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Posts Tagged black hills

Good (great) Friday!

This time of year we focus on our Savior’s sacrifice and what that means to our salvation. Ever think of what it means for our daily life? TIME. No more tedious preparation for time consuming rituals. We can truly take advantage of the beautiful world our Lord created for us!!!!!
We went with our good friend Jeff Harmsen to the Black Hills. His wonderful parents put us up and took very good care of us!
Jeff and Erik put some birds to bed Thursday night Friday morning we got going early and got within 60 yards of the roosting tree and set up to wait for light. Samantha nodded off with mommy while we listened to the gobblers sounding off in the twilight. Jeff and Erik each made a couple soft calls to let the birds know they had company. The toms, fortunately, were alone and when they left their bed they came right to us!! Erik was set up closer than Jeff and shot one tom which dropped like a rock. The other started in the direction of Jeff and didn’t make it but a few yards before Jeff took him. It was all over in a flash and Samantha, startled from the shots, opened her eyes to see two birds on the ground.


Posing with the guys

But it wasn’t over yet! One tag to go, so Samantha hopped on board with daddy and off we went again. We were taking a snack break at the top of a hill and listening for gobbles when Jeff prompted us to get moving. Before we took a step Erik stopped us. There was a flock of hens with a couple toms just inside the tree line in front of us. We were able to back down the hill and skirt around where we assumed the birds were heading. We topped in a spot perfectly in the path of the oncoming birds. Michelle had an open shot at one of the toms but did not get him on the ground before all the birds headed for the hills. Feeling defeated on that attempt, and not having any vocal birds in the area, we headed back to town to get a bite and wait for evening. After a delicious meal (Joyce always cooks the best food!) we headed back to the hills. The birds were so quiet, we weren’t sure if we would have another chance that day. We happened upon a lone tom, but he spied us right away. More hiking, calling and listening ensued. The crazy thing about hunting, all hunting, is it can all change in a flash! For more than an hour we walked with nothing and then not far uphill from us a gobbler sounded off and the chase was on. We worked our way in the direction of the gobble and he sounded off again. We got in position and the gobbler came and went. He was with some hens and a ghost hen was not going to draw him away. We needed to get in their path for a chance. We were in some thick oaks which helped conceal our movement but also made a clear shot difficult. The birds were milling around one small area and we moved well within shooting range, but the cover was so thick it seemed a chance to shoot would never come. Thanks to Jeff and his engaging conversation with the hens, they stuck around long enough that an open shot finally presented itself. It was a narrow one, but that’s all it takes sometimes.

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Thanksgiving Deer

Sometimes you wait all day for it and other times it happens too fast to comprehend. We really thought we messed up this morning when we miscalculated sunrise and then didn’t even hear the alarm! Upon exiting the truck seeing light in the sky, we knew we needed to race down the mountain to have a chance at an early morning stroller.
We left the truck (Chad went north and we headed south) and moved as quickly as possible down the mountain to the area where we expected some good movement this mild breezy morning. No time for taking it easy or for bathroom breaks, we arrived at the spot just after first shooting light. We had no sooner sat down on a ridge looking into a patch of oaks when Erik spotted a deer moving through left to right. Michelle had only put out a seat cushion and was opening the pack for some essential gear. She grabbed her shooting sticks and got in position, looking for an opening that the buck might pass through. There are only a few spots that allow for an open shooting lane in this area and one must be ready when a deer enters. As soon as the buck moved through one of these spots, Erik softly blew the grunt tube. The buck paused and that was all it took. As the shot rang out the buck kicked like a bronc and took off down hill into another patch of oaks. Trailing him was no issue, at the spot of impact there was a crimson trail that would have been traceable in the dark of night.

Later in the day, as Michelle lounged in the camper, Chad was also successful in tagging a buck. He had seen quite a few does and fawns and finally had a buck present a shot worth the taking.

One of the fun parts of hunting the Hills is placing trail cameras up for the duration of the season. It is amazing the wildlife that we DON’T see when we are out hunting!

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Black Hills 2011 2nd weekend

What a gorgeous weekend! It was more than 40º when each one of us got out of the truck at 5am and the wind was very slight. Back to the same spots to await and see what was in store for the day. Within a half hour of shooting light a shot rang out through the hills and Erik was sure not to miss this day! A flock of turkeys was heard fighting amongst themselves a short distance from where Erik was hunting. Within a few seconds of hearing the rucus, a herd of whitetails came running past Erik a mere 60 yards away. When the buck stopped and presented a shot Erik didn’t hesitate endind his string of misses! We were on the way home before noon with a buck in tow.


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Black Hills 2011 1st weekend

We went to the Hills on opening weekend. We often have good luck early in the season and the weather tends to be a bit more stable. This was the change from daylight savings, which always makes one nervous to wake up too late or too early to beat the light. As always in the Black Hills for whitetails, Erik and Michelle went opposite directions from the truck. Each has a great spot that always has deer moving through to cross to other feeding and bedding grounds. About a half hour after light, Michelle saw movement straight ahead about 90 yards. Instantly it was obvious it couldn’t be a deer or even a canine. The way the animal moved it was almost like it was gliding across the ridge. It was a mature (probably female) mountain lion out for an early morning hunt or heading to bed for the day. Not 5 minutes after the lioness floated by, a decent buck followed almost in her tracks- if he only knew…. The deer refused to stop in an opening when Michelle blew the grunt tube and he continued on unaware.
Within a few minutes of telling Erik about the incounter it was time for Erik to have some action. A nice buck walked into range and gave a good shot. After squeezing off a shot the buck jumped and then started walking stiff leggedly. From the trees below the buck another buck walked out and the two bucks started sizing each other up. Another shot opportunity came and another shot was taken. After the two bucks ran out of the clearing Erik made his way over to look for the buck. Nothing was found after coursing through the area for over an hour! The rest of the day was fairly uneventful for both hunters with only one other buck seen just before dark but not giving a shot opportunity. Sunday morning Erik hiked into his area and had another shot at a good buck just after daylight. After looking for sighn of a hit in the fresh snow Erik determined another miss!!!


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late season turkey blues

I expect the birds to come my way

as I sit near their roost at the break of day.


I call, they answer in my direction you see

indicating they might just come toward me.


Toms and hens fly out of the trees

landing on the ground they begin to feed.


Their heads are turned, the decision is made

sometimes those darn birds just go the other way!


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Black Hills Deer Hunting

60+ degree weather does not make for good deer hunting.  The deer are not moving much and the bucks are not into the rut.  When we checked our trail cams we were surprised that there was very little action over the last 7 days.  However, after seeing the evidence for ourselves yesterday and today we realize there IS NOT much action right now.  We can only hope for some weather this coming week to get the bucks hot- in a different way!!

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Black Hills Pre-season

We left Saturday morning to put up trail cameras on our favorite trails in the Black Hills.  It was a balmy day with no wind.  Not great hunting conditions, but pleasant weather for a leisurely stroll in the woods.  As we descended the mountain we could hear enormous flocks of whooping cranes migrating above.  Just before the spot for our first camera, we ran across a pine that had been trashed by what looks like a dandy buck.  We got our cams set and headed back to the truck to take a few practice shots with the Encore.  Michelle is excited to shoot a deer with her new toy!

One thing we learned this weekend is a person really wants to stay away from Deadwood on Halloween weekend.  We weren’t planning on staying too long anyway, but the freaks drove us away after a very short stint in town 🙂

Can’t wait to check the cameras and hunt next weekend!!

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