We finally got around to moving Stand #3 on Saturday. Below is my son Tony’s take on our day.
We had a very productive day. Right after breakfast, Dad glued the latch lock loop back on to my camera. I wrote about it breaking off in my Suburban Hunters blog called “Storms-a-Comin’ “.
Then we set about moving Stand #3. We left just after 9:00 AM.
What we brought:
- All the padlock keys that we could find
- Bolt cutters in case we didn’t have the right key
- Hand saw
- Pole saw
- Reflective tacks
- Trail camera
- Walkie talkies
We needed every one of those things, but we were still underprepared.
What we should have brought:
- Another padlock
- A strap for the top of the stand
- Tools for support bar
- Spray paint
- Bow hangers
I’ll get to all that later. First, I’ll share the scouting report from our walk in to the stand.
The snow conditions varied widely thanks to the record-breaking warm temperatures. There was bare ground in spots and knee-deep snow in other places.
The knee-deep snow meant that we’d need snowshoes, but the snow was so soft that even our snowshoes sunk all the way through the snow. It was a hard slog, and we walked a lot.
One upside to all the melting snow is that the brook and beaver pond are way up.
Our first stop was Stand #1. The dead spike horn is still untouched, but now that it’s uncovered and the temps are warming, hopefully something will take advantage of all that protein.
There were turkey tracks and droppings in several places, and there were lots of droppings near Stand #3.
As Dad mentioned almost exactly a year ago (Feb. 21, 2016), The Moose Are Very Active in J.E.
There was a lot of moose activity from the brother/sister pair.
Finally, we made it to Stand #3. I tried to match up one of the keys we had to the padlock, but no such luck. Luckily, the bolt cutters cut through the padlock like butter. It was a bit unsettling at how easy it was.
I then set about undoing the straps that had been in place for years. The top one had a bad case of dry rot. It broke while Dad tried to tie a not in it. The bottom strap had grown into the tree. I had to use the handle of the pole saw to get it out of the bark.
Then we dragged the stand over to the new spot, about 50 yards to the NNW. Dragging it was much easier than we had anticipated.
We picked a tree right at the intersection of two major trails. We leaned the stand up against the tree, and as (bad) luck would have it:
- The support bar was rusted and stuck at its current length. We sprayed WD-40 on it, but we really needed a wrench or some pliers. We never got it to budge.
- There was an awkwardly shaped, big branch right in our way. Cutting it took me about an hour.
While I cut the branch, Dad set up the camera to point directly at the stand, and Bear took a nap.
Did I mention that we had record-breaking heat? I worked up quite a sweat doing all that sawing. I stripped down to a T-shirt. Here it was February 25, and we were working in short sleeves.
As you can see, the stand is much harder to see now. I put a couple of reflective tacks near it to help us find it in the dark. Despite being, it’s a much better bow stand, with two excellent windows along both trails, thanks to our pole saw work.
We’re really happy with where it is now, but we still have some work to do, hence the “What we should have brought” list above.
On the way out, we split up. Dad went straight back to the truck, while Bear and I checked the Buck Knob camera. The batteries were dead because it’s very windy on Buck Knob this time of year. There were hundreds of wind videos. We’ll need to change the sensitivity to Low the next time we’re there. We did get some great videos of the twin moose though, including two of them touching noses.
I pruned my way back down 1A. By then, the sun was high in the sky, and snow was like slush. It was rough going. Notably, there was moose sign everywhere.
After 2:00 PM (five hours later), we were finally done and exhausted.