2019 Lily Pond / Thornbury Plantation Hunt - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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2019 Lily Pond / Thornbury Plantation Hunt

Did something a little different this year for the Lily Pond Creek hunt, in that Bob and I hunted the trophy managed operation of Verona / Thornbury Plantation. Dock acquired the Thornbury Plantaion lease several years ago, along with it’s existing lodge, the property having been in QDM for many, many years. Added to the Verona lease, which it borders, brought the trophy operation up to a total of approx 7900 acres, all in QDM. Bucks on this hunt are required to have a 14” inside spread to be legal, with a $350.00 fine for the first undersize buck, and a $500.00 fine for a second undersize buck. Button bucks incur a $100.00 fine. Management is serious about QDM on these properties and hunters are highly discouraged from killing undersize bucks. The stands on these leases are very well developed, with numerous well maintained food plots and shooting lanes, along with massive fields of beans and cotton typical of the area. The lodge at Thornbury is comfortable, but nothing fancy; our cook for the week, Clayton, keep us well fed and was attentive to our needs around the camp.

Thronbury Lodge
a_lodge by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Bob and I would be hunting November 18th through the 23rd, and hopes were high to hit good rut action. As things worked out, we missed it by a week and suffered from a bit of the post rut doldrums, but saw plenty of deer none the less. Hunting and riding in the truck with us for the week would be Mike and his grown son Josh, both of New Hampshire. We would be guided by Mike, while the other crew, Tony, Tony and Dominick, from New Jersey, would be guided by Capt. John.

On The Hunt

Monday morning November 18th dawned partly cloudy, cold and breezy. I was on a stand with a picked cotton field stretching out to my front, and a shooting lane to my back.

Monday Morning Stand

a1_mon _morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr

a2_mon_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Right at first light, I saw a deer step out along the wood line 387 yards away. It was way too far for me to consider a shot, so I got out the camera and attempted to take pictures of the legal buck as he worked a scrape, hooked brush and worked his licking branch. It was a little too dark yet to get good pics, but I did manage to get one where you can make him out. After maybe five minutes, he worked along the wood line for maybe fifty yards, and then melted into the brush. At approx 9:30, he stepped out again straight in front of me, farther now at 412 yards, and walked right to left across the corner, too fast to get another pic of him. Bob was on a bean field and saw four does, a spike and a funky 4x1, all close, then later a shooter running at 600 yards. Mike killed a doe.

Buck At First Light

a3_mon_morm by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Monday evening was cool with a light drizzle. I had told guide Mike which way the buck had gone in the morning, and he set us all up to hopefully surround where he thought the buck might go. I was in a beauty spot along a large pond, in park like open woods along a hardwood thicket. I had a view through open woods to my right, down a road to my left, with a large shooting lane to my front. All I saw was a possum. Not sure if Bob saw any deer, but Josh got video of a nice black bear and killed a doe that evening. The stand would come into play the following morning for the group from New Jersey.

Monday Evening Stand

b1_mon_eve by Steven Musser, on Flickr

b_mon_eve by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Tuesday morning was cold and still. I was in the woods with a large food plot to my front, with a road running left and right.


Tuesday Morning Stand
c_tue_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr

c1_tue_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Early, but well past first light, I had a deer get across the lane to my left, way out, and too quickly to identify. An hour later, a black coyote ran across the same road in that same direction, but within 100 yards. He came back 20 minutes later and dallied in the road long enough for a shot, but I passed because all I had was a frontal, and if I hit him that way with the 06 I’d have blown him up. At 8:30, I glanced to my left just as a nice doe stepped out right beside the stand. I dumped her right there. Bob saw two spikes and Josh killed a doe.

Doe, DRT
c3_tue_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr

Loridr’s Doe (note: this is heavily photo shopped. Guide cut my head off in the pic, so I added my head back from another pic. LOL)

c4_tue_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Capt john had the Jersey Boys over in the stands we had been in Monday. Tony Jr. was in my morning stand and watched a nice but sub-size buck run a doe all around for most of the morning, while his 16 year old son Dominick was in my Monday evening stand. Dominick elected to stay out longer while everyone went in for breakfast and it paid off for him, killing what is pretty certain to be the one I had seen the previous morning. Very nice 8 point with a 15” inside spread. Needless to say the entire camp was excited to see the kid get such a nice buck, which incidentally was his first ever!

Dominick’s Buck

c5_tue_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr




Tuesday evening was cool and partly cloudy. I was on a large bean field with a big cutover behind me. None of our crew saw a deer, while Dominick continued his run, killing a nice doe.

Wednesday morning we were all posted along a wide road and powerline, and I was in an elevated box blind with the road stretching to my left and right, and a narrow shooting lane behind me. I was covered up in deer all morning, but most were beyond the second pole in the pic, which ranged 325 yards.

Wednesday Morning Stand
e_wen_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Fairly early, about 7:00, three doe crossed the road to my left at 325 yards. Half an hour later, another doe crossed in the same spot, followed by two young bucks, a spike and a wannabe Y buck. At 9:20, another three or four crossed WAY up the road, at a bend in the road that ranged 600+ yards, followed by a flock of turkeys that worked down the road towards me for a half hour. Finally, at 10:05 three more crossed a little closer at about 160 yards, and I would have been tempted to try a shot, but I could see the truck coming in the distance and in that direction.

Turkeys

e2_wen_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Wednesday evening found me in the woods in a large box blind, with views of the road and three large shooting lanes, one to my front and two to my left and slightly behind. Other than another flock of turkeys, I saw nothing. Bob saw four does and a spike, while Mike killed a button buck. Josh had a lot of action, seeing seven doe and a buck he could have killed, but he just couldn’t be certain it was a shooter.

Thursday morning I was in the woods again, on a tight road with a small food plot to my left and a narrow shooting lane to my front. I could see quite a ways in three directions, over 300 yards. After having one cross near me in the dark, right at first light a small rack buck stepped out right beside the stand at about 40 yards, but it was clearly not a shooter. Later, I saw more turkeys. Bob saw nine doe that morning (Bob doesn’t kill does), and Josh saw a young rack buck, a spike and a doe.

Thursday evening I was in an open stand in a mature pine plantation. I had long views to my left and right along the road, with a wide and long shooting lane to my front.

Thursday Evening Stand

h1_thur_eve_left by Steven Musser, on Flickr
h2_thur_eve_right by Steven Musser, on Flickr
h_thur_eve_front_buck_came_out by Steven Musser, on Flickr


I had seen nothing all evening, but had been periodically calling. At about 5:00, I had just finished a calling sequence when out stepped a wide buck at the end of the shooting lane, 212 yards out, and he looked right into the stand. I got on him and it was clear he was legal, very wide, but other than that nothing remarkable. As he starred directly into my scope, I was trying to will him to turn, but he had the sound of the calling pegged and just burnt a hole in the scope. I finally ran out of patience and tried the frontal shot. He wheeled around and I got a broadside look for a slit second coming out of recoil; as I had thought, other than spread he didn’t appear to have much up top. I instantly knew I had missed as he bounded away in high leaps with flag up waving goodbye. Off course I checked and looked, and when Mike came we looked and looked some more, but never found any indication of any kind of a hit, a fact that I already knew. Other than the fact that I had gotten impatient and blew the opportunity, I wasn’t disappointed at all. Not the first one I’ve missed and won’t be the last, and as I’m sure it was a complete miss… no harm, no foul. I have nothing in my notes saying that anyone else saw anything that evening.

Friday morning was cold and windy with sporadic rain squalls. I was on the bean field where Bob had seen the 4x1 the first morning, and had been given the green light to kill him if he showed up. Of course, such things seldom work out and I saw nothing, although the sunrise had been spectacular.

Sunrise
i_fri_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr

View From Stand
i2_fri_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Bob saw a spike. Mike and Josh were posted on the wide road I’d seen so many deer on Wednesday morning, Josh in a tripod stand near the corner of the road where I’d seen some cross. He had a clearly legal buck step out at 80 yards and made good on the chance, killing the high and wide 9 point buck. Mike saw several does.

Josh And His Buck
i3_fri_morn_josh_buck by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Friday evening I was in another pine plantation back a very bad road. I had views of the road to each side with a long, narrow shooting lane to my front.

Looking Down the Lane
j_fri_eve_front by Steven Musser, on Flickr


I had no more than settled in when an unidentified deer crossed the back of the lane left to right, quickly followed by three doe crossing right to left. I figured the first was probably a buck which pushed the doe out, but I never saw any more deer in the lane all evening. At some point mid-evening, a smallish doe stepped out and fed for a while to my right, but it was small and would have been a long shot. The pic below is zoomed in to the max. Evidently Bob saw nothing.

Doe In The Road
j2_fri_eve_doe by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Meanwhile, Josh had seen a button buck, and his dad Mike killed what he thought would be a legal buck. It turned out to be just a tad too narrow; none the less, a very nice buck. He and Josh had finished their five day hunt with a literal bang, both killing bucks on their last day.

Mikes Buck

j3_fri_eve_mike_buck by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Saturday morning was cool and clear. I was in the woods with a view of the road both ways, and two large food plots to my left front. After having an unidentified deer get across the road on me early, a very small doe came out in the circular food plot to my front and fed while I took pics of her. While I was itching to fill my second doe tag, it being the last day, she was clearly very small, as in teeny. Meanwhile, a flock of turkeys fed on the road behind me. It was getting on late morning, when out steps another deer in the far corner of the plot the little doe was in. It was kinda around the corner a bit and facing nearly straight way, but it raised it head once and I knew at that point it had no antlers. It appeared larger than the little doe, I figured it to be the mother and I dumped it; but it turned out to her brother… oops. Bob missed a legal buck. Kinda the opposite of my deal… he figured he should have taken a 150 yard frontal while he had the chance, but ended up getting a fleeting shot as the buck stepped back into the woods. They found no indication of any kind of a hit.

Stand
k2_sat_morn by Steven Musser, on Flickr

Little Doe
k3_sat_morn_doe by Steven Musser, on Flickr

Doe To Right, Dead Button To Left Along the Woods
k3_sat_morn_bb by Steven Musser, on Flickr


Saturday evening was raining a steady light rain, and I was back in an old cutover with views of a grassy road. Neither Bob nor I saw anything, although we did see a doe going out in the truck, and two bucks coming back in the dark.

So ended the hunt. Bob and I both figured we’d seen about 25 deer each. I saw five bucks, two shooters. While the camp only killed three bucks, two of those were taken by the youngsters, which was cool. Bob and I each muffed opportunities at club legal bucks. The week prior had been hot and heavy. They had killed half a dozen bucks, missing a few and losing a couple, as well as killing a dozen does. Heck, the one hunter I talked to had seen 18 bucks during the week. The big bucks are there, they just weren’t walking very well the week we hunted. I think they were a little burnt out from the prior week’s rut craziness. Hey, that’s hunting. I’m booked at Lily next year for the second week of November, along with my buddy Brad. We’ll get em then, watch out bucks!

loridr

Last edited by loridr; 12-07-2019 at 06:08 PM.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 06:05 PM
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Sounds like a good week! That sunrise photo is amazing!
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 07:53 PM
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Enjoyed your hunt report as always Steve!! Over the years I've had a few "oops" moments too but they always quickly faded away with a "yum, yum" at the table. Thanks for sharing your hunt with us all.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Loggy View Post
Enjoyed your hunt report as always Steve!! Over the years I've had a few "oops" moments too but they always quickly faded away with a "yum, yum" at the table. Thanks for sharing your hunt with us all.

Yep, veal is tasty!
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 08:00 PM
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Great pic`s loridr, Congrats to those who scored and another outstanding Lilly Pond hunting adventure by the group, you made me feel as though I was there as well...Thanks for sharing your 2019 hunt with us....
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 08:57 PM
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you did a great job on the photoshop!!
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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you did a great job on the photoshop!!

LOL, my head is from an old Deerfield pic, hence the camo hat, but the coat was a match.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 09:30 PM
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Sounds like another fine hunt! As always thanks for sharing, I always look forward to your hunt summaries!
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 09:53 PM
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I sure can see how Mike thought his buck had an inside spread exceeding 14". Looks like a good sized over a 1.5 yr mature buck at minimum..
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 10:58 PM
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Nice
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