Midwest Whitetail Pre-Rut in 2 weeks

It’s the second week of October, the corn is still standing, the first frost is yet to come, and the long awaited Whitetail Pre-Rut is coming quick.

Current Deer Sightings

Right now we are still seeing many doe in the fields and woods edges, with very few Bucks, so where are they? They are in the standing corn waiting for the cooler days and a few of the doe to get them excited. So get ready as in the next two weeks the bucks wills start hitting the woods and chasing doe(s).

Pre-Rut Best Archery Season

So how do you hunt the archery season before this starts; focus on the corn, beans, and hay fields, especially where you have oak trees hanging over those corps and dropping acorns. But in two weeks when the corn starts to come off and we get a good frost things will change quickly. The bucks will either be forced to the woods for cover or for searching out doe(s) that are starting their estrus cycle early. Either way this time of the season is better than the Rut, why? Because bucks are not fighting for dominance yet, they are a little dumb focusing on finding a doe in heat, and they will be traveling in groups still. I have seen as many as 5 bucks traveling together during the pre-rut with the last buck typically being the dominant one.

Here are a couple of videos from the night of Sept 30th and the morning of Oct 6th

How To Make Deer Stand Skirts – Whitetail Hunting

How To Make Camo Skirts For Dual Ladder & Self Climbing Stands

If you have been searching for Deer Stand Skirts you have most likely found it difficult to find a camouflage skirt for a Self-Climbing or a Dual Ladder Deer Stand. In the following videos I will show you how easy it is to make your own and how they look on the stand.

Materials You Will Need

For materials go to the Joan Fabric website and print the 50% and 60% off one item coupons along with one for Thread (typically buy one get one free), next go to the Joan Fabric store and purchase your materials. For Fabric and Velcro purchase them by the yards to get multiple yards for the one coupon price.

Completed Deer Stand Skirting

Self-Climbing Deer Stand Skirt
Dual-Ladder Deer Stand Skirting

Cost To Make One Skirt

Wait for the sales/coupons, then you should be able to purchase all the materials for just under $13. It will take you ~40 minutes to make one of these skirts using a sewing machine, maybe less if you are efficient in sewing. if interested I would make one and include shipping for $25/skirt. *Note, for Dual Ladder Stands you will need two skirts.

Making The Skirt Step By Step Video

Assembling Onto A Dual Ladder Stand

Morel Mushrooms Are Popping – 2017 Crop Best In Years

Where to start searching for The Morel Mushrooms – Early Grays & Yellows

When I first start searching for the Morel Mushroom the ground is still be very moist (or too wet), the soil is not at the ideal temperature, and the ground vegetation is limited. However, based on the buds just starting on my apple trees the Morels are out there. So I start my search on the Southeast facing slopes, these are the areas that have gotten the most sunlight, allowing the soil to warm sooner than other areas in the woods. Next I look for patches of moss on the ground, as the moss will hold just the right amount of water and will be warmer than the soil.

Once on the slopes I target two levels, the level just below the top (flats) and the level just above the bottom (flats). These ridge-break areas seem to generate the first vegetation in the woods and will produce the small gray & yellow Morels (best eating) first.

Second Week Into the Season – Finding Mushrooms

After the first week you will start to see Morels popping up in other areas such as the top and bottom flats and the West facing slopes, but it’s still a little early for the large Grays & Yellows.

Third Week Into the Morel Mushroom Season

Once into the third week of the Morel Season you should be finding mushrooms in all areas of the woods, low and high. The Morels during this time of the season are the large ones and are not quite as tasty, but still good. It’s also not uncommon to find a few hundred Morels in one spot, filling up a nice bag of Mushrooms.

Hunting & Gathering Tips:

A. Early season, start your search on the Southeast facing slopes, look on the break of the hills.
B. Find the best areas of vegetation on the slopes and stay parallel to the top and bottom as you search.
C. Leave a few Morels for next years production, I like to leave one in every group of Morels I find. Typically the one with the highest elevation for the best spore exposure.
D. Use a netted bad for carrying your Morels in, as this will allow the spores to escape and drop to the forest floor.
E. Find areas of moss growing on the ground for both early and late Morels.
F. Move to the West facing slopes toward the end of the season.
G. Check fence lines, wood edges, road ditches, and along the sides of power lines cutting through the woods.

Videos

In these two videos I show how we find Morels in the roadside ditches and where to look in the woods.

Morel Mushroom Hunting – Are You Ready For The 2017 Season

It’s mid April, the days are warmer, the rain has come and so will the Morel Mushrooms. Now how do we know when these tasty fungi are popping, when the fruit trees start to bloom.

The Mid-West Morel’s

In the Midwest we typically see our first Small Gray Morels by the 3rd week of April, but the weather has been cooler this year, pushing them back a couple of weeks.

For myself, I will be out there again this weekend (April 22), but I’m guessing we are still a week away. The Rain is here and the days are warmer, but we are still seeing 30s for night time temperatures. The best temps for the Morel Mushroom is 60+ degrees for daytime and no lower than 40 degrees for night temperatures (soil temps 45 to 55 degrees).

My prediction for the Midwest states this year (2017) is; small grays and yellows will be popping around April 29th, the large Morels will be in their peak the week of May 15th.

Where To Find Morel Mushrooms

Check out a few of my articles on Morels, but here are a few tips;
A. Look in areas of dead Elms and Ash (decaying bark).
B. Look in old Apple Orchards.
C. Search the South East facing slopes/hills for the early Morels
D. Search the edges of the woods and fence lines.
E. Check out the roadside ditches and steep banks.
F. Look in dry creek bottoms that are moist.
G. Search for areas that have a mix of clay, sand, limestone, and decaying matter.
H. Make sure to search areas that have been burned off or had forest fires in the past year.
I. Look in areas where the woods have been recently logged.

Spreading The Morel Spores

One recommendation is that you use a netted type bag to place your Morels in. This will allow the spores to fall out and spread through the area as you’re hunting.

How To Find Good Deer Hunting Land – Buying Great Hunting Habitat

Purchasing Great Deer Hunting Land

As some of you have seen or heard in my articles and videos my deer hunting land has been encroached upon by developers. This has pushed the larger bucks out of the area toward the large river that lies a mile away. I have also had people living in these developments stray unto my land during the archery season and walk right under my stand with their dogs. Now I do kindly ask them to leave, however enough is enough and I finally decided to look for a better deer hunting parcel further away from the small City I live near.

Finding the right ground is a labor-intensive process that may take months and possibly years. But, if you invest the time to do it right you will find what you’re looking for. I been looking off and on for the past 10 years, knowing the time would come when I will want to move further out, and that time is here.

What To Look For In Hunting Land

So what do you look for to make sure you are buying a great piece of hunting land? Well as in this article you need water, feeding area, thick cover, and bedding. Now since my trophy bucks have moved to a large river just a miles away I started looking at aerials along this river focusing on; woodland to cropland ratios, low land, high land, wood funnels (large game crossing areas between sections), ridges, and wood fingers stretching into the tillable land.

Once I find a couple of properties for sale I walk them 3 or 4 times and use my camera and a notepad to record the game (Deer, Turkey, Pheasant, etc.) sign and habitat (Water, Food Sources, Bedding, and Thick Cover). I also noted what the Woods versus Tillable land ratio is and what types of trees are on the property. I like to see 75% – 85% woods, 15% – 25% tillable (crops) and would even consider a few acres of wetland or pasture.

Here at a few things I look for:
1- The Woods must NOT have been logged within the past 30 years. If logged then only selectively logged.
2- Having a river on the property or near by is a big plus.
3- The woods needs to have major crossing areas from Crop fields, Water, and adjoining sections.
4- Major Deer trails packed to the mud, with a number of large scrapes and rubs.
5- Plenty of hardwoods such as Oak, Maple, Cherry, Walnut, hickory, etc..

The Hunting Land I Purchased!

I finally decided to purchase a 64 acre parcel just 12 miles North of my present location. The major river in the area runs across the North side of the property and winds down the West side. One major deer crossing comes from the West where there is 70 acres of tillable, 20 acres of woods, and then a narrow wood-line connecting to this land. On the East side are large parcels of tillable with multiple wooded fingers stretching out into the fields. From the deer sign it’s obvious there are Boone & Crockett’s in the area. Talking to the neighbors one took a 189 scored buck and the other a large 16 pt, but did not get it scored. So it’s going to be nice passing up those 135’s and focusing on those 175’s or larger bucks. I’m looking forward to doing videos on this property and sharing them with you.

The land ratio on this 64 acres is 81% Wooded, 16% Tillable, and 7% in pasture (grasses), which can be tilled. The river runs North approximately 200 yards from the property line and West approximately 400 yards away. I have seen many pheasants, deer, squirrels, rabbits, and signs of turkey, fox, and of course coyotes.

Don’t Rely On The Realtor When Purchasing Land

Purchasing land has gotten difficult over the past few years and it takes longer to complete the purchase transaction due to tougher County Regulations and Bank Requirements. Also any realtor selling land has the sellers best interest and of course their pockets, so have your own lawyer it will be well worth the money.

Also do not get discouraged as you will get through the process and your lawyer will help keep things moving. For this piece of Land it took me 3 weeks to get the bank loans approved and another 3 months to get the Purchase Agreement (PA) signed. Why so long for a PA to get signed, well this is what I ran into and was glad I had a lawyer from the beginning, he also wrote my PA. In this case the realtor’s best interest was NOT in the sellers or mine, but had different intentions. This realtor wanted the land or a section of it for himself and was delaying every step of the process, trying to either find a way to purchase the land or get the farmer or myself to sell him 10 acres. So I finally bypassed him and went directly to the owner were we worked out a Purchase Agreement. I then took legal actions against the realtor to keep the process from delaying any longer and within 2 weeks I had the land purchased.

Start Improving The Habitat right Away

This Spring I will start planting Apple Trees, Plum Trees, and fruit trees that produce small fruit for the grouse and pheasants. The pasture area I will put a few apple trees in and let it grow for deer bedding and the pheasants, mowing it once every two years. Since I have plenty of tillable (corn & beans) with oak trees (acorns) along the edges I will not need to put in any food plots. I will however put in a lot of apple trees since it cheap and easy to grow and graft them. For Winter I will leave a few rolls of corn standing and build a wire cylinder to place whole corn (with cob) in for the Pheasants. The tractor lanes going through the woods will be planted to a mixture of Clover & Chicory. I will also start clearing dead trees, downfalls, and thin areas to allow sunlight in, improving the vegetation in the woods.