OT: 2018 Fall Hunting Season

Didn't see a thread yet so I thought I'd start one. With today being the first day of dove season in Virginia, figured it was time. Discuss any plans for hunting. Local or destination trips, etc.

This is the first year in about 16 years I plan to do some serious bowhunting. I've been shooting my recurve fairly consistently and have a few decent spots scouted.

Also finally got the invite to deer camp in Rockbridge County, my brother in law and his cousin both shot nice bucks the last year or two (an 8 and a 10 if memory serves). Heading up tomorrow to clean trails, split fire wood, and clean out the cabin.

Now, if we could just start having some fall weather.

Good luck and be safe out there.

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I wish you all the luck in the world this season. I've about hung up the guns since leaving the mountains, but I'd pay decent bucks for a good dove field to hunt. I grew up shooting at and eating dove and miss that early season excitement. Haven't had more than a couple of opportunities since I moved east, but I'm still meeting people and hoping for an "in" at some point. I also miss venison, but deer hunting around here is not the same experience as it was in the higher-lands, and not attractive to me at all.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I was just outside trimming up some shrubs and about died of heat stroke and remembered it was opening day. I need it to be 30 degrees if I'm going to be sitting in a blind or up in a tree stand. Just doesn't feel right otherwise

I'm drinking whiskey and watching football now to pass the time until this damn heat is gone

I've sat on a cooler in the shade several opening days of Dove season. Had to work to keep hydrated, and had to refrigerate the dove to keep them from spoiling. If I had a place to go today, I wouldn't have gone, as much as I'd love to get back after them. Can't even imagine doing the work to hunt deer in the heat we're also experiencing here at the Bay. Mosquitos and deer don't go together for me.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Need to go out and do some trimming and set up my cameras...a little embarrassed I haven't yet. It's just been so damn hotttt.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

Nice, feeling similar on bow season. If I can my get my brother in law to slow down at work a bit, I'm going to try my 1st bow season ever, with him, this year.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

It's a great past time. I've had a lot of fun over the years even when I'm not "successful". Good luck and enjoy!

Thanks, I'm definitely looking forward to it. I so love that quiet time in the woods (and on the water). Plus I wanted something to do outdoors that was convenient. With the James being my only access to nearby water, and it being a waste for fishing and swimming now, at least I can target practice here at home.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

"Dove is the filet mignon of the sky".
Bonus points to those who know who said that (that means... legs).
Go Hokies!!!

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Jase, right?

Bingo! Winner!

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

I don't have a clue, but I know for a fact that if given the choice, I'd take the dove over filet mignon any day. You can buy beef.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I've never had dove, but think I need to try it now.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Yes definitely. Wrap in bacon, brown, finish in oven.

... then eat the delicious bacon and toss the dove. Sounds like I may be the outlier here but I always equated eating dove to having a bloody nose. Way too iron-y for me. I'm holding out for cooler weather and venison 🙂

Whoa now, that's positively Frenchian in tone. Dove are absolutely delicious, bacon or not. Split the breasts and bread and fry them, grill them wrapped in bacon, baked wrapped in bacon, whatever. For those who haven't had them, the bacon substitutes for the fact that there is absolutely no fat on the majority of dove harvested, so it keeps the breasts from drying out. Marinate them and serve with a wine/butter sauce for a treat. They are definitely closer to duck than chicken in flavor, and while I do like a good wood duck dinner, gimme dove every time.
Also, while it probably doesn't need to be said, they need to be properly cared for in the field, especially in hot weather. All a matter of taste, though, and there's no venison I wouldn't trade you for a mess of dove. And we aren't even talking about the fun a dove shoot can be.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I've had my HIP number the last two years, and haven't capitalized. I really need to get on that.

Same. I don't have any places to go around Blacksburg, I miss it.

Got a bird dog puppy we need to break in on some doves before we head out west so hoping to get in a hunt in the next few weeks for the tasty little sky nuggets but even fishing makes you sweat like mad in this heat

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I went out for opening day today and had a great time. There's nothing that says fall is kicking off like a good dove hunt. I'm in Northern Virginia and I'm a big bowhunter for deer/turkey so if you're ever in my neck of the woods let me know!

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

Glad you got out. It was a hot one.

We've got some family land in Loudon but seems deer population is down a bit, at least on our property. I say that, but one of our hunters killed a 183" buck last year. I'll let you know if I'm ever up that way. Thanks!

Good luck this fall!

I usually go to the mountains west of Staunton for muzzy season. Near a town called Deerfield. Camp out with a bunch of guys in the National forest. Always a good time. Missed last year because of shoulder surgery so really excited to get back out.

#Let's Go - Hokies

I'm actually in Craigsville this weekend working on food plots, trail cameras, stands, and splitting firewood for the season. Hoping to get out for a week in November. Deerfield is a great area. Augusta, Rockbridge, Bath, and Highland Counties are some of the most beautiful in the state in my opinion.

Good luck this year. Hope you get out.

I've hunted near there too. Close to the rifle range. Other guys in camp hunt way up on the North sometimes. I've taken some great pictures of the North from our camp. It is beautiful.

#Let's Go - Hokies

Who's ready for bow to start? Starting to get excited!

Also on a side note Im finally gonna invest in some quality outerwear for the cold ass all day sits I do through November and December and wondering if anyone had any recommendations at the moment I've settled on Nomad outdoor since they're not overly expensive but they're still high quality

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I've been bowhunting but this will be the first year I get out with my own bow. Looking forward to the season although I'm not sure what to expect. Last year was not a good deer hunting year for me.


Itll be year #8 for me bow hunting on my own and I've still never arrowed a deer yet, almost had a shot last year before some unfornate noises my seat made. Hoping to finally break the jinx this season hoping it starts to cool quickly for some better weeks of bow hunting.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I'm a believer in silks and wool for under layers. You can wear whatever you want over them, but those are great under layers. Silk seems to maintain some balance. I don't seem to get hot walking in, but then stay pretty warm once I'm sitting in the woods. Wool is a known commodity. It doesn't stink like synthetics when you sweat. That's my big thing. I tend to get warm walking in, and don't want to sit there and stink the whole time.

I don't care about brands. I just find what's on sale and the right materials.

This 100% Wool is my best friend as a still hunter its the best but a bit pricey and under layers cant be emphasized enough. I went and looked for cabelas wool series stuff but the cabelas in richmond only have the 400$ Sitka suits which were nice but not for that price. I've got the extreme cabelas wool suit for the super late season sits but its way too hot to wear until late late december so I'm just trying to get a nice set for the bulk of the season thats not down filled like my cold weather suit that weighs a ton to carry in.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Only one week to go!! Checked our trail cams this morning and they are starting to move from the fields to hitting acorns pretty hard this past week. We've got 3 definite shooters this year and one of them has been within 50 yards of my opening morning stand pretty regularly. Looking forward to getting out there!

By next week hell go nocturnal don't you worry the old ones know how to drive grown men insane like that!

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

WWWWOOOOOO!!! Opening day of bow season AND ND VT!!!! Who's in the woods this morning and what did y'all see????

Went this morning for a few hours. Only saw a mama doe and two yearlings.

It was a pretty morning but a little hot for my liking.

Had an unknown at 15yds at daylight then a small 4 come thru at 830. Back in now and it is warm, but hopefully they'll be moving. Got a few white oaks dropping; seen a ton of reds dropping, anyone else seen many? (White oak acorns)?

We have both white and red and they are loaded this year.

I've got three nice 8 pointers in field with some bears. A few Doe's (I"m sure the bucks will make their way over) in my winter food fields.

Anybody in the NRV have experience tanning bear hides?

Not in NRV, we're in Staunton; but my buddy and I do tanning, he's been a taxidermist for 7 years and does a lot of bears each year. Very reasonably priced, HMU if you want more info, always enjoy helping fellow hokies

Went this morning and saw 4 does and a small 4 pointer. Had 3 of them within 10 yards at one point but was waiting on something a little bigger.

Little warm today will be waiting for cooler weather the bugs have been miserable in the woods with all the rain gonna try and use the field repellent shirts to stay alive

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Cooler weather here in SC finally. Might get me out this weekend to try to fill the freezer up.

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The air definitely has that hunting season feel to it today. Makes me want to get in the woods. Deer are starting to shift patterns here in SWVA. Got pics of some bucks hitting some mock scrapes pretty hard and they appear to be moving a lot better. Good luck to everyone going out this weekend - should be good. Stay safe.

I'm going completely blind, literally have no idea anything about this area other than what I've gotten off google maps and the DNR site. I won't be at all mad if I don't end up with anything its really a glorified scouting trip but I'm bringing my bow or gun (still can't decide)

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Ended up bringing my bush rifle (Remington Model 8 in .35 Rem) hiked in, found a power line clearing that gave me a great view straight down a hill. 10 minutes after shooting light I saw a buck in the trees across the way, a doe made her way out into the clearing, buck came behind her. Took me a bit to see if he was legal (min 4x4 or 12" spread) turns out he was a tall 3x3. Changed focus to the doe, lined her up but at 150 and peep sights never got a shot I felt comfortable with. A .35 isn't really meant for that range. Let em walk.

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I didn't get to go with them, but my buddies checked trail cameras today on a piece of property we have to hunt for a week in early to mid November. No hunting pressure before we arrive. 6 different bucks 8 points or better and two bear on camera. Nothing huge but two of the 6 I'd put on the wall. Can't wait for that week to get here. Hope yalls season is starting out safe and successful.

Go Hokies!

A big 6 is a beautiful trophy years ago we had a property I hunted by myself and it had a 6 pointer gene heavily in the pool so all the bucks were just 3x3 in all varieties my biggest buck to date was the one I got that year a huge 6 pointer body like a horse, to this day I wish I had weighed him

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

The aloneness of the hunter, and his thoughts of his hunting past, are the very genesis of primitive energy. He is always a young man then, and making his most daring journeys. He will not think of middle age, and even the responsibility of his family will be dim as he pauses, every sense alert for the sound of what he means to kill. This is really the only time he is fully alive. All the rest is dreaming time.

Come November...

Just don't dream while you're in your stand. You might fall out.

#Let's Go - Hokies

Anyone been out for grouse?
I spend a fair bit of time in the woods with a couple of Epagneul Bretons throughout the year and rarely come across grouse in the Montgomery/Giles/Craig Co. vicinity. The dogs are much more optimistic that there are birds left.

I usually flush about a half dozen every fall and hear them drumming in the spring often. I don't hunt them, though if I had dogs I would. I usually find them up high in the thickest area farthest from any roads.

To be honest, I have no desire to shoot them. I enjoy letting the dogs to what they were bred to do.

There is nothing they like better than pointing a game-bird. It must be like crack since they don't move out of fear the bird will flush.

I agree with you on all points. I never had a chance to hunt game birds with dogs much, but the few chances I did were quite an experience. Definitely something I'll never forget and something I'd do again in a heartbeat.

Raised deutch drahthars all my life for the sole reason of letting them point and flush nothing beats it hands down. Sadly I've stopped bird hunting in Virginia except for dove hunting I can't bring myself to shoot one of the last quail around ever and can't find it in me to do the same to the grouse enough people go after them I don't mind simply letting the dogs work a bit but that's all. I save the ammo for going out west to the Dakota's every October then we let them work on the pointing then retrieving until the dogs are so tired they won't hunt anymore.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Alright people who deer hunt more than I do: I've had a rough go. The first time I got out this year I saw a buck and a doe haven't seen anything except a deer I bumped on my way out once.

Starting to second guess all my strategies and I have a day to get out this weekend so I'm trying to take advantage of it. Its going to rain pretty significantly, I have no idea what this does to deer. I do know it will keep people out of the places I can get with my boat because the roads will become really hard to pass. What should I be looking for in SC for a rainy hunt.

This property is massive, has a lower section which has a bunch of plots and clearings cut but it gets pressured hard down there (even in the rain as their the easiest to access by foot). I've spent more time in the top section which varries between impassible brush to sparse trees with green undergrowth. There's a power line clearing that goes up and down the draws where I saw the first two deer this year. By boat its about .75 mile hike in where I'd pass the fairly open woods I'd hunted a few times with little success. I've got the .257 dialed in now so I'm not worried about being out ranged there anymore.

(add if applicable) /s

I live in Columbia, SC and have for about 3 years now, but still hunt in the mountains in Virginia so this could be totally inapplicable to your current situation but I'll try to help:

I've had success in the rain by really hitting the woods hard the afternoon/evening before a big rain is supposed to roll in. Bad weather usually gets them moving pretty well as they're trying to get one last big meal in before the deluge. Once the weather starts, it's a matter of trying to catch them going to lay down. I'd try to sit that brush you talked about as best you can and catch them moving from the lower plots/their feeding areas back to there because that's the type of stuff they love to lay in.

Once the rain has really settled in though, my experience has been that the deer just lay down and ride it out. That makes killing them mighty tough. That being said, I killed a really pretty buck in a downpour and was sitting in the stand I'd been sitting in for weeks, so it didn't seem to phase him. You just never know.

I would root for the Russians before I would root for Virginia.

I live in Columbia, SC

Hey me too. The whole work + WMA's only being open on saturdays makes it hard to avoid the rain so I'm going regardless and I can't really hunt either side of it forecast says consistent rain from Saturday AM to Sunday AM.

Thanks for the advice maybe I'll try the line clearing that has one side super thick and one side sparse see if I can get them crossing into the thick stuff to bed down.

(add if applicable) /s

Hey me too.

Well it's good to know I'm not the only Hokie here.

I would root for the Russians before I would root for Virginia.

Been a terribly shitty year for me in the mountains. All properties I have access to are hardwoods with some old cuts mixed in. No agricultural fields or hay fields at all. We've had a total mast crop failure this year, so deer in my areas aren't using their normal territories. I've hiked over 30 miles so far this year in various places, have not found much sign at all. Then, almost every time, driving back home there's a metric shit ton of deer eating grass right along the road. Go figure.

Good luck. I hope you get something. I'm headed to Northern Virginia to hunt Loudoun this weekend. Hopefully things are better up that way...

I was reading on projected deer populations for 2018 over the weekend and Loudoun is supposed to have the highest density by county for VA this year. I hunt Fairfax and Southampton counties so I hope our paths cross sometime. I've been covered in deer all year.

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

Density is all about what's around to draw them in you can hunt all day is spots and see nothing it's alot of luck this time of year in regards to if there's a possible doe still in heat to really stir the big boys up otherwise they tend to lay low after the rut occasionally checking trafficy spots for a hot doe otherwise they won't show their face in daylight the rest of the year unless run by dogs or people. I only still hunt so my season is just about over it's really hit or miss you've gotta be in the woods when the does get hot to see the best action

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

On one hand I agree the rut is best. On the other I've had a ton of success still hunting through late season food sources with the right wind direction. Good luck if you still get to go out.

I agree with you here. I still have some really big boys on camera consistently over the last week and a half. I ain't hangin it up just yet.

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

Me either. Still have some bucks hanging around our place too.

I'm not hanging it up til sometime in February. In Loudoun we can shoot does until March 31st. Not sure I agree with nor want to participate in harvesting a doe which is very close to full term pregnant, but I think I'd like to fill the freezer in January or first week of February if I get a chance.

Right there with you. I can do the same on Fort Belvoir so we'll see how the next month plays out.

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

Looks like the forecast pushed the rain back a few hours. I'll get sunrise till 10-11 free of rain before a fairly light (0.02"/hr) rain starts. Going full marine style boating in at dark and a blind trek through the woods for 3/4 of a mile.

(add if applicable) /s

I love this, and good luck to you.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Thanks, here's to hoping the forecast shift came too late and everyone else already made plans and I get the woods to myself.

(add if applicable) /s

Deer nor weatherman cooperated today. Got in on time did my usual, glass my set at first light. Sat there all morning heard nothing. Around 9 I heard presumably a squirrel hunter working my way which got my excited he'd bump a deer. 930 still nothing then suddenly a doe 100 yards away who I guess has been bedded in grass out in the clearing just stood up. Unfortunately don't have a doe tag for today. Right about 10:30 the light drizzle we were supposed to have turned to down pour. Knowing the deer were probably bedded I tried to sneak into a few bedding areas. Caught sight of one doe on bed and bumped another.

Really disheartening, I'm not much of a deer hunter I usually go out to fill a tag and my freezer then get to wing shooting. Last year was the first year I didn't get a deer in quite some time, decided this year I'd give it a little more effort and it's seemingly backfired. Maybe I should stick to birds.

At least I got back to catch the second half.

(add if applicable) /s

Its January 1st in Roanoke for the end of the season I believe. I wouldn't want to participate in that either, I'm surprised they allow it that late.

January 5th, but yeah.

They want deer killed in those few counties. Way too many deer and not enough hunting. If you buy the tags, pretty sure you could kill three does per day, every day, from September 1st through March 31st. Insane...

Given that it takes only one buck to impregnate a herd of does, it only makes sense to kill does in overpopulated areas. Do your part and help the management of the herd is my advice. Can't eat antlers, and the fewer does and more bucks you have, the better the competition and eventually, the better the quality of the racks. But I know you all know that. Also understand the pregnant doe thing. It might be pregnant with the next record buck.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Oh I totally get it. And I do my part by killing as many does as I'm able. I guess for me I'm just a bit turned off by gutting a doe and having a full term fawn or three fall out. Which is close to reality when shooting one the last week of March.

Yeah, I get it. Once killed an early season doe and had her fawn follow me all the way down the mountain. It wasn't a great day in the woods.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Probably a long shot but here goes...

I recently got a new muzzleloader, T/C Triumph Bonecollecter, and I'm trying to figure out what powder and bullet combination it likes. Currently using 777, but not happy with 100 yard accuracy (3" groups) after trying 4 different bullets and numerous powder charges. Thinking about trying Blackhorn 209. Anybody here with this gun and willing to offer any tips? Thanks!

I use white hot 50 grain pellets. Then use the ballistic tipped 249 grain sabots that's a great combo not the stopping power of the bigger 150 grains of powder and the bigger 300 grain bullet which really messes with accuracy at longer range I found. Best bet is 100 grains of powder and 249 grain powder. I've also always used shotgun scopes for muzzleloaders since the kick is rather large

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Thanks! I've never been a fan of pelletized propellant since you can't fine tune loads. But I might give these a shot. Appreciate it!

I've used Blackhorn 209 for years and would never look back. It's expensive as hell but works great for me. My father has a similar rifle as yours and he's been using 110 grains (by volume, roughly 78 grain weight) behind I believe a hornady 250 gr sabot. Shoots excellent. Use a cci 209 magnum primer for best ignition.

I've got an old (25 yrs) Knight Mk85 .54 cal. I use 110 gr behind a Barnes 375 gr .50 cal sabot and it shoots great. Made a clean drt shot on an 8pt at 225 yds laser ranged a few years back. I got tired of squib loads and crappy ballistics. You can email the folks at Blackhorn for some loads and they may have some more info.

Excellent. Thank you. That's the most common load recommended for blackhorn 209, the 110 grains with a 250 grain bullet. Will give it a go.

I still have my MK-85, and love it. Tack driver. Just a pain to clean and I still haven't converted to 209 ignition. Fooling with the #11 caps was getting old.

Really appreciate the info!

Agree with the others about the Blackhorn 209 powder charge of 110 gr. I switched from 777 several years ago. I used to shoot the 250 gr. SST's but switched to 250 gr Barnes bullets (I shoot Barnes in muzzleloaders and rifles) and I don't think I'll ever need to switch anything up again. One thing about the Blackhorn, they recommend not using muzzleloading 209 primers...use the full strength shotgun primers.

Thanks, this also confirms my line of thinking. I am currently shooting Barnes Spit-Fire TMZ in 250 grain, Hornady SST in 250 grains, and Traditions Smackdowns in 250 grains. Using CCI Magnum Shotgun primers (not the muzzleloader specific primers). With the switch from 777 (both FFG and FFFG) to the BH209, I have a feeling I will land right where I want with regard to accuracy. Slightly easier range process (no swabbing between shots) and somewhat easier cleanup are just added benefits (or so I am told).

Thanks again!

It's definitely easier to clean, I actually clean my TC Omega the same as a centerfire now. Not telling you how to sight yours in but you might want to run a patch thru between shots..it burns cleaner but it's still a muzzleloader..there is a lot of residue as compared to a modern rifle. Just my 2 cents.

No, that's good to know. Dry patch, I assume? I don't mind that, it's the standard process of wet patch x 2, dry patch x2, between each shot with 777 that sucks.

A dry patch is probably fine, it swabs a lot easier than 777 or standard Pyrodex or black powder but if you are trying to get maximum accuracy for sighting in purposes that's what I would do..or did do I should say.

Thanks again. Looking forward to further experimentation.

Update on the Henry County season thus far: some studsss have been taken this year in the year. Me and my dad both got an 8 the Thursday before Thanksgiving and I got an 11 this past Saturday. The 11 is the biggest I've ever gotten and will be getting mounted in the coming weeks. If I go back out any this year it'll be basically practicing grounds...I've never been able to really figure out a grunt call/rattling/calling a deer in general (any tips would be appreciated lol).
Been a good season and the freezer is looking good for the coming year. Hope yall have had similar luck!

Edit: and by "studsss" I mean just hunters in the area. My 11pt is no slouch, but some deer closing in 200 type scores.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

I'm glad someone is having success. I have had fun but not much deer activity on the properties I've hunted. Oh well. Spring gobbler will be here before we know it.

The only thing keeping me in the woods at this point, I saw some turkey tracks my last deer hunt.

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Just had a picture forwarded to me of a 634 lb black bear killed just outside Dismal Swamp. It's a biggun for sure. I wish I could learn to get the pic up, but that ship has sailed years ago. It's on my email, and I did forward it to Hokienator, so if anyone's interested, maybe he can get it up.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Jeez...that's a big bear. I have heard of bears that size in NC. What a beast. Hope nator posts the pic.

There was one hit by a car a few miles from my house the week of Thanksgiving that the VDGIF estimated the live weight at 792 lbs. I believe it weighed 660 lbs dressed. I'll see if I can upload some pics but it was by far the biggest black bear I've ever seen. I've got trail cam pics of an absolute monster that I'm gonna try to get a crack at this weekend. I'd say he'd push 600 as well. Some huge bears being seen. There wasn't a bear to speak of in my area 20 years ago and now they're everywhere.

Edit: link to news story 700+ lb black bear hit in SWVA