but both were to no avail.

The intended second weekend, December 11 & 12, was too warm!
...but I have some night photos of this 8-pointer (taken early evening, December 13): 

8-pointer 1 8-pointer 2 8-pointer 3
5:52 p.m. CST  12/13
5:54 p.m. CST  12/13 5:56 p.m. CST  12/13

running daytime buck
This color photo was taken 7:04 a.m. CST November 24, 2015.

At this point, this is the only day-time shot I have of this 8-pointer, or any buck, for that matter!
These photos were near the field, but he has been seen (and video recorded) at both trail cameras.
He is the one buck which I really want to get the most!

Discovered January 20:  I just noticed that I have video of a 10-pointer!
(I thought it was an 8-pointer until more careful inspection.)

Night time video of a ONE-TIME 10-pointer buck!
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

WOW!!!  A 10-pointer...

(immediately before breeding season)

Second weekend:  December 19 & 20

No luck getting anything!
It's COLD in them thar woods!
It's COLD in them thar woods!

The only mammal I saw was on December 20, and it was a either a gray wolf or a large coyote.
This was the second coldest outing.  The coldest was yet to come.

Tim hunted in the blind while I was on the tower platform.
He sa
w no deer either.

                hunted in this blind

The future permanent blind will be at the base of the taller trees towards the left.

Following this event...
It rained like hell around Christmas and then got SO WARM afterwards!!
Not many photos or videos were obtained from the trail cameras during this time.
Some does came out to feed, but all bucks remained absent.

Third weekend:  January (2016) 1, 2, & 3

No luck getting anything!
However...  The abnormal spike buck did show on Saturday morning, January 2.
cull2 cull3 cull4
These photos of this abnormality were taken December 13 & 14, 2015.
This strange buck showed up behind me Saturday at 7:20 a.m. CST
while two big ugly dogs were chasing it.  I recognized him from the trail cameras.
He was running fast!  I could hear his heavy footfalls coming from behind.
Tim wavered over the radio at giving me permission to take out the bad (and illegal) dogs.

Early on, I actually was advised by a friend at work to cull this bad boy and
then I
would have had him
if I was angled differently on the platform!
Not having a swivel seat and having two interfering dogs certainly did not help.

According to the article "Deer in the 11th Hour" [page 21] of
Alabama Game & Fish magazine:
"Bucks start going into rut during the first week in January and continue
rutting through early February.  The rut typically peaks around the
second to third week of January, usually around Jan. 20.
Let me tell you--I was counting on that!!!

Fourth weekend:  January 16(Saturday-only hunt)
No luck getting anything!
...but some GOOD news: 
I have video of the 8-point buck and other bucks in the DAYTIME!

My first COLOR daytime video of the 8-pointer buck!
Wednesday, January 5, 2016

Additionally, at about 9:45 a.m. Central on Saturday, I heard a loud snort at about 8 o'clock position
from where I was facing on my platform; the unseen buck move to my 7 o'clock position and went away.
I suspect that he either saw me move or smelled me and played cautious.

It was very foggy (ideal for deer) in the morning, but it burned off at exactly 9:24 a.m.
northwestern view frog pond, foggy morning
northwestern view frog pond, clear afternoon
view of north at frog pond, foggy morning view of north at frog pond, clear afternoon
Northwest, 6:33 a.m. CST Northwest, 2:52 p.m. CST North, 6:33 a.m. CST North, 2:52 p.m. CST

It rained on Thursday, adding to an already saturated pond,
thereby flooding the area under my platform.
So, Tim and I went shopping for something to get to the platform more safely.
stepping stones
                  at Walmart
stepping stones
                  placed under platform
Tim bought four of these pavers at Walmart
I placed them in the best positions to avoid mud

What I determined from the trail cameras after this trip
was that RUT had already come and gone due to
bucks no longer coming out in the day time.

*** Rut appeared to be from the first to second week of January
We will HAVE to time our future outings to be right after New Years.

Due to a varmint invasion...
raccoon invasion
...we had to set a trap!
a box trap
              for raccoon with peanut butter bait
Even with a peanut butter jar as bait, the raccoons were too smart for us.

Fifth weekend:  January 23 (Saturday-only hunt)

No luck getting anything!

I arrived on a bitter cold and snowy and blustery Friday evening, too late to hunt.
Tim came later and we both settled into the huntin' shack for the evening.
                    night in Roanoke, Alabama
                    attempt to stay warm!
I had the air mattress; camouflage, of course!
Tim had a cot that he got from Gander Mountain.

The propane heater was awesome.
It was also a necessity.

The trail camera showed my 8-pointer at the frog pond just six hours prior.
Another video of the elusive 8-pointer buck just 6 hours before I arrived!
Friday, January 22, 2016

It rained very heavily in Alabama and Georgia on Wednesday and Thursday,
making the entire 40 acres filled with puddles everywhere.
The ground under the platform was flooded deeper than the week before and
the staked-down blind was uprooted and destroyed by 25-MPH winds overnight.

          after rain 1   flooding after
          rain 2
At least I have something to step on, now...

sit directly on
            the platform
My perch on top of the platform

 Tim and I wasted our time as both trail cameras showed no deer the whole time we were there.
In fact, no animals [except cardinals and sparrows and hawks] showed Friday and Saturday.
No raccoons were caught in the trap, either.
This was our coldest venture on the property due to unrelenting heavy winds.

Sixth weekend:  January 30 & 31

No luck getting anything, EITHER! 
Very disappointing after all time and money spent.

This was at the very least, a learning experience.
We will no longer be so much in the open for the 2016-2017
Our method, next time, is to incorporate natural cover.

 I arrived the evening of Friday, the 29th, but decided to rest and hunt the next day (the 30th).
Tim arrived mid morning of Saturday, the 30th and hunted in a replacement ground blind he purchased.

2:46 a.m. CST  01/30/2016
Deer party before the last
weekend of the season!

6:14 a.m. CST  01/30/2016
I swear, this one either
saw or heard me coming.

6:16 a.m. CST  01/30/2016
I (pulling sled) missed her
by only 2 minutes!

10:52 a.m. CST  01/30/2016
Tim and I, frustrated by lacking results,
go for a late breakfast.
10:52 a.m. CST  01/30/2016
It was already getting warm for the day,
and at this point had jumped 23˚F!

10:53 a.m. CST  01/30/2016
We may hunt in those trees
(upper right) next season.

Tim called it quits Saturday evening, but I stayed on through very late afternoon on Sunday, 1/31.
As I was dragging my equipment that Sunday, I was already planning for a new spot to hunt.

Rather than have a blind out in the open, we were going to build a permanent blind in cover.
This new area would be about 50 yards north of where Tim hunted.
It will overlook the sloping meadow into open areas in the northern part of the pine grove.

Additionally, a new tree stand may go in the southern part of the pine grove.

This second season was disappointing, but we are NOT giving up!
There is simply too much invested in this foray.


Alabama Zones, Seasons, and Limits
Randolph County (Roanoke, Alabama)
...is located in Zone A
Deer Zones in Alabama 2015-2016 season
Alabama Regulations
for white-tailed deer (2015-2016)

Antlered Bucks
Stalk Hunting Only, No Dogs
Zone A:  January 16 through January 31
Zone B:  January 26 through February 10

Antlered Buck Limit
One per day, for a maximum of three during all combined seasons. One of the three must have at least 4 antler points 1� or longer on one antler (except Barbour County).

I was able to clarify that the above means that for example, when two bucks have been culled which may have had few points on both sets of antlers,
the third and final buck absolutely should have that required 4 antler points on one antler.  Otherwise, the regulations, simply stated, were not too clear on when and which the requirement applied.

Unantlered Deer
Privately Owned or Leased Land Only
Zone A:  November 21 through January 31
Zone B:  November 21 through November 30
               -and- December 11 through February 10

Unantlered Deer Limit
One per day for all seasons.

By the fourth outing/weekend, I began to use the above to plan the rest of the season, yet without results.

Even my daughter got into the spirit of things during the fall of 2015...

hunting practice

This photo was taken October 26, 2015.
 Olivia borrowed the class mascot, Hootie, from Pre-K and took him on an imaginary hunt!
The elusive ten-pointer, was her plush white-tail deer, Bucky.

is meticulously developed and proudly hosted by:
Mark Gainey
2015-2016, Mark Gainey