Opening Day of Bow Season 2020

What are you passionate about?  For me it’s the opening day of bow season here in Kentucky.  For me it’s like the anticipation of Christmas as a small child or a kid in a candy store.  There is a great excitement leading up to opening day.  This year was no exception and it was finally here, September 5th, 2020.  Now it was Hoyt time!  I planted my food plot with oats, wheat, purple top turnips, clover, and rape.  They were greening up quickly with the warm temperatures and plenty of rain, that brought smile to my face.    I was in the deer stand by 0600 hoping to fill my tag with a velvet buck or a big gobbler.  Kentucky is one of a few states you can harvest a buck still in velvet, because of the early opening of bow season.  This morning it was 57 degrees and very light wind tickling the leaves on the trees.  Soon birds filled the air with their songs, crows cawed, owls hooted, and squirrels were cutting on nuts in the distance.   At 0625 I spotted some movement across the food plot, it was a gray squirrel scampering along the edge.  Then a few minuets later I heard the first shot of the morning ringing out in the distance.  Wait a minute it’s bow season, but I soon realized dove season was also going on too.  Note I self, I need to clean the windows on this box blind.  0640 a turkey came in the food plot with approximately a 6-inch beard, now I a shaking like a leaf.  I finally calmed myself down and the turkey turned away from me at about 20 yards and I drew my bow and place my 20 yard pin in the middle of the turkeys back and let the arrow go.  I heard the thud of the arrow as it hit the turkey.  My arrows are equipped with a lighted knocks, and I could see my arrow sticking in the ground where the turkey was standing.   The turkey took off running down a logging road directly across from me and disappeared as it rounded a curve in the road.  I thought I had made a good shot, but time will tell.  Have you every noticed when watching a clock how it seems to slow down or stop.  I waited an hour before getting down.  I went to my arrow and found a handful of feathers, then I walked down the logging road to where I had last seen the turkey.  No turkey, so I slowly walked another 200 yards past where I had lost sight of the turkey.  Still no turkey, so I circled to my right 50 yards or so back to the spot I last saw the turkey, still no turkey.  Very disappointed I climbed back into my elevated box blind and hunted for about another hour or so, all kinds of thought raced through my mind, where was my turkey.  Did I make a good shot or had I just wounded the bird.  An hour later it was 0900 and I got down and walked to where I had last saw the turkey.  I walked off to the left and hadn’t gone more than 30 or 40 yards and flushed my turkey about another 15 yards.  I got in position and put a second arrow in the bird, it turned out to be a bearded hen with a 7 ¼ inch beard.  What an exciting hunt this morning, my emotions had gone from 0 to 100, and then from 100 to 0 in a very short time, what an emotional rollercoaster ride this was!

Hunting is like life, you have success and failures.  I need to enjoy my success and learn from my failures!  I hope your hunts are all successes this year  God is good!

squirrel hunting

Today is Friday, August 28, 2020.  My food plots are planted, and it is raining today.  Timing is everything when it comes to food plots and hunting.  I hope you can get your food plot planted in front of some rain.  Today I wanted to reflect on when I first started hunting in the early 1970s. 

In Kentucky, for as long as I can remember, squirrel season came in on the third Saturday in August.  I got started hunting squirrels with some high school buddies at Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area (LBL).  I remember some of the joys of hunting in August, such as spider webs everywhere, deer ticks, hot and humid conditions, and the chance of encountering a copperhead or rattlesnake with each step.  Have I convinced you to get out and squirrel hunt yet? 

There weren’t any deer in most western Ky counties during this timeframe, so small game hunting was the best choice for most hunters.  LBL did have a good deer population and would soon be my next game animal to hunt.  I think the squirrel hunting makes you a better deer or turkey hunter because it causes you to pick the right time and place to make your shot.  Squirrels don’t sit still very long and seem to continually be on the move (you have to develop patience on picking the right opportunity for a shot). 

I think the reason I like hunting so much is that I enjoy being in the great outdoors, enjoying God’s creation.  I hope you get a chance to get out this season and enjoy nature and\or a hunt as well.


In the fall of 1983, I went bow hunting with my brother Rob in Land Between the Lakes’ (LBL) Area 8.  We arrived just before daylight to get our homemade climbers set up.  As it got light, I scanned the woods for any movement.  I always like to play a game when bowhunting and this morning was no exception.  I imagine that there is a deer within a hundred yards of me and it’s my job to find it!  After playing that game for a while, I finally did see a couple of does.  They were about sixty or seventy yards away, so since it was such a slow start and a couple of hours of not seeing very much, I decided to get down and do a little scouting.  At the time, I didn’t know Area 8 very well, so I started following a dry creek next to the trail we had come in on to see where it went.  I had been slowly walking, looking, and watching as I worked my way deeper into the woods.  I decided to take a break and sat down on a root wad and put in a chew of tobacco (my only vice at the time).  Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw a 10-point buck walking parallel to the creek about forty yards away.  If he continued on his path, he would soon be in bow range, but he suddenly stopped and reversed his course and disappeared into the woods. 

Since that was such a close encounter, I decided to move my stand to that spot after lunch with Rob.  It wasn’t long after I got settled in before I saw a deer approaching; it was a 6-point buck.  He came in behind me at 20 yards, so I couldn’t get turned good to get a shot. All I could do was watch him as he passed by me and continued walking for about 75 yards.  Then he turned and came directly out in front of me at 20 yards.  That allowed me to put my 20-yard pin on his heart, and I let that arrow fly!  He jumped and ran off about 50 yards before he abruptly stopped and turned his head towards me.  He just stood there, looking at me for about ten minutes before he laid down.  That ten minutes seemed like hours, so the moment he laid down, I decided to sit down.   As soon as I did, he jumped up and ran over the ridge, and out of sight. 

I got down out of my stand and found my arrow before going to get Rob to help me find the deer.  Rob and I returned to the scene of the crime, where I climbed up in the stand again and directed him to go to the point where I last saw the deer.   As soon as Rob got to the crest of the ridge he saw the deer lying there.  I quickly got down and met up with him, and I was thankful he helped find it and get it out of the woods before dark.

I had shot and killed a six-point buck with my Bear Whitetail Hunter bow at LBL, which was my very first bow-harvested deer.  I was now officially a bowhunter.  I am glad I got to share this hunt with my brother.  It’s always better to share a hunt with someone.  Who are you going to share your next hunt with?

Best Bow Deer

In early November of 2007, I was bow hunting at my Uncle Horace Allen Spees (HA) farm in Graves County Kentucky.  It was a cold evening hunt, and I had been seeing several nice bucks on his farm.  I always enjoyed hunting on HA farm because I got to visit with him and see lots of deer.  HA was one of three of my mom’s older brother, who had moved to the old Barker family farm in the late 1960’s.  All of his nephews and nieces called him “Uncle Horsie”, because he always had and raised horses.  I went in and chatted with Uncle Horsie before going hunting on his property, he had about 75 acres in his farm.  And then headed off to one of my stands on the edge of a thicket, where I had seen several nice bucks in the last week.  The rut was in full swing, and the cooler temperatures had the bucks on their feet in daylight hours.

I settled into my stand and got myself ready to fling some arrow from my Hoyt bow, I just need the deer to cooperate.  After a couple of hours, I finally saw movement in the thicket, but I couldn’t tell if it was buck or doe.  Then suddenly a doe came busting out of the thicket with a spike buck hot on her trail, then they disappeared as they headed north.  Only a couple of minuets later another deer came out of the thicket on the same trail, he was an eight pointer.  He paused briefly at thirty yards and then head north as the other deer had done; he was following the scent trail of the doe.  I could not get a shot, but things were heating up.  Three or four minuets later a third buck popped out of the thicket and he was on the same trail, he paused a took a few steps in my direction.  He was at twenty-five yards standing broadside, when I sunk an arrow into his chest.  He bolted and turned south, disappearing into the thicket.  I was shaking from the adrenaline rush I had just received, and my heart was about to beat out of my chest, what a buck!  I finally calmed down, then a fourth buck came out of the thicket on the same trail, he was the largest of the all.  He disappeared in the woods to the north just as the others had done.  Wow, four bucks within fifteen minutes.  I waited another fifteen minutes, which seemed like an hour.  It was starting to get dark when I climbed down and started looking of the deer.  I found my arrow and a blood trail, but the blood was beginning to be hard to find and it was dark now.  So, I opted to mark my spot and return in the morning, there is always a danger that coyotes could find him first.

It was a long night, with all kinds of thought ran through my head, like was it a good shot or did I just wound him.  I was not sure if he was an eight, a nine, or a ten pointer.  He only made it fifty yards from where I shot him, and he was a nine pointer and he weighted one hundred forty-three pounds.  He was my biggest bow kill to date.

Food plots

There are only 333 days till the 2021 turkey season, which should be April 17,2021. The season always goes by so quickly.  It seems like it just started, and now it’s over.  I was lucky and harvested my two birds the first week, but a lot of my friends had a difficult season.  Now I will turn my attention to deer season. 

Do you have your food plots ready?  Last week I sprayed my food plot with weed killer, and yesterday I applied 300lbs of lime on to the plot.  Unfortunately, it’s too wet to disk anything now, and we need several days of sunshine and warm temperatures to dry everything up.  The forecast is 20% rain for tomorrow; after that, there is a 20% chance of rain for Thursday and Friday.  I also purchased soybeans last week on the same day I bought the lime.  I am ready to roll!

It won’t be long before there are a lot of fawns being born, so I set out two coyote traps today.  There is open season on coyotes, and I figure whatever it takes to help the deer and turkeys, by controlling the predator populations, is a good thing.  Also, don’t forget to trap coons, opossum, and skunks as season regulations allow.  You need to find a way to get out and enjoy nature, and don’t forget to wear your tick and snake repellent!