Please Note: Double-click on an image to enlarge it. Also Please Note: Hunt reports are posted in reverse order with the most recent hunt at the top of the page. To follow our season in chronological order, scroll to the bottom and work your way to the top.
Since 1989, Beaver McManus has been hosting Adobe Lodge hunters at his ranch. Repeat hunters make up close to 90% of each year's list of clients. There is often a waiting list to secure a spot for a deer hunt.
The McManus Camp can host a total of only four hunters on each hunt, and there are a total of only five hunt dates during the whitetail season.
Hunt 3 November 29 - December 2
No one has hunted the McManus Camp more than John Hubschmidt from Bridgeton, NJ. And no one has introduced more hunters to McManus Camp style whitetail hunting than John. His annual visit is always a particular highlight of the season. So it is especially encouraging when a long-time, faithful hunting client collects a good buck. John did, indeed get him, and he just happens to be the second largest taken at the McManus Camp this season.
During recent years, John has been accompanied by another Bridgeton hunter, Dave Hitchner. It is Dave who can claim the honor of the best McManus Camp buck of the season. Dave's buck, taken on the very first morning of the hunt, was an honest main-frame twelve pointer. You just don't see too many of those beauties anywhere. He had lots of mass and lots of tine length although he was only about 16 inches wide.
Also on that memorable first morning, Bill Wurfel collected a pair of twin ten pointers. Both bucks are virtual carbon copies of each other, the only difference being a broken eyeguard. Without this distinguishing feature, you could hardly tell them apart. Bill hunted with Beaver for the first time a year ago and lost no time in re-booking for this season. Yep, he will be back next season, too. When you find whitetail heaven, why leave?
The new hunter in camp was Matt Fries from Apple Valley, MN Now Matt didn't find us until less than a week before the start of the hunt. Luckily, that fourth slot was open, and Matt snapped it up. And Matt was the third hunter to find a keeper on that first morning. But then, you know what, he took an even better buck on the final morning, as well - an 18" eight pointer taping 135 inches - good for third place so far during the season.
Will there be larger bucks taken later on? Perhaps, but we will have to find and book the hunters first. Beaver can take additional hunters before the season comes to a close on January 6, so if you are a party of three or four, give us a shout. Maybe you can move the leader board around somewhat.
The weather continues dry and very stable. Some wind, but not all that bad. You've heard that the hunting is poor during the full moon, and yet on this Hunt 3 at the McManus Camp, almost perfectly overlapping the full moon, the three largest bucks of the McManus Camp season were taken. If you have kept track so far, you would know that the four hunters collected six bucks - mighty, mighty good.
For those who study deer and their habits, an interesting fact came to light on this hunt. Bill Wurfel had an unmistakable photo of John Hubschmidt's buck from a blind that was two miles away from where John got the buck the next day. Yes, indeed. This is definitive proof that bucks during the rut move incredible distances.
Hunt 1 November 8 - 11
The first hunt of the 2012 season at the McManus Camp found four multi-year veterans back in camp for another adventure with Beaver. And, God Willing, it won't be the last because all four re-booked for 2013 before leaving camp.
The core group is headed by Darl Hospelhorn from Waynesboro, PA. No telling how many years Darl has hunted with Beaver. Most years, he is accompanied by his friends and neighbors, Jeff Hastings who lives in Hagerstown, MD and Ed Miller, a former neighbor who relocated himself to Hahira, GA.
Eye problems kept Ed at home last year. We simply transferred his hunt to this season, and it was good to see him recovered and back hunting with his amigos. During the early part of the hunt, Ed was plagued with scope problems. Somehow, and no one has a clue how it happened, Ed's scope came loose in its mount. He wisely turned down shots until this problem could finally be fixed. Which it was, and Ed was able to collect a good buck on the final morning of the hunt.
The single hunter who has now firmly bonded with these "East-of-the-Mississippi" guys is Mike Anderson from Richardson, TX. Mike has hunted with us numerous times now from a couple different camps. Mike collected the first buck of the group, a wide ten pointer taping 21 1/2" from horn to horn. Mike got his buck on the second morning.
Actually, the hunt might just have ended for all four hunters on the first morning. In making his rounds to retrieve all his troops that kickoff day, Beaver said that all the hunters had held off shooting that first morning even though all reported seeing exceptional bucks. Beaver's ears rang with statement which sounded remarkably similar: "I could-a; I should-a; I would-a." But none did. All were reluctant to have their hunt end so early. Did they pass bucks that would have been better than what was taken? Unfortunately, no re-play cameras or videos could prove the question one way or the other.
As the hunt unfolded, all four collected mighty nice bucks.
Jeff Hastings also distinguished himself by collecting a feral hog. There was, he reported, a group of four of the rascals. He was unable to line them up for a multi-kill. But that's o.k. We'll take a single hog any day. We are trying to postpone the day when hogs will be numerous in our area. So far, they are fairly rare.
The weather was "steady as she goes" with moderately chilly mornings and very warm afternoons. Thankfully, there was little to no wind, except for one day. As has been reported by other hunters in other locations, the deer seem to drift by the corn feeders without leisurely stopping for serious eating. With the ground covered by nutritious winter weeds, the deer are not craving corn just yet. But a hard freeze was predicted for the day after the hunter's departure, so that fact might change the deer's mind about that corn.