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

Hunting with a John Deere Gator

Howdy from The Pig. The CPHC team just continues to have good success early in the season. We’ve got a nice long season to go though since the Georgia season for firearms which started October 21 runs through January 14.

In this post I’m going to start letting you know how we are using a John Deere Gator XUV825i to test drive and evaluate its value to some serious deer hunting. John Deere has provided us with the use of this vehicle for most of the season and I have now had the opportunity to get some hours in and out of the woods and on the trails.

As you can see in the photo I have already harvested some deer and brought them out of the woods and back to our camp. My harvest so far consists of a 6pt buck, 2 does and a wild hog. They have all been bagged right near our trails fortunately for me. Speaking of trails, most of ours are freshly plowed by the U.S. Forest Service. They do a great job btw. But we’ve got some serious and deep sugar sand to run through and there are rough spots. You’ll be able to see that in the video below.

Some first impressions on using the Gator include:

  • All the power I need to climb steep hills on deep sand and with a load in the bed
  • Very simple controls and layout. Easy to switch between 2-wheel and 4-wheel
  • Suspension makes the bumps and pot holes almost painless compared to past vehicles I’ve driven
  • Plenty of light from headlights for night time on the trail
  • John Deere has some accessories I already know I’d like to add!

So, I’ll have more to say in upcoming episodes. I’m very satisfied with this unit and am not coming up with anything to complain about.

You can see photos of the Gator in the wild here: 2017 Deer Hunt – John Deere Gator Photo Album

Taking a Can-Am Out in the Woods

I’m a little behind updating here. The CPHC team has had a great start to the season.

Here’s my next episode in a series coming to you from the Crystal Pig Hunt Club (CPHC) in Georgia. In this episode the focus is going to be on a Can-Am Defender XT which has been provided to us to use and evaluate how well it is suited to some serious deer hunting.

CPHC member, Paul Zimmerman, my brother, has been doing most of the driving in this vehicle, although I have done some also. In the video below we chat about our first impressions while riding out of camp for a load of firewood. You might see in the bed of the Defender a short swivel seat stand that we strapped into it, making the Defender a mobile deer stand!

Some first impressions on using the Can-Am include:

  • It has lots of power but runs quiet
  • The suspension is amazing
  • The turning radius has made is easier to turn around on narrow trails than we expected
  • Some accessories like winch and side/back panels around bed have come in very handy

So, that’s a start. Paul has harvested two deer so far, one of them being the 8pt buck you see in the photo. So, in the points race (we don’t really have one) he’s in the lead. We’re liking the Can-Am but will have more to come.

You can see photos of the Can-Am Defender in the wild here: 2017 Deer Hunt – Can-Am Defender Photo Album

2016 Deer Hunt Underway

Bear TrackIt is that time of the year folks. Deer hunting!

An early issue we ran in to though was a couple weeks ago when we found our largest corn feeder on the ground with damage. What could have done that we wondered. The tracks tell it all. Bear. Great. It’s not bear season here and I personally would rather not meet up with Buddy Bear.

We moved that feeder but put up a more secure one very close by. And it is where I put up my new Summit Viper climber stand.

We missed opening weekend due to the wedding of my nephew but started this morning. Haven’t seen anything yet. We sure did setting up camp last week though.

The weather here at the Pig is great. Dry, cooling off temperatures and so far, no wind to speak of.

2015-2016 Deer Season Over

The Georgia deer season for 2015-16 is now over and The Pig saw a reduction in harvest. We hunted quite a bit at different times but it seems like the weather was not our friend this season.

In this pic Paul is taking care of a couple of does he harvested. So he has meat in the cooler. His boys, Eli, Luke and Joe all participated at different times. Eli and Luke are in college now and have jobs so their time was fairly limited. That’s their problem though, not mine!

After about a year away from deer hunting Gary got out on the Pig but his harvest will hopefully be better this fall.

I had some luck on one of my trips to the Pig. I did get a small buck along with two does and that’s meat in my freezer. I also found a great little place near me here in Pensacola that made snack sticks, summer and breakfast sausage for me.

We hunted pretty hard and did see quite a few deer but I don’t think we timed the rut out and in fact, I’m not sure we even saw any sign of it this season. But we’ve got lots of deer working this property. Our trail cams at our feeders bear this out!

Grilling Venison

Venison SteaksThis is only one of many reasons why I like to hunt deer. Eating them. Freezer meat is where it’s at. I hope we have a great fall hunt this year.

Today’s supper menu includes some small steaks that will be quick grilled on a hot fire. These pieces come from what we call the “football roast” in the ham. I take that roast and trim it, muscle it out and then slice it about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. These are marinating in the fridge with Dale’s Seasoning. You don’t need a lot. In fact, I dilute it a little with water. I’ll add a dry rub right before grilling and any good steak rub will do. With a side salad you just can’t beat this for GOOD.

I have cooked venison like this for lots of people and unless I tell them they don’t know they’re not eating beef. Of course I like and cook beef too! Just thought I’d share with my foodie peeps. What’s your favorite way to cook venison?

Final Touches on Barn & Paul’s Big Buck

Roofing WorkThis weekend Paul, Eli and Luke worked on the final step in finishing our pole barn – roofing metal. Shade and protection from rain with a large area for cooking and relaxing. Yeehaw.

The Pig is a work in progress just like getting to know where the deer are and their habits. We’re learning it slowing but surely.

Paul w/Monster RackWhile the guys were out there this weekend Paul scored a little buck.

He said it’s a six point but I’d love to know what Joe would think of that!

I think you should write him a comment about that big rack in his hands. All I can say is, “He’ll eat pretty good!”

Joe’s First Buck

Joe's BuckJoe is currently king of the Pig. Here he is with his first ever buck. A nice 6pt. That smile says it all. So far Joe is the only member with a buck.

The rut is not on yet. We saw a lot of deer, a lot of small does to be precise. We kind of lost count. All four of us hunting harvested a doe to get some meat in the cooler and while we were hunting, some meat in our bellies!

We hope to be back out in November during the rut so look for some more hunt updates at that time.

I’ve started a photo album for the hunt here: 2014/15 Crystal Pig Hunt Club Photo Album. That’s hunt life in pictures.

Joe Gets a Doe

Joe Gets a DoeIt’s deer season at The Pig (short for Crystal Pig Hunt Club). On opening day Saturday Paul, Luke, Joe and I were on location. We all got a doe that day! Now, it’s time for a buck. We’re not in the rut yet. We’ve seen over 30 does and only 2 bucks so far.

In the pick, Joe gets his first deer, pictured with his Dad and my brother Paul. You want to talk about excited. He got it with his first shot too.

So, we’ve had some good fresh venison on the grill and in a stew and I think some more recipes are coming.

Now back to the hunt.