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DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

Holy cow that is a lot of birds. Days like that, where you get off to a bad start but then stick with it and turn things around are some of the best.

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EvilJoven
Mar 18, 2005


Fun Shoe

It was so nuts we literally had flocks lining up to land in our spread as we were running out to get birds we'd shot. They couldn't see or hear poo poo due to the wind. My buddy said it was possibly a once in a lifetime kind of afternoon for that kind of hunting.

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Holy cow some good bird hunting recently, great work everyone! Also always appreciate pictures of good doggos.

As for re: borrowing firearms in California to learn, I've been having a hard time figuring out the legality of it nowadays. I think the trouble comes with ammo (because you can't be gifted ammo from non-family members in the state anymore) but I am not sure who to ask. When I've borrowed guns it's been 1. Through a learning program or 2. at a firing range, a few years ago.

I'd be almost willing to say this is one of those things that you just be careful about but I'm pretty scared of the legality of suggesting stuff online. Just don't do anything extremely stupid and I don't think anyone will care?

I still borrow guns for out-of-state hunts but that's another story.

What I do know is the vast majority of laws talks about carrying around loaded guns (don't until you're in the field and ready to hunt) and pertains to handguns, not long guns (Can't carry handguns in certain areas, etc). I see things about the borrower having a hunters safety or a firearm's safety permit up to date, not exceeding 30 days, stuff like that but I'm having trouble finding the actual letter of the law.

tesilential
Nov 22, 2004

You're a credit to your community!

Awesome thread!

My girls family are all major deer hunters, they hunt their locals woods (withalacoochee) and also have a lease and camp in Georgia.

Im dying to get out there and join the fun. Im a fisherman and know my way around a knife but pretty inexperienced with guns.

Anyways Id love to read about more hunts (even old stories) or more advice about getting started.

HamAdams
Jun 29, 2018

yospos


Well, I blew a chance at what would have been my nicest buck to date. I took off Monday for a little rut hunting, and it happened to line up with a big cold front on Sunday night with some light snow and some 15-20mph winds. A little after daylight, I got up on the leeward side of the hill I hunt, hoping to find something cruising the ridge, and also just to get out of the wind. I think with the terrain layout, the wind was swirling back up from the bottom of the hill and meeting just over the leeward side, making kind of a wind tunnel similar to what you might see when the thermals are strong.

As I worked along the ridge, I spotted a nice sized deer all alone, walking straight toward me. I ducked behind a big tree next to me and just let him work his way toward me. I got the binos on him and could tell he was a nice one, so I got setup to take a shot on him. Well he ended up zigging when I expected him to zag, and he ended up stepping out 30 yards away but since I was setup for him to step out in a different spot, I was pretty exposed and he spotted me right away. He stood there broadside at 30 yards for a couple seconds and then busted straight down the hill.

After playing it back in my head, I should have already been at full draw when he stepped out and I really don't know why I didn't. It was one of those things where I had about a half second that I could have drawn, and I missed it.

Since the weather is supposed to get pretty warm for the next week and right through the weekend, I think this will probably wrap up my archery season. A frustrating ending, but I had a lot of fun and had some good encounters. I think the biggest takeaway was that I need to be more mobile. I actually saw very few deer while sitting in any of the pre-hung sets we have on the property. Now it's onward to gun season and focusing on getting a couple does in the freezer.

Gooch181
Jan 1, 2008

The Gooch

tesilential posted:

Awesome thread!

My girls family are all major deer hunters, they hunt their locals woods (withalacoochee) and also have a lease and camp in Georgia.

I’m dying to get out there and join the fun. I’m a fisherman and know my way around a knife but pretty inexperienced with guns.

Anyways I’d love to read about more hunts (even old stories) or more advice about getting started.

Go after small game, it helps you get sneaking and spotting practice that you won't regret having when you go after deer or whatever with the fam. Do you currently own any firearms?

EvilJoven
Mar 18, 2005


Fun Shoe

Decided to finally try hunting by bike. It went OK.



The plan was to use the bike to relocate to different parts of the forest. When I pulled up to a downed tree to stash my bike that bird was just standing there 30' away.

So I got off my bike, laid it down, loaded my gun and shot it.

Something tells me this isn't going to always be this easy, but I'll take it.

I might have to find new grouse hunting areas. I only saw one other bird in the five hours I walked those trails and I ran into someone driving to set up their deer stand who said that the martins and ticks are really hurting the population in that particular forest.

Tonight's dinner: roasted potato and pan fried duck breast with home made duck gravy.

EvilJoven fucked around with this message at 03:07 on Nov 4, 2020

Gooch181
Jan 1, 2008

The Gooch

Man, i might have to consider involving my bike on my state park hunts next year.

That dinner looks fantastic!

EvilJoven
Mar 18, 2005


Fun Shoe

It was amazing. My wife is such a good cook. We wish we had more suitable veggies but frozen mix had to do in a pinch.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


Guessing the laws (or at least common sense) around guns and bikes are the same as guns and vehicles in most places?

Got my second deer this year. Last day of doe season, only day of it I had off. Hail Mary attempt and in the last three hours of shooting light I managed to stumble into a group.

If I had two tags I could have taken a two point buck as well. Despite the gunshot he just walked up about 15m behind me while waiting to be sure the doe was staying down. I was taking some photos of the surrounding area and he decided I was not in fact a noisy log and started screaming at me, I nearly poo poo myself. I guess he was pissed I shot his girlfriend? He walked off but came back twice when I called, just on the off chance I was fuckable. Really wishing I had the other tag, that sort of thing can't happen very often.

The hit was kind of low because my finger slipped, and I guess she wasn't completely broadside. Good entry location but exited a little further back than I would have liked. Blew out both lungs, but also clipped the stomach. So there was a bunch of grass and bile, but no fecal matter. A butcher told me there's little chance of getting sick, but it'll spoil the meat somewhat so a lot of going to become sausage/chilli.

All told I'm reasonably proud. Did the whole thing solo without any assistance, including picking my sites, spot and stalk, gut, drag, skin, hang and probably butchering this weekend. Next challenge is getting a buck by end of season.

Outrail fucked around with this message at 03:59 on Nov 4, 2020

Dukket
Apr 28, 2007
So I says to her, I says “LADY, that ain't OIL, its DIRT!!”

Congrats!

What state?

tesilential
Nov 22, 2004

You're a credit to your community!

Gooch181 posted:

Go after small game, it helps you get sneaking and spotting practice that you won't regret having when you go after deer or whatever with the fam. Do you currently own any firearms?


Good advice but I dont know how theyd like me shooting at squirrels when theyre trying to get deer. I doubt Ill get an opportunity to hunt prior to getting out with them. I just have a carry pistol for my gf.

Her dad and brother in laws have plenty of rifles and shot guns, but Im a gear nerd and would love to get suggestions if youre so inclined. Ill make a log of it but likely wont buy my own until Ive given it a run with them. In Georgia they exclusively hunt stands. In Florida they walk the woods (with much less success), sometimes with dogs.

EvilJoven
Mar 18, 2005


Fun Shoe

Outrail posted:

Guessing the laws (or at least common sense) around guns and bikes are the same as guns and vehicles in most places?

Because it's human powered some might argue it's legal to ride with it loaded, like how it's legal in a canoe.

As someone who's ridden bikes with both rifles and shotguns strapped to me there's no way in hell I'm riding with one that's loaded, legal or no.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


Dukket posted:

Congrats!

What state?

Thanks!

State? The glorious province of British Columbia sends its regards.

I had to submit the head for cwd testing, really need to start keeping them for something classy.

You can ride around on a boat with a loaded gun down there? Get charged up here with unlawful use unless it's docked/anchored and I think that's only for ducks.

EvilJoven
Mar 18, 2005


Fun Shoe

Only a human powered boat. Nothing moving via gas or electric motor, or sails.

If your canoe has a trolling motor but it's completely out of the water and you're paddling you can load up.

glynnenstein
Feb 18, 2014



Outrail posted:

Guessing the laws (or at least common sense) around guns and bikes are the same as guns and vehicles in most places?

Gotta be careful in Virginia because counties here have all kinds of different laws related to hunting/firearms.

Some say "It is unlawful to hunt from the road with firearms." Okay, easy enough; in these counties you can carry a loaded firearm in your car or bike, just no hunting and it has to be in the open unless you have a concealed carry permit. Of course it's illegal to hunt from a road statewide anyway... Other counties expand that to within 100 yards of a road, pretty simple.

A few change the wording to, "It is unlawful to transport, possess or carry a loaded rifle in any vehicle while on the road from October 1 through February 15," or "..during deer season" etc. A bike is a vehicle when operated on the road, so no loaded guns allowed in these counties, though exceptions are carved out for concealed carry.

Finally, there are 10 counties that say, "It is unlawful to possess a loaded firearm on the road except when permission to hunt is obtained from landowners on each side." There you can't even walk in the road with a loaded gun, again exceptions for CCW.

Generally in Virginia you aren't allowed to take vehicles offroad to hunt on public land. Not sure how they would interpret bikes since they are only vehicles on roads! Probably not going to test that, though.

Hunting in Virginia means knowing exactly what county you're in at all times! I do wish the OnX app had county boarders.

Gooch181
Jan 1, 2008

The Gooch

tesilential posted:

Good advice but I don’t know how they’d like me shooting at squirrels when they’re trying to get deer. I doubt I’ll get an opportunity to hunt prior to getting out with them. I just have a carry pistol for my gf.

Her dad and brother in laws have plenty of rifles and shot guns, but I’m a gear nerd and would love to get suggestions if you’re so inclined. I’ll make a log of it but likely won’t buy my own until I’ve given it a run with them. In Georgia they exclusively hunt stands. In Florida they walk the woods (with much less success), sometimes with dogs.

Oh yeah don't be blasting little critters on a deer hunt!
Even if you can't go hunting prior, just go out to the woods and practice walking quietly and slowly and keep your eyes and ears open. Shoot them with a camera instead or just observe, but every bit of woodcraft practiced will pay off when it counts. Start making a habit of minding wind direction and its changes. Start learning to spot animal feces and tracks.

As for a first gun, its hard to beat a pump action 12 gauge that will let you swap barrels and chokes. That will work for hunting drat near anything that isn't out on the open plains. Remington 870, mossberg 500, etc.

Gooch181 fucked around with this message at 15:07 on Nov 4, 2020

tesilential
Nov 22, 2004

You're a credit to your community!

Thanks for the suggestions Gooch, I was looking at those guns all day lol.

I dont know how sneaky Ill be with an ankle and knee that crack and pop loudly, but getting out and trying to sneak up on something is probably great practice.

AmbassadorofSodomy
Dec 30, 2016

SUCK A MALE CAMEL'S DICK WITH MIRACLE WHIP!!


Just keep in mind, you don't have to be dead silent.
Despite popular myth, wild animals make noise too.

EvilJoven
Mar 18, 2005


Fun Shoe

For breakfast today, maple garlic glazed grouse, eggs, and toast.

tesilential
Nov 22, 2004

You're a credit to your community!

wesleywillis posted:

Just keep in mind, you don't have to be dead silent.
Despite popular myth, wild animals make noise too.


I grew up walking the woods for scouts, paintball and then hiding from our parents smoking weed.

The scariest moment in the woods for me was while doing the latter, we heard what sounded like an elephant crashing through the woods right towards us through dense brush (saw palms mostly).

Paralyzed with fear, we stood motionless and waited to be eaten by whatever fearsome beast emerged.

Ended up being an average size doe. We were shocked how loud they are when moving through the woods.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


I've found you can move agonizingly slowly, as stealthily as possible and they spot you through dense trees from 150m off. And then you can walk through the forest without even trying to be quiet and you'll basically stumble over a deer. It makes no sense. Unless you're trying to catch them, then they're basically batman.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




It seems to depend alot on the deer. Some of them around here let you march up within 50' before they even bother to stop chowing down, but others book it if they hear something moving in the woods 200 yards away. The turkeys are much warier.

Gooch181
Jan 1, 2008

The Gooch

Try to move smoothly and avoid jerky movements that catch the eye easier. None of us are dead silent, but spacing out the noise so that it isn't a clear pattern of footsteps seems to be helpful. Luck and the temperament of individual animals will of course always be factors.

If you want a huge comprehensive infodump, Steven Rinella's Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game are real nice. I bought the small game volume to start off, but my library has them also, if you want to put that money towards a gun or some kit instead.

alnilam
Nov 10, 2009


Posting in the springtime


take this witha grain of salt as i have never successfully gotten a deer through still hunting, but when I am trying to stealth around I walk like a deer - step step, pause. step step, pause. It's how they sound when they're browsing.

HamAdams
Jun 29, 2018

yospos


alnilam posted:

take this witha grain of salt as i have never successfully gotten a deer through still hunting, but when I am trying to stealth around I walk like a deer - step step, pause. step step, pause. It's how they sound when they're browsing.

One of the hunting public guys talked about this quite a bit on the vortex nation podcast recently. He does a ton of ground hunting and has a lot of success with it.

tesilential
Nov 22, 2004

You're a credit to your community!

Anyone been out?

I completed the hunters safety course and signed up for the soonest classroom session which is online due to Covid. If all goes well I should be able to get my hunters license on 12/9. Super pumped! In addition to deer hunting with the in laws, Im gonna duck hunt tampa bay out of my boat. Im seeing hundreds if not thousands of birds a day and watching YouTube vids to get hyped lol.

glynnenstein
Feb 18, 2014



tesilential posted:

Anyone been out?

I completed the hunters safety course and signed up for the soonest classroom session which is online due to Covid. If all goes well I should be able to get my hunters license on 12/9. Super pumped! In addition to deer hunting with the in laws, Im gonna duck hunt tampa bay out of my boat. Im seeing hundreds if not thousands of birds a day and watching YouTube vids to get hyped lol.

I got a little buck with a crossbow from a treestand on my brother's small farm in northern Maryland a couple weeks ago.




Just picked up the meat from his freezer yesterday.




Hoping to get another in the rifle season there the week after Thanksgiving, but I'm also going to try to do some public land stuff in Virginia if I have time.

crazypeltast52
May 5, 2010




Very nice! Picking up my venison from the processor soon!

For those wondering, you can move a deer in the back of a Rav4 if you put a tarp down. Or no tarp, but that involves more cleaning afterwards.

alnilam
Nov 10, 2009


Posting in the springtime


You can even get a deer into the trunk of a honda civic with the seats down and a tarp

HamAdams
Jun 29, 2018

yospos


Haven't managed to make it out during gun season at all, but it sounds like I haven't missed much. I think of the 10 or so guys that hunt out of our camp, 2 have gotten bucks this year. Not a single deer opening weekend, which was a first. I'm hoping to get back out during late archery, if for no other reason than to scout some public land I'm hoping to hunt next archery season. Anybody else have any luck this gun season?

crazypeltast52
May 5, 2010




We filled our buck tags the first day, but the does in my bag limit are taking longer. It is back to bow season for me so I put in a few hours in a tree saturday morning and will be doing more on Sunday.

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Crosspost from the old thread!

Annual Nebraska Report

It's been an unusual year for everyone. COVID, Unemployment, Financial Instability, Civil Rights Movements, the Election, the list keeps going, and the year has yet to end.

I needed my break, and DapperDraculaDeer needed one too. To keep everyone safe, I took my little honda out for a long stroll through the desert.


A 21 hour stroll through the desert.



It was quite nice, actually. I miscalculated and landed in TX at the crack of 3am. Sorry Dapper Family.

Things have been a bit crazy this year, so when we struck out to drive up to NE, we had the following plan:

We would take the Dapper family Minivan up to NE Sandhills. We would explore a new area this time, camping for a few nights out in the open before re-assessing the situation. If things went poorly, we would switch to our old haunt by Monday, and camp at a nearby campground there. We had food, water, and a backup plan of carcamping in the van if we needed to.

Things went...mostly to plan.

We arrived late Thursday night, setting up the tent in the ever-present wind after searching for roads the van could handle. On the way in we saw a huge mule deer buck on a nearby farm chasing three doe right next to the road. How promising! Unfortunately most of the region is offroad dirt, and the minivan can't quite take it. We took a fork off of a road we could camp on and set up camp in the wind, re-heating some delicious butter chicken and tucking into bed.

Unfortunately as some of you already know, we are from very warm states, and our camping gear is definitely summer gear. My sleeping bag isn't geared for anything under 40F. The temps were hovering around freezing. Not the worst, but certainly uncomfortable for a big baby like me.



In the middle of the night I lay awake thinking about our plan, excited to scout in the morning, when I noticed something was off. Dapper snores. So do I, that doesn't bother me. What bothered me was we were in a grassy valley and I could hear what sounded like an echo. Then the snores staggered, and I knew the truth. Something was using our tent as a windbreak.

The note I have on my phone is, and I quote: I am freezing my tits off (Dapper) is snoring and so is somerhing outside the tent lol and i have to pee.

Eventually I relented and the smallish creature scurried off. Feeling better I went back to sleep and before Dapper woke up that morning, I turned on the tent heater and came back to the living world.

The tracks outside the tent implied it was a raccoon, but it could have easily been a fox or a skunk. Whatever it was, I was incredibly amused since we weren't in bear territory.

Friday we took a late start, a little after dawn, and set out with our food and coffee for a full day of scouting. After crossing several hill ridges, a fence line and a few miles of kicking up prarie chickens we decided on a spot that looked like it would be promising. There were cows about a mile away but there was a good water source, some shelter and a great field of view. We headed back to camp to zero in our rifles nearby and things started to take a frustrating turn.

First I was a smart cookie and wore cloth shoes on this venture, and collected so many burrs that when I went back to camp a good mile away Dapper could hear my yelp of pain from extracting a few inches of needles in my foot. Lesson learned I went back out with my boots.

Zeroing in was a bit frustrating, but we got the job done well enough at 200 yards. On our way back it was getting dark, so we had our head lamps on. Around a quarter of a mile left to go back to camp Dapper brought out his phone, checked some calculations and placed it back in his pocket.

We never saw the phone again.

After frustratingly looking for the phone in the dark and reporting back on my phone, we went back to town, picked up a few supplies and let Mrs. Dapper know the damage. We went back to our camp and settled in for the night. I had insulated my sleeping bag with spare clean clothes and managed to stay warm enough to get a good night sleep this time.

I woke up again early the next morning. Warming up the tent, Dapper got the coffee ready and we headed out a little later than I had hoped, but not a problem. Dapper commented that he had never seen deer this early in the morning anyway.

Not a valley away I spotted the biggest goddamn mule deer I've ever seen in my loving life.

He was easily 800-900 yards away on a nearby hillside, quartering towards us as we crossed the valley. The sun wasn't over the ridge yet and to be completely honest I didn't think I had seen a deer at first. First he was a tree in the wind, then he was a cow. Then, with crazy realization, it was a very very dark, big buck. Neither of us were prepared. Dapper told me to go ahead and try to get the drop on him around a foothill, he'd take care of my pack. I shed my hunting pack, took the gun I was borrowing (Which I am a nerd and have nicknamed Crow) and tried to stay out of the deer's line of sight, cutting my vision from him as I went around the foothills.

As I rounded the last foothill, wind in my favor, I realized that the droning sound of someone driving was *much* closer than I had anticipated. I turned and saw an ATV tearing through our valley - the valley we hiked to specifically because it was a no-vehicles only zone. Now there was a dirt trail going through it to access the cattle but we had hoped that no one would be using it. We were wrong.

Perhaps I had spooked the buck before that point, but going to the crest of the hill to check where he should have been if he was going in the same direction as before would have placed him rather close - within 200 yards of me there. Nothing. He was out of my life. I was angry, frustrated and tired, but the encounter brought hope. We had seen almost everything in the region other than deer the day before, but had spotted plenty of tracks and scat. This was confirmation that we were at least looking in the right direction. Meeting back with Dapper I strapped my pack back on and we made our way to the spot we had scouted the day before.

Strike two was finding about 4 cows right below the hill we were trying to scout from. We decided to try it anyway, since based on my experiences back home deer don't tend to mind cows so much. Unfortunately they also do so to access good food sources - when not forced to I learned they would steer clear of the bovines. We bumped a skunk, a coyote and some birds on the way in, and outside of another coyote and 8 more cows on the backside of where we were hanging out we saw nothing. Frustrated we decided to go back to camp. We had a phone to find and we'd be out in another spot by dusk. We could also pick some more stuff up in town since we needed more water. We had vastly underestimated how much water we would consume via coffee drinks. It was now starting to sprinkle, and the clouds looked dark. It was time to move.

Back at camp the wind was relentless. I found the spot we had stopped at on the way back to camp, but no phone, and it was raining at this point. We had a good laugh and mentioned that we might want a hotel if it gets much worse, especially considering that the tent was now leaking, and one of the spots was right onto my sleeping bag. Dapper was feeling a bit under the weather and I wasn't feeling great either, so we went back to town to update our families and get more supplies.

Supplies gotten, it started to snow on the way back to camp. Wuh oh.


It wasn't much, but between the cold and the wind this was enough for us to submit with our summer-weather campground equipment. We elected to stay out one more night, break camp after the morning hunt across the road and get a hotel room. We struck out again in the evening and spotted a very wary coyote that we could have easily taken but had elected not to at that point, as we were hoping for a deer still. The sun went down and we hiked back to the camp at dark. That night I had the erm, unique experience of crapping in a cathole under the stars. Very romantic view, but very cold on my rear end. It's not often I get to see the milky way's arm.


Anyone who knows cold weather can laugh, but this was way too much for a couple of people who live in areas that get no snow.

The next morning we woke up, crossed the road and got semi-lost in the hills across the way. I say semi-lost, I let Dapper go ahead, lost track of him and kept following what I thought were his tracks. They weren't. By the time we reunited and settled in the hills dawn was here, and we saw plenty of birds but no other movement. We had not scouted this place the day before and saw some hunters in the distance working a treeline, and a buck weaving in and out. No idea if they got him, they definitely tried but I think they missed.

By midday we went back to camp, ate, rehydrated and broke camp. We reserved a room at the hotel in town and went back to our old haunt, noting that almost everyone was gone by the mid-afternoon. Hiking in I saw two doe on our descent into the valley we wanted to check out, about 700 yards away. They clearly had seen me but I was super tired and Dapper was ready to fill a doe tag. I voted to stay there and watch (and signal if he got busted) while he went to sneak up on them.

It was like watching a very slow-action horror movie. He'd disappear, the doe pair would disappear by bedding down in the grass, he'd pop out again and I wouldn't be able to see poo poo. There they were, but where was he? It went on like this for a while.



Then, I see him get ready, and line up a shot. I can't see the does, but he's pointing towards where I last saw them. Surely he would get one. I held my breath.

I heard a gunfire right as he shot a second time. I watched towards where I had last seen the does. Nothing.

A third fire.

Fourth.

Right before the fifth gunshot reached my ears I saw the does break out of the tall grass and run away, out of sight and over the hills in no time.

I flagged Dapper with my hat but he clearly knew he had been busted at that point and made the hike back to me.

When he got back, he mentioned something was wrong with his gun, and that he didn't trust it right now. He'd try to fix it tomorrow during the lull in action once we were set up, but I would have first shot for the next day for now.

On our way back we listened to happy coyotes celebrate their leftovers in the distance and discussed constellations and navigation. It was exhausting but pleasant. After we cleaned up and unloaded at the hotel we nestled into our proper beds and slept until the morning.

It was Monday now, and we were getting desperate. I had a blister on my foot but my first aid kit had a zip tie on it, and in trying to open it I split open my thumb something nasty. After a half-hour of cleaning and clotting the cut, three butterfly bandages and a good solid wrap over it I was ready to start the day, wide awake. We decided to go after any legal animal at this point, because we were worried about getting skunked. We went to our favorite spot from previous years in the middle of the marsh, set up and waited.

It seems to get brushier every year, but that's okay. Unfortunately most of the deer had been pressured further in by this point.

I set out to stalk a doe to the south of us when she got spooked into our lane, but after an hour of searching the spot once we got there and Dapper watching the entire time, we have no idea where she went. Do deer crawl? Probably not, but the grass she disappeared into practically swallowed me whole. We decided that at some point she had snuck out, but unfortunately I don't know when I busted myself if ever. It's entirely possible that she had 'dropped down' suddenly and what we thought was her bedding down was her going down a ledge and she never stopped.

One buck once came about 500 yards away, and a doe came into my sights around 350 yards. I was watching her with the scope and ready to shoot but, after some hushed whispers with Dapper, decided that I wasn't super confident with the shot. I was confident in my aim but the way she was quartering away meant that even if I hit her it was unlikely to be a clean kill. This was maaaybe about 1pm.


Dapper left for a while, seemed to fix whatever was going on with his rifle and came back, but outside of a buck chasing does across the valley we never got a good opportunity to even stalk anyone after that. We went back for consolation pizza at the drive-thru pizza hut in town and slept in the next morning.

We packed up, checked out of our hotel room and set out for a late start in the same valley as yesterday, but in a different spot. We wanted to try closer to the private property and as such heavily used Onx maps to make sure we were staying on the public side the entire time.

We found some good spots! There was another marsh hidden back there, where I immediately spotted a doe at about 400 yards with her two older fawns. Not wanting to be a literal disney villian I signalled Dapper to come back as I was busted and watched her and her little ones sprint back onto private land for safety and disappear. It was super cute watching the fawns consider why their mom was running, look at each other confused and around, and with a tail waggle hop on after her.


We watched a trio of doe over the next ridge for some time, with Dapper trying to get closer and coming back when he aborted one attempt. My final attempt was in the dying light, trying to chase a frightened doe who had been bumped closer from a gunshot in the distance. As she slowed down I hastily got into position to shoot, and at the last second she looked at me and bolted around the hill. I knew immediately what had happened, and although the initial pang of regret was there I knew that even if I had taken the shot I was going after a very fast moving deer. It wasn't safe. I turned around and saw Dapper being incredibly disappointed that he busted me, but in all honestly you kept me from taking a really skeevy shot. Thanks man.

Tuesday night was falling, we trekked across the valley back to the trail we are familiar with and spotted stars again that night. From there we drove back to TX. Or rather, Dapper drove most of it. I was just so exhausted I slept most of the time, and when I did drive it wasn't the most safe of conditions.



We got back to the Dapper houshold exhausted and were couch potatoes the next day. We nursed our egos but all in all had a great time. We learned
1. Get the proper camping gear, dammit.
2. Tag out in a familiar place first, then explore new areas on following days so you at least have something in the freezer
3. The new area was a completely different ballgame, and next year I think we will be more ready for it.
4. Don't underestimate rest. I think I would have been better if I was more fit like last year, but the lack of sleep from being cold certainly didn't help our efforts. If I need naps I should take them.
5. Cuddling with cats while drinking tea is a great consolation prize.



We weren't done with our trip, and still had Texas to hunt, but that's another post.

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Oh my god a double post? People must be out hunting, or perhaps in a coma from Thanksgiving.



Texas Weekend Hunt

This year is a very exciting year in the Dapper family. Mr. Dapper loves hunting TX for whitetail and for pigs, but also is learning to take squirrels and rabbits to pass on the lessons to his kids. Mrs. Dapper is learning to hunt and drew a cool whitetail tag this year that we wanted to attend. This would be a combination hunting/camping trip in warmer territories and thus, our gear was perfect for this kind of thing. The whole Dapper Family sans the kitties would be there!



They would be keeping the house warm and be expecting some sort of food when we got back.

Being a weird year, we wanted to make sure everyone was happy, healthy and ready to go for the camping weekend. As such since not everyone was raring to go on Friday we set out on Saturday. It would be an overnight camping trip, and Mrs. Dapper would be going out with me to look for deer. We didn't end up going to the hunt that she pulled for, but this area was closer to home and was familiar since I had hunted the WMA with them before. Here we could keep an eye out for pigs as well as deer, and Mr. Dapper would be back at camp keeping the kids occupied.

Unfortunately we moved slowly enough that we only got to set up camp at dark, but that was okay. We enjoyed a delicious meal of roasted hot dawgs over the fire and ate smores, telling spooky stories. I love what kids decide is scary and that a story is automatically more frightening if you add more details, like blood and bats.



After evicting a couple of bugs and spiders I settled in and enjoyed a nice, warm night in comparison to the week before.

It started raining in the middle of the night, and between teaching the kids where to use the restroom and other factors we decided to sleep in the next morning. My alarm was set! But it was going to be an easygoing day and we wanted to make sure everyone was rested, warm and happy to make this a positive experience.

As such breakfast was hot ramen noodles, a can of spaghetti-os and various other heated tasty things. The adults enjoyed the cots and the kids enjoyed running around in the rain in jackets way, way too big for them. I was super thankful for my tiny tent setup that they let me borrow, meaning I was close enough to talk but had enough privacy to settle into my sleeping bag without fear of spilled noodles.

When the rain let up Mrs. Dapper was still feeling a bit sluggish, so Mr. Dapper struck out with the kids to look for squirrels.


Anyone who knows small children will know that this meant it was about 20 minutes of Squirrel Hunting and 40 minutes of a fun hike through the woods, but that's okay. We emphasized gun safety, some cool critters, tracks, fungi and plants we saw and the kids enjoyed crunching leaves and running around on the trail. Not a great hunt but a good family outing!

Lunch was some leftover curry when we got back, a delicious meal that shockingly the kids liked, too. All warmed up we agreed that if Mrs. Dapper wasn't feeling great, the deer would still be out there next time. We broke camp, the kids and Mrs. Dapper went home and Dapper and I struck out to have our last attempt at deer for the weekend.

Now here is the time where I say I cheat - For whatever reason I have a pretty decent sense of direction after getting lost many, many times as a child and Dapper, in an attempt to lead me to a promising spot he found, nearly went in a circle in the woods. I didn't mind at all, this was an easy walk compared to what we were doing last week, but it made the tracker on onX show a bit of a weird squiggle in this part of the forest.

After we oriented ourselves correctly a few minutes in and Dapper suddenly drops, readying his rifle. He whispers that he sees a deer, and it's pretty darn close too. Sub 50 yards, but I was having a hard time determining exactly what I was looking at when he first reported it. I took out my binocs and looked at what I thought was a mount of dirt. Then a tail moved - that was a deer butt.

On the other side of the tree I saw two ears, two eyes looking right at us in an alert posture, and a metric fuckton of sticks. "Is it a buck?"

"I can't tell" - It's the least helpful answer I could give, but it's the truth. I needed the deer to move their head or neck just a little so I could see if any 'sticks' moved with it. After a few seconds I got my response - an ear flop to the left and a slight head tilt.

No dice "Doe. It's a doe."

I watched through the binocs and Dapper watched from his crouched position, and the doe warily kept an eye on us while listening to gunfire in the distance. After perhaps a minute or two, she decided that she was absolutely done with our poo poo, gave a snort and bounded off back and to the right. Goodbye, doe.

It was a super cool encounter, and probably the closest encounter I've had with a deer in hunting season to date. I was super excited.

We settled into the spot Dapper found, he planted the pop-up blind and we waited. The sun sank below the trees, the wind picked up at the tops of the trees, and squeals of pigs could be heard in the distance.

Some bird that I am not familiar with and cannot identify spent most of the time trying to deter me from our spot. They would dart between the trees, come out to come closer and yell at me, then snap back into the trees and shrubs. After perhaps an hour of this the bird decided that I was either a stubborn rear end or no longer a threat and decided to ignore me, but that little friend kept us company while night fell. No nearby activity enough for us to pursue anything, but with our light setup it was easy to navigate back to the trail with OnX and get back to the truck. Our hunt was officially over.

Cheerfully we discussed the doe encounter, how small she was compared to the Nebraska ones we saw but how striking she was once we spotted her. I commended Dapper's ability to see animals in the trees- I'm not used to it so I wasn't quite as wary as I should have been. We headed back to starbucks, took an order in the drive thru and

The Dapper Truck broke down.

This was why we took the van up north in the first place, as the Dapper Truck is an old, hardy creature but has been acting a little sassy recently. After pushing the truck through the drive thru, picking up our drinks inside and getting the truck started again we headed home, where some sleepy cats were eagerly awaiting attention.


With the family warm and happy, we took an easy day on Monday, Dapper baked a Cherry Pie that was amazing and I set out to go home on Tuesday. All in all, this was a very fun trip.

We had a lot of lessons, some harsher than others. But ultimately I am super pleased with how this season ended up. Even though I didn't get to take home any game meat I am now at home, self-quarantining to be extra sure that I am not taking anything exotic back to SoCal while I reflect on the good times. I had taken for granted the art of tagging out on opening day the previous two years in NE, which nature gently slapped me on the wrist for. Next time I won't make that mistake again. More opportunities opened up, we got to explore new lands and share our love with friends and family.

Thanks for reading my effortposts, I hope everyone had a fantastic fatbird holiday and please stay safe for the coming end-of-year celebrations!

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

Chaosfeather posted:




Then, I see him get ready, and line up a shot. I can't see the does, but he's pointing towards where I last saw them. Surely he would get one. I held my breath.

I heard a gunfire right as he shot a second time. I watched towards where I had last seen the does. Nothing.

A third fire.

Fourth.

Right before the fifth gunshot reached my ears I saw the does break out of the tall grass and run away, out of sight and over the hills in no time.

I flagged Dapper with my hat but he clearly knew he had been busted at that point and made the hike back to me.

When he got back, he mentioned something was wrong with his gun, and that he didn't trust it right now. He'd try to fix it tomorrow during the lull in action once we were set up, but I would have first shot for the next day for now.



I really enjoyed this hunt despite us not brining anything back. I learned an absolute ton and I expect that knowledge will pay good dividends on future hunts. This was the only part that really bugged me.

The floor of the valleys in the area looks pretty flat from above, but man, once you get down there you see all kinds of cuts and saddles, small dips and rises, etc etc. There is just a ton of little hiding spaces and cover. Thanks to these it was pretty easy for me to sneak up on the doe group Chaosfeather had spotted. I crossed probably 500 yards and spotted tons of bedding areas and game trails along the way, and eventually came to a spot on the shady side of a hill downwind of the does. I ranged the does at 165 yards from the hillside. The does seemed pretty contented in their grazing so I had a bit of time to get setup to shoot, which would have to be done seated since the grass was to high to setup prone.

So I got setup to shoot and continued to watch the does. My heart rate was still up from the walk/crawl over so I sat as long as I dared and watched. Both were quite small and in high grass, I was going to have to wait for one to move over a bit to provide a clear shot at my aim point. And so I sat a bit longer and watched through my scope as my breathing slowed down, it didnt take long for one of the does to graze over to an area where I could clearly see my aim point. With my rifle zeroed at 200 yards this should have been a point blank shot, so I placed my crosshair over my aim point, checked my breathing, and slowly squeezed the trigger.... and missed high. I clearly saw the shot impact just barely above the doe. The doe was alerted by the shot, but remained in place. I broke the rifle open, slammed another cartridge in, closed it and took aim again. This time I put the crosshair a bit lower. I squeezed the trigger again, the rifle flashed and I couldnt see where the shot landed but I did see the doe leap into the air and into cover behind a tree. At the time it seemed like I had hit it, so I remained seated started watching the tree to see what would happen. As I sat an owl swooped in overhead and circled me, which was super cool. Then, as I sat a doe stepped out from behind the tree I was watching and returned to grazing. This was very confusing. Had there been a third doe we hadnt seen? As small as these does were theres no way two of them were behind that tree. Apparently, I had missed, again.

This was really confusing to me because this should not have been a particularly difficult shot. One miss I could understand, but twice? That didnt seem right. I took two more shots, both of which missed again. Then I started looking over my rifle trying to determine if the problem was me or it. After a bit of poking I found the forend of the rifle was lose. It was actually wobbly enough that the front of the forend would bounce off the barrel if shaken gently. I broke the rifle down and found the set screw for the forend had backed in, which in turn caused the forend to wobble excessively. This screw appears to have been designed to be adjustable without tools, so CVA had used a screw that was incredibly lose for the job. With the stock removed I could give the barrel a good shake and actually watch the screw turn in or out depending on its whim. Every time it did this with the stock attached was going to be that much loser the forend became. This seems like a problem.



An illustration of the culprit.

It took a bit of adjustment to get the set screw right and the forend of the stock secure, but after a few tries it was fitted correctly and stable. I later snuck off, posted a target and took a shot at it from 50 yards and hit about an inch and a half high, which seemed about right. Im pretty sure this is the major failure that caused those misses. That, and my failure to extensively test out my new rifle. I had taken it to the range to ladder some handloads to see what shot well, then back again to zero it in with the appropriate loads, but I hadnt done much else with it. It had shot fine during this time and I hadnt noticed any issue with the forend of the stock. When we setup for a 200 yard zero on Friday I had issues but eventually had gotten what I felt was a solid zero, so Im not sure at what point that screw had started backing out but its clearly a problem of some sort. The rifle carries extremely well and is very handy so I am super disappointed about this. Ill call CVA later this week I guess and see if they offer some kind of remedy. I suppose I could set the screw with blue loctite too but this really feels like the type of issue CVA should be addressing.

Still, what an awesome trip. Seeing those pictures make me excited at the prospect of going back again next year. This time with a rifle Ive spent more time at the range with.

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

Also special thanks to the people who helped us push the truck out of the Starbucks drive through. At least the drive shaft didnt fall off this time.

Flatland Crusoe
Jan 12, 2011

Great White Hunter
Master Race

Let me explain why I'm better than you


Crosspost:


Random Thoughts on my 2020 gear changes.

So in general I need nothing new to go on my usual hunts but I'm constantly trying new gear and I'll sell it if I don't like it. Here is a list of things I tried in 2020.

First and Foremost I switched rifle scopes this year for elk hunting. I had been running a Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10x44 on my 7mm mag since 2017. Its a great scope, especially when you buy them for $250 but I wanted to try try something else a little better. This year I switched to a Swarovski Z5 2.4-12x50 BT 4W with an outdoorsmans custom turret lasered for Barnes TTSX. This gives me wind holds on the reticle but elevation by dialing out to 750 yards which I generally prefer. The clarity an low light on this scope is absolutely top tier with any scope available and the low end field of view is very good with adequate magnification on the high end for shots to 600 yards. It worked well but I didn't really have a chance to push it hard as my shots this year were at 110 yards and 40 yards. I will say for the quick shot at 40 yards the low end FOV is amazing. That said the swarovski SLP lens cap on the front really sucks, its magnetized to stay closed and pops open easily. Also the engagement tab is tiny. This thing should basically be perfect for $110 and its like a 3/5 star product. I ran an AADmount scope cap on the rear and it worked pretty well especially since its $50 but it still isn't perfect. Overall the Z5 is a great scope and a great value, I know this is hard to say of an $1100 scope but its glass rivals stuff costing 3x as much. They only thing I would say is that part of me wishes I might have spent a more to get a Nightforce NX8 2.5-20x50 but I worried it would have required a stock cheek piece riser and it weights almost 1 lb more than the Z5.

On my muzzleloader I swapped out a Nikon buckmasters 3-9x40 for a Vortex Razor LH 1.5-8x32mm. I got the razor for $375 or so and its great glass and has a huge FOV on the low end with a good BDC reticle. Last year the buckmaster really let me down in low light with a doe standing in CRP grass. Basically I could see it no problem in my Swarovski SLC 10x42's but I couldn't find it in the scope. This year the upgrade paid off because I was able to take a 251 yard muzzleloader shot with 10 minutes of shooting light left across a beanfield. The BDC hits perfectly at 200, 250 and 300 with my currently load. Not glass related I refinished my blued muzzleloader barrel with Duracoat Aerosol and it is a huge improvement. It rusted like crazy last year after 2 days of rain in colorado and I have mostly solved that problem. For $50 the duracoat aerosol is a great way to weather proof any weapon.

For spotting scopes this year I retired my Leupold Ventana 15-45x60mm for a Vortex Razor 22-48x65mm spotting scope. Admittedly I haven't had a ton of time behind this spotter but it did help us locate elk at 3-4 miles that I have first noticed in my 15x56 SLC's so it definitely did its job. Mostly we had poo poo atomospheric conditions in Wyoming this year and couldn't push its limits. I think I should have spent more money on a Kowa 553 as it optically is as capable at half the weight but I couldn't swallow another $600 at the time when I hate spotting scopes to begin with. If you get a Razor spotting scope I would recommend buying the first gen model over the gen 2. The glass is the same but the weight is lighter and the street price is $300 less. The gen 2 looks better but thats about it. In general for the last 2 years I have quit buying new guns and spent all my fun money on optics above all else.

For clothes this year I got the first lite chamberlin down jacket and it was amazing in the Wyoming blizzard. That whole hunt was 15-35 degrees f with snow and I never was really cold at any point. I will be using this for a long time in cold weather. It is so packable for the warmth and is so well designed.

I also got the first lite fingerless gloves in blaze orange this season. I would say pass on these unless its 40 degrees or warmer and you don't expect them to last more than few days before they wear thru.

For a tent this year we used an MSR Habitude 6 which was my first family tent ever after 2 decades of backpacking tents. It was great and is warm and strong for its size. I think this will serve me on hunting trips and family camping trips for a decade or 2.

For sleeping pads I got a Thermarest MondoKing which is 4" thick and has an R value around 8. These are great in general but they are huge when packed and suck to store. I would have bought and Exped megamat but they were out of stock. In the past I've just had backpacking pads that were 2" thick with an R value around 3. I think the pad R value is maybe the most critical thing in cold weather camping.

For boots this year I ran La Sportiva Trango Cubes which are pretty stiff mountaineering type boots. They were a pain to break in over the summer and took like 50 miles to break in but then they were amazing in the snow and rocks once broken in. For the prior 2 seasons I had run Tecnica Forge S boots which were less stiff but were custom molded to my feet. They were good fitting but lacked traction in mud and snow pretty bad. I'll probably get some more flexible La Sportiva's for 2021 in addition to the Trango Cubes.

On packs I used my K2 Exo 3500 primarily all year. I sold my NICE frame Mystery Ranch Metcalf because it wasn't getting used much. I did use a Mystery Ranch Pop-up 18 during turkey season and for TN deer. In general its a great pack for eastern hunting to haul out a quartered deer if its warm enough you don't need much storag for clothes. The downside of the popup frame is that you need to extend the frame for a sitting height shooting support but I generally have it folded down to not snag on branches in TN brush country. Also the side pockets aren't stretchy enough and I lost a nalgene bottle out of the side during turkey season. Really its a continuation of Mystery Ranch's downfalls in organzination and fabric choices. I forsee a switch to a 2nd gen pop-up 28 in 2021 as likely.

I sold my Lone Wolf Assault Treestand and climbing sticks this year. I really don't treestand hunt a lot and I like my summit climber. In TN the trees around field edges often have brush up to 15-20 feet and you really need 4-5 climbing sticks to make a hang on stand work well. I feel like tree saddles are replacing hang on stands for mobile deer hunting when you don't need a shooting rest.

I tried a Jebs Head Hunter Turkey Choke 0.655" with TSS loads. To be honest it wasn't any better than my Mossberg XX-full 0.670" and it should be for $90. I think this year I'll try an Indian Creek 0.660" to keep my money in Missouri and they run well in my dad's SP-10 and SBE2 with TSS. I'm selling the jebs now.

I tried a minimalist turkey vest, the knight and hale RNG 200 and needless to say it sucked. Luckily I sold it and got almost all my money. There is no good turkey vest available to date. In 2021 I'll probably run the FHF gear chest rig for turkeys with a frame pack.

Admittedly I'm a pretty huge gear junkie but I've found if you buy good quality gear on sale and don't like it you can get 75% of your money more more back selling it. One think I've learned the from my dad is to get rid of your hunting gear you don't use or in 3 years it will take over half your basement.

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



I was pretty excited for this hunting season. Buddy pulled a moose tag, we both got mule buck tags for a WMU just by my house, got our usual mule doe tags for the same WMU as the moose, and a general whitetag tag each.

So we had plenty of ~potential~ animals to harvest, all in rifle season.

I start out concentrating on the local hunt, since that's pretty easy for me. Drive to neighbour's farm, find deer, take deer home.

On my second day hunting, I got this big bastard. Pretty sure he was one of the ones tormenting me and my hunting buddy last year.


His horns aren't all that impressive, though they are big, but I don't give a gently caress, I just want to eat him.


These are the prime cuts making the shelves bend in the garage fridge (we age the prime cuts for a couple weeks before freezing them).


And I got 5-6 gallons of stuff to grind up.


I pulled a square meter of caul fat out of his gut cavity, his fat was 2-3cm thick all over the normal fat collecting spots, it was amazing.

He was an absolute unit of a deer. Unfortunately, I got the chronic wasting disease test back, and he was positive, so all that meat is just a waste. I'll have to burn it Last thing I want to do is give 2020 a chance to also bring on the Prion Apocalypse in addition to all the other poo poo it's done.

I saved and tanned the hide, I just got an industrial sewing machine so I'm hoping to make something out of that at some point, so at least I'll get some benefit out of his life, poor thing.


My buddy got this one, likely a brother or relative, from the same herd a couple days after mine. Not as big, but a little older and more mature. No test results on that one yet, but chances are not good given that we shot him about half a kilometer away from where I shot mine.



Up north, we tried to do some moose hunting, didn't get any good chances on a cow. Saw lots of bulls though, like this guy.


This little magpie was harassing the poo poo out of him, pecking at his ears.


I think I watched them for 15 minutes. The magpie eventually goaded him into standing back up, and he LUNGED at the bird on a tree branch a couple of times.


They held a starring contest, which I guess the moose lost because he was the one that slinked off into the bush. Magpie, victorious. Moose, shameful.


On our trip we saw 9+ moose, of which maybe 3 were cows, and none we could make an effective play on. But at least we're better at spotting them now.

We managed to harvest two little mule fawns, I think they were siblings (sorry mom ) because the second one was sticking close to her brother as we were looking for his corpse in the bush. Close enough to make it an easier decision. Plus we were spending most of our time on looking for a moose so the mules were plentiful, but the opportunities were not. We took those two and had them gutted and skinned within 90 minutes of spotting them.

If my buddy's buck turns out to also be infected with CWD, we are going to be hurting for venison this year. Which is a drat shame given the potential the year had.

Kind of a good analogy for 2020 itself, really.

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Slung Blade posted:


If my buddy's buck turns out to also be infected with CWD, we are going to be hurting for venison this year. Which is a drat shame given the potential the year had.

Kind of a good analogy for 2020 itself, really.

Dammit, that's a couple of bucks I would have been pretty happy to shove in a freezer. How long is the turnaround period for the CWD tests? Although I've been told the prions only affect the nerves and similar tissues (like brains) I think you're making a good call on not eating that meat. Prions scare the piss outta me. Unfortunately I think it's a great demonstration of the fact that you cannot tell if a deer is infected simply by looking at it. A big hefty guy like that would take a while to waste away, and you wouldn't know it until the final stages of the disease. Even if the meat is wasted at least you are taking it out of the population. Small, but still helpful in the long run (I hope).

Do you have a recommended way for curing the hide? It's the part of the process I'm still getting used to and didn't know if you had a favored solution for it.

I love that the Magpie was harassing that moose. Great pics!

At least you took both of the siblings. They are reunited in death (and in your freezer).

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Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



Chaosfeather posted:

Dammit, that's a couple of bucks I would have been pretty happy to shove in a freezer. How long is the turnaround period for the CWD tests? Although I've been told the prions only affect the nerves and similar tissues (like brains) I think you're making a good call on not eating that meat. Prions scare the piss outta me. Unfortunately I think it's a great demonstration of the fact that you cannot tell if a deer is infected simply by looking at it. A big hefty guy like that would take a while to waste away, and you wouldn't know it until the final stages of the disease. Even if the meat is wasted at least you are taking it out of the population. Small, but still helpful in the long run (I hope).

Do you have a recommended way for curing the hide? It's the part of the process I'm still getting used to and didn't know if you had a favored solution for it.

I love that the Magpie was harassing that moose. Great pics!

At least you took both of the siblings. They are reunited in death (and in your freezer).

I've only tanned one hide so far, and it still needs to be stretched and softened. I just used a "tanning kit in a box" that I got from Cabela's or bass pro ages ago. I'll let you know once I get it completely finished if it turned ok or not.

I'm thinking next time I'll just salt the gently caress out of it and then use egg yolks. Then smoke it to waterproof. The kit had me salt it anyway so maybe I'll just skip the noxious chemical bit.

We'll see, maybe I'll give up and just farm it out in the future, it takes a long time and makes a huge mess. I really want to make fur bags and clothes though :/


E: oh and the testing time is a week or so, plus however long the backlog is given the massive pile of heads they get later in November.

Slung Blade fucked around with this message at 03:28 on Dec 3, 2020

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