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

Georgia Gator Hunt Success

You will soon meet two new members of the Crystal Pig Hunt Club, Gatlin Hawkins and Jordan Player. These guys just got done with a successful gator hunt right at the end of the season.

I know they got a ten foot gator but don’t have a final report. The photo was sent to my and you can see one in the boat and one being pulled in.

Crystal Pig Hunt Club members have a major focus on deer but then we get sidetracked with hogs, gators, doves, turkey . . .

I’ll join the team end of this week for more setup work for the upcoming deer season. We’ve got some more stands to put out, supervise the bulldozing of the fire trail around the property and mowing and more mowing. Here’s to hoping for some cooler temperatures!

The Pig Meets a Bad Boy

Bad Boy Off Road Recoil IS CrewWell, say hello to a brand new Bad Boy Off Road Recoil IS Crew. This four passenger side by side features a 72V AC drivetrain for what I like to call “silent running.” It let’s you get a lot closer to your deer stand than a gas engine.

This vehicle also has 4 wheel independent suspension so we’ve got a very smooth ride on these rough roads and trails here at the Pig. That means a lot, especially after a long day in a stand and cleaning deer.

Speaking of deer, my first morning in the Recoil I went to my stand and shot two does. I saw the buck I want and hope to find him in my sights next time. I put the does in the cargo space and hauled them to our cleaning stand.

So, why a Bad Boy and why now? To start with, I have an old model Bad Boy from before they were acquired by Textron Specialized Vehicles. It is also out here at the Pig doing yeoman’s work moving us around. I’ve been very impressed with it and when the opportunity presented itself to test drive a new model I jumped. During this Georgia deer season I’ll be letting you know a lot more about using the Recoil in a very practical situation. I’m making notes for now and there will be much more to come.

Thank you Textron and Bad Boy Off Road! Official hunt vehicle of the Crystal Pig Hunt Club this season.

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!

End of 2014/2015 Deer Season

Crystal Pig ShedThe final days that Pig members hunted were not productive. No more meat in the freezer. We saw some deer but were not in a position to shoot. This is because we’re still learning the land and deer movement since this property was clear cut and is starting to grow more vegetation, etc.

But we have seen some fantastic deer and learned more about their movements which will be beneficial later this year. We also learned a lot about food plots and those will be much more productive this fall.

Our shed is almost complete as you can see in the picture. A few more work days and this will be a very comfortable place to camp out and hunt from.

A Crystal PigSet

PigSetIt’s getting near time to get back out on the Pig. Most of our group is planning on a stay between Christmas and New Year’s! We can only hope for some good weather since we all know that no forecast more than a day in advance is even close to accurate!

We’ll have to use some different tactics in the winter and we’re still learning our property. I’m hoping to do some quality time still hunting bottoms and edges of the property since so much of it was clear cut for the old stand timber. The pines are growing but they’ve got some years before they really become a factor.

The photo is from my last hunt trip. We have some beautiful (Sun) PigSets!