Opening Weekend Success

Georgia DeerWe had the best weather for opening days of the season at the Crystal Pig Hunt Club that we’ve had yet and took advantage of it to harvest a few deer. Paul and I got these bucks on the same afternoon. We have seen some much larger racks and will be back, hopefully during the rut.

We saw a lot of deer and mostly does. I had a spike buck walk up underneath me while sitting in my stand. He literally sniffed the foot of the ladder. I let him go since we have lots of better choices and maybe he’ll be back nest year.

A couple of us were on site before opening day and glad we did that. Basically, all our feeders were not working for different reasons. We had to change motors, batteries, re-program and refill. Of course, it’s a good workout. But the property is in the best shape for hunting since we leased it.

One of the most significant improvements to our camp is the installation of electricity. We’re run a lot of hours on generators over the years and now everything is quiet and we have lots of outlets to handle everything we need electricity for.

Big thanks go out to John Deere for the use of a new Gator which we’re test driving, making notes and will be writing about soon.

I’ve got updated photos from our hunt. 2020 Crystal Pig Hunt Club Photo Album

We’ll Be Hunting with a John Deere Gator

This is an exciting time for deer hunters. The season is about to get started for those of us who hunt in Georgia. So, preparations are being made for a great opening day at the Crystal Pig Hunt Club.

John Deere Gator XUV855MMy preparation includes getting to test drive a new John Deere Gator XUV855M S4. This crossover utility vehicle will take us out into the woods over some tough terrain and hopefully to include transporting some of our harvest. I’ll be documenting our experience but thought I’d kick start things with an interview with Mark Davey, John Deere Marketing Manager, in my weekly podcast, The ZimmCast.

There are many features on these new Gators that make them ideal for hunting. Some of those include easier shifting and instant engagement of 4-wheel drive, better power steering and a digital display panel to see important indicators. In this week’s program Mark and I talk about the new Gator models and what the key updates are. I hope you enjoy it and thank you for listening.

Listen to the ZimmCast here: ZimmCast 657 - 2020 Hunting John Deere Gator Style (15:57)

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Final Prepping for the 2020 Deer Hunt

CPHC FieldWe’re getting closer to opening day for Georgia firearm deer season. So the CPHC Team has been on location, mowing, checking feeders and filling them, camp cleaning and of course, relaxing a little bit.

When we got to camp last weekend the grass was the tallest in the camp yard that we’ve ever had. In the morning there were thousands of bees buzzing in it. It was so loud you could hear it very clearly. I think there’s a short video clip of them in our photo album. There is no lack of pollinators on our property.

We have installed electricity and have a couple of container pods at camp for storage. So far, everything is looking pretty good. Now we just need the weather to cooperate as we get ready for another great year of hunting.

2020-21 CPHC Photo Album

2020 Work Days Started

Crystal Pig Hunt Club SunriseWell, we probably would have more time on the property but the pandemic threw us all for a loop. Things have started opening up though and a few of us used the opportunity to get there and accomplish a few needed projects.

The first one was rescuing/repairing Paul’s John Deere tractor. We got it unstuck and fixed up and mowing commenced. We also built a structure for our camp generator(s) and some camp clean up.

We drove most of our trails and roads and they were in better shape than expected although there are a couple of rough washouts to deal with. There is lots of sign of deer and of course, hogs. Freaking Hogs! I am not a fan. Hopefully we can reduce those numbers before this fall’s season.

I’ve started a photo album for this, our 8th hunt on the property which you can find here: 2020-21 CPHC Photo Album

Dealing with a Bear

Georgia Black BearHere’s something you really don’t want to see on your “deer” trail cam. This very large black bear has demolished two of our feeders.

At first look when I saw the photo I thought, “I’d really hate to run in to him accidentally.” So I did a little research and it is actually very rare to have an encounter. I’m fine with that. I also found that there are areas in Georgia that have either no bear season or only one day. In our area they used to be pretty scarce but I’ve spoken with a number of farmers who say they’ve been seeing many more the last couple years. That’s also true of panhandle Florida where I live.

Although I’d rather not have a face to face meeting with a feral hog, those we can shoot anytime, year round. I’m hoping to have that chance soon. As well as a shot at a big buck before the season ends in January.

2019 Crystal Pig Hunt Club Photo Album

2019 Season off to Productive Start

Can-Am in the WoodsOpening day for the 2019 Georgia firearms deer season was wet. I mean it rained all day. But the southeast needed that rain in a big way and it did not stop deer activity. The next day we had sunshine as you can see in this photo of our Can-Am Defender from my stand. Right after that I harvested a spike buck. Opening day I harvested two does. So I’ve got a lot of venison I’ll be freezing this week while taking a large portion to a local processor for summer sausage and hamburger.

Can-Am with PigsNow let’s talk feral hogs. I am happy to report that my brother Paul deleted their number by seven on opening day. Here’s a Can-Am Defender load of five of them. It sounds like a lot but we’ve got one group of them numbering almost forty and another that it is a little less. For the first time in the years I’ve been hunting in Georgia I’m seeing hogs on the sides of the roads that have been hit by cars. I counted five in just one hour long drive one morning. They are a serious problem. We’re doing our part but it’s not enough.

Georgia’s season continues through mid-January so the Crystal Pig Hunt Club members will be out several times trying to reduce hog numbers and hopefully seeing some of the large bucks which are showing up on our cameras. If you hunt deer let me know how things are going for you. I’ve seen some great photos on social media already which include children who are getting their first opportunity to hunt with Mom or Dad.

Photos from this year’s season, including pre-season work days are here: 2019 CPHC Photo Album

Prepping for 2019 Season

Trees on the PigIt’s that time. Time to work on roads, trails, stands, feeders and camp.

It was just a few short years ago that these pines were seedlings. Amazing how fast they grow. This photo really brings it home since this road was wider and now the branches are grown together so much they’re scraping the sides of a pickup. That will have to change.

So the Pig Team will be on location this weekend into next week doing some work on all of it. It’s going to be hot but you can bet we’ll have a good time and enjoy the company while doing it.

Retrieving a Buck From the Thickets with a Can-Am

Although the 2018 deer season in central Georgia was not the best we’ve ever had it was not the worst. We harvested deer. Saw more deer and got a lot of work done to make a growing pine forest easier to hunt in.

This is my last post from the season since I had to show what one of the most important benefits of having a good utility vehicle with the right accessories is. Besides getting you to and from your deer stand there’s the issue of bringing a large animal out of some of the worst conditions possible. In our case that was a buck in 6 to 10 feet high pricker vine thickets that are covering a hillside and across a creek bed. My bother Paul got the deer down the hill to the creek somehow. I got the Can-Am Defender we had the honor to be using as close to the creek bed as I could. From there we let the WARN winch do the rest. That last 40 yards may not have been possible without it!

I had hoped to shoot a lot more video this season but conditions were mostly rainy, windy, muddy and filled with scratches and learning how the pine growth and intense weed growth has changed patterns and paths for the deer. We learned a lot and have some very high hopes for the next season and sure hope we can do it with a Can-Am!

Photos from Crystal Pig Hunt Club 2018 Hunt

2018 Hunting Success Story

A couple of the members of the Crystal Pig Hunt Club are happy this season. My little tiny brother Paul harvested the nicest buck we’ve brought to camp last week. Of course there is a story to this because that’s just part of deer hunting.

In this case, Paul saw this 8 pt. buck from his stand about 200 yards or so across a creek and partially uphill in the middle of the nastiest mess of thorn vines and bushes you’ve ever seen. In fact, the whole hillside and a big part of our property is covered with this crap. Someday the pines will get big enough to shade them out. But from the time he went to find the deer with me in his stand guiding him by arm gestures to the time the deer was in the back of the Can-Am Defender we’re test driving it took almost 2 1/2 hours! I think I still have some splinters in my body. The last leg of the journey out of the thickets was over the creek and for that we used the Warn winch on the Can-Am. I don’t know if we would have been successful without it. And I would never get a utility vehicle without one for sure.

So, we got Paul’s buck back to camp and he had just started cleaning it when I walked back under our pole barn and saw another buck about 120 yards from camp! I had to run back to the Can-Am to get my rifle out of the case that’s mounted on the vehicle. Got back to the barn and he was still there. So, bam, I got a 5 pt. And let’s just say it was not hard getting him back to camp. LOL. All in all that’s what I call a happy deer hunt.

We’re going to be back at the Pig after Christmas when my nephews can be there and all of the CPHC team. We’ll continue putting this Can-Am Defender through its paces, especially since there has been so much rain and we’ve got some muddy places to drive through.

Photos from Crystal Pig Hunt Club 2018 Hunt

Back in Action at The Pig

It’s deer hunting time in Georgia. This year the Crystal Pig Hunt Club (CPHC) members are getting to roll in camo style with a machine that is built to handle some pretty rough terrain.

The Can-Am Defender Mossy Oak Hunting Edition is easy to drive and that includes changing to 4-wheel drive when needed. So far we’ve hauled corn to fill feeders, worked on our stands, driven out to our hunt location and back to camp.

We also have trail cams set up where we have feeders. Here’s a night time hello from a nice buck. He’s one of several that have been showing up along with a couple of does. Of course we have feral hogs too. But, so far, they have only showed up in one area of our property.

I have only had a couple of days at the CPHC so far but more is coming soon. Looking forward to a great deer season.