“Deer Diary” by Pro-Staffer Greg Mather

Greg keeps a running diary throughout the deer season and references it often during the season and at the start of the next season. This information allows him to reflect back on why certain days produced and others did not. What set-ups worked best and what calling techniques worked well throughout the season.

He compares each year’s information to the previous year’s information. By doing so he is able to track deer movement from one season to the next comparing, weather, location, time of day and points of interest during each hunt. He uses it as a guide to help him predict deer movement at a certain point in the season or under certain weather conditions.

Greg states… “you would be surprised just how much you can learn about the habits and movements of the deer in your hunt area by keeping a yearly diary of your hunts”. Weather and rutting patterns play a huge part in hunter success and a diary makes for a great reference both during and after the season.

This is the record for Pro-Staffer Greg Mather’s 2011 Deer Hunting Season entitled “Deer Diary”.

Oct. 1st (Opening day of Bow Season)

Location: East Garafraxa Farm near Marsdale
Conditions: Cold (5C) and very windy (35 km/h from SE)
Length of Hunt: All Day Hunt
Hunters: Greg, Pierre, Marc, and Rolly
Stands: Greg in apple tree (tree stand)
Crops on: Soya Beans (ready for picking) and corn (being hit hard at north end of field)
Sightings: Jumped Buck on walk-in to stand in dark.
Doe spotted at 8:00 am came out of bed in fence row and crossed field and exited field at east fence row south of pond.
6 pt Buck ran across field at 3:15 pm scared by Combine working in field to North. Ran across bean field and exited field at east fence row south of pond (same location as Doe)
Doe at 5:45pm comes down fence row towards me but winds me and exited field at east fence row south of pond. (same location as Doe & Buck)
Other: Make a mental note to check East fence row next morning for possible tree stand site.

Oct. 2nd

Location: East Garafraxa Farm near Marsdale
Conditions: Cool (10C) and very windy (35 km/h from SE) and rainy
Length of Hunt: Afternoon hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Marc
Stands: Greg in apple tree (tree stand)
Crops on: Soya Beans (ready for picking) and corn (being hit hard at north end of field)
Sightings: No Deer sighted
Other: Saw 7 nice big Turkey’s and lot’s of deer tracks along edge of field most likely from night time feeding activity. Find several runways through east fence row. Set Trail camera up where we suspect deer crossed on previous days hunt.

Oct. 3rd

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Warm (16C) and sunny with calm winds
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Greg, Herb and Pierre
Stands: Greg in tree stand at south end of bush
Crops on: None – fields surrounding have been tilled
Sightings: No Deer sighted
Other: Very little deer sign but early in season.

Oct. 4th

Location: West Peel Farm “B”- Bush site
Conditions: Warm (16C) and sunny with calm winds
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Greg, Herb and Bill
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up in SW end of bush
Crops on: None – bush surrounded by weeds (orchard across river)
Sightings: Spike Buck comes in at 6:45 from SE direction through bush
Other: No shot as he becomes leery of ground blind at 30yds and stays in cover

Oct. 5th

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – River/Orchard site
Conditions: Warm (16C) and sunny with calm winds
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Bill
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up on field near river. Bill in tree stand other side of river
Crops on: Corn on in adjacent field and being hit hard
Sightings: No deer sighted
Other: Lots of tracks but no scraps or rubs yet.

Oct. 6th

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Very Warm (23C) and sunny with calm winds
Length of Hunt: Morning hunt only
Hunters: Pierre, Greg
Stands: Greg in tree stand in valley – pine tree location
Crops on: Corn on in field south of bush. Checked it out and looks to be getting hit hard
Sightings: No deer sighted
Other: Lots of tracks but no scraps or rubs yet.

Oct. 7th

Location: East Garafraxa Farm near Marsdale
Conditions: Very Warm (23C) Gusty Breeze (35 km/h from SE) and Sunny
Length of Hunt: All Day Hunt
Hunters: Herb, Rolly, Greg
Stands: Greg in middle fence row tree stand
Crops on: Soya Beans just taken off. Corn in south field still on (being hit hard at north end of field)
Sightings: Doe and Fawn sighted at 6:45 pm
Other: Hear numerous Coyotes yelping in bush on property and surrounding bushes on walk out

Oct. 8th

Location: West Peel Farm “A”- Bush site
Conditions: Very Warm (23C) and sunny
Length of Hunt: Did not hunt went to move tree stand to new location
Hunters: Greg
Stands: Greg moved stand on field edge to middle of bush
Crops on: Beans on in adjacent fields
Sightings: No deer sighted
Other: Large set of tracks found on main trail walking in from north side of bush
Oct. 9th

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Very Warm (21C) and sunny with calm winds
Length of Hunt: Morning hunt only
Hunters: Greg, Herb and Pierre
Stands: Greg in tree stand at south end of bush
Crops on: None – fields surrounding are tilled
Sightings: No Deer sighted but did see 5 Turkeys
Other: Everyone comments on lack of deer sign compared to previous seasons
Wondering if tilled fields have something to do with this?

Oct. 11th

Location: West Peel Farm “A”- Bush site
Conditions: Warm (16C) and sunny with cloudy periods
Length of Hunt: Evening Hunt only
Hunters: Greg
Stands: Greg in tree stand in bush
Crops on: Beans on in adjacent fields
Sightings: No deer sighted
Other: A few tracks on main trail walking in from north side of bush

Oct. 13th

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Cool (10C) and cloudy with 10 km winds from SE
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Greg
Stands: Greg on ground in fence row on east side of bush
Crops on: Corn in field to south and spring wheat in field I am overlooking
Sightings: 25 Turkeys spotted on far fence row near corn field.
I have deer decoy and two turkey decoys set-up.
After half an hour of calling big Tom spots my decoys and comes running.
Entire flock follows and with lots of eyes on me at 20 yds I take closest Hen.
Nice bird…goes about 20 yds down fence row and crawls into weeds.
Find bird just as it expires.
Other: Lots of fresh deer tracks but mostly Does and Fawns from what I can tell.

Oct 18th

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – River/Orchard site
Conditions: Warm (16C) and cloudy with calm winds
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Bill
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up in bush. Bill at back of property
Crops on: Lots of apples
Sightings: Bills spots small Buck walking on other side of river near orchard.
Other: Lots of tracks but no scraps or rubs yet.

Oct 22nd

Location: East Garafraxa Farm near Marsdale
Conditions: Day starts with storms in area but changes to sunny and mild with strong winds (35 km/h from S) Winds don’t drop off until very late in the day
Length of Hunt: All Day Hunt
Hunters: Pierre, Cody, Rolly, Greg (all Day) , Herb (half Day)
Stands: Greg in middle fence row tree stand
Crops on: Standing corn in field to south (being hit hard at north end of field)
Sightings: Greg spotted big Buck at 9:00am crossing field on south property.
At 12:30 went to walk out for lunch and jumped Buck south of my stand in north end of corn field. Buck ran off to south. No deer spotted during evening hunt.
Other: Hear numerous Coyotes yelping in bush on property and surrounding bushes on walk out

Oct 23rd

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Mild (14C) and sunny with 10 km winds from SE
Length of Hunt: All day hunt
Hunters: Greg, Herb and Pierre
Stands: Greg in tree stand in south end of bush in morning
Crops on: Corn in field to south and spring wheat in field to east
Sightings: Turkeys spotted everywhere. Herb had 6pt come to his stand but it spotted him and ran off. Greg saw him in plowed field with Doe 20 minutes later. No deer in afternoon.
Other: Lots of old deer tracks but mostly Does and Fawns from what I can tell.

Oct 25th

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – River/Orchard site
Conditions: Warm (16C) with no wind
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Bill, Greg
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up on back side of corn field. Bill on hillside overlooking small back lot orchard.
Crops on: Lots of apples and corn
Sightings: No deer sighted
Other: Lots of tracks in field edge near Greg. Bill finds several scraps and rubs.

Oct 26th

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – River/Orchard site
Conditions: Warm (16C) and Sunny with no wind
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Bill, Greg
Stands: Greg on ground near river back of orchard. Bill on hillside overlooking small back orchard.
Crops on: Lots of apples
Sightings: No deer sighted but lots of big Turkeys (season closed)
Other: Lots of tracks and several scraps and rubs along edge of orchard

Oct.29th

Location: East Garafraxa Farm near Marsdale
Conditions: Sunny but cool in morning with mix of sun and cloud in afternoon
Length of Hunt: All Day Hunt
Hunters: Greg and Rolly
Stands: Greg on ground at east side of corn field
Crops on: Some of the corn has been taken off what remains is being hit hard at north end of field.
Sightings: No deer sited in morning but big buck on Rolly’s camera. Pic taken while we walked in.
Rolly jumps deer pushing bush at 1:00pm and decides to take up ground stand in bush. Greg has big Doe come from south and then spook in cornfield after spotting doe decoy? Rolly then misses 35yd shot at Doe travelling with fawn behind Marc’s stand. Deer run to cedar bush on south property and hook up with other Doe then walk off towards Mel’s property. Lots of deer sign.
Other: (James reports missing Doe in London in morning)

Oct 30th

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East (first hunt of day)
Conditions: Cool (9C) and sunny with no wind
Length of Hunt: Greg and Marc-morning hunt
Hunters: Greg and Marc
Stands: Greg in tree stand in south end of bush in morning
Crops on: Corn in field to south and spring wheat in field to east
Sightings: Several turkeys spotted
Other: Lots of old deer tracks but mostly Does and Fawns from what I can tell.

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – Bush site (second hunt of day)
Conditions: Cool, cloudy and very windy
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Bill
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up in bush. Bill in second ladder stand
Crops on: Lots of apples
Sightings: No deer sighted (Bill reports seeing big Buck in morning near our evening set up)
Other: Lots of tracks on main trails leading in but no scraps or rubs in this area

Nov 1st

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – Bush site
Conditions: Sunny and Warm with no wind
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Bill
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up in bush. Bill in first ladder stand
Crops on: Lots of apples
Sightings: Bill jumps nice 8pt from long grass along river on walk in. Decided to push after trail covered with fresh sign. Greg spots deer cross into orchard but too far for a shot.
Nothing else seen
Other: Lots of tracks on main trails leading in but no scraps or rubs in this area. Hunt screwed up by guys trespassing on property with four wheelers

Nov 4th

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – Bush site
Conditions: Sunny and cool (9C) with clouds and light winds
Length of Hunt: Morning hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Bill
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up in bush. Bill across road on hillside by orchard.
Crops on: Lots of apples
Sightings: Greg called in 4 pt with bleat call but screwed up as didn’t see him coming and he busted me at 30 yds when I changed to buck grunt tube. Then did same thing with a wide 8pt at same distance. Both on ground at back of Brian’s. Moved to tree stand around 9:15 but nothing.
Other: Lots of tracks on main trails leading in but no scraps or rubs in this area.

Nov. 5th

Location: East Garafraxa Farm near Marsdale
Conditions: Sunny and cool (2C) with light winds
Length of Hunt: All Day Hunt (James down for my Annual Birthday hunt with him)
Hunters: Greg, Rolly, Herb , James (his first hunt of the season with us)
Stands: Greg on ground near edge of bush and corn field.
James in Apple tree stand
Crops on: Corn is all off
Sightings: Before light I hear deer behind me in Bush and call for radio silence. At daylight I spot Doe in bush but she moves off to north. Alert James and Pierre but no visual. Shortly there after 6pt walks up behind me coming to doe bleat calling but I don’t hear it coming, stops at 15 yds and busts me. Radio James and Pierre that buck may be coming to them. 15 min later James shoots him in field behind him as he come out of bush. 45 yds with a great shot. We wait and I spot 3 Does and 3 Fawns in hydro tower field. They eventually make way to me but don’t offer a shot although close call twice. We spot Coyote go into bush after buck that James shot so decide to initiate the recovering. We come up with a plan and send two guys along combine trail in bush and James and I will track blood trail through bush. Rolly finds deer laying in back field before we even go to track it. Lots of high fives! Get permission from farmer to take truck back to deer.
Other: Decide to pack it in for the day and take care of deer due to warming temperatures

Nov. 11th

Location: West Peel Farm “A”- Bush site
Conditions: Cloudy and cool (8C)
Length of Hunt: Evening Hunt only
Hunters: Greg
Stands: Greg in tree stand in bush
Crops on: Beans gone on adjacent fields
Sightings: Upon arrival see a dirt bike tearing up field behind bush. Decide I won’t hunt because of this but will walk in and replace trail cam batteries. Bike continues to run around and eventually noise spooks out nice 8pt in front of my truck. It runs right by me in field to my right. I decide that I have all my gear so I might as well hunt anyway. Put new trail cam batteries in and get in stand and spot what looks to be the 8pt back behind me coming from the pond over to the bush. I call but to no avail. Decide to get aggressive with Doe bleat calling every 20 second’s for 20 minutes when I hear a Doe bleat back, she is right behind me. I turn to look and as I do I knock mud off my boots that rattles down the stand. She looks up at me but doesn’t make me out due to 3D Camo. I turn slowly grab my bow and watch as she approaches. I stop her with a low bleat call and spine shoot her at 15 yds. She immediately drops. I call Bill and he comes to help drag her out.
Other: Lots of fresh tracks on main trail walking in from north side of bush
Nov 12th

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Starts out sunny but clouds over by mid day with high winds
Length of Hunt: Plan to hunt all Day but cancel afternoon hunt due to weather (80 km/hr winds)
Hunters: Greg, Pierre and Cody
Stands: Greg in tree stand in south end of bush in morning
Crops on: Corn in field to south and spring wheat in field to east
Sightings: Nothing sighted
Other: Very few tracks.

Nov 19th

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Starts out sunny but clouds over by mid day with rain showers
Length of Hunt: All day hunt
Hunters: Greg and Pierre
Stands: Greg in tree stand in south end of bush in morning and back to same in afternoon
Crops on: Standing corn in field to south and spring wheat in field to east
Sightings: We see about 75 turkeys in morning but no deer. Break at noon and back in stands by 2:30. At 3:30 Greg spots a Doe on east side of bush. Watch and call to her for over an hour and she walks off to the south the way she came in. I call Pierre and describe what happened and tell him that I am going to start an aggressive calling sequence for the next 20 min. After 15 mins. of calling I spot movement to the south of me in the bush and here comes a nice 9pt coming directly to call. He has his head to the ground and appears to have picked up the scent trail I laid down on the way into the stand. Stops at 30 yds to check wind and comes marching towards me. I position myself for a clear shot and let the arrow fly. He had come in closer than I like and although he was broadside I was more on top of him. Shot appears to be a little high at 15 yds. He runs about 10 yds and stops on a hill to look around. He starts to walk off then suddenly bolts through thick cover. I watch and listen as he disappears up a very high hill. We decide to give him some time but it starts to rain. We check for blood at the treestand but nothing. We find nothing at the spot where he stopped right after I shot at him. We want to wait longer but it starts to rain harder. We need to find some blood as it is nearly dark. We find a small drop the size of a finger nail and now we know we are looking for a wounded animal. We continue to walk and check the runway he was going down but no further sign is found. It is dark now so we mark the spot of blood we have and decide to go to the ATV trail that intersects the bush to see if we can find blood on it. After 25 yds we find some more blood heading directly up the steep hill. We move slowly with our flashlights picking up blood about knee high in the trees along a runway going up the hill. After 75yds of tracking we find where the Buck stumbled over a fallen log and then spot him on the downward slope of the hill. After a few cheers and high fives we take a few pictures, gut him and then start the very long drag out of the bush through some very rough terrain. Help finally arrives near the end of the drag and none too soon as we are exhausted from dragging this 300 lb beast. Lots of celebrating after this one and due to exhaustion we call off the next mornings hunt.
Other: We have a large Coyote population in this area and because of this, leaving the deer to find in the morning was not an option. Turns out to be a good call on our part because we hear several yelping as they tear into the gut pile as we are dragging the deer out. We probably could have tied him up in a tree but the forecast was for mild temperatures overnight with heavy rain so the cooler was the place for him.

Nov 26th

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Starts out sunny and cold (-1C) with moderate winds
Length of Hunt: Morning hunt
Hunters: Greg, Ron (guest of Greg),Pierre and Herb
Stands: Greg in tree stand in south end of bush
Crops on: Standing corn in field to south and spring wheat in field to east
Sightings: Pierre see’s about 50 turkeys in morning. At 10 am Greg spot’s Doe with Buck in west field. Watches for 45 min as buck courts the Doe then mates with her. They walk off to Southwest. Nothing else sighted.
Other: Ron came down for a visit and was on his very first hunt with us. Commented on very different country than what he hunts in Southwestern Ontario. Thought our set-up was great! Thanks to Pierre for arranging with farmer to bring Ron out with us as a guest.

Nov 28th

Location: West Peel Farm “A” – Bush site
Conditions: Mild (12C) but cloudy and windy
Length of Hunt: Evening hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Bill (Bill at a different location)
Stands: Greg in treestand in bush and Bill is at West Peel Farm “B” site
Crops on: No crops
Sightings: Nothing sighted but 3 good sets of tracks going down main walkway to stand. Removed trail cam after hunt. All corn that was being used as bait has been eaten.
Other: Bill sees nothing in his area.

Dec 3rd

Location: Albion Farm – Caledon East
Conditions: Starts out sunny and cold (-5C) with light dusting of snow on ground and light winds
Length of Hunt: All day hunt
Hunters: Greg, Pierre and Herb
Stands: Greg in tree stand overlooking field on west side of bush for morning hunt and moves to tree stand on east side of bush for afternoon hunt.
Crops on: Corn in field to south and spring wheat in field to east
Sightings: Nothing sighted in morning. Annoying ATV running on property behind our bush. We wait until noon and go to truck for lunch. While standing there Doe runs by us in west plowed field. Try a stalk but can’t get close. Back in stands by 2:00pm. Greg on east side of bush on field. Watch Turkey’s all afternoon. Just before dark two deer appear in corn field but won’t come to calling. Herb gets busted by deer climbing down from stand.
Other: More Coyote tracks than deer tracks

Dec 10th

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – Bush site
Conditions: Cold (-5C) with no wind and dusting of snow on ground. Perfect conditions.
Length of Hunt: Morning hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Herb
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up in bush. Herb in tree stand #1.
Crops on: None
Sightings: Jumped deer on walk in to stand. At 7:30 6pt comes in and walks along field towards Herb. Comes into bush and walks within 20 yds. Stops but no shot turns and walks off to other property. After radioing Herb, I start a Doe bleat Fawn calling sequence. Soon afterwards, a Doe and Fawn walk in off field. Doe walks in to 12yds and starts smelling deer scent I had laid down. She starts to get a little nervous and gives me a quartering towards shot. I knock her down with high shot near spine. Fawn runs off and returns later while gutting.
Other: More tracks than I have ever seen on this morning and very visible due to fresh moist snow. This is the 3rd kill of the season for me.

Dec 28th

Location: London Hunt
Conditions: Very Cold (-20C) Very Windy (-25C WITH WIND CHILL) snow falling, heavy at times.
Length of Hunt: All day with break between morning and evening hunt due to extreme weather conditions
Hunters: Greg (Guest) and James
Crops on: Stubble corn field to south of small bushlot.
Sightings: First time hunt for Greg at James spot. James had deer coming to his corn bait site on a regular basis and had put more corn out on Dec 24. We arrived and found most of it had been eaten. I sat in ground blind east of bait site and James in treestand to the west. Nothing came in during the morning hunt which did not surprise us due to the bad weather. We made a plan for the afternoon hunt. We left at 10am and returned at 2:30 pm. I went in tree stand and James set-up in small piece of bush along creek bottom near adjacent property. At 4:00 pm James texts me that 4 Does are coming over the hill in the field in front of me. They come in to 125 yds and wind me running off in the direction they came. Exciting but I knew the gig was up as my wind was carrying right to them.
Other: Following morning on drive home Greg spots two Coyotes with Fawn trapped out on lake. Thin ice and no snow on lake so Fawn has no traction and is falling down. It can’t get away from its prey so it was just a matter of time before this little guy is breakfast. Mother nature is cruel for sure!

Dec 29th

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – Bush site
Conditions: Cold (-4C) with moderate wind and snowing lightly.
Length of Hunt: Afternoon hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Bill
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up in bush. Bill in tree stand #1 but moves later.
Crops on: None
Sightings: Snowing fairly hard on way in with lots of tracks especially close to truck parking area. Bill goes in first stand and I set-up in blow down blind. We see nothing until we walk out and jump a nice Buck at the trail junction.
Other: Bill should have stayed in stand as Buck must have walked by it. That’s deer hunting!

Dec 30th

Location: West Peel Farm “B” – Bush site
Conditions: Perfect conditions with mild temp (-1C) and fresh snow.
Length of Hunt: morning hunt only
Hunters: Greg and Herb
Stands: Greg in ground blind set up in bush. Herb in tree stand #1.
Crops on: None
Sightings: Unbelievable amount of tracks on way in to stands. Again many close to truck park area. Unfortunately and much to our disbelief, we see nothing.
Other: We walk out at noon and while we are at the truck I spot a nice Doe on hill south of the Orchard driveway standing and looking at us. Runs off shortly afterwards up the hill. Again….that’s deer hunting. End to another great deer hunting season!

Season Summary:

Kill Totals:

James 6pt Buck on Nov 5 at East Garafraxa Farm near Marsdale
Greg Doe on Nov 11at Peel Farm Site “A”
Greg 9pt Buck on Nov 19 at Albion Farm – Caledon East
Greg Doe on Dec 10 at Peel Farm Site “B”
Number of Hunts:
Greg with James (1)
Greg with Pierre (2)
Greg with Marc (2)
Greg with Rolly (1)
Greg with Bill (9)
Greg with Herb (2)
Greg only (4)
Greg with Pierre and Herb (4)
Greg with Pierre, Rolly and Marc (1)
Greg with Herb and Rolly (1)
Greg with Herb and Bill (1)
Greg with Rolly, Pierre and James (1)
Greg with Rolly, Pierre, Cody and Herb (1)
Greg with Pierre and Cody (1)
Greg with Ron, Pierre and Herb (1)

Greg (32 Hunts total)
Pierre (11 Hunts total)
Herb (10 Hunts total)
Rolly (5 Hunts total)
Marc (3 Hunts total)
James (2 Hunts total with us)
Cody (2 Hunts total with us)
Ron (1 Hunt total with us)

Game Sighted

Bucks (22 – Largest is 9pt which Greg shot at Albion and Second was James 6pt shot at East Garafraxa)
Does (20 – Largest is 1st Doe Greg shot at Farm “A” and second was 2nd Doe shot at Farm “B”)
Fawns (8 – one on ice during hunt trip ride home from London)
Coyotes (12 – two on ice during hunt trip ride home from London)
Wolves (2 – in East Garafraxa)
Turkeys (150 throughout the season – including Hen shot by Greg with Bow in Albion – Caledon East)

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