Thankfully, there have been a few memorable and rewarding scouting expeditions in my life, and these few hours this morning will be added to that list.
I decided to go to a place I haven’t been to in years because, while looking through my notes for beechnut groves, I came across Gigi’s.
It’s named after the owner of the property that graciously gave us permission to hunt there many, probably 15 or more, years ago.
I remembered that there was a large beechnut grove almost surrounding her property. So I was optimistic that what I have seen near here might translate into a good crop there. I was not expecting to find what I did. As the photo inadequately shows, there are trees loaded with beechnuts. The likes of which I have NEVER seen in 55 years of hunting in the North Country.
As you look at the picture of the field, both tree lines, but especially the left side, are mostly beeches.
They are literally hanging branches full of nuts right over the field.
What a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bowhunt beeches. Most of the time, when trying to hunt a mast crop, especially beeches, the food is spread out over a large, fairly open area, and the deer will move from one spot to another as they consume all of the nuts under certain trees. Thus, where they are today, is not necessarily where they will be tomorrow, at least as far as bow range is concerned.
The ground under those low-hanging branches was covered in turkey sign, including several dusting bowls. It’s interesting that unlike here, the trees are not yet dropping their nuts. I can only speculate in that this might be elevation related. I checked the pods and every one was full with a large healthy nut.
The field has ample grasses and even red clover. To top things off there is the apple tree at the far end that I have never seen that many apples in.
As I headed to the truck, I was very pleased with what I saw and with myself for making those notes way back when.
At the truck, after having a snack, I thought that I should drive very slowly going out because of another big find.
As I drove in on the tote road this morning, I was surprised to see almost the whole mile of road on the left side had been logged, right up to Gigi’s property line. This of course makes her property even more important, as it now offers cover along with food. The only thing that I did wrong at this point was not to have my camera ready.
I had not gone very far, still this side of the big brook, when I saw the rump of a deer up in the cutover, 25 yards off the road. I knew that it was a buck just by its size, and I was even more convinced of that when I noticed another slightly smaller rump to its right.
My first thought was that it was a buck and a doe. Wrong! As they lifted their heads to look at me, it was two bucks.
The first was at least a long-tined six-pointer and maybe an eight, but I could not see well enough to make out brow points. The other buck was at least a four—a six if he had brow points. They were both completely in velvet still. Then a doe appeared, and the three of them bounded up the cutover. They stopped and turned broadside to me as I scrambled for the camera, which was in my backpack in the back seat…of course!
All in all, a very rewarding few hours that might result in some success later in the year.