Monday, October 28, 2013

Day Late and a Doe Short

The first dusting of snow on Foggy Mountain this year.
Due to unseasonably warm weather earlier in the season, last weekend (10/19) was the first weekend I made it out to hunt. With that first day filled with rain and a lack of movement due to a full moon; my first hunting trip of the season wasn't great. That in mind and a cold front was moving in mid-week, that had brought the first snow of the year, I took off Friday and planned to hunt all day Friday and Saturday.

Without having my trail camera running I did not know what to expect. Slightly exciting, but really unnerving to not know what time to  expect movement. I went with that I knew from years previously and went to get into stand a little before day break. I knew the only issue I would have would be if deer decided to bed down in the thicket to the right of my stand. 

As I walked in it was a very cool (28ยบ) and calm morning, the kind where you could hear a bird's wings flap. I made it within eye sight of my stand when I heard what I had feared, a deer stand up. I heard one stand then multiple deer run, at that time there was nothing I could do. I continued to make my way to my stand in hopes they had not went far. I ended up seeing the doe, across the hillside, that I believe that was bedded by my stand. Once it was light enough to see everything, I could see the beds of where the deer had been in my stand. They were bedding in a different location normal, but still not out of the ordinary. I continued to hunt all morning without seeing another deer. Around lunch time I had plans to meet up with Jared and hunt the double set we hung this year for an evening hunt, but we decided to change locations and have another type of adventure.

The property that I was invited to hunt ended up being two huge green, lush hay fields right beside the river, a virtual honey hole. This property is located next to Jared's wife's grandparents and had produced great deer for decades. The one catch, you knew there had to be a catch to make this an adventure, they normally only rifle hunt this area and adjoining hillside. That means no treestands, no ground blinds, nothing. We were going in blind and trying to hunt from the ground with a bow. This is something I had only done once but loved; so I figured it was worth a shot.

After a brief discussion of where we were going and how we planned on hunting it we took off. We went across a creek and headed towards the road that ran parallel to the fields. We were going to walk the road to were the two fields are divided and and cut across the 75 yards of swampy woods that separate the field from the road. We managed to jump up two different does walking in the road and knew that it was going to be a good evening. We needed to find a location and get set up quickly. We went into the field and started walking the fence line down to find the best location for a possible shot and adequate cover to hide us from the deer. We found a spot that had a large tree that I could stand behind with decent brush cover on both sides and two shooting lanes. Jared was 15 yards away with similar cover.

Can you spot Jared?
It didn't take long after settling in to start seeing deer. Around 5:15 PM we spotted two deer slowly feeding across the other field. It was not to long after that I spotted four deer feeding 150 yards away off a point in fence line to my right. We watched them for more than half an hour as they slowly began feeding up to our location. I could not believe it, it was going to work, first night at a new location, a new style of hunting and we were seeing deer walk into our shooting range! This would be a great first story if it were not for the farmers that tended the field needing to get hay for their cattle. They ended up almost pushing the deer into shooting range but the deer ran off to the opposite side of the field.

Jared and I had a conversation while setting up (in the field/swamp area) about how well we blended in to the surroundings. Our questions were answered quickly. The farmers drove within 40 yards of us with a tractor and a truck and did not see either of us. That made both of us feel better about hunting that location and the ability to blend in, but it did nothing for having our deer scared completely out of the field. After they left, we still have 45 minutes of shooting light so we sat tight to see if we could get one back in range. We stuck it out and have a handful of does and yearlings come back in, but none were in range. Still this was a great night and a confidence booster to keep trying to hunt from the ground. 

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