On Wisconsin Outdoors: Snow Scraping Buck

Just a Coincidence or a New Tactic?
Snow Scraping Buck on Opening Day

By: Jim Servi

Every fall, big bucks visit scrapes throughout my hunting area, but almost always at night. Daytime visits most likely consist of a quick scent check and then on to the next, without triggering the trail camera. There is one exception. Immediately after a snowfall, bucks tend to visit scrapes during the day. Thinking it was just a coincidence, I didn’t make the connection until the 2016 Gun Deer Season.

Walking into my stand on Opening Day, a light snow covered the ground. Fresh wolf tracks, made just hours before, sent a shiver through my body. After climbing into the sanctuary of my tree stand, darkness was just beginning to give way to the morning light. Gusts of wind were already forecasting the high winds to come. This stand is a special place for me and I generally only hunt it this one time of year. Like many young hunters, I went through my share of struggles in my early years, missing bucks that still haunt my memories. This stand was different though. Hunting it since 2009, I didn’t see a lot of deer, but the ones I did were often bucks, and my aim was always true.

Light now filled the entire woods and I found familiarity in the landscape. A gradual, downward slope leading to a thick swamp was my facing view, mostly hardwoods, but sprinkled with hemlocks. On the sugar maple ridge behind me, I saw a flash. Two does had come out of the swamp and disappeared. Suddenly, three more does appeared in front of me, uneasy from the wind. They lingered. I had already seen more does this morning, than the previous two years hunting this location. Trying to stir something up, I hit my grunt call. Suddenly, there was another deer at the base of my tree. A little nub buck was trying to figure out where that noise came from. All morning they came and went, but no bucks. Finally, in the early afternoon, they departed and so did I. My wife’s delicious Opening Day chili was waiting.

Warm and full, I made my way back out to the stand, taking a different approach, making sure to stay clear of the bedding area to the south. That unknowingly turned out to be a good decision. Settled back in, the wind was still swirling, but the deer activity had slowed. It was now mid-afternoon. Suddenly, I heard a noise behind me. I slowly turned. Cleaning the snow out of a scrape, all I could see of the buck was his long tines protruding into the hemlock branches above. I got ready, hoping he would continue towards me. Satisfied that his scrape was refreshed, he stepped out from behind the tree, a perfect shot.

Rushing to the spot, I could see it was a good hit. A short tracking job and there he was. The largest buck I had ever seen hunting was now the largest buck I had ever harvested.

Always curious, I backtracked his tracks in the snow. The scrape near me was the last of a half dozen scrapes he cleared out that afternoon, leading back to his bed in the area I avoid, just south of my stand. Little things matter when you are hunting and the route to my stand made all the difference that day. What about the snow? Was it just a coincidence that it had snowed the night before, covering the scrape? Or had he come to clear them out because of the snow? Days later, there was another hot scrape cleared out during the middle of the day after another snowfall. Trail cam pictures from past years confirmed the same. Maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe there was something to it. Either way, I know where I’ll be sitting after the first fresh snow this year.

To read the latest copy of On Wisconsin Outdoors, please visit  the On Wisconsin Outdoors website.

First Published in On Wisconsin Outdoors on November 1, 2017.

Exciting Stuff is Happening!

Do you ever have one of those things that you absolutely love to do, but it always takes a backseat to everything else in life? This blog is kind of like that for me. I love it and I love writing, but it always seems to be last on the priority list each day. One of my early resolutions going into 2018 is to be active and continue to add quality content for all of you.

The good news is that the blog had 1,554 visitors and 3,970 views so far this year, mostly from the 752 active followers. To all the supporters, thank you so very much.

The photo contest had some absolutely breath taking photos and we now have all the 2017 monthly winners set, so we’ll be able to see who the winner is for 2017 on New Years Day. I’ll have all those pictures compiled with the poll early next week.

More good news. One of my big goals for 2017 was to finish Forever Changed. And I did! Kind of… The first draft has been done for awhile now and I’m currently editing every chance I have to get the final product ready. We just hit 100 pre-orders for Forever Changed and the timing couldn’t be better. Queries are already being sent out to publishers and book agents as a first option for publishing. If that doesn’t work, I will be self-publishing in 2018. Exciting stuff! And it’s never to late to pre-order if you haven’t already.

The good news continues. My 90th article was just published and unless something goes drastically wrong, I will hit #100 in 2018. I guess that means I’m officially a writer. Still hard to believe since English was always my worst subject growing up. I sure hope my editors don’t read this:) New articles will be posted on Mondays, along with some of the dated articles, so even if you don’t subscribe to those papers, you can still stay tuned in.

Thanks again for all your support. This would all be pointless without all of you. Stories are meant to be read and shared and I can’t wait to hear yours.

 

 

 

 

And the Winner is…Mirror Image by Kathy Hass!

Congratulations to Kathy Hass- Winner of the November 2017 Forever Changed Photo Contest!

Here it is, Mirror Image:

Mirror Image by Kathy Hass

This photo now moves on to the final voting to be held in December 2017.

Thanks to all the participants. Please continue to submit your pictures for a chance to win next month.

Sponsored by Forever Changed.

 

Last Chance to Vote for November – Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest

Kevin is holding a narrow 4-3 lead over Kathy on the last day of voting, so anything could happen.

Vote for your favorite picture today! Savor each picture as you stroll through and vote for your favorite in the poll located at the bottom when you’re done.

The winner will advance to the final contest to be held in December 2017 and be announced on January 1, 2018.

In addition, each picture will be individually featured on a separate day. The 10 pictures with the most “likes” on this blog, not Facebook (sorry:), whether they are a monthly winner or not, will also advance to the final contest.

Photographers are encouraged to promote and share their beautiful photos!

Results will be posted on December 1st.

Sponsored by Forever Changed. Don’t forget to pre-order Forever Changed if you haven’t yet. Just email jimservi10@gmail.com and you’ll be added to the list.

Mirror Image by Kathy Hass

Pink Sky at Night, Sailor’s Delight by Kevin Staus

Mirror Image by Kathy Hass

 

Mirror Image by Kathy Hass

Click here to vote now: https://jimservi.com/2017/11/15/forever-changed-2017-photo-contest-november-voting/

Sponsored by Forever Changed

Pink Sky at Night, Sailor’s Delight by Kevin Staus

 

Pink Sky at Night, Sailor’s Delight by Kevin Staus

Click here to vote now: https://jimservi.com/2017/11/15/forever-changed-2017-photo-contest-november-voting/

Sponsored by Forever Changed

Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest – November Voting!

Vote for your favorite picture today! Savor each picture as you stroll through and vote for your favorite in the poll located at the bottom when you’re done.

The winner will advance to the final contest to be held in December 2017 and be announced on January 1, 2018.

In addition, each picture will be individually featured on a separate day. The 10 pictures with the most “likes” on this blog, not Facebook (sorry:), whether they are a monthly winner or not, will also advance to the final contest.

Photographers are encouraged to promote and share their beautiful photos!

Results will be posted on December 1st.

Sponsored by Forever Changed. Don’t forget to pre-order Forever Changed if you haven’t yet. Just email jimservi10@gmail.com and you’ll be added to the list.

Mirror Image by Kathy Hass

Pink Sky at Night, Sailor’s Delight by Kevin Staus