Saturday, September 15, 2018

Michigan UP Black Bear Hunt

Chads bait log.  Filled with cookie dough and a personal touch of Oreo cookies.
Headed out to Chads spot to take down our stands.  Bittersweet.

Bryan kissing his tree goodbye.
Taking the path back to Bryan's stand 

Had some time to visit the beach in Escanaba
House of Ludington in Escanaba.  We didn't get to go in because it was closed.
Chads entry wound

My hunt video.
Austyn my 16 year old guide gutting my bear

Hunted with Wild Spirits Guide Service in Carney Michigan UP.  I sat for under 2 hours on the first day of the hunt and took this 140lb male bear at 15 yards with my Hoyt CRX35.  Special thanks to Dan and Austyn Kirschner for guiding a perfect hunt.  Thanks to Chad Kraker for joining me in the adventure.  Can't wait to do it again.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bryan's 2017 Year in Review

I always enjoy a snowy sit in the tree stand.  I got several chances to do this in Hastings this year.  I seen several deer including a very nice buck that I had to pass on because my buck tags were filled for the season.  I may need to be more selective on my buck harvests next year.  

Rogue and I did some hunting in the backyard.  I finally got my two person stand up so I can enjoy this sport with my kiddos.  I need to be more dedicated to getting my kids a chance to take a deer.  I need to learn to be more like my brother and make the sacrifices.

I took this nice 8pt buck on Oct. 22 from the upper stand on a morning hunt.  I was just about to call it a morning and he came in so fast I didn't even get a chance to get nervous.  I quick spun around in my stand and took a 20 yard shot right to the path I walked in on.  The Hoyt CRX35 and Schwacker broadhead did the job.  I found it about 60 yards away.  

Got to take a fall Turkey in Hastings.  There are hundreds of them in the fields there every night.  It's hard to pass up the opportunity for some good meat.

My buddy, Chris Korreck, took this guy while we were in Hastings on Oct. 13.  It was a good shot and an easy track job.  I will forever remember this deer for the insane amount of ticks that were jumping out of it, also, the brier patch we had to walk through to get it back to the truck. 

I took this little 5 pt the day before Korreck got his buck (Oct 12) from the Corner Westworld stand.  It was such an easy opportunity.  It was inside of 10 yards and I just couldn't resist.  I'm not making excuses, this deer was a thrill to take and I would do it again.  Dragging it back to the truck on a hot October night, on the other hand, was not a thrill and I would prefer to not have to do that again. 

We had a good carp shooting session during our 4th of July holiday break.  There we schools of carp at the surface all over the lake.  We could just pull up to about 10 yards of them with the trolling motor, do a three count, and let our arrows fly.  It was a blast.

Andrew took a turkey this year and I did a fan and beard mount for him.  It was my first and I think it turned out pretty good.

Korreck and I doubled up on spring turkeys in Hastings.  

Saturday, December 23, 2017

"Old Koger"

It’s almost Christmas, which means the hunting season is almost over.   I realize that isn’t what Christmas is really all about, but you get the idea.   This year was another amazing year but it also comes with some depressing new.  I have now gone 2 years without harvesting a deer with my bow.  I remember years back, the thought of going an entire season without harvesting a deer with an arrow would make me sick.   There is a remedy though, many of you know what I’m talking about and some of you soon will.  It’s the joy of giving up all you your prime spots and prime hunting time for your children.   This year after a summer of practice, my two oldest boys took to the stand and were able to harvest THREE deer!  Easton took a doe very early in the season with a crossbow, it was his first deer ever!!   He is a die hard!   He went out a bunch of times and even endured some very cold weather without a lot of insulated clothing.  He put an almost perfect shot on her and we were able to recover her less than 100 yards away! 

Elijah also hit a doe early in the season, but after a thorough search we were not able to find her.   Then in October he hit another doe.   The shot looked perfect (video) but the arrow had some stomach matter on it. In an abundance of caution we decided to let her lay for the night.  The following morning we sat in the stand waiting for it to get light enough to track.  Well wouldn’t you know,   a little buck presented us with a perfect 8 yard shot.  Elijah again waited patiently for the perfect shot.   It was cool to watch that arrow sink right into that deer at such close distance.  Blood immediately began to shoot out of the deer’s vitals!!  I knew it would be an easy track.    We got down and found his doe from the previous night.  She had only gone about 60 yards.   Not sure how the stomach matter got on the arrow, he hit her right where he needed to!!   The little buck, traveled nearly 200 yards.  I was beginning to get nervous, but we were on good blood the entire way. 

I put more time in the stand this year than any other year.   I had a few opportunities to take 1 ½ year old bucks but decided to leave them alone.   I also took a 40 yard shot on a decent buck but missed horribly!  It was not even close, I still do not know what to attribute that failure to.  On one sit I had a very nice buck walk right by my stand.  He had just been shot by the neighbor, and came through dripping a healthy stream of blood.  I was not able to get a shot off on him, but tried to help out the neighbors by getting them back on his blood trail.  They were not able to recover him right away.  About a month later some other neighbors found the remains, such a waste, I hate when that happens.  This was the first year that I hunted with my new Prime Archery Compound Bow.  The Destroyer broke 2 limbs just before the hunting season, I lost all trust in that pile of junk and had to switch brands.  Prime might not be a “premier” bow, but it is locally manufactured and has an excellent warranty! I’ll keep you updated on it’s performance.

For the Michigan Gun season I headed up to Whiskey Creek with Elijah, Easton and some of my friends.   We were able to harvest 2 doe with the new 450 Bushmaster!  We also came across a six point that had been killed by another hunter.  Another waste of a perfectly good deer.  Our hunting buddies botched a few good chances, one didn’t sight in his gun before we left and missed a chip shot.  Another forgot to rack a shell in the chamber and missed a chance to shoot a six point.

I was lucky enough to draw another shotgun tag for the state of Iowa.  After numerous trips out to Iowa to build blinds, spray fields, plant food plots, till ground, and scout deer it was finally time to hunt.
The weather was a bit warmer than we had hoped for, so the big guys weren’t as mobile as they needed to be. On our first sit we saw over 40 doe and several bucks, one was even on the hit list.   It was still early in the hunt though and the shot opportunity wasn’t the greatest.  Day 4 of the hunt we were invited to sit on a neighbor’s farm.  They had been after a specific deer that they called “Old Koger”.   He was just an old bully of a deer.  Not a huge set of antlers but they were heavy and he was just a tank of a deer.  He had passed his prime and needed to be removed from the herd.   We saw a bunch of very nice deer on the hunt but old Koger didn’t look like he was going to show his face.   With about 20 minutes of  shooting light left a horse of a deer appeared on the plot about 150 yards in front of us.   We looked closely at the deer and tried to positively identify him as Old Koger.   The thing that really gave it away was that his right eye was injured and could barely open.  Benny my brother in law- stuck a phone in my face that had a trail camera picture of him on it and said “you make the call, is that him?”   I have a feeling that he already knew that was the guy, but he put the final decision on me.   At 120 yards, I put the 450’s crosshairs on his body and pulled the trigger.   I would later discover that I landed a perfect double lung shot, but you would never have guessed by the way the deer reacted.  That old hog just took the bullet and almost looked like he was just pissed off.  It took a bit before he began running right toward us.  I tried racking in another shell, but my nerves wouldn’t allow that to happen.  I fumbled with the bolt on my gun until Old Koger stumbled and fell about 80 yards from the blind.  

It wasn’t until we got down to the deer that we realized just how big his body was.  I send some of his teeth into a biologist so I can have him aged but we are guessing he could be as old as 9.   Needless to say I was a happy dude.  I owe a huge thanks to the guys that let me hunt there farm and an even bigger thanks to Benny for introducing me to Iowa hunting, and allowing me to hunt his lease.   The rest of that week we saw hundreds of deer, some very very big Bucks.  That state is insane, if you have never hunted there you need to make it happen.
It was definitely a year to remember!  Thanks for reading.
Chad Kraker

Saturday, December 10, 2016

2016 Deer Season

Oct 8 Hastings
First deer taken from Trump Tower
Elijah's first deer
Crossbow youth season

Andrews first buck
Hoyt Ultra Tech

Dec2 doe
Bank upper stand

Hastings Fall turkeys

Hastings Doe

View from West Worlds Trump Tower

Oct 22 Buck
7pt from Banks upper stand

Chads Iowa 11pt