Trip to the hunting lease October 4 2012

Long story short, my dad and I went to the hunting lease, filled up the feeders, bush-hogged the 4 wheeler trails then went home.

Now for the rest of the story, The day started off nice and cool.  Here in southeast Texas its takes a little while for the summer heat to wear off.  It is not unusual for the first part of November to have highs in the 80s.  There have been times when I have been sitting in a deer stand on opening weekend sweating.

On October 4th fall was in the air.  A cool front had pushed through a couple of days earlier, which helped bring the temps down to a bearable level.

Dad went to the camp on October 3rd, were he spent the night.  The plans were for dad to pick me up in Jasper, then we were going to the hunting lease.

Kristy and I woke up Thursday morning, did our typical morning routine, which includes a shower, brush our teeth, then eat breakfast.  While I was eating breakfast, I called dad, he said he was running a little late.  I asked dad if he wanted Kristy to fix him some breakfast, he said sure.

Dad showed up about 45 minutes later; Kristy fixed him some sunny side up eggs the hens had laid.

After dad finished his breakfast we went to walmart in Jasper to pick up some deer corn.  I tell you what, the price of deer corn has gotten outrageous.   A few years ago corn was somewhere around $4.75 a bag, now its almost $10 a bag.

Dad bought 16 bags of deer corn.  He had 4 bags in the back of the truck, so there was a total of 20 bags to put in the deer feeders.

We left walmart and drove to the hunting lease.

Tri-pod deer stand First Stand – the stand and feeder we took care of first was my dads stand.  This is a simple tri-pod stand wrapped in a camo tarp and burlap.

About 100 yards from the stand is a deer feeder.  The feeder is 55 gallon drum on three legs, a lid to keep the rain out, and a spinner on the bottom of the drum.

Dad backed his truck up to the feeder, I stood on the bed, took the lid off, checked the corn level, then put 6 bags of deer corn in the feeder.

The 6 volt battery was a little low on its charge, so we put a new battery on the motor.  Feeders have a test setting, you push the test button for a few seconds, then there is a 10 second count-down.  The motor spins just like it would during its time to go off.

Dads stand was in rather bad shape.  The tarp was tearing in places, the boards holding the roof up had rotted through and some vines had grown up through the stand.

I climbed into the tri-pod, then used some cable ties to hold the tarp up.  Some of the rotten boards were removed.  From the looks of things, the framework will have to be reworked after this hunting season.

After we finished the stand and feeder, Dad and I drove to the top of the hill to the next feeder and stand.

Wildlife feeder and deer stand Second Stand – this stand is what we call the “hog pen stand”.  Its called that because there used to be a hog pen close to the stand.  A local man traps wild hogs, he used to have a trap on the hill top where this stand and feeder are located.

Dad backed his truck up to the feeder, I stood the edge of the bed, checked the corn level (just like the last feeder).  I think we put 3 bags in this feeder?  The battery looked good, so we did not swap it out.

From the tracks, there are deer and maybe a few hogs going to this feeder.

The hog pen stand has does and a few bucks going to it almost every year.  A few years ago I got a nice sized 9 point whitetail deer on this stand.

The stand overlooking this feeder is an old port-a potty on legs.  The base of the stand sits about 6 – 7 feet off the ground.

A few years ago the timber company who owns the land clear cut the trees.  Before the area was cut there was a wide variety of oaks and pine trees.  After clear cutting there are only a few oaks left, as the timber company only replanted pine trees.

Deer feeder on the hunting leaseThird Stand – this is what we call the “middle stand”.  Its called the middle stand because it is on a hill top between the middle stand and my brothers stand.

This feeder and stand has anywhere from 6 – 8 does going to it every year.

My daughter and I got a nice 6 point on this stand a few years ago.

My son got his first deer on this stand, a nice 6 point.

A couple of years later that same son bagged a nice 8 point that weighed 155 pounds.

Dad backed his truck up to the feeder, I stood on the tailgate and checked the corn level.  I think we put 3 bags of corn in this feeder.

The battery had a good charge, so it was not swapped out.

Once everything looked good at the middle feeder, dad and I went to the next stand, which we called “Marks stand”.

Wildlife feeder throwing corn with a box stand in the distanceFourth Stand – this stand is called “Marks stand” because my brother and his son hunts out of this one.

A few years ago I got a nice 8 point from this stand.

In 2010 my nephew got a doe on youth weekend out of this stand.

As with the other deer feeders, dad backed his truck up to the feeder, I stood on the tailgate, checked the corn level, then put the last 3 bags in.

A couple of weeks ago dad and I made a trip through these same stands, filled up the feeders, trimmed back some limbs that were blocking the view of the feeders.  By visiting in 2 week intervals, we get an ide if any deer or hogs are visiting the feeders, and how much corn the feeders are throwing.

We want the feeders set so that they will have enough corn and battery power through at least the first part of December.

Rifle season start the first weekend of November.  So we do not want to go around the feeder for the whole month of November.

Time for lunch

After filling up the feeders, it was then time to get the tractor and brush hog to clear the 4 wheeler trails.

On the way back to the camp to get the tractor and brush hog, we stopped at Lakes Area Seafood at the intersection of Farm to Market road 1007 and hwy 96.

Dad and I both ordered a cheeseburger, fries and a soft drink.  I got jalapeno peppers on my burger.

I tell you what, Lakes Area Seafood makes an awesome cheeseburger.  Just about everything there is great.

Clearing ATV trails

Clearing ATV trailsWe got to the camp, got the lowboy trailer hooked up to dads truck, then headed back to the hunting lease.

During deer season we park the trucks in a certain spot, then use 4 wheelers to reach the stands.  Sometimes I walk to the stands, but a lot of times we take an ATV.  During the summer brush grow up in the trails, and limbs grow into the trails.  The overhanging limbs slap the ATV riders, which can make for an unpleasant experience at 5 am.

Dad asked me to take a machete and clear out the trail going to makes stand.  At the same time dad was going to take a logging road to reach the other stands.  One of the stands had a bunch of bushes growing up around it.  If a deer walked out, its doubtful we could have gotten a clear shot.

So while dad was bugging the ATV trails, and around some of the feeders, I was clearing out to Marks stand.  By the time I made it 50 yards I was wore out.

One lesson I learned a long time ago, but forgot on this trip was to bring a bottle of water with me.  I was out of breath, needed a break, and needed some water.

Plastic bag used as a canteenBefore I left with dad, my wife Kristy packed me some snacks in a ziploc plastic bag.  I got the plastic bag out of my pack, got the snacks out, filled the bag up with water from a creek, then drank my fill.  Man oh man, that was some good tasting water.

After taking a short rest break, and getting a drink of water from the creek, I started clearing brush on the trail.

I was not going to have the trail cleared to Marks stand by the time dad got there.  As I heard dad getting close to Marks stand I stopped cutting brush and walked to the top of the hill.

Dad and I talked about if he could get his tractor down the hill behind Marks stand, and if he had a place to turn around.  I stayed at the tractor to catch my breath as dad walked to the bottom of the hill.

After resting for a few minutes I walked down the hill to meet up with dad.  We looked at the trail, figured out a way around a tree that had fallen across the trail, then walked back up the hill.

Dad climbed back in his tractor, fired it up, dropped the brush hog, then started clearing the path.  I let dad get a head start, then I followed behind him clearing the overhanging limbs.

Moving the ladder stand

Ladder stand overlooking creek bottomA few years ago my son and I setup a ladder stand in a location where it overlooks a creek bottom.  The problem is, the underbrush is so thick, you can only see about 15 feet.  The ladder stand just happens to be at the bottom of the hill that Marks stand is on.

When dad reached the bottom of the hill with the tractor and brush hog he asked me to go to the ladder stand and wait for him.

At the bottom of the hill there was a creek the tractor could not get through.  Instead of packing the stand, dad wanted to load it on the bush hog and take it to the top of the hill where Marks stand is at.

I walked to the ladder stand while dad drove around to the middle stand, then down an ATV trail to the ladder stand.

We took the ladder stand down, loaded it on the brush hog deck, then drove to Marks stand.

Dad picked out a tree he wanted the ladder stand on; we got the stand off the brush hog deck, set it up on the tree, trimmed back some limbs so we had a clear view of the feeder, but left limbs that would help breakup the shooters pattern.

Riding on a tractorAfter the stand was setup, we got on the tractor, I stood on the deck of the brush hog.  Dad and I drove to the truck, loaded the tractor on the lowboy trailer, then went home.

Kristy made a stew while dad and I were at the hunting lease. When dad dropped me off, we both had stew for dinner.

We got pretty much everything we needed to do taken care of.  I will probably make a trip to the lease a week or so before opening weekend to check the feeders one last time.