Day 3 – 10/11/14
Time: 5pm to dark
Conditions – Partly cloudy light wind out of the north, Temps mid to low 60s
After the excitement of Thursday evening, my anticipation to get back in my stand on my property was running pretty high. I unfortunately had to go out of town Friday through midday Saturday, so my next hunt would have to wait until Saturday evening, which just so happened to also be a good wind. The evening progressed very slowly. A few squirrels barked in the trees behind me, a decent amount of doves and geese flew out in front of me in the main field, but the deer remained fairly quiet. Around 6:45pm, I caught movement at the far end of the back field right around where you would normally enter the back field. I pulled up the binoculars, but was only able to see the back end of a deer moving towards the main field. Fortunately, I have a trail camera sitting right there, so I was later able to determine that it was the browtine-less buck from Thursday evening. After the deer disappeared, I began glassing the cut corn field in the distance and spotted between 5 or 6 deer feeding. They were probably either bedding in the nearby bean fields or my fencerow woods. Pretty soon darkness fell and it was time to call it a night.
Trail camera picture of the buck that I caught a glimpse of tonight
On Sunday, I came back over to the property to assess the deer activity and try to see if I could possibly identify trails that I had not seen in the summer months. A check of the cameras revealed quite the influx of deer activity from the previous week, especially on Thursday morning. Over the course of Thursday, I caught 6 different legal bucks on camera in various locations of the property. The best buck was an 8 point that I assume was the buck I saw running with the 9 point on Thursday, although he definitely looked bigger in person. The camera revealed a 13-14” 8 point with good point length. I think I got the 9 point on camera 20 minutes before the 8 point came through, but all you can see is the body of a decent-sized deer.
Another picture of the browless buck, who is making himself right at home
Additional scouting revealed two trails that I was unaware of that came from the area that I have deemed to be the “off-limits” bedding area on the western end of the property. I set up one of the trail cameras at the junction with my mowed path and decided to see what the results of that would hold at the end of this week. Neither trail was in a spot that would allow me to set up a treestand with good vision of both trails and the mowed path. I followed both new trails to see where they ended up and each of them seemed to end up in either the western edge of the back field, where you can enter the back field, or popped out in my main field just out of sight from my current stand. With this new information, I decided to put up a new hang-on stand where the road from the front field enters the back field. This stand will allow me to catch anything heading into the main field and anything that funnels from the back field to the main field. The only bad thing about this stand is I will have to expose myself to the main field when walking to and from it. I feel like today brought up more questions than answers. Hopefully I can pinpoint things before the rest of the neighboring corn gets cut. I have a feeling once that happens I will need to be pretty precise with every stand setup to avoid spooking deer.
2014 PA Archery Season Preamble
Bow season is almost upon us and the preparation for this season began the day after my buck hit the ground last season. I spent the whole day trying to figure out buck movements during the rut in areas that do not normally hunt. I ended up seeing nine different bucks, all but two of which were legal. This got the motor turning in figuring out what areas to focus on the rest of the fall and winter. I went back and checked the different trails about a half dozen times while out collecting maple sap and there were two spots that impressed me more and more each time out. In early spring, before the leaves showed up I found a few treestand worthy spots.
Around the same time, I had the opportunity to purchase a small chunk of woods and field in among thousands of acres of surrounding farm fields. I could not pass on the opportunity and on my second walk around the property I found out just how many deer frequent the small woodlot. After a little scouting and online research, I figured out that I had the only woods with a one-mile radius that were at least 50 yards wide. After talking with some of the neighboring landowners, I found out that once the fields get cut the deer use my property as their home base and there are normally anywhere between 8 and 20 deer in my field each evening. Once I closed on the property, I did a more in-depth scouting trip in the approximately seven-acre woodlot. I found multiple highway-esque trails, rubs, and even a shed from a decent two year old buck. Since then I have been monitoring the deer activity regularly. The deer were there most days while I planted fruit trees and corn, but as the neighboring corn fields grew, the amount of deer sightings decreased fairly quickly. I took that as an opportunity to carve out some new trails that all filtered right to a spot that I planned to put a treestand.
The layout of the new property
The winter deer sign
A look at my treestand tree without leaves
Starting in June, I ran two trail cameras in various locations throughout the property. The pictures showed a few resident deer that were calling my property home, along with the occasional visiting buck. In early-July, I hung a treestand that overlooks the back field along with a few heavy trails that are guided by an old cattle fence inside of the woods.
The best buck on the new property so far.
Once I felt comfortable with my strategies for my new property, I turned my focus to preparing the other area that I hunt. I took one walk to the various spots that I scouted in the fall and spring and identified the trees that would be the best for hanging my stands and what limbs would need to be trimmed.
In late-August, I hung my stands, trimmed my lanes and hung three cameras. I’ve decided to take a very light approach to scouting this year in an effort to reduce my scent in the areas. I waited until last week to finally check my cameras and was pleasantly surprised to find multiple shooter bucks and a curious bear in the area. One of the stands, I have not seen since the day that I hung it and should easily be my most productive stand. The spot features a large oak flat, where I’ve taken early season bucks in the past, and natural funnel that a large amount of does tend to use, which will eventually turn this into a gold-mine once the rut kicks in. This is the same general location that I harvested my 136” 8 point in 2009. So to say that I am pumped about this spot would be an understatement. However, the trail camera pictures from the spot that I harvested my buck from last year has me a little torn.
A couple of decent bucks and a bear:
I have also been pleasantly surprised to see deer activity starting to increase on my property as the area corn fields are cut. There are still a lot of fields left to be cut, so I expect the deer activity on my property to only increase as the season goes on.
It should be another exciting year of bowhunting as I take you along with me on the upcoming journeys. Good luck to everyone heading out!
@theoutdoorcpa on Twitter and Instagram for in-hunt pictures and posts.
Day 13 – November 8, 2013 – The Finale
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Temperatures in the upper 30s
Wind: 5-15 mph out of the West
Time: Dawn – 7:45am
After the warm temperatures rolled in on Tuesday, I sat Wednesday and Thursday out. However, I got a report on Thursday that the bucks were moving and moving in a big way. While the forecast for Friday wasn’t ideal with midday winds in the teens, I knew that I had to go out. I could only hunt until 9am, so I could get to work in time, so I chose my hang-on in the middle of the property, which is the same stand as Day 2.
It was a fairly slow morning. The wind was blowing pretty hard right from the start. Fortunately, I had plenty of layers on so I was not worried about getting too cold. I scanned the area in front of me constantly hoping to spot movement. With the leaves mostly gone, I was now able to see a good 100 yards out in front of the stand. If anything was going to come up the hill, I was going to see it.
Around 7:40 I caught movement about 80 yards away on the main trail that eventually comes past my stand. I pulled up the binoculars and immediately recognized the rack and patches of missing fur on the back. It was the buck that I shot at on October 18th. I grabbed my bow and turned on the lumenock as he continued to close the gap. As he got into bow range, I soon realized that I was going to need him to pass my stand before I would be able to get a shot since he was quartering towards me. As he got behind a large double maple tree, I drew my bow. He walked past me without ever looking up. I slowly turned and positioned myself for when he hit my opening. As he entered the opening I made a grunt with my voice. He immediately stopped. He was quartering away pretty hard so I aimed around the middle of the body. Once I got my pinned settled, I released the arrow. I watched as the green lumenock went into the center of the body, out the other side and into the ground. I knew immediately that it was a good shot. He ran out across the trail that connects to the trail that he was on and dropped 60 yards from the shot. I didn’t know whether to be excited or relieved to have finally taken this buck after a long 21 days of pursuit. I gave him 30 minutes to ensure that he was down for good. In the meantime, I texted friends, family, and called off of work for the rest of the day.
I climbed down and found my arrow and noticed good blood on the arrow. I walked over and found him piled up. Now that I could see the rack up close I realized I had a little more history with this buck. He was the very first buck to show up on my trail camera back in August and it just happened to be right in front of the treestand I had just taken him from. Going back even further. I had scouted this spot hard since last December and hung this treestand in early July, because I was that confident that this was going to be a go-to spot this season.
Trail Camera Picture
After examining the antlers, I looked over the body to see how well I placed the shot. I noticed a patch of hair missing just behind the shoulder and another patch with fresh blood near the middle of the body. Then it hit me… The front mark was from my shot in October. Upon examining the insides I noticed that I had just barely clipped the back edge of both lungs from the October hit. There were small notches out of the lungs with black and blue marks around them. One inch to the left and I would have had a double lung hit and a dead buck in October. An inch or two to the right and I would have hit the liver. It is pretty remarkable how small the margin of error is in archery hunting. There has always been the debate about whether or not you can hit a deer in the vital area and not actually kill it. I think this proves that you can hit a buck in the lung area and not actually kill it.
The two hits – Which shot would you think was the fatal one?
While skinning the deer, I got to the area of the October hole exit and my knife hit something out of place. I pulled the skin down a little further and noticed a triangle under the skin. I dug around with my knife and pulled out half of one of my broadhead blades. Upon further examination, I noticed that my broadhead had hit a rib, broke the rib (that had since almost fulled healed), and either the blade wedged in the rib or broke off and caused the arrow to not pass through.
What are the chances of this ever happening? When I began this journal at the start of the season, I never could have thought that this sequence of events could have ever occurred. Now that my buck tag has been filled, it is time to chase turkeys and then begin my pursuit of my first deer with a flintlock rifle with my doe tags.
8 point with a 14″ spread
Days 11 & 12 – November 4 & 5, 2013
November 4, 2013
Weather: mid 20s in the morning, mid 40s by afternoon. Mostly sunny.
Winds: Light and variable
Time: Dawn to Dark
Today I found myself back at the same spot as Day 9. The heavy action from Saturday continued. About 30 minutes after first light I spotted a deer running through the brush below me. Shortly thereafter, I spotted a buck behind her. I checked him out with the binoculars and saw that it was a 3 on top on both sides without brow tines, making him a 6 point. He chased her around below me, but the never found their way up to me. He wasn’t what I was looking for anyway.
The 6 point (every picture I tried to take he would stop behind brush)
They disappeared into the brush and about 15 minutes later the woods erupted and I had deer running up out of the brush in my direction. It was 6 does/fawns and a small 3 point. The does and fawns went up over the hill rather quickly, while the 3 point milled around at about 15 yards. He eventually worked his way up the hill and out of sight.
The 3 point
The woods went quiet for about 30 minutes before I spotted something moving in the brush below me. A nice looking red fox moving through the area looking for a meal.
After the fox left it was all quiet again for another hour, when I spotted movement on the flat below me. It checked it out with my binoculars and spotted a doe working along the brush. While watching her, I caught more movement behind her. I moved the binoculars over to the new movement and spotted antlers immediately. It didn’t take long to realize that it was the same buck I had missed the other week. The deer casually worked their way up the hill heading in my direction. I figured the doe would bring him right past me. As they got up to the hill about 50 yards below me, I caught movement behind them. It was another doe and the 6 point from earlier. The new doe walked over to the other doe and the two had a very brief boxing match, before the two continued to feed. Both does were working their way up the hill with the 8 point staying on one edge of the road and the 6 point on the other edge. As the does got further and further up the hill, they crossed the road and worked their way over to my hang on stand. The 8 point was about 20 yards from that stand. Figures…
Once they got to the top of the hill, the two does crossed the road and were heading right to me. Both bucks were slowly creeping behind them. The does got to about 15 yards with the 6 point at about 20 yards and the 8 point at about 30 yards, but closing. The 8 point was facing me and in too much brush, so he needed to come another 10-12 yards for a shot. The 6 point was standing in the wide open, go figure. As the bucks slowly closed, I caught something running in my peripheral vision. I look up and see the 5 point from Saturday running across the flat in my direction. The does took off running past my stand as the small buck gave chase. The 6 and 8 point soon followed. The 8 point came through my openings, but wouldn’t stop for anything. I couldn’t believe it… Another encounter with this buck, but unable to connect.
I sat in the tree for another hour before catching movement in the brush below me. It was the 6 point cruising across the hill behind me. I watched him as he walked across and into the hollow on the other side of the road before he disappears down over the hill.
After that, it was a long four hours in the stand with nothing moving. Around 3pm, I had two button bucks work across the flat beside me. They fed in front of for a good 30 minutes before heading down the hill. Around 4:30pm, I caught movement above me. Wouldn’t you know it, it is the 5 point that messed everything up that morning. He worked his way down the hill, browsing the whole time. Just as it was getting dark out, I had a fawn doe come in under my tree. She fed around my tree until I decided that I needed to go and spooked her away. A good, exciting day in the tree. The chasing phase seems to be here, so the bigger cruisers should not be far behind.
November 5, 2013
Weather: Mostly cloudy with temperature between mid 30s and high 50s
Wind: 5-10mph, mostly out of the southwest, but constantly shifting
Time: Dawn – Dark
I normally wouldn’t combine two all day sits into one post, but there wasn’t much to talk about on this day. Whatever switch was turned on the day before had been abruptly turned back off. I had a single button buck feed across the flat in front of me for the better of an hour between 10 and 11am, but that was it for deer movement on the day.
I tried moving spots for the evening and set up in a hollow that used to be a great evening rut spot. I set up over two freshly worked scrapes in hopes that the deer that worked them would show.
Other than two woodcocks, a raccoon going back legs first 40 feet down a tree, and a ton of squirrels, there wasn’t much to write about tonight.
With the poor movement and warm temperatures rolling in on the 6th, I decided to head to work for two days and then try again on Friday after the cold front passes through.
Day 10 – November 2, 2013
Weather: Mostly cloudy, temperatures in the upper 40s – mid 50s
Wind: Light and mostly out of the west
Time: Dawn – 12 pm
I headed to the same tree as Wednesday only this time I climbed another four to five feet higher in the tree since the lack of leaves was leaving me a little more exposed than I liked. As the woods brightened the sound of turkeys in the trees around me filled the woods. I had them to my left, right, and directly below me. Being that I was in a good position for deer hunting, I decided that I would only try to take a turkey if they walked within 20 yards of me on their own. Otherwise, I was deer hunting only. Around 7:30 the first two birds pitched down from my right and landed about 25 yards below me. I grabbed my bow, just in case, but as the others pitched down, they all headed down over the hill and sat about 50 yards away grooming themselves for the better part of the next 30 minutes.
A long distance view of the birds working their way across the hill below me.
While watching the turkeys grooming themselves, I heard a branch break out to my left. I turned and spotted a very small deer heading up the hill and angling right to me. I checked it out with the binoculars and confirmed it was indeed a fawn. As I lowered my binoculars I caught movement behind her. I figured it was probably the mother doe, but instead it was a 6 point that I have seen a lot through my trail cameras and I am fairly certain is a deer that I saw quite a few times last year. He has a very narrow spread, but 3-4″ brow times and thick bases. A definite 2 year old. The doe crossed at about 10 yards and the buck followed her the whole way, nose to the ground and grunting. He passed by and I snapped a few pictures.
The 6 point
No sooner did he disappear into the next hollow, I spotted movement off to my left again. Here comes a buck working along the edge of the ridge and heading right for me. I checked him out with the binoculars. A small 5 point. The followed the exact path of the 6 point under my tree, before heading into the next hollow as well.
The 5 point
About fifteen minutes later, I spotted movement out in front of me. Coming down the hill was yet another buck. I checked him out with the binoculars, but he was just a small year and a half old 6 point. He stayed at about 50 yards and never came in close enough for a picture.
The next two-plus hours were spent watching squirrels and hearing the occasional turkey yelping below me. Around 11am, I caught movement at about 60 yards in the way of a small sapling swaying back and forth in a vicious manner. I pulled up the binoculars and spotted a decent rack immediately. As he finished rubbing the small oak tree, I could see that it was about a 15″ wide 7 point. His points didn’t have much length to him, so I was on the fence about taking him if he were to close the gap. He walked over to another tree and started rubbing that as well. As he was rubbing, I spotted the 5 point from earlier heading down the hill, heading towards the 7 point. As the 5 point approached, the 7 point stopped rubbing and instead lowered his head and put his ears back. He aggressively stepped towards the 5 point, but the younger buck knew his place and continued on his way down the hill. The 7 point slowly followed him down the hill, staying at about 50 yards the whole way. I probably would have been tempted to take him, so I was glad that he stayed out of range.
After he left the area, the sun finally popped out for the first time and it didn’t take long for the woods to warm up. I sat in the tree until 12pm before deciding to climb down and go grab lunch.
Weather: Cloudy with light rain, temperatures in the high 50s
Wind: 15-20 mph with much stronger gusts mostly out of the southwest
Time: 4:30pm – Dark
The evening sit was definitely night and day in comparison to the morning hunt. The weather report called for a light wind, but I was definitely not prepared for the nonstop swaying back and forth that I ended up experiencing for the entire evening. I saw a few squirrels running around, but that was it. No deer tonight. While it doesn’t appear that the peak of the rut is underway, it is safe to say that the seeking phase is very much underway. It should be an incredible final two weeks of the season.
Days 8 & 9 – October 29 & 30, 2013
October 29, 2013
Weather: Clear skies, temperatures in the mid 30s
Wind: Light and variable
Time: Dawn – 9:15am
With the heavy winds finally died down and temperatures still on the cool side, I knew that I had to get out in the woods this morning. I set up in the same stand that I hunted on Day 5, which will most likely be my go-to rut spot. The morning started off rather slowly with squirrels running in every direction and a loud murder of crows behind me. Around 8:30am I heard a branch snap behind me. I turned around to see a lone hen turkey working her way across the flat. She seemed to be looking for something as she was chattering the whole way.
Turkey in the center of the picture
At about 8:45, I figured I would not be seeing any deer for today. I was texting a friend to see how his morning hunt was going, when I spotted movement across the trail from me. I could see a decent body size on the deer, so I threw up the binoculars and spotted two more deer behind her. A doe and two button bucks. As they were feeding, I continued to scan the hollow below me for movement, when I realized that there was another deer standing over there as well. I brought up the binoculars again and spotted a decent rack. It looked to be a 12-13″ 7 point with a fairly thick rack. While watching him in the binoculars to judge whether or not I would consider a shot if he came over another deer crossed in front of him. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s the buck that missed two Fridays ago. He walks past the smaller buck, lowers his head at him, drops his ears and takes two steps towards him. The smaller buck immediately backed up, wanting nothing to do with the bigger buck. The big buck then straightened up and turned up the hill. No sooner did he go out of sight did the 7 point start chasing the doe. As soon as they started running, the button bucks took off. The one walked in front of me and stood about 20 yards away. The buck and doe disappeared down over the hill and the woods went silent for a minute or two. The button bucks continued to feed as I once again caught movement on the flat. I spotted through the binoculars the 7 point had come back from the chase and was now munching on acorns. I then spotted the doe about 50 yards up over the hill feeding under an oak tree as well.
While watching to see what the deer would do, I heard a branch snap down over the hill. The button buck in front of me took off running across the road, meeting up with the other button buck before running off to the hollow on the other side of the flat. I scanned the hill below me for movement when I spotted a large bodied deer moving through the saplings. It was another good buck. It looked to be an 8 point with a spread of about 15-16″. A shooter in my book, but as he worked his way up the hill, he also worked away from me, before finally walking out of sight. It was now 9am and the woods were once again quiet. I sat in the tree for another 15 minutes before deciding to call it a day. After all of the action on the other side of the road, I think it is safe to say that I will be hunting over there tomorrow morning.
October 30, 2013
Weather: Cloudy with temperatures in the mid-upper 40s
Wind: Light and mostly out of the East/Northeast
Time Dawn – 9:30am
After yesterday’s action, I moved across the ATV trail and set up in my opening morning spot. On the walk in I jumped a deer along the road. It ran a few yards and then just starred at me as I continued down the trail. As I was climbing my tree, I could hear walking. I turn around and here comes the same deer down the ATV trail. Thinking nothing of it, I continued up the tree with my climbing treestand. Not much longer, I hear the walking again. I turned around and deer is heading right for me on the exact path that I had just walked. I was maybe 12 feet off the ground and I knew it was only a doe, so I continued up the tree and figured if I spook it, it’s not a big deal. Plus, I figured it was probably a fawn with how curious it was acting. I am moving up the tree when I realize that the walking is eerily close. I look down and the deer is at the base of the tree sniffing my bow. It then walks down the hill a little and looks up at me. I was almost done with my climb at this point, but was still adjusting the positioning and the deer was completely unfazed by me. What really surprised me now that it was up close and I could fully see it in my headlamp, it was a definite adult doe. As I continued to get ready for the morning, she worked her way out the flat eating acorns before she finally disappeared before daylight. Definitely one of the stranger pre-light encounters I’ve ever experienced.
Once it got light out, it was a slow morning. The dozens of squirrels that populate the area sounded like elephants as they ran around the flat gathering acorns. Three hen turkeys passed through out of range around 8:30, but other than that it was a quiet morning. The deer never showed up. I climbed down around 9:15am and spent the last 15 minutes opening a few new spotting lanes in preparation for the days ahead. While yesterday made it feel like we were very close to the rut, today made it seem like we are no where close to the rut. With plans to hunt every day for the remainder of the season starting on November 2nd, the best is yet to come and this should be my last double post.
Day 7 – October 26, 2013
Weather: Partly Cloudy, temperatures in the mid 30s
Wind: 10-15mph swirling between West, South, and North.
Time: Dawn – 10am
I decided that it was time for a change of scenery today and headed up the mountain to a spot that I haven’t hunted since 2010. I have done a lot of scouting each year up here, but always find intriguing sign closer to the truck. The spot rest on the very edge of the property that I hunt and allows me to see for long distances. It also is about 50 yards from a bedding area, so it is only an option in the morning or during an all day hunt. I was hoping to catch a buck heading to the bedding area early on. The winds started blowing hard right away and I knew right then I had made the wrong choice on stand location for the day. I spotted a group of 10-12 does about 150 yards away on the neighboring property, but they never made their way up the mountain and instead bedding in a thicket on the lower flat.
My view from the stand
I sat at the spot until 10am, when I received a text message from a friend of mine about going pheasant hunting. The cold winds made sitting in a tree very much longer pretty undesirable, so I opted for some pheasant hunting. On my way out of the hunting spot, I made sure to take notice of the freshness of the sign in the area. I found a number of fresh scrapes and rubs, which let me know that this area should produce once the winds die down and the rut ramps up.
A nice rub
The pheasant hunting was fun, as we were able to flush quite a few birds. However, not having a dog with us, hurt our chances of actually being able to get shots at the birds. Many of them were flushing way out ahead of us or were running in the opposite direction of us prior to flushing. In the end, we did a lot of walking and each of the three of us were able to take a rooster. With as much bow hunting as I have been doing the last few years, it was a nice change of pace to do something different. It was 4pm until we finished hunting, so I opted to sit out of the tree stand for the evening as the winds were still blowing pretty good.
Days 5 & 6 – October 24 & 25, 2013
October 24, 2013
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Temperatures in the mid-upper 30s
Wind: 10-15 mph out of the west
Time: Dawn – 9:30am
I opted for a quick hunt this morning considering I had been hearing about a lot of good deer movement from friends. I set up directly across the road from my opening morning spot in one of my hang-on stands. The wind was blowing hard from the start and the deer stayed low. Even the amount of squirrel activity on the flat was nearly void.
October 25, 2013
Weather: Mostly Sunny with temperatures in the low 50s
Wind: 10-15mph swirling between West and South.
Time: 4pm – Dark
This evening I decided to attempt to slip into my day 2 spot for a chance at hunting close to a bedding area. With the heavy winds, I knew that I could probably slip into the stand undetected. On the walk in, I decided to check my lone trail camera, which is at the day 3 stand. Low and behold I had four different pictures of the buck I ALMOST had last year. Oddly enough he almost looks exactly the same. He was about a 22-23″ wide 7 point last year and this year he appears to be about 25″ wide and again a 7 point with almost identical point length. Definitely a buck that I hope to see this season.
After checking the camera, I made my way down the trail towards my spot. I came up on a thicket that boarders the road when I heard the sound of a deer jumping up in the brush. I quickly threw up my binoculars and wouldn’t you know it, it was the big 8 point that I had missed last Friday. He was bedded approximately 40 yards from where I sat during rifle season last year. That gave me great relief to see that I definitely did not wound him last week and that he was still using the area.
Once he moved out of sight, I continued to my stand. With the loud, crunchy leaves, every step was carefully planned out to ensure that I was as quiet as possible. Fortunately, I made it to my stand without spooking anything. About 30 minutes after getting settled in the stand, I caught movement below me. Here came about twelve turkeys up through the woods. All of them were either hens or this year’s young. Unfortunately, turkey season doesn’t start until the 2nd so I could was watch.
Around 5:30, I heard a branch break behind me. I turned around to see a small deer making its way down the trail. I pulled up my binoculars and sure enough it was a small button buck. I watched him wander around for about 15 minutes, before watching the mother stand up from her bed maybe 50 yards away. I couldn’t believe that she never heard or saw me coming into the spot. The two of them stayed just out of range for the most part before the button buck decided to come to about 5 yards from the base of my tree. Being young, he never looked up and continued down the hill until he was out of sight. The mother doe came to within 25 yards, but it was a little thick for a shot, plus I knew this was the doe and fawn that I had so many pictures of in the summer, so they would be safe tonight.
I spent the remainder of the evening scanning the brush and hillside waiting for something to come down the hill, but that was not to happen tonight. Around 6pm, I about jumped out of my stand at the sound of my Dad’s in-line muzzleloader going offer about 200 yards across the hill. Ten minutes later, I got the “big doe down” text. Once it got dark, I climbed down and went over to help him load up his doe. A nice evening on stand, hopefully the winds will die down soon.
Days 3 & 4 – October 15 and 18, 2013
October 15, 2013
Weather: Clear skies, low lying fog on the fields, temps in the low 50’s
Wind: Light and variable, but mostly out of the north/northeast
Time: Dawn – 9:15am
Not much to talk about on this hunt. There was a very heavy fog on the fields that had not lifted by the time that I left the woods. I hunted a spot that I’ve been scouting hard for the last 11 months, but did not know how it would work in the early season. I got to see a lot of squirrels running around, but that was it. I will hold off hunting this spot again until the deer start moving a little more. Based on the sign that I found last November around this spot, I am very encouraged that this should be a good spot during the rut.
October, 18, 2013
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Low 60s
Wind: West around 10mph
Time: 4pm – Dark
This day can probably be summed up as the most frustrating day of archery hunting that I have ever experienced. Hence why it has taken me nearly a week to write about this hunt. I could probably type out my frustrations of the day, but I will stick to just the bow hunting portion of the day.
I set up in my climber in a tree the I set up back in July. It is the same oak flat that I hunted opening morning, but about 30 yards up the hill from the tree that I hunted that day. The plan for the evening was to tale a doe if one were to present me with a shot.
Around 5:30 I heard walking coming from the opposite direction of where I expected the deer to be coming. I turned around and spotted a deer moving up the hill. I quickly glassed it with my binoculars and noticed it was a 4 point. He milled around in the acorns for the remainder of the evening.
A little after 6pm as the light was beginning to fade I heard walking coming from the direction of where I expected to see deer. Sure enough I spot deer legs moving through the brush. As the deer’s body became more exposed, I realized that it had a pretty large body. I grabbed my binoculars and quickly realized that it was a shooter buck. He was an 8 point with a decent spread and would probably score in the 90s. I put the binoculars down and grabbed my bow. He was about 40 yards away and needed to cross the ATV trail in order to come into range. He closed the gap and crossed the trail, but crossed about 5 yards further down than where most deer will cross. This led to him being at 15 yards, but too brushy for a shot. I began looking for potential openings on his path and spotted one on the other side of my tree. As he walked, I carefully spun around and got ready. When he stepped behind a large oak, I drew my bow. He stepped out from the tree and into the opening. I settled my pin on his vitals and released. The buck jumped and took off running down the hill. I felt confident about the shot, but figured I would at least climb down and find my arrow. When I got over to where the buck was standing, all I could find was his tracks. No blood. No arrow. No hair. I couldn’t believe it. I spent the rest of the evening and 4 hours on Saturday just looking for something. I was able to locate his running tracks and followed them for about 100 yards, but never found a single drop of blood. I’m assuming that my arrow deflected on a small branch that I did not see through my peep sight. I searched a very large radius looking for the arrow, but I was never able to locate it.
As the temperatures begin to drop, my focus is beginning to come back and I’m finally feeling the desire to be in a tree stand again. Hopefully, I can put this day behind me and focus on the better days ahead.