3 day kinda live hunt near home

np307

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882
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North Carolina
I love the West and all the hunting opportunities it has to offer, and I love reading about everyone else's adventures on here as well. This isn't that though. This is my attempt at documenting 3 days of typical hunting near where I live in NC. All public land. Today and tomorrow I'm trying 2 spots I've never hunted before and Saturday morning I'm planning to sit over a scrape line that has been pretty active most mornings this year. I've already killed a spike this year, which means I have one buck tag remaining and 4 doe tags. There's a decent buck in the area of the scrape line, so it'll be an in the moment kind of decision whether or not I shoot a smaller buck before Saturday. Oh yeah, I also have the .22 with me to pop any squirrels that give me an opportunity. So here we go.

Day 1
Today's hunt started a little later than I wanted due to trying to get some stuff organized for tomorrow. I dropped the boy off at my dad's around 12:45 and promptly started the hour long drive down to the game lands. The gate I parked at accesses a section sandwiched between two areas I've hunted a fair bit. As I start walking in, I'm pleased to find the main trail is both very easy to walk and also not heavily traveled. 20221117_140848.jpg

The leaves are very loud, despite it raining a couple days ago. It's also nice to finally feel a chill in the air (about 45 degrees today, a fair bit cooler than normal this time of year). At this point, I'm not really concerned with noise as I'm trying to get to some terrain features I'm interested in. I continue on for a little while when I start to see some pines in the road bed. 20221117_141959.jpg
This is always helpful because bucks love to make rubs on these saplings. As I move up the road though, it's clear that there's not much deer traffic through here. The trail continues on for a while til I hit the saddle I was interested in. There are a couple good rubs up in the saddle but I always say rubs are for suckers. Deer make so many rubs that I don't find them to be particularly useful to hunt over. Instead, I like to follow them until I find a scrape line. I begin following these rubs and find that someone else had the same idea not too long ago. 20221117_143251.jpg 20221117_142946.jpg
I continue on anyways and begin descending toward a creek bottom. The woods are still way too open and the rub line has stopped. Eventually I run into some laurel in the bottom though, and parallel the creek until I find a scrape. Unlike rubs, scrapes aren't for suckers. I note what looks like a trail and keep following until I find a second scrape. We're in business. 20221117_144928.jpg 20221117_150510.jpg
As I'm checking the second scrape I hear the undeniable sound of squirrel claws on bark to my left. I ready myself and look. Eventually I see it jump from the tree to the laurel and know it will cross where I have a shot. 20221117_145141.jpg
I miss my first shot but the squirrel climbs a tree and rests in a split, pressing itself flat but not realizing its silhouette was perfectly visible. Didn't miss that time and the squirrel fell 30 or so feet with a thud. I then turned my attention to setting up for the evening. I spotted a red oak with a good vantage point of the scrape line and probably trails and dug in for a cold evening. 20221117_151219.jpg 20221117_151121.jpg 20221117_151328.jpg
As night drew closer, I was struck by how still everything was. Almost as if everything was frozen up until 5:00. Then the squirrels came down and started making their racket. At one point, I thought I heard a faint deer-walking sound through the noise of squirrels chasing and chattering but it was short-lived and no deer ever showed up. Eventually night fell and I packed up and walked out a different way than I walked in. I made note of some good sign that I found on the way out and made my way back to the trail, and then back to the car. Hunt 1/3 done. I'll be heading out for hunt 2 in a little while.
 

np307

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Jun 25, 2018
Messages
882
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North Carolina
No way to update live today as I had no cell service where I was. Interesting day for sure, things started by feeling a little more like turkey season than deer season. Not in the weather, just in the scramble. The section I was intending to go is about 780 acres, a consistent ridge dropping down to a creek bottom, mixed pines and hardwoods all the way. The only question about this parcel was access. All looked well as I pulled onto the small gravel road until about 100 yards up the road was a gate and no trespassing signs. Apparently only the first portion of this road is publicly accessible, meaning there was no way to access the chunk of national forest I wanted to hunt. Oh well, time to move to the backup plan. 20221118_125801.jpg

I continue up the road a few minutes and check the access for another new section and find a truck already parked there. I decided to let him have it and moved on to the next access point where I was pleased to find nobody else and a minimum of human sign. As I got out of the car and started to walk, I was pleasantly surprised to find an unmarked logging road. 20221118_132210.jpg I started walking this road and it didn't take long to get a feel for this piece of land. Mature pines with intermittent hardwoods and thick underbrush. Perfect. There were periodic rubs along the way, 20221118_133142.jpg and even a small scrape or two 20221118_133145.jpg but none of that grabbed my attention. I continued about 2/3 of a mile when I found a much fresher and more prominent scrape, along with some deer trails and a great vantage point. This is where I wanted to setup. I put the scrape to my back as it was too thick to see anything else if I sat where I could see the scrape and overlooked a creek bottom with two openings I could use as shooting lanes. 20221118_140849.jpg 20221118_143437.jpg 20221118_143439.jpg

Just then, I heard something on the logging road behind me and turned to see an orange vest and hat walking quickly in the direction I had come from. My only guess is that it's one of the adjacent landowners. He was moving quickly and never even saw me. I thought about moving but decided against it since he wasn't hunting right on top of me and things were already starting to settle.

It was a perfect evening and the squirrels were really active. I didn't see any deer though. I heard quite a few shots from down the creek bottom, possibly the guy who passed me and possibly the guy parked at the other entrance. They were spaced out enough that they may have been having a great day, or may have been cursing their gun. Not sure which. As dark approached, I thought I could faintly hear a deer approaching but it either didn't come my way or was just my mind hoping. I packed up and quickly made my way back to the car and drove to my spot for tomorrow morning. Now I'm about to make "camp" and fix some supper. Gonna be a cold one for here, mid-20s. Hope it has the deer on their feet early.

Oh, one cool thing I found today: 20221118_135240.jpg 20221118_135330.jpg
It appears to be some sort of retaining wall for a road bed. No idea what the story on it is though. Much of this land became national forest in the 60s and it is still pretty sparsely populated compared to the rest of the state.

And finally, obligatory Subaru camp photo: 20221118_191710.jpg
 
Last edited:

FoodIsMemories

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Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
1,715
Location
SW MT
No way to update live today as I had no cell service where I was. Interesting day for sure, things started by feeling a little more like turkey season than deer season. Not in the weather, just in the scramble. The section I was intending to go is about 780 acres, a consistent ridge dropping down to a creek bottom, mixed pines and hardwoods all the way. The only question about this parcel was access. All looked well as I pulled onto the small gravel road until about 100 yards up the road was a gate and no trespassing signs. Apparently only the first portion of this road is publicly accessible, meaning there was no way to access the chunk of national forest I wanted to hunt. Oh well, time to move to the backup plan. View attachment 250919

I continue up the road a few minutes and check the access for another new section and find a truck already parked there. I decided to let him have it and moved on to the next access point where I was pleased to find nobody else and a minimum of human sign. As I got out of the car and started to walk, I was pleasantly surprised to find an unmarked logging road. View attachment 250921 I started walking this road and it didn't take long to get a feel for this piece of land. Mature pines with intermittent hardwoods and thick underbrush. Perfect. There were periodic rubs along the way, View attachment 250927 and even a small scrape or two View attachment 250930 but none of that grabbed my attention. I continued about 2/3 of a mile when I found a much fresher and more prominent scrape, along with some deer trails and a great vantage point. This is where I wanted to setup. I put the scrape to my back as it was too thick to see anything else if I sat where I could see the scrape and overlooked a creek bottom with two openings I could use as shooting lanes. View attachment 250937 View attachment 250938 View attachment 250939

Just then, I heard something on the logging road behind me and turned to see an orange vest and hat walking quickly in the direction I had come from. My only guess is that it's one of the adjacent landowners. He was moving quickly and never even saw me. I thought about moving but decided against it since he wasn't hunting right on top of me and things were already starting to settle.

It was a perfect evening and the squirrels were really active. I didn't see any deer though. I heard quite a few shots from down the creek bottom, possibly the guy who passed me and possibly the guy parked at the other entrance. They were spaced out enough that they may have been having a great day, or may have been cursing their gun. Not sure which. As dark approached, I thought I could faintly hear a deer approaching but it either didn't come my way or was just my mind hoping. I packed up and quickly made my way back to the car and drove to my spot for tomorrow morning. Now I'm about to make "camp" and fix some supper. Gonna be a cold one for here, mid-20s. Hope it has the deer on their feet early.

Oh, one cool thing I found today: View attachment 250934 View attachment 250935
It appears to be some sort of retaining wall for a road bed. No idea what the story on it is though. Much of this land became national forest in the 60s and it is still pretty sparsely populated compared to the rest of the state.

And finally, obligatory Subaru camp photo: View attachment 250940
Great write up so far. Keep at it. I’m following
 

np307

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Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
882
Location
North Carolina
Frustrating start to the morning. Not 30 yards down the trail from where I camped, I found this: 20221119_055125.jpg
Illegal to bait on game lands here. I hate stuff like this so much because it demonstrates how ignorant these people are. This amount of corn among all these oaks is not going to draw deer in. At most, it gives them a reason to stop but this time of the year, they arent on feed patterns anyway. Regardless, I kept walking to get to the area I'm hunting. I'll call the warden once I'm done for the morning. Hopefully my car is intact and nobody is mad I parked by their corn pile :rolleyes:
 

np307

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Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
882
Location
North Carolina
Focusing on the positive, its a gorgeous, cold morning. The squirrels are all around me and I just heard some turkeys yelping in the holler. These squirrels have about 2/2:30 hours to get their chores done because after that the .22 is going live. 20221119_065253.jpg 20221119_065326.jpg
(That's a squirrel sitting on the broken off branch in the middle)
 

np307

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Joined
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Messages
882
Location
North Carolina
Well, that was a short morning. I saw a deer moving in front of me by itself. Got ready, looked and didn't see any antlers, pulled the trigger, 50 yard death run. Walked up and surprise, surprise. Gotta punch my last buck tag. No complaints though, some more tender meat for the freezer. 20221119_073317.jpg
 

ajrcktts

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Sep 19, 2016
Messages
2,486
Location
East TN
Well, that was a short morning. I saw a deer moving in front of me by itself. Got ready, looked and didn't see any antlers, pulled the trigger, 50 yard death run. Walked up and surprise, surprise. Gotta punch my last buck tag. No complaints though, some more tender meat for the freezer. View attachment 250980
No "less than 5 inches equals antlerless" rule there?
 

FoodIsMemories

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Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
1,715
Location
SW MT
Well, that was a short morning. I saw a deer moving in front of me by itself. Got ready, looked and didn't see any antlers, pulled the trigger, 50 yard death run. Walked up and surprise, surprise. Gotta punch my last buck tag. No complaints though, some more tender meat for the freezer. View attachment 250980
In Montana if it’s less than 4” you can tag it with an antlerless, doe tag!? You can’t do that there? If it’s got nuts you gotta use a buck tag ?

Edit: seen your response to that. That’s crazy! Well shoot dude congrats on the two bucks!!
 

np307

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Jun 25, 2018
Messages
882
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North Carolina
In Montana if it’s less than 4” you can tag it with an antlerless, doe tag!? You can’t do that there? If it’s got nuts you gotta use a buck tag ?

Edit: seen your response to that. That’s crazy! Well shoot dude congrats on the two bucks!!
Yeah it's what I learned so I'm used to it but I wouldn't mind it being the other way. Especially because now I'm going to be paranoid if I get a shot on a doe.
 

FoodIsMemories

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SW MT
Yeah it's what I learned so I'm used to it but I wouldn't mind it being the other way. Especially because now I'm going to be paranoid if I get a shot on a doe.
I would be too bud!! 😂😂 squirrel hunting 1st i would think…

that doe is gonna have to walk right in and introduce herself….
 

np307

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Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
882
Location
North Carolina
We had a family Thanksgiving meal to get to so I guess I never actually closed this thread. I did eventually hack the meat away with my leatherman. This was a decent sized spike, my pack was definitely more difficult to pick up than it was Sunday. Just a short walk back to the car though and all was done.

Now for the baiting deal. The warden was aware of the bait pile and they were monitoring it. My guess is that it's from the neighboring landowner. Either as a stop tactic (the only open shot of the bait pile is from his land) or as a "screw you public land guys, now you can't hunt here" kind of move. That's all just wild speculation from my part. Could just as easily be some super lazy moron who thinks dumping out corn guarantees deer. I think its the wrong move leaving the bait there, but I'm not in wildlife law enforcement so maybe its SOP.

All told, I'm happy to have 2 deer in the freezer (well, fridge right now). Wouldn't mind adding another but with my buck tags punched I'm heavily considering heading down to some river bottom land that I know holds hogs to see if I can turn one up. I also need to do my annual "guide the brother-in-law" charity hunt.

Thanks everyone for following. As a final offering to the thread, here is what a 168g TTSX from a 30-06 does at 40 yards when it clips a bone on entry: 20221119_073423.jpg
 

FoodIsMemories

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Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
1,715
Location
SW MT
We had a family Thanksgiving meal to get to so I guess I never actually closed this thread. I did eventually hack the meat away with my leatherman. This was a decent sized spike, my pack was definitely more difficult to pick up than it was Sunday. Just a short walk back to the car though and all was done.

Now for the baiting deal. The warden was aware of the bait pile and they were monitoring it. My guess is that it's from the neighboring landowner. Either as a stop tactic (the only open shot of the bait pile is from his land) or as a "screw you public land guys, now you can't hunt here" kind of move. That's all just wild speculation from my part. Could just as easily be some super lazy moron who thinks dumping out corn guarantees deer. I think its the wrong move leaving the bait there, but I'm not in wildlife law enforcement so maybe its SOP.

All told, I'm happy to have 2 deer in the freezer (well, fridge right now). Wouldn't mind adding another but with my buck tags punched I'm heavily considering heading down to some river bottom land that I know holds hogs to see if I can turn one up. I also need to do my annual "guide the brother-in-law" charity hunt.

Thanks everyone for following. As a final offering to the thread, here is what a 168g TTSX from a 30-06 does at 40 yards when it clips a bone on entry: View attachment 251106
Dude are those ticks… wtf is all the bumps on the deer?
 
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