Had a great time in Texas not long ago hunting at Northern Sky Ranch near the town of Jacksboro.  Had great fun with my son!


The first weekend of shotgun deer season has come and gone with little fanfare it would seem.  There was very little shooting going on Friday and just a little more on Saturday and none at all on Sunday.  It will be interesting to hear or see what the final tally is for the first season.

Part 2 starts on Nov 28th and last until Sunday.

There are still several farmers trying to finish up soybean harvest in the area and that might have had some effect on the first season.  I know talking to one hunter that harvest was taking place not far from his deer stand and he said the deer were all stirred up as a result.


Well we are moving into the middle of November, that time of year when everyone is thinking about deer season, Thanksgiving and/or nothing at all.

The last three weeks of November are really screwed up in Illinois.  The weekend before Thanksgiving is the first shotgun deer season, which might as well be a state holiday, follow by Thanksgiving in the middle of the next week, followed by another shotgun deer season the following week.

This makes field work fun as every field you go into right now has a hunter around it somewhere.  Fields that are not harvested are harder and harder to get to and finding anyone to visit with or schedule anything is a challenge because of so much time devoted to either deer season or Thanksgiving.

Plus this year with the drought and the lack of a real harvest no one is really thinking about next year or wants to visit on next year.  It has been a psychologically demoralizing year and everyone is ready for it to be over.  Yet no one wants to think about next year yet.

Next year started in July for me, but its the middle of November for 80% of the farming community and next year doesn’t start until sometime next year for them.  Oh well, maybe a good deer season will get everyone picked back up.

In case you haven’t seen or heard about this yet…………. beware where you hunt.

This harvest has been a long one and is still going on for a lot of folks even as the “big rains” approach.  For me it seemed it lasted three months, but it wasn’t really that long.  In the end it finished very quickly and I cut more acres of beans in one day here on my farm that I have ever cut before.  No, it wasn’t the low yield. It was that everything was right:  The beans were ready, the stems were dry, the machine was working properly.  Everything came together to finish.

All of that time in the combine cab or tractor cab gives one time to think, but not opportunity to put it down in a blog.  By the time I got done I had either forgot some of what I wanted to blog about, or the topic was no longer relevant so to speak.  So I am ready this morning to start off the my renewed blogging with a firestorm of sorts, but got my mind changed by my trail camera.

The kids and I went and downloaded the trail camera I have set between my two deer stands.  We don’t take deer hunting seriously here anymore.  First off, I don’t have, or don’t make the time to do it like we use to.  Second, I have got soft in my middle age and if its windy or wet, or windy and wet forget it.  I am not freezing my butt off for a cut of meat that isn’t that good to start with.  The kids want to go so we go and sit and watch the wildlife more or less.

Deer are refereed to as Government Goats around here.  They enjoy the elevated status of protected species in the sense that they are “owned by the people of the state of Illinois” and you have to have a permit to hunt them, even on your own land.  Yet as a land owner I have to let the goats free graze and free roam all over me so the “people” or “owners” of the goats can enjoy them.  Don’t get me wrong, I like deer, but I like deer management even better.  But deer management anymore in this part of the state means only one thing:  Outfitters.

Deer hunting outfitters are more of a nuisance than the deer anymore.  Between the lack of respect for private property by placing hunters on ground they don’t lease, destroying crops with their ATV’s, the effort to grow bigger deer to command a bigger fee and their fighting with one another I think we should have an outfitter season instead of a deer season.  Outfitter season would be open to hunt all outfitters, their trucks, stands and ATV’s with them sold and the proceeds going to charity.

In short:  Lock and Load and put them out of business!

Oh yes I know they are an “economic boom” for the community…….yea right.  They are an economic boom for their own pocket book and cost farmers and land owners millions for the destruction they do with their equipment and the deer they are trying to grow to the crops and land.

Now, with that off my chest, back to the trail camera.

We don’t get a lot of deer staying here on our farm.  Our farm is a transition for the deer between the two water sources around here and the two or three bedding areas.  Food is plentiful.  You might see several deer in one day and then not see a deer for a week or better.  So it was a great surprise to me and the kids when we downloaded the trail camera and got several pictures like this of two bucks fighting.  Not just once but twice.  I am sure its the same bucks from the looks of it, most likely two years old, but they were locking horns.  And they did it on two different occasions.

So there is hope for the kids this year that they will see a buck from the deer stand.  I have hope that we might get to see these two fight live and in person this fall.  And if we see them from the stand then it was a good day hunting.  And if we don’t see them, it was a still a good day hunting.  No matter if a shot is fired or not, it will be a good time with the kids out enjoying creation.

I highly recommend a trail camera even if you don’t hunt.  I has been enjoyable viewing the pictures seeing what is crossing the farm:  cats, dogs, coyotes, foxes, skunks, raccoons, deer and other “things” that you might not necessarily think are on your property.  I keep waiting for the shot of the ATV from some trespasser………..


Monday night and Wednesday nights are my two nights of TV so to speak.  In other words if I want to watch TV anymore, its on these two night because its “gun” night those two nights on Sportsman and Outdoor channels.

I have to admit that “Wednesday Night at the Range” on Outdoor channel is my favorite of the two nights and has my new favorite show “Midways USA’s Gun Stories”.  I really have been enjoying this show.  The production quality is excellent with the use of slow motion capturing the operation of the firearms, the host Joe Mantegna adds not only some class but the acting helps with the presentation of the topics and the experts that are interviewed add many different angles and perspectives to the gun or topic being discussed.

Really the show is, in my opinion, a significant step up in gun/hunting/outdoor show presentation and quality.  Matter of fact, it makes a few of the other shows on these channels look pretty amateurish.  That’s not a put down but just a statement on how much of a leap this show makes in production quality.

To be fair some of the other shows on these two nights are a presentation of technical issues, some are of competitions and some are instructional.  The type of production in Gun Stories would not lend its self well to these shows.  However I think that in the end that Gun Stories will only help to elevate the quality of the other shows.  That makes us that watch gun TV winners in the end.

I also really enjoy Shooting USA which has a very high production quality as well and has a good mix to topics from one week to the next.  I remember watching Shooting USA on the TNN network on Sundays after church many, many years ago now and thought at the time how well it was produced and shot.  Two other shows I enjoy are Guns and Ammo TV and Gallery of Guns.  The other shows are done well but depending on the topic of the night either hold or dont hold my attention long.

One show I miss is Tactical Impact.  Dont know what happened to it but its gone.  I like it better than Tactical Arms and so far thought it was better than the new Tac TV.  To be fair to Tac TV I have not got to see it very regularly but again there was something about the production quality and flow of Tactical Impact that I really liked.


Got the first shot of nitrogen on the wheat yesterday. Applied 50 units with Agrotain. Two good things about yesterdays N app: First the ground was frozen and two the sprayer got rid of the “sky carp”.

I shouldn’t complain, these geese were Canadians and not Snows. So the damage is very minimal. A Canadian will only eat a little bit off of each plant because they want to come back and eat again someday. A Snow will pull the plant up and chew on it and then spit it out. I have no use for Snows, but the Canadians are pretty and fun to watch. Either way this year I am glad they are gone so people will quit asking to hunt them!

Shortly after this picture was taken it started to snow, as in precipitation, no geese. Got about an inch. It wont last long, to be in the high 40’s to low 50’s by Sunday.

Its the second “weekend” of shotgun deer season here in Illinois.  Yes, the weekend starts on a Thursday.  Its much colder this weekend, and much wetter thank goodness

I will try to split my time between a stand and my computer processing yield monitor data and soil maps.

And maybe this fellow will be a little closer to the stand this weekend, provided someone hasn’t hit him with a car or poached him.

OK, no deer.  Saw one nice buck about 200 yards away, too far to shoot at.  Here in the “Peoples Republic” of Illinois you have to use a shotgun with slugs to deer hunt.  So 200 is a bit far for a kill.

Didn’t see another thing until Sunday afternoon, a smallish doe who was wired about something.  Then after we quit and were leaving for church a small four pointer almost ran in front of the car at the end of our driveway. 

Well two weeks and we can do it again……………we will see what happens.

Well that fall right of passage, the first of the three big fall holidays begins today.  Shotgun Deer season in Illinois.  Or as a lot of farmers refer to it, the great thinning of the Government Goat Herd.  Deer are both an economic boom and economic loss for a lot of farmers.  Some have turned into outfitters and charge for people to come hunt a big buck on their land as a way to try to regain all the crops they have ate and tore up. 

To be fair, deer are like Canada Geese in my opinion.  They are not that destructive and tend to be a non issue except for isolated cases.  They are pretty smart animals, they eat only what they need, don’t necessarily tear up large acreage or areas doing it because they want to come back and eat again in that area.  Turkeys on the other hand are like Snow Geese, or Sky Carp as a lot of people call them, very destructive and just plain mean when it comes to crops.  They dig and pull and eat and just flat out leave a mess where ever they go.  The last thing you want is turkeys or snow geese to find your farm.  They will pick it clean. 

So be careful out there this weekend if you hunt and be careful out there if you don’t hunt.  The hunters drive the deer to the roads it seems…………..

My new deer stand might be the back porch.  This doe was eating apples off the apple tree not 30 ft from the deck in the back yard.  The dogs didn’t scare her, but the chickens would cluck at her and half way charge her and ran her off. 

As seen from the kitchen out the deck door……….

I like Frank Lutz. He is pretty well middle of the road and does his research well. He and his research was featured on TV a few nights ago. Listen real close………

Here is something you don’t see very often, or at least I haven’t.  I’ve seen many a buck with one antler or with broken antlers, but never like this one.

From DeadZone TV. I hope it gets on where I can watch it. I want to see “Mr Excitement” Randy Anderson, who is one of my clients, hunt.

Shotgun deer season starts tomorrow. While I am still an avid hunter I find that the fun is in the hunt for what ever not just a big buck. So much so that for the last three years I haven’t killed a deer. Just getting out and sitting in the quiet with no cell phone or other people around and watching nature is relaxing and enjoyable. Watching the deer is also enjoyable, even when they don’t come within shooting range.

Which is one thing that bothers me, with all the emphasis on big racks by the TV shows and hunting celebrities and the money that outfitters now get for putting you on a big buck, they are taking the fun out of hunting. I mean all the land is leased up, there is no place to hunt and outfitters are even putting their clients on public land.

Lets face it, its not like there isn’t any deer, heck you cant swing a dead cat without hitting a deer in this area. Without any trouble on any single day you can count over 100 deer just driving around the country side. Turkey is just about as bad anymore. It is really no trouble a all to kill a deer if you want one real bad.

I really think that one should have to kill a doe first before they can get a buck tag. That would take down our deer population and slow down some of these rack hunters and outfitters from trying to tie up all the hunting lands.

But dollars out gun common sense every day. Exhibit A: The Government.

Hope I don’t see you in my woods tomorrow. And if I do, your lost and don’t know it!


Current Farm Weather


Did a theme update but some features may not be working correctly, please report any issues I have not found. Thanks!