I am glad to say we got all of our fall food plots planted before the rain. We planted 13 acres of oats and some clover. We had been going through a drought so we watched the weather closely and once we saw rain in the forecast, we immediately rushed and got our plots planted. Sure enough, it rained and we have gotten over 4 1/2 inches. Our oats and clover should be up and hopefully the deer will be attracted to it.
The above animated photo was taken from my trail camera as we got our food plot ready to plant. I found it interesting and I wanted to include it in this update.
2010-2011 Georgia Buck Free Pass List
Monday, September 27th, 2010
Now these bucks are some of our deer on our do not shoot list. These bucks like our shooter bucks are the most impressive list we have ever had. Now most of these have not earned a name yet and I have them in no particular order. Now if they can survive another year and grow at least 25 inches of bone next season, we will be in business for next season.
2010-2011 Georgia Buck Hit List
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
It looks like we had another great antler growing season according to our trail cameras. This is our hit list for the upcoming season for our Georgia club. Remember our club QDM goals is to shoot mature bucks which we consider 3 1/2 years old or older.
2. Crab 10
3. Slant Brow 9
4. Sling Shot
5. Mr. Potential
6. No Brow Jr.
7. Larry Buck
8. Slick 8
9. 3 Legged
10. Firetower 10
So this is our hit list which is the most impressive list we have ever had. But what about the deer we did not get pictures of or the ones chasing does outside their home range during the RUT? We still have a few 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 year olds that are unaccounted for. Thinking about all of these bucks will get you excited about the season.
PlotWatcher – Time-Elapse HD Video Camera Review
Monday, September 20th, 2010
I started using trail cameras about 6 years ago. At that time, trail cameras were just starting to change from film to digital. I struggled with the early cameras due to hardware and software inefficiencies and just the fact that this technology was so brand new. Over the past few years as the cameras improved, I have built up an arsenal of 11 cameras. As you have read on my site, I have deployed my cameras in many ways and I consider myself more than a novice when using them.
A few months ago, I saw a well known game biologist using a top end trail camera (~$600) to take time elapse photos of a field in order to figure out where and when the turkeys were moving. I was unaware of time elapse capable cameras and I was quickly impressed by it. I personally cannot afford that brand of camera so I let the thought pass.
Then later that week I saw a forum post on Chasingame.com Website (my favorite trail camera review site) that was talking about the new Plot Watcher by Day 6 (View their Website).
Shown below are some photos of this camera. Photos are from the Chasingame.com Website.
The PlotWatcher camera is a time elapse camera that costs around $200. Needless to say, I was impressed and I emailed them for a demo to test and write about on my Website. Rich, one of the owners, sent me one and was quick to point out that their camera is not meant to replace trail cameras but instead compliment it with a different type of data intelligence gathering for a hunter. He also pointed out that most of us use these tools to try to be more successful in our hunting ventures and this is another tool to help increase our odds if used correctly.
With this in mind, I started thinking about how I could us the PlotWatcher. The most obvious usage is to determine when and where deer are entering food plots. This could be handy in determining where to hang a stand and what time to hunt it. Also, it can tell you what kinds of deer are feeding in that area.
Next, I determined that I could use it the same way for turkeys. More and more people, including me, are using their trail cameras for scouting turkeys. In my opinion, the PlotWatcher might be better suited for this than trail cameras; especially in the spring when turkeys are doing their mating rituals in wide open areas.
Then, a few days later, I received a phone call about trespassers joy riding ATVs on one of our leases. Then it hit me to hang a PlotWatcher up in a tree to try to catch them. We are making preparations to try this idea and I am hoping for success. I will update you guys if we are successful in this new hunting venture.
So, with all these case uses in mind, I started to testing the camera. Now my review is not as in depth as Chasingame.com Website. These guys dissect everything, down to the nuts and bolts. Click here to read their Full Review on this camera. My review is from a general user using this product to determine the best ways to deploy it in the field.
The PlotWatcher uses 4 AA batteries and a USB thumb drive. I went out and bought an 8 gb drive (Verbatim Store’n'Go) for my test based on their recommendation. Day 6 has determined that certain drives use high speed data write technology to maximize battery performance (View their recommended USB drives).
Important Note: My luck stands true with new gear, and the 8 Gb USB drive that I bought from Office Max was defective and would not work correctly in the camera. Rich and their computer guy (Michael) helped me debug the system till I figured out it was the USB drive. I swapped the broken one for a new one and everything worked like advertised. These guys went over and above to help trouble shoot my problem.
You can configure the PlotWatcher either by turning the dial located inside the camera or you can custom configure it by using their software and writing the files to the USB drive. They have 6 different default time settings or you can custom designate the time using their software. I chose to test mine on 5 and 10 seconds all day. When I say all day, the camera only works during daylight hours. When it gets five dark photos, it shuts off for the night. It also can be programmed to shut down during the middle of the day when animal movement is minimal to increase battery life.
Now that I had the PlotWatcher ready to go, I ran a series of tests. You can place the camera in a monopod stick mount that comes with the camera or you can fasten it to a tree with the included straps. Since my hunting lease is located around a bunch of outlaws where a few of our trail cameras have been stolen, I decided to come up with a way to secure the Plot Watcher. I came up with the ole baking pan, couple of holes, and a good python cable as shown below in the photos. I then attached it to the tree. Maybe this will slow down any potential thief.
The actual PlotWatcher camera is only half of the system. Day 6 includes viewing software to assist you in viewing the daily clips in a speedy fashion. With this software you can view the photos like a video at different speeds. You can look at a whole day’s video in a few minutes. They even include a search function that can find animals in the photos. This feature actually worked better than I thought. It senses changes in one photo from the next and stops to display the change. Also, with this software you are able to download photos and videos of certain events. Shown below are a few screenshots of the software from the Chasingame.com Website.
I have compiled a video that consists of setting up the camera, my actual game shots, and their software in action that you can view below.
I am totally impressed with the PlotWatcher and I want to thank Rich for allowing me to try it out. I am going to keep my demo units and I have them currently deployed on my hunting lease. Stay tune for more clips because I am sure there are going to be some interesting video caught by this new innovative camera system.
Opening Weekend of Bow Season in GA
Saturday, September 18th, 2010
Opening weekend for Georgia bow has come and gone. I knew I was in for a hot and dry time due to the fact that the weekend before we had perfect cooler weather for our Labor Day dove shoot. Oh well. I knew this ahead of time and boy was it HOT!
As normal, hunting in the mornings during this time did not yield any deer encounters. I saw all my deer late in the evening, right before dark.
Now I was excited to use my camera and camera arm for the first time. Let me confess, I questioned myself a few times about why I was videoing with all the setup time and additional weight of the equipment. I determined quickly that it is a commitment. Every time I set it up and filmed, I got better and more confident.
I compiled a video of all my encounters and I have included it below. Remember this is my first time using this equipment so I am still raw in the quality. It was good practice.
The first encounter was a decent sized doe that was coming to what was left of my devastated food plot. I thought I was going to get a shot but something spooked her. I think it was either the adjacent neighbor or a coyote or some type of predator.
The next encounter was with 2 fawns that barely had their spots. Watching them eat quickly proves how deer can clean out a food plot. It looks like I am going to have to put an electric fence around it next year.
The last encounter was with a yearling doe. Her 4 point brother was in the food plot above the one I was hunting. She acted like she wanted to come in where I was but she also wanted to stay with her brother. At one time I had about a 45 yard shot but decided not to push it and I let her go. She would have been perfect jalapeno hamburger meat in the freezer but my gut said not to push it and risk a bad shot.
Enjoy the videos and hopefully I will have more in the future. Maybe next time the video will be more exciting.
Meet Next Year’s Big Buck – “Stud”
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
We first got a picture of this 1 1/2 year old 10 pointer last year and we were blown away by how much antlers he had for such a young buck. These photos shown below are taken in the 2009-2010 season.
When we first got his photo this year, it was no doubt that it was him now a year older. We nicknamed him the “Stud” due to his future potential. Hopefully, we can keep him on our property and he will stay out of trouble. I can only dream of what he will look like next year (3 1/2) and the year after (4 1/2).
How to Make YOUR Own Tree Stand Safety System
Monday, September 13th, 2010
The new Hunters Safety System (HSS) commercial hits home why you should have some type of safety system when you are in a tree stand. Click below to watch the commercial.
When I started bow hunting again, I decided that I need to be safe when I was up a tree; especially, since I am the sole provider for my family. So I bought a HSS vest and I liked it. I strapped it around the tree once I had climbed up. I thought I was safe. Then I read an article about tree stand accidents and learned that most falls happen when climbing up or down from the stand. I thought about it and realized my safety solution was inadequate.
Then one day I saw a safety system where the hunter strapped to a rope at the base of the stand and then climbed the stand while pushing the safety system up as they climb. So I got on the Internet and found a knot tying Web site and figured out to produce such a system. I am going to show you what we use in our bow stands. One more thing to note; I figured this out before HSS started selling a complete solution for around $40. My way is a lot cheaper but you have to tie the knots and put it together yourself.
Here are the steps:
1. First thing you need is to cut the guide wire out of a good quality rope that has a safe working load of at least 300 pounds. I cut mine 18 to 19 foot long. My theory on length is to make it as high as your stand. Use a lighter to singe the ends of your cut rope and keep it from unraveling.
2. Next you need a strap to connect around the tree. If you do not have a tree strap, you can make a strap out of rope to connect to your guide rope or use a ratchet strapped to itself. All new tree stands come with a safety harness which includes a tree strap. So, if you have bought some new stands in the past few years, you have a tree strap already.
3. Now, tie the guide rope to a carabiner using a figure 8 knot. Photo from Real Knots
4. You can then connect the guide rope to your tree strap using the carabiner.
5. Finally, you will need to make a prussic knot. The prussic knot is attached to the guide rope where it travels up and down and your safety vest or belt is attached to it. Photo from Adventures to the Edge
6. Now all you need is some type of safety vest or harness to attach to it.
Shown below are pictures of this system installed on one of our bow stands.
Tied off at the base with the Prussic Knot showing.
Tree strap at the top
Here is video of me using it to get up to my stand.
No excuses. Make your own and be safe.
Saturday, September 11th, 2010
We have had our lease for 6 years and I have only seen one other set of triplet fawns and that was 3 years ago. BUT, we have a set this year as shown below in the photos. Now that proves how good of a mother a white-tailed doe is to provide for three hungry mouths and keep them safe from predators and other dangers. She looks in good shape to be nursing 3 fawns.
Bucks Rubbing Out of Velvet
Friday, September 10th, 2010
This is the first year I was able to get some rubout trail camera photos of bucks. These 2 bucks rubbed out at about the same time of around September 1st. Now I do have some other bucks that have not rubbed out yet as of September 4th. It is interesting how Mother Nature kicks in to make them feel like rubbing the velvet off.
Buck Named: Stud
Buck Named: Mr. Potential
3 Legged Buck
Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Any whitetail deer hunter knows how tough deer can be from wounds, to all other types of injuries. Now I have witnessed a 3 legged deer a few years ago on a trail camera photo but his fourth leg had been broken from most likely an automobile hit and was bent up under his body. Last week, I got photos of a buck that has his leg completely missing. You can see the stub where it is supposed to be. Now the debate is whether he was born that way, or did it fall off due to some type of injury? I am guessing that he was born that way since the stub is clean looking. Kind of like what you would see from other of God’s creatures that were born without a limb. I have a video below of the multiple trail camera photos I got to show you that he has really good movement on 3 legs. I have not seen him in the woods but I would bet anyone if you saw 2 deer running and one was him and the other had 4 legs, you would not be able to tell which one had the impairment. You never know what you are going to get on a trail camera.