Little late in getting back to you, but I again had a great time in [location deleted] in mid-November. Attached is the 8 pt buck I shot after a few days. Not the greatest picture, solo hunts are not always the most conducive to good pictures. Shot him early in the morning, got him quartered and started the drive back to GA shortly thereafter. Shot him in [location deleted]; he was about the 10th buck of this size I saw over the course of 3 days. Saw a couple that I would classify as "slobs" obviously old deer, sway backs, etc... but never got them closer that 50 yards. Last year I did not shoot a deer in [location deleted]; passed on many the size I shot this year. A trophy to me none-the-less- I stopped him with a mouth bleat at 25 yards, made a double lung shot and he literally fell 25 yards from where I shot him.
Other I can only manage to see/hear in [location deleted]: 2 bucks fighting in a thicket that sounded like someone driving a pickup back and forth, knocking over timber. Did not think about it at the time, but the way they were going at it I probably could have stalked up on them. Also, for about 15 minutes one morning I had a bobcat sitting 15 yards from me on a stump, 2 bucks fighting behind me in some cedar trees and another buck chasing does in circles. This is really the stuff I get a kick out of.
On the downside, I did come across a road-hunted buck. My curiosity got to me when I saw some vultures and crows obviously on something about 75 yards off the road. When I walked up I found a very large bodied deer with its head cut off. There were truck tracks going up to the area. I subsequently saw a County Sheriff in the area and he mentioned that he had someone they suspected of road hunting, in addition to some drug trafficking. I wish I had my own "robo-deer"... he'd shoot back.
I could not be happier with joining MAHA. While it is not for everyone, even with one trip a year to [location deleted] for deer hunting (for now) it is definitely a tremendous value. Keep up the great work on the updates page, I look at it frequently, it always brings a smile to my face.
Take care, Rhett
For the rest of us this hunter not only travels on a limited schedule, he is an active duty military officer. With his time constraints he shows the rest of us there is little excuse not to enjoy life.
Been meaning to shoot you a note for a while. Attached is the deer I stuck last fall in [location deleted] county- was a meeting engagement. I was walking into a ground blind about 2 PM and he showed up through some cedars- all I had time to do was take a knee behind a tree. He went down about 200 yds away- at the bottom of a draw. I was kicking myself for not buying a deer cart. About 18” inside spread, 8 pt’er.
No luck in [location deleted] Cty on turkeys last weekend- not for lack of birds though. Had one tom in range but he never quite got clear of some hens. No problems getting them to gobble throughout the day.
OK didn't get a monster, but he was the 8th or 9th one I saw yesterday. He was at the smaller end of the spectrum. He came in, left, then came back. 20 yd shot, arrow passed thru both lungs and stuck in the dirt; buck fell about 20 yds from where I hit him. Think he's the ninth deer I've taken with bowhunting in 12 years; only the third buck though. Due to my "aide-gig" I was looking at my last deer hunting days for a while. Have just enough to do over the weekend that it'd interfere with deer hunting, but bird hunting is still doable. Might try this same area for pheasants or jump-shoot some ducks/geese (the pond on [deleted] was holding a bunch of geese/ducks the other morning). Was set-up in [deleted] - almost no trees. As you profess, the deer are not in the big woods. That piece of ground is very deceptive - deer are moving thru there all day. Hey, what do I owe for another year - can I go ahead and pay it now?
Take care - Rhett
John & Jon-
Just wanted to take a minute to tell you how satisfied I am with my first year of membership in the Association. You have delivered what you advertise - quality hunting ground. With a job that keeps me on the move, I am confident that I can make the most efficient use of my limited hunting opportunities.
Not expecting much success the first year, I was delightfully surprised my first venture out: a pheasant hunt/scouting trip. With my well meaning, but semi-trained golden retriever, was able to take a few roosters. But what really struck me was the sheer number of birds, and even better, the fact I did not see another person the entire day! Not that I am anti-social, but crowded hunting is something I'd rather do without.
I continued to scout properties in early spring. Having the advantage of thousands of acres of MAHA land within a 1-2 hour drive, I set out to see as much of it as possible. Venturing out on 200 miles jaunts with the maps in hand and seeing what's available. After a few scouting trips I was certain I was looking at quality land. But what I have realized after a year of membership is that some of the land I thought was "bird land," really turns out to be great deer and turkey land. ..it's hard to break of the habit of going to the "big woods".
Some of the most consistent turkey hunting I found was a mere strip of woods While I only bagged one gobbler, it was not for lack toms. I told myself I'd take one with a shotgun, after that - bow only. The challenge of bow hunting turkeys in a relatively open area was a great experience I look forward to next spring. I learned as kid that it is not always best to measure hunting success by what you bag. Guess some would say this is the mantra of an unsuccessful hunter, but I'm a heckuva lot better turkey hunter and caller after the experience.
With work keeping me more than occupied, I was worried about the time I'd be able to spend in the woods bowhunting whitetail's. My earlier hunting and scouting in the year really paid off when it came to finding deer. The "deer highways" I found earlier in the winter and early spring did not let me down. While I did not take a wall-hanger, the 8-pt I shot wasn't exactly considered a slouch when I showed the photo to others. But this is a matter of perspective - they did not see some of the monsters I saw on MAHA land this past fall. I also know they did not see more bucks than does on hunts - as I did on a couple occasions. It has been a long time since I've seen as many deer, behaving naturally, as I saw this season. I look forward to testing some of what I learned through observation this past fall during next year's bow season. If you see a guy in a lone tree, on a 160-acre patch of ground, next fall - that's me and there's a darn good reason I'm there.
I could continue, but I think you get the point: I am a satisfied customer. Keep up the great work on land selection. Do not stray from the principle that guides the Association - to provide darn good hunting land to sportsman. If I wanted a guide I'd pay $3000 - just give me the land and I can get the rest done.
Shot this buck yesterday at 1133. He came charging in after a little rattling and grunting. I shot him at 20 yds, arrow went through both lungs and stuck in the dirt on the backside. I watched him run about 50 yds then I could not see him, but heard a ruckus that sounded like him hitting the ground. Lung fragments on the arrow and the bright blood confirmed a good shot, but I still wanted to give him some time. After a walk to the truck for some lunch I headed back and started following the blood trail. He dropped in some cedars and 3' high grass, so I could not just walk directly to him. As I'm crouched down, straddling the blood trail I heard a little yip. I listened some more and then heard what sounded like chewing/tearing... I'll bedamned if 2 coyotes were not already working on the deer. They were cross wind from me so they could not smell me, but as I popped around a couple cedars I saw them there feasting... the time was 1:01, an hour and a half since I shot the deer. They basically chewed off his right shoulder. I've never seen coyotes get to work so quick on downed game. I know the buck expired pretty quick and I gave him more time than needed, but still a prudent amount. Smaller rack than I guessed, but larger body than a couple other bucks I saw earlier in the day. As you can see by the picture I have a 5 year old that was pretty excited to see the deer... Thanks Rhett, good to see the little guy coming up.
...Buck #2 for the year in the picture. Was hunting in [location deleted] on Saturday, nice area. Deer was an 8, but has a broken tine on the right side, it also looked like he had been hit in the hind quarter at some point by a bow hunter earlier in the season...
Thanks Rhett. For the rest of us Rhett is an active duty Army officer that finds value in his Association whenever in the USA.
From the early season
... I was in the woods the morning this photo was taken, just at a different stand. I have a stand about 15 yds from the rub you see in the photo. I put the stand in the area before the rub was opened up...