Wednesday, December 21, 2016

When I helped Dave Vanderzee, owner of the Easton View Outfitters ranch in Rensselaer County make a dream hunt come true for a young hunter with severe health problems this past October I saw several Texas Dahl Rams roaming around the woods and I knew at some time I would be hunting them. That sometime was just last week. Unfortunately the morning that I arrived at the ranch it was a very cold 7 degrees and the ground was covered with a crusty 10 plus inches of snow. As someone who likes to sneak and peek hunt the 2 1/2 mile perimeter of the preserve, I knew the moving through the crunchy snow was not going to be quiet. 

When I entered the preserve I walked over a small rise toward the swamp I saw movement across the pond on the edge or the swamp. And sure enough it was a group of Rams just coming out into the field. I lay down in the snow and watched them through my scope as they headed for higher ground. I waited until they were behind a hedge row and started up toward them and I knew they could hear me coming. When I finally reached the hedgerow I could see all 12 of them in a tight group looking right at me. They were about 150 yards away slowly moving up toward the woods. I actually could have shot but they were literally in a group so tight; and too close together for me to shoot.

With the hedgerow as cover I was able to get within 150 yards but they still were in that tight group. It was then that I decided to go down and come at them from a different angle. To do this required crawling through the snow to stay out of sight; “That was fun.” I know it took me at least an hour and a half to get to the thick brush. And when I did get there I could see them a long way off but headed my way. This particular hedgerow was so thick I could hardly move much less raise my rifle. If I was going to get any shot here I would need to clean out where I could kneel and make sniper’s hole to shoot from. It was a lot of breaking and bending of branches and twigs but finally I was able to kneel and shoulder the rifle.

By now they were closer but still in that tight group. After kneeling for some time I made a slight movement and they saw it. Now looking through the scope I put the crosshair on what I believe was the leader but he was leaning right against another ram; I still could not shoot safely. Slowly they were walking away and suddenly I saw daylight between “my” ram and the one he had been leaning on. It was now or never. I had one shot and when I squeezed the trigger I had my Texas Dahl ram.

As I walked back down to the barn the ranch hand Doug Everard greeted me and said “saw you sneaking around up there and heard the shot and from the smile on your face I assume you got it; I’ll I get the Kubota RTV and we will go get him.” The ram tipped the scales at 138 pounds and his horns measured 25 and 26 inches long and had 11 and 11 1/2 bases. It was absolutely a great and memorable hunt.

In addition to the Wounded Warrior hunts that I had the privilege to witness at Easton View and more recently a young man with severe disabilities take his first whitetail it offers an excellent opportunity for a parent to take and teach their first time young hunter techniques and hunter safety. And one that I believe is very important is that a preserve hunt offers those with limited incomes and opportunity to experience the excitement of the hunt that they otherwise could not afford.

Now I have also been told that preserve hunting is too easy. Let me just tell you about one of these “easy” hunts.
 Last year on a 90 degree day in July I entered the Easton View preserve at sunup in search of a boar Berkshire pig. I believe on that day I covered every bit of that preserve that included walking through a muddy swamp in which a fell twice, hunted to the top of the preserve twice and did not see a pig until 6 p.m. that afternoon. I was in the upper field catching my breath and quenching my thirst when I saw 4 pigs come out of the heavy brush headed for the swamp. I made my way through the swamp and finally at 7 p.m. I finally clicked off my safety ending the HUNT.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016


After two near misses during the archery and northern zone rifle, Dan Penny of Ballston Spa had to seek the help of longtime friend and hunting partner Michael Galcik. Michael graciously allowed Dan access to one of his most sacred locations. After 2 does and an hour and 15 minute wait, Dan spied a heavy horned 9 pointer approaching his stand location exactly from where he was told to be watching.  Dan sealed the deal with a 100 yard shot from his Browning .308. The buck, which was following the trail of the does, scored 142 inches and weighed in at 158 pounds. Previous trail camera pictures of this buck had him well over the 220 pound mark before the start of the rut. This is the best deer to date for the 58 year old recently retired New York State Police colonel. Quite a nice retirement gift for a close friend!

Friday, December 9, 2016


Every deer hunter dreams of taking a record whitetail buck and James Murphy, Fabius got his wish; but unfortunately it wasn’t with a gun/bow. He was headed home after a day of hunting in the Booneville area when Mr. Big Buck who James thinks was chasing a doe crossed in front of his truck that was traveling at about 40 mph and the deer died quickly. He called the police and when they arrived he chose to keep the buck and tagged it and dressed it out. He knew that this 15 pointer was big and decided to have it mounted. The taxidermist said it was the biggest buck he had seen in his 38 years in business. HOW BIG WAS HE? Using the Boone and Crockett scoring it measured nearly 200 inches. If you want to see it go to;

My good friend and neighbor Dave Rooney, Saratoga, is another 70 year old deer hunter who has taken a big buck this season in the hills of Saratoga County. He spent many days scouting before he located signs of a group of deer in a swampy area of tall pines, hemlocks and spruce. Once the season started he spent sunup to sundown sitting patiently in this area. It was definitely an area where the bucks were rutting. When the snow came he was able to really focus on where the deer were traveling. It was about 3:30 p.m. looked over his shoulder and went eye to eye with a buck no more than 15 feet behind him.

Immediately the buck bolted and at about 30 yards his Remington 750  35 Whelan connected and the deer disappeared in the small beeches. Thinking he had missed he followed the tracks and 75 yards from when he had shot lay his trophy buck. “ Needless to say this this 71 year old hunter was elated with his success.” But the hunt wasn’t over yet. He was a half mile from his ATV; and was hoping he could get it up to his fallen buck. Fortunately he did and only had a 150 yard drag. Dave’s buck carried a 10 point rack with a 19 inch spread and tipped the scales at 180 pounds.

Monday, December 5, 2016


Saturday, December 3, 2016


 Late October, I had been bowhunting an active scrape line in the Southern zone. I had been in a tree twice with my climber in an attempt to see that buck and scout the area for deer activity. It had been a few years since I last hunted here, but I knew the property well. The first morning I saw three deer out of range travelling through just after dawn heading towards bedding ground. The second morning nothing and no evening activity either. I gave it a rest.

I had a week’s vacation planned to go up north in the Adirondacks and hunt during the rifle season with family. Upon my return, my rifle tag unfilled, I went back to my bow and set up on that same southern zone scrape line which was still active. I made a plan for a morning hunt. It was a Sunday. My last day off before returning back to work. 

This time I climbed a tree closer to where I had seen the three deer cross in the weeks prior. Twenty yards off the scrape line and a hundred yards from pine bedding areas. That morning with my arrow nocked and ready, dawn was about to break. I peered down from my stand, checked for open shooting lanes, and slowly ranged my surroundings, a twenty yard circle. I only had a few hours to spare that day to hunt. I settled in and waited.

It was a quiet and frosty morning. The sky clear and sunrise came rising low on the horizon. I was facing east and I forgot to wear a billed cap under my fleece hat. I cursed myself for not thinking of it. A stand of tall hemlocks in the woods helped screen the early sun. As the temps rose above the freezing mark, I saw White breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers, Downy Woodpeckers and a mouse. No deer.

I had forgotten my phone, so I didn’t know the time. There was no deer activity. No coyotes or turkey. I thought it might be nearing 0930. I wanted to be done by 1000.  I was getting hungry and began thinking about that first morning cup of coffee. I was sure the deer would have been through by now to bed, so I looked around, coast was clear, no deer. I lowered my bow to the ground and started climbing down quietly. I said to myself, I’ll hunt as I walk out.

About halfway down the tree, something, whether noise or movement had me look to my left and I saw a buck 40- 50 yards out slowly trotting by coming from the pines. A nice buck! I quickly anchored my seat into the tree, hoisted up my bow, nocked an arrow, turned putting my back to the tree, and faced the buck that hadn’t broke stride and continued to trot away. I cupped my hand to my mouth and gave the best low grunts I knew how to make in order to entice this fella back! Nothing... no reaction! I had my commercial grunt call on doe estrus and I bleated twice. Nothing..! He kept moving uninterested and had even passed through downwind of me. I was only eight feet off the ground when I stopped climbing. He continued and crossed the stream. He travelled up a slope covered in honeysuckle thickets and stopped looking out ahead of him in his original direction of travel. I could only make out his silhouette...100+ yards. I grunted again! Nothing….I quickly hung my bow on my left arm, grabbed my homemade rattle bag from my cargo pocket, and gave four aggressive rattles with the bag.  I kept rattling and rattling. Finally, on the fifth or so rattle he turned his head back, listened, and did a roll away 180 degrees and started trotting back towards me on the path in
which he came. He closed that distance by half and I shoved the rattle bag back into my cargo pocket. I grasped my bow again with my left hand.  He came in about fifty yards from me slowing and looking for the fight. I tapped the rattlebag in my cargo pocket a couple of times to give him a signal to come my way. He didn’t take the scrape line trail on my left instead he travelled almost the same line in which he came, but the lasts taps worked and he angled my way. I slowly repositioned to the right as he moved closer and when his head passed by two big offset trees, I used it as a blind and drew back. I followed him bow fully drawn and gave a “baahhh” by mouth when I felt comfortable with the range. He stopped. I saw my lane,” broadside chest, release, good shot, chest!’ went through my head.  He ran about seventy 75 yards and went down. He broke off the arrow while running, double lunged with an exit wound. I had bagged a beautiful 8 point pre-rut buck. 158#

The hunt was memorable. I threw everything I knew at him in less than a minute and got him to turn back. I just kept thinking and doing. I would have been just as charged up if it was a spike. I got lucky on the mature buck it turned out to be. I thank the landowner for their generosity and the opportunity for this hunt.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Around 10 years ago my son Kyle put a chair out in the woods for me to  sit 
 in when I went hunting. I sit in that chair to hunt to this very day.  On 
 November 21, 2016 I was sitting and spotted a doe to the right of me. I  
 heard a noise behind me and turned around to see what it was. There was this  
 huge buck. I took aim and shot at it. He went down and stayed down. I  was 
 totally amazed when I walked up to it. I could not believe how huge the  
 antlers were. This is the biggest buck I have ever shot and I am 70 years 
 old!!!  (11 POINTER WEIGHED IN AT 187)
 Took long enough, huh?