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After a couple years off from this Annual post, I decided that any year not documented here is a year lost, and since my last Mountain Monarch in 2006 and 2007 tale got some great response and had such an uncanny ending in 2006 I decided the 2009 trip needs captured…(I also attribute it to the Benoit thread currently going on to firing up the juices for it)

This year’s Southern Potter county trip will go on during the entire second week of the PA rifle season. Some will be getting there on the 1st Friday, to hunt Saturday 12/5, but I will be pulling into camp on Sunday 12/6 after spending the first couple days and first Saturday of rifle hunting with my wife and son at our land in our home county of Warren. Hopefully with the satisfiaction of a couple tags filled at home for them, I can go and hunt without a wandering mind in week 2.

A quick recap of last year’s hunt…one that was way too short and likely why it did not get much press from me or result in a good ending. We got there on first Sunday and hunted the second Mon-Wed…not many deer sighted, but more because of the snow crunch than anything following our every step, but on the second Tuesday Dad rousted a very nice WIDE rack buck leading a laarge group of deer and sent a shot at him, the buck was dripping a little blood from his leg and seemed to have a leg drag at points in the tracking, but we were not sure if the wound came from Dad or he got it in week 1…we chased him all day Tuesday, but with 3 hunters in crunchy conditions we were unable to get ahead of him or down him for good. My brother and I had some less than dream shots at him during the course of the chase just trying to slow him down, but to no avail…finally with Dad and borther waiting in a valley down below and me stripped down to a light ahirt just climbing my 3 rd ridge, I tipped my hat to him as the clock approached 4PM and he entered Clinton County still in full stride, almost 2 miles from my Dad’s encounter with him at 9 AM , and after going up and down two steep Potter ridges. An unbelievable feat for a wounded animal no matter how severe. Come Wed Am we had terrible weather and ice was beginning to tear at our departure plans that evening so we hunted til 11 AM and left for the year, quite a dejected crew, that has now turned dejection into motivation.

So almost immediately upon returning home we decide..NO short second week trip for 2009, if we are going to do it we are going to do it right, ALL week. The group for the second week that once just consisted of Dad, my bro and I continues to shape up a bit and it appears we will have a couple more bunks full this year and maybe more cutoff options should we get into another wounded buck situation.
The plan again mainly will be for strategically planned stillhunts drawn out on a topo that is already drilled inot our minds, routes that may help someone in the group capitalize if another makes a mistake and the deer get to traveling to safety. It works well for us in week 2 and the deer seem to be over the slight pressure they now get up there in week 1. These State forest hills seldom get pressure anymore, in fact I believe they get more in bear season than in week 1 of deer. A local group that hunts bear in those hills does come back to push the clear-cuts again in Week 2 because of what they see during their bear drives. We have talked with them before when crossing paths out there, although both parties seem to keep their notes somewhat private. I think they know we are seeing what they have seen, and vice versa…I would never wish any of those guys bad luck, nor any hunter that loves and has not given up on those hills, but at the same time will not hand out info to them on my dream buck. Nor do I expect them too.

Trips to camp during the year have become way too infrequent to do much pre-season scouting. And it is not yet determined if there will even be anyone at the camp for the opener in week 1 to give us an update of what they saw during their hunts. Those tips last year, lead us to the encounter we had with a great but now weary buck. I have made notes so far based on the reports of HEAVY acorn crop on my topo and that in itself has honed at least the first two days of my hunt. Once my feet are on the ground in country and my eyes are taking it all in, days 3-6 will unfold on the fly. Some of us have 2G doe tags (including myself) but we are uncertain if we will fill them, again it will come down to what we see and also the location of where we see them as we quit spending full days of our trip dragging out does years ago. The herd is coming back there in reaction to the logging around and lack of pressure, so if we have a chance and the feel of doing the right thing I am sure an old mature doe will be gladly accepted on the camp meat pole, but in no way is it the mission here.

I hope at the end of this thread we have another great series of photos and stories to share, it certainly was fun for me to look back over the past threads and re-live the hunts again and read everyone’s comments. As updates and thoughts on this hunt come thru my mind I certainly will post it here and look forward to the comments on it all from all my HPA brothers.

If you ask me and mark my words on this…This year has THE FEEL and that is why I started this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The 2006 Story -HAS IT BEEN 3 YEARS ALREADY!!!!!!!

Well for the 3 years of newbies that have no idea what i am talking about, this is what i hope happens again. Page 7 of that thread is the highlight if you don't want to read it all.

That was the last buck I got
...I am due...
 

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Good Luck Rooster!

As you will recall, last year I drove 10 hours on the first Friday, from Maine to Potter, and took a nice 8 point on the evening of the first Saturday.

It was well worth the 10 hour drive.

This year I will be home for Bear and opening week of Buck....but flying for 16 hours from Japan, instead of just a short drive from Maine!!
 

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RB
I can not open the link you provided. It says there is a prob with it in the database. I am real interested in reading it. please repost
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think it got purged last night of all nights...I just read it yesterday when I linked it up.


I'll try to find it.
 

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OK guys, found it and refreshed it to page 1 here. PHEW..thought I lost it.
 

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RB, Sounds like Christmas is coming early for you this year.
1 week at camp will do wonders for you and your group. Good Luck and can't wait to hear the stories.
 

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Rooster, great story. I hunt in Wharton area of Potter county for 26 years and It is the best place in the world to hunt. I enjoy the woods and the hunt. At this point in my life I have been very fortunate to shoot alot of bucks in that area. I have hunted the second week for 2 years now and I can tell you that there is no one around during that time and the deer are back to nrmal routine. We hunt a place called Bunnell ridge. I was there the last 2 years on the second week with 4 buddies and we all have doe permits and seen alot of deer but chose no to shoot a doe. We are using a rule that we puit in together. The FIVE YEAR RULE. If you do not shoot a buck in fuve years you can then take a doe. Just something to get the herd back in shape for my son who is 10 years of age and my buddies kids. We will be up there the First Friday and be coming home on Wed. the second weeek. We now have 7 hunters going up with us which is good. Send me a PM and maybe we can hook up and watch football on Sunday being that you are in SOuthern Pottter.
 

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Eastfork, where is your camp? Mine is in Conrad. The woods were dead last year in the 2nd week, which is why I had a hard time believing the harvest numbers for doe didnt drop in 2G...who the heck shot them, there was no one there!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
eastfork, nice response, nice to "meet" ya that is why i like sharing the stories here..."neighbors" with similar epxeriences come out of the woodwork.


Wharton actually is not my area of So Potter though we are in the Kettle Creek Watershed, In fact i have never seen Wharton or the East Fork in 41 years of going up there. Once we are in camp we are lucky to get down to Cross Fork.

I'll stay in touch though, if you do see someone up there in the second week wave...it likely will be me.
, I agree with john Henry actually been saying it for years before HR was even here...I am not sure where all these hunters are that supposedly knocked the herd so far back. We have not had a crowd up there in those hills for DECADES. They even DMAP'd up the road from us fir a few years and even that was kind of lightly hunted on the first Tuesday when I was in there.

Going to quit scratching my head over it now though, and just enjoy it. Amazes me that you will see 200+ posts about bad things, unsportsmenlike people and overwhelming crowds on here during the season, and that whole area up there goes unhunted and is the prettiest in all the state and I think has such a high caliber of sportsmenship in those that do remain there...


Anyway, if you do Cross Fork at all let me know. That alone is a good 25 minutes for me to get to on the goat paths, I bet Wharton would take me alot longer. SUnday will be my coming into camp day, and I am sure i will want to take a hike once I am unpacked so it is a long shot on getting togehter.

But thanks for the repsonse..
 

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Rooster I have a friend who hunts over there in cross fork. I forget the name of the road but he is all the way in the back on the top.
 

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The road is just after the bridge in crossfork. I guess it is kettle creek on it is on the right just past the bridge.
 

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RoosterBooster said:
Wharton actually is not my area of So Potter though we are in the Kettle Creek Watershed, In fact i have never seen Wharton or the East Fork in 41 years of going up there.
Oh my God, this just breaks my heart Rooster! I got to get you down to the camp and show you the stream, etc. We got to get together sometime soon. Can I assume you wont be there the opening day since you are going up the 2nd week? Would love to meet you for a beer at the Wharton Tavern on Sunday before opening day, and show you the East Fork from Wharton up to Cherry Springs!
 

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eastfork said:
I have friends that have a camp in Conrad right off of Wild Boy road.
Do you know what the name of their camp is?ine is on the WildCat trail loop that goes up around the side of the hill in Conrad. I hunt up the WildBoy all the time. What a perfect name for that hollow!!

Also, what is the name of your camp? I sometimes fish down in the area of the Five Daughters Lodge.
 

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To all the Potter Co hunters I have agree that the deer numbers are way down from the late 80's but it is still the best place to hunt in PA. I have been hunting the Bunnell Ridge area for 22 years and finally bought my own camp up Nelson run. If you see a white Mountianeer parked at the Bunnell ridge gate it will be mine and I will be way out past the pipe line across Hammersly creek hunting the Elk Lick Knob side. If you wanna say hi better walk fast as I dont stay in one place to long. Best of luck to you all!!
 

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Buck Rub,

I hunt off of the Nelson Run, but over by the Wild Boy.

Love driving up through the Hammersly area.
 
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