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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Older BIL and I had spent a lot of hours in the popup blinds out back. One sits tucked in the edge of an old hedgerow facing south across S end of my small field towards some woods and a creek. The other is just past the SW corner of the pole barn with sight lines E across the neighbor's back lot and SSE to the SE corner of my small field past the first blind. We hunted hard and did not see anything bigger than a cottontail. No recent trail cam captures, but there were enough fresh tracks in the snow the past couple of days to keep our interest up.

I had to run to Lansing today and did not get back til 5:00P. BIL's truck was in the drive when we got home so I walked out back at 5:35 to meet him coming in. He did not show by 5:50 so I wen t back in and grabbed a flashlight to go check on him. When I passed the pole barn I could see his light coming up the hill. He was breathing hard and I asked if he was OK and if he had seen anything. Long story short: At 5:25 five deer came out of a trail through the hedgerow and he took a shot at the largest one. Two minutes later a sixth deer came out and he took another shot with the 12 gauge.

Almost two dry weeks and all of a sudden hot and cold running deer! No blood or hair from the sixth deer but there were traces of blood from the first shot. Blood spatters accompanied deer tracks to the brush at the SW corner of the field. Dick had tracked it through this heavy cover on the N side of the creek and then lost the trail.

I backtracked around the brush and hopped the creek while BIL beat through the thick brush to find the end of the trail. I found blood spatters and tracks coming up the creek bank in a matter of minutes......south side had been cleared by the drain commission last year. Tracked the blood trail ( dozens of pencil eraser sized dots every yard) S and then SW and then W across neighbors alfalfa field and found the doe, dead, at the hedgerow margin. Shot behind the shoulder and a bit high. Through and through at the top of the ribs, nicking the top of the lungs. Nice sized adult doe with lots of fat.

Meat in the pot! We'll take another stab at it when muzzleloader starts. Since we are in CWD management area we can use shotgun or pistol cartridge carbine as well.
 

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Glad you at least found the doe. Good luck during The muzzy season.

:D Al
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Did not see a thing during muzzy season.

Kicked three deer out of beds in the wooded area down by the creek walking the dogs the other day. Fresh Canid tracks among the deer tracks along our dog walking path which were bigger than fox and smaller than my Aussie's footprints.

With recent snow cover we've seen groups of 12-20 deer in the fields within a half mile of our place. Over the winter it was common to see groups of 3-6 but them seem to have aggregated into larger herds the past couple of weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Uptick in mid-Michigan freeway roadkill and appearance of single small deer out in the fields tells me does are dropping fawns downstate.

With the exception of one button buck with a smooth reddish coat, all the eastern UP deer we saw around Cedarville and along M 134 between I 75 and Les Cheneaux were pretty scruffy looking in gray winter coats with ribs showing. Yearlings were typically pretty small even in areas where I suspect there was supplemental feeding over the winter. A couple of mature bucks had antler nubs 1 1/2 inches already.

Lake Huron water level is highest I've seen and a SE wind had water lapping at M 134 in places.

We had Hooded Mergansers and Goldeneye pairs out in the Moscoe Channel and a Sandhill Crane came to visit.
 

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the trail behind my house had a set of fawn tracks with a doe yesterday. Kind of odd because the deer get the heck out of here at the first snow and hit the yards. There usualy not back here for a couple weeks yet and ive been seeing tracks on the trail already for about 2 weeks. So at least one deer made the trip back real early. Heck theres still snow in a few spots in the woods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
With the exception of oaks, trees down here had pretty much leafed out. Much the same up to Clare but north of there things were not as far along. Dry sandy soil south and north of the Houghton Lake flats (which had leaves starting) might be keeping it cooler. When we dropped down into the Indian River valley there was more leaf development in the low areas. Higher territory between there and the bridge not so much and past St. Ignace trees were just beginning to bud. Developing buds provide that extra bit of nutrition for pregnant does to kick off the last burst of fetal development before the fawns are dropped. The few Cedarville does I saw up close did not appear to be ready to drop. Maybe they were bred late, maybe had not been on good browse long enough. We saw many more does last fall, so maybe a good portion of the local herd were off out of sight with fresh fawns.

Lloyd, hope you have a bumper crop of fawns and good yearling survival around your place.
 

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I thought the deer would have caught **** last winter but I went to camp Thursday and about 15 miles of the road going there is a dirt road and I saw 4 deer between the highway and camp. that is actually kind of exceptional. I usually see one maybe two but rarely as many as 4. Looks like some made it.
 

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Up until last week I was driving back and forth to Marquette General everyday for 24 days to visit my wife (she's better now and been moved to rehab). One night I came home about midnight and driving down M95 down around Witch Lake I began to see a few deer. When I got down to the Floodwood there were deer literally all over the place along the sides of the road. All feeding on the grass along the shoulder where they resodded it several years ago when they repaved the road there. Had to slow down to about 35-40 MPH for several miles as there were often 15 to 20 deer in sight in the headlights in the short stretch between the Floodwood and Silver Lake and after that gradually saw less and less and after Channing I saw just a few for the rest of the drive.

Didn't count them, but a conservative estimate would be around 125 or so, and probably more. Only saw that a few times before at other places. Just happened conditions and timing were right. A whole bunch of hungry deer probably coming from miles away to the best, and maybe only really good, food source in the area.

Worked out okay - I was really tired, but I was wide awake for the last 40 miles of the trip home!
 

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when I was working we drove through that area often. Allways lots of deer there. You should see the Cornell area we do crop damage shooting at after the sun goes down. Youd swear theres 5 deer for every person in the UP. Almost wears you out driving because you have to be so alert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In midstate farm fields we have herds of small deer out and about in the morning and evening. Single large deer are loitering in corners or not far from hedgerows. Typical patterns after fawns dropped. We had a spate of roadkill a few weeks ago, but I have not seen any fresh kills on the shoulders lately and only one spotted fawn down. Again a typical pattern as matriarchs abandon yearlings to drop fawns.

Took a short, too short, run up to Les Cheneaux early this week where we saw just one deer, a small skinny doe with a long face, in the area east of Cedarville and along M134 from all the way from M 48 to I 75. Normally we would see a couple of dozen. Now, we did not drag a bag of carrots down Forest Lane on Island No. 8 but still..... Only one Sandhill Crane which was spotted from the new observation tower at the Aldo Leopold plaque park. Lake Huron levels are crazy high and there is a lot of debris floating around the channels. 2 inches of water over my dock deck with a SW wind and there isn't any room at the top of the trestle posts to raise it higher.

We did spot 4 osprey fledglings on or near nests from the the old 27 overlook on the Houghton Lake flats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Regarding those farm fields: I've seen just one with sprouting corn, many with substantial areas of standing water, and many fallow fields.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Driving down our road and in the countryside the past few days I've spotted a half dozen does with fawns out in the bean fields in broad daylight. First fawns I've seen this year and all were good sized and appeared to be grazing. All but one doe had twins

Have not heard any coyotes lately. Hmmm.
 

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I've been seeing some deer around my blind, here's three picts.,











DM
 

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A doe has been coming out to the apple tree by my house lately and eating the half ripe drops. Only saw more than one out there a couple of times so far, most years there are several that keep the drops cleaned up.

On my way home today there was a lone wolf standing in the road about a half mile from my house. I slowed down and it just stood there and looked at me until I was within probably 30 or 40 yards and then it slowly walked off in the woods. Made a mental note to slip a gun in my back pocket when I take the dog out - just in case I see a porcupine.......or something!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Fawns down here are all good sized and about the same size. Not so for those we saw east of Cedarville this weekend. Wide range in size with some little tiny ones which looked like they were just getting around. Several does with just one fawn.

Habituated wolves are bad medicine.

A .22 would suffice for porkies, but "something" might dictate 9mm or larger and perhaps with a laser!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Recent excursions to Fish Point on Saginaw Bay for waterfowling and downstate for grandson baby sitting suggest the rut might be starting. Noticeably more early AM and dusk deer movement as well as a spike in fresh roadkill on both rural roads and interstate highways. Also observed more coyote and fox roadkill than seen over the summer, maybe victims of fresh meat uptick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yesterday I found large deer tracks in the back yard and the first 2019 scrape at a traditional spot out behind the pole barn where there is an opening in the hedgerow.

More than 2.5 inches of rain earlier in the week and then snow last night. Soybeans not already off won't be combined for a while, and corn harvest will probably be late too. Maybe a repeat of last year where we did not see any deer to shoot at until next to last day of regular season.

Time to check scope zeros and POI of some Barnes lead-free TTSX loads for up north.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, the rain gauge topped off at 3 inches and the back lot is pretty soggy. The better to show deer tracks and there were a bunch today.

The hedgerow scrape is twice the size and there aren't any dropped apples on the ground from the legacy apple tree up the hedgerow.

So up went the trail camera. Set it up to cover the hedgerow opening and the scrape this side of the opening. The scrape has two dug up parts on either side of a bush with red berries. The scrape is wide but not deeply dug up so I expect I'll get a small buck on the camera...we'll see.

Elder brother-in-law has gimpy foot so I let him set a popup blind on the edge of the hedgerow about 35 yards N, across prevailing winds, from the hedgerow opening. He took a doe from that spot next to last day of season last year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Pulled the camera chip this morning and found photos of a couple of 4 points and a 6 or 8 point. One of the 4 pointers has one upright antler and one that sticks out horizontally to the right just above his eye.

Bucks, with one exception, showed up only at night, does both day and night.

Glad to see the bucks even if they can't hold a candle to the ones Drilling Man has!
 

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Well, mine have moved on, just like every year...

Early on, they are all over around here, then they split up and move on and I have to settle for what's left...

DM
 
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