Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mountain Buck

The farm I hunt on is made up of small woods lots and fields that we call the "farm" and mountain ground that extends up into the Massanutten mountain. The mountain ground we call the "mountain" for obvious reasons. The vast majority of the big bucks are generally seen and kill on the "farm" and that's where most of us hunt. But I noticed toward the end of last season a couple of my hunting buddies were spending a lot of time hunting the mountain stands. I thought this was unusual so after the season closed I decided to move one of my cameras up into the "mountain" to have a look. As you can see from the pics I think I've found what all of the interest was about. Now I'll have to admit that there has always been a wee bit of competition among us and it's not unusual for one of us to forget to mention seeing a nice buck :). After emailing the pics to them they did seem to recall seeing a nice buck up there some time or another ;)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Power Line Bucks

I turned the camera at the power line gate to face more to the north and out into the field. My thinking was that I would get better pics facing that way and for once I was right. The deer are bunching up and so are the bucks. In these pics the first show the herd coming toward the gate with some does leading the way. In the fourth pic there are six bucks in the pic. The reason they are hesitant to go through the gate is because this camera makes a loud clicking sound when it takes a pic. The does go on through but the bucks aren't so sure until the four pointer throws caution in the wind and goes through. Looks good for our buck crop for next year. Several of these bucks are close to shooter size this year and should be there next year.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raccoons and a Skunk

The raccoons seem to be in competition with the squirrels to see who can be the first to find where I've moved my camera traps to. The raccoons must cover a lot of territory at night because it doesn't take too long to start getting pics of them. The skunk on the other hand is somewhat of a rarity. We have a pretty good population of skunks in the area but I don't get many pics of them. Maybe they're camera shy ;).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Power Line Buck

Well it was definitely worth putting the camera at the gate from the power line. I got some pics of a nice 8 pointer along with four smaller bucks last week. If the poachers and coyotes don't get the 8 pointer he should be a really nice buck next year. All of the deer activity was at night and that's why we weren't seeing anything during the day the last couple of weeks. These are from my IR camera so all the night pics are in black and white. The first five pics were taken a little past 7:30. The last three are of I believe the same buck taken around 10:30 later that evening. It appears that some fog set in between when the first pics were taken and later that night.

I think he had enough of the picture taking :).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I moved all of my cameras on New Years Day to new locations. One thing I was hoping to accomplish was to get away from the squirrels. At one set I was getting as many as 6 squirrels on camera at the same time. But as you can see below the squirrels still found me. Just not as many of them. I thought they were pretty good pics so I decided to go ahead and post them. Maybe they're like Dawson and just want a little face time on the blog :).

As I mentioned I move all of my cameras. One new location was at an open gate coming from a power line and going into a rye field. My farmer buddy said he had been seeing two shooter bucks using the open gate to enter the field the week earlier. So I set up with high hopes. When I checked the camera Saturday I found that some how I don't get the memory card seated properly and had no pictures.....&@%#$#@!!. To top it off my buddy hasn't seen the bucks in the field any more since I got the camera working correctly. Just my run of luck lately. Oh well, enjoy the squirrels :).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Devil Deer

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a buck with spikes this small much less two of them. I have to think that they’re twins since they look so much alike. Years ago I would have never thought that either one of them could possibly ever grow a set of antlers that would put them into the shooter class. But research by respected wildlife biologists has shown that with age and the proper nutrition even bucks this size can grow a respectable rack. It generally takes until a buck is 4 1/2 years old before its antlers start to reach their full potential. These two are 1 1/2 now so hopefully in 3 more years they'll be nice 10 pointers but I'm not holding my breath ;) They were photographed on Christmas Day so maybe that's a good omen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's in a Name?

I'm a member of the Outdoor Blogger Network and they asked the question of how we came up with the name of our blogs. Reading some of the other members responses inspired me to take a shot at it. So if you're easily bored by poor writing skills please stop here.

When I decided to start my blog I spent a couple of days trying to come up with a catchy name. I kicked around a couple but really don't like any of them. Then Massanutten Game Trails hit me between the eyes. How did I come up with this you're dying to know? For a very long time I have been fascinated with big game hunting in Africa and Asia. I killed many lions and tigers as a young boy with my faithful dog Caesar and a Red Rider BB gun . And no, I never shot my eye out :). My fascination was particularly with man-eating lions, tigers, and leopards. I always wondered if I had the hunting skill and courage to hunt down a man-eater. Or would I just become it's next meal. Since I probably will never find out I did the next best thing. I started collecting and reading old hunting books by men who had successfully hunted them. Jim Corbett and Peter Capstick are two of my favorite writers. My collection today numbers around 75 books. Two of these books is a two volume set written by Teddy Roosevelt titled African Game Trails. The books are about a safari he took in 1909. So I thought if Game Trails was good enough for the 26th President of the United States it was good enough for me.

Now where does Massanutten come from you're asking. Massanutten is the name of the mountain range that runs through the Shenandoah Valley where I call home. The word massanutten comes from the Cherokee Indian word meaning bread basket. The Valley was and is a very bountiful area full of game and other food. During the Civil War it was called the bread basket of the Confederacy.

So there you have it. I borrowed a little from Teddy. Threw in the mountain range I live at the base of and there you have it....Massanutten Game Trails.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Coyotes and Foxes

Got a mixed bag last week on my ridge set. Unfortunately I think I had my camera angled down too much trying to compensate for the slope of the ridge. This focused the flash too close to the camera and I didn't get good lighting further out so the pics came out a little dark . The first two pics are of I think two different coyotes. The first is a smaller one and the second one is the large one I think I got pics of back in the early fall down on the road. The third pic is a nice gray fox.  The rest are of a good size red fox.