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.
Morning – Dawn – 900am
Conditions – low to mid 50s, mostly sunny, winds 10 15mph mostly out of the west but some swirling
I definitely anticipated being back in a tree before today. However, the events of Saturday evening have left a bitter taste in my mouth. The desire to be in a treestand has not very strong. I opted for the same spot as Saturday evening since the dropping acorns should attract a few deer. The action started out slower than anticipated. The early morning action was limited to a red fox unsuccessfully chasing squirrels. Even though it is always fun to have a front row seat to a live animal planet show even if it’s not the game that I’m chasing.
A shot of the fox in front of the far log
At 8am, I spotted my first deer. It was a very large, single doe at about 45 yards. If I were looking to fill a doe tag this morning, she would have been high on the list if she were a little closer.
As the sun crept above the mountain, the winds began to pick up quite a bit and I figured that would probably squash most deer activity for the rest of the morning.
Around 8:30am, I spotted movement in the same area as the first doe. A quick look with the binoculars confirmed that it was a doe and fawn. They milled around at about 40 yards before bedding down. Knowing that I would be leaving soon, I figured there was no way that I wouldn’t be spooking them. Once the clock struck 9am, I gathered all of my gear and called it a day. With the help of a gusty wind and the lay of the land, I was somehow able to sneak out with the two does running away.
My view for the morning
Evening – 5pm to dark
Conditions – Mostly cloudy upper 60s to low 70s, Wind west 15-20
I had debated going out tonight as the overall conditions were just so-so. The direction of the wind made my new property the best and fastest option.
After getting off work, I went straight to the property and got ready. Anticipation was high for the sole purpose of deer hunting my very own land for the first time. My expectations for seeing anything were very low considering the amount of trail camera pictures that I had had up through Sunday.
While walking into my stand, I jumped a doe out of the weeds in my squash patch. I was a bit surprised to see one in there during the day. As I continued my walk, I noticed that the back half of the clover ring looked a little more trampled than normal. Then when turning into the path that I had mowed open for myself, I noticed that path was fairly trampled as well. I figured it was probably from the two groundhogs I see in that area. Just as I rounded the turn to get to the base of my stand, all heck broke loose. To my complete shock, I watched as two dandy bucks, a 9 and an 8, bounded towards the western end of my property. They had been bedding 15 yards from the base of my stand, of course. I figured that would probably be the the extent of my sightings for the evening.
View of the mowed trail where the deer were appearing
After getting situated in my stand, I realized that one of the cornfields south of my property had finally been cut, which is probably the real reason for those bucks being in there. My excitement for the evening was definitely on the rise. Around 6pm, I was surprised to catch movement in. the trail I mowed for myself to be able to use at times when the deer are in the fields. The binoculars confirmed that it was a big doe. She was nibbling on honeysuckle and multiflora rose bushes. She stuck around for about 20 minutes before heading to the front wood patch.
About ten minutes after she had disappeared, I spotted movement on the far side of the field that I was overlooking. I pulled up my binoculars and saw a decent rack. I could see three up top for sure, but the goldenrod made it difficult to see the bases. He eventually worked in my direction where I was able to get a better look at him and realize that he lacked browtines and was about 14″ wide. A decent buck and a cool sighting, but he would be safe if he came within bow range. He hung around munching on clover for the rest of the evening.
Right about the time that I was considering getting down another doe stood up right out in front of me in the goldenrod. She must have been bedding there the whole time. I had walked within 20 yards of her while walking into my stand. She worked her way into the clover field before eventually heading over to the main field. An exciting first night on my very own property. Hopefully it will only get better from here.
A view of the browtine-less buck
A zoomed in view