Just a synopsis of my hunt Sunday and on Monday. Sat on my stand near a lot of rubs and an active scrape. Did not see bubkis. At about 0930, I decided to still hunt. At about 10 or maybe 1015, I was walking under some big pine trees, kind of in the shadows, and I happened to step on a branch and oh heck was the cracking noise loud. Of well, I figured a goof is a goof and just took another step or two before stopping to wait a bit. I had been pretty quiet up until then, except for using the doe bleat or buck grunt, every now and again. I figure the occasional cracking twig noise or whatever does not matter all hat much as long as you are walking a few steps and pausing for several seconds to a half minute or so before proceeding a few to several steps mores in repetition sort of as a deer does. The calling now and then while doing so works. I have spotted an awful lot of does that way, in fact I have walked up on does many more than once doing that with the doe bleat call. Once I had two big does and a fawn walk right up to within about 10 to 15 feet of me as I had been walking a trail through the woods of my uncle's once upon a time farm. I digress, back to Sunday.
Well, within a couple of seconds of me breaking that branch, a buck, head down, went running by me at about 50 yards off. He was between me and the road and the road was only about 100 yards from me As he ran by, I also noticed another hunter whom I thought was stationary. I figured he must have seen me but got behind a tree just in case he decided to start blasting. I did not even consider shooting. Under other circumstances I might have tried a running deer shot but the road was too darned close and that other hunter was also in that direction. Yeah, the deer had passed him but the road was still just too close and cars passed every now and again. After a half a minute, with no shots from the other guy, I took a peek around the tree after waving an orange vest a bit. I could not see him. I looked around from the other side of the tree. He was not there. When I thought about it, it sure had looked as if I had seen his back - he had - by my guess - been leaving the woods. Maybe he is what spooked the buck, not me stepping on that branch. That thought gave me a moment's pause and I thought about what to do. I scanned the area, saw no sign of the buck, knelt down and waited about 10 minutes. Then I grunted with the buck grunt call. I did it two or three times and waited. Sure enough, that buck came back into view now headed in the opposite direction than the one he had run before. In other words, he was now headed in the same direction I had been traveling. That made me think too. There was a good chance he had been coming to check me out, thinking I was another deer, when the other hunter spooked him. That guy had been in open hardwoods, I was under the shadows of the pines and it was really hard to see into them from where the deer had been standing (I checked a bit later).
Well, he came into and out of view for the next 15 minutes, as he slowly made his way in the direction I had been traveling (north), then he started to make an arch to his right (east) to get downwind of me. I had my scope lined up on him three times. Twice all I could get the cross hairs on was his rump. Then I had it on his neck but it was through so much brush that I decided not to hoot and wait for a better shot since as he had been walking he had remained broadside to me. Well, after a few more minutes, during which I grunted once (man did that peak his curiosity) he looked right at me, did not see me, and kept trying to get an eyeball on me. Kneeling down had been the right thing to do. doing the right thing did not matter much. He just kept going and disappeared to the north. I waited a half hour during which I called and rattled. I did not see hide nor hair of him again. Maybe he scented me, maybe a doe walked by. Maybe he thought I was to big to tangle with - buck-wise. Whatever, he was gone and I am still deerless.
After waiting that 30 minutes, I followed up on the direction he went. About 100 yards north of where I last saw him there was a big steaming pile of deer pellets and an active scrape. About 4 deer trails ran through the area of the scrape so, I st down there for an hour and a half hoping, if not to see that same buck, then to see another or some does. Dd not happen. I moved on and did some more still hunting and wound up back at my stand from early in the morning. I spent my last hour on that stand.
Monday was another day. It also was another nice day, at least later in the morning once it warmed up a bit. Warm is not always good for a deer hunt but it was not bad as far as I was concerned. I got out to hunt at about 1000 instead of 0530 like on the first two days. That was okay too. I saw one deer at around 1430, about midway up the hill in a fairly clear area - lots of brush and some small trees and only a few bigger ones in that spot. When I took off my pack, to grab a seat on a downfall, with another dead tree as my seat back, a deer, probably a young buck, took off in high gear and waving its tail at me from 30 yards away. That is pretty much all I got to see of it. Oh well.
I am going out to hunt again and will give it another shot this weekend. This time it will be much closer to home - maybe 100 miles away instead of 190 miles. The area to which I will go this time is one for which I have a doe permit which increases the chances of me putting some venison on the table or so I am hoping.
All the best,
Flying Lesson #15 - Lunchtime Happy Landings
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