Friday, November 25, 2011

20 Doe Parade, Only 19 Standing Now

Today, I hit my local small plot of land for the last bow hunt before our gun season comes in tomorrow, the 10 acre one.  I was in my tree well before first light.  I wasn't up there a half hour and I heard deer coming from all directions right to my tree, from behind, from over my right shoulder, and from straight ahead.  They hung around my tree stand for what seemed like a dark eternity.  I sometimes heard them run, wondering if they winded me.  Later, when it became lighter, I could see that they were chasing each other, a pecking order of sorts I guess.  In my mind I kept wondering why the sun was taking so long to rise.  Hurry up, dang it all!

A short time later, that seemed like a long time later, several deer worked their way back to me, lingered around my tree, then moved off.  More followed.  Light was approaching.  I could make out forms, and eventually could see enough to determine that they were does and no racks among the group.  I couldn't see my sight pins yet, so it wasn't legal for me to shoot yet.  Hurry up sun!

A few minutes later, the four does moved away from me, in the 11:00 direction, about 50 yards away.  Then, more moved down the hill from behind me heading towards the four.  Two, then two more, then three more.  All of these were 40-50 yards away not in my shooting lanes.  I could see my pins.  Then, the weirdest thing happened, they bunched up around this one huge oak tree, almost as if they were in a football huddle. 

They were grooming each other.  I could hardly believe what I was seeing, having never seen that behavior with so many deer before.  More deer moved around behind me, but I had to be careful as the 11 deer were in plain view 50 yards away.  That's 22 eyes facing me.

Not long after that, a fox moved in from the East, heading their way.  They were on high alert, and then four more does followed the same trail as the others.  There were more deer mulling around behind me.  I wondered if one was a buck.  With this many does around during the rut, there had to be a buck.

Fifteen minutes later, a six point came from the direction of the original 11 huddled deer, chasing a doe heading East back into the field.  The huddle followed them, followed by the last three.  That's seventeen deer so far.  What the heck?  You'd think it was January, with them yarding up, on a Southern slope with so many deer around.

They all followed the buck, way out of my shooting lane about 50-60 yards away.  The fox was long gone by now, or maybe not.  I was focused on the deer, like a predator searching for that weak link, hoping to take advantage of Darwin's law.

All of a sudden, two of them broke off and headed down the hill straight to my stand, downwind of me.  I had three scent bombs wedged in a tree, in a zip lock bag, that I meant to put out and forgot.  Maybe that made them curious?  I don't know.  But, one stayed high on the hill, alert, sniffing, searching the trees, searching the ground, and occasionally stomping. 

Ms. Alert, moved across my right about 20 yards away, but too alert to draw and not in a shooting lane anyway.  But, the other "doe", was now directly in front of me giving me a broadside shot.  I can't draw or Ms. Alert will spot me and blow my cover.  Just then, she went behind a tree.

I had to act quickly, but the other "doe" turned broadside and then quartering away and stopped, 15 yards away.  I drew, found my spot on "her" and released.  I followed through on my shot as I saw through my peep sight the arrow hit the spot.  "She" jumped, and took off straight ahead crashing and falling about 30 yards away.  Then, "she" got up again, and ran another thirty yards past this huge deadfall and fell. 

I knew that "she" was dead.  Meanwhile, three more deer bolted toward the field snorting all the way, all does.  These were the ones mulling around behind me.  Ms. Alert was still standing on the hill, now stomping and snorting.  I actually almost thought about shooting her too!  But, she worked her way behind me not giving me an opportunity.  I knocked an arrow anyway, just in case, but she moved out into the field and snorted for the next five minutes.

I pulled out my cell phone and noted the time, 7:30 AM.  I texted my wife and told her that I killed a doe, then texted the land owner and my buddy Steve who was also hunting today a couple hours away to give him the news.  I knew the hit was good, and I knew that "she" was down, but still decided to wait a bit before climbing down.  I sat for 45 more minutes.  The neighbor opened her garage door and kicked out yet another deer.  Up to 20 deer now.

As I sat there, watching where I last saw my "doe" fall to make sure it didn't get up and walk away, wondering why time seems to stop during this process.  It's always the same thing, taking forever.  What ever happened to the phrase, "time flies"?  I played texting tag with my wife still keeping an eye out for a buck.  If one came by, I'd take it given the chance.  

Meanwhile, I envisioned my deer getting up.  I knew I put a good shot on "her", but still, doubt began to creep in.  I'll sit for 45 minutes, then climb down to find my arrow.  I won't push here until I know that the trail is good.

After two long grueling hours (well, it seemed that long, but it was actually 45 minutes), I climbed down.  I walked over to where "she" was when I shot, and immediately found blood.  Along with the blood were a few clumps of white hair.  I started to doubt my shot again, but with so much blood, I still felt good about it.  I ceremoniously broke a piece of orange tape off and marked the trail.  The trail was good, but I marked the trail anyway.  You never know when you might have to start over, or if it rains, or if some clod hopper comes along and stirs up your trail.

This is what you'd like to see, but the tuft of fur worried me.
Thirty yards later, I found my arrow.  I examined the arrow and, like Gil Grissom, determined from the forensic evidence that the shot placement was good.  There was something else troubling about the arrow.  I use mechanical broadheads, Spitfires, which have always been reliable for me.  Normally, you'd see at least a couple blades open if not all three after a shot like that.  But, the blades were completely closed.  I couldn't believe it.  Did the broadhead fail?  Oh no.  I put the arrow in my quiver and continued to follow the trail.

The trail was quite large now.  No more orange tape needed.  30 more yards later and I was amazed at the trail, and I looked up and there was my deadfall.  I could have walked straight there, because there "she" was.

There "she" was, just up ahead.
I moved around her and noticed that "she", wasn't a "she".  It was a little devil of a button buck.  Had I known that, I might have passed.  Still, such a youngster will be nice and tender.  I snapped a few pics and stopped, took a drink of water, and readied myself for the work part of all this fun.  I examined the entry wound and noticed that it had that classic triangular shape, indicating that my mechanical broadhead worked as designed. 

Brown and Down
Since houses were close by, I decided to drag my young buck back towards my stand and dress it out there, out of any possible view.  I figured that, even though they know that I'm there, that they probably won't want to see me dressing a deer out of their bay window while they ate breakfast.

He's little, but gonna be tasty!
After dressing the deer, I noticed that this deer had been feeding heavily on corn.  Man, this little guy is going to be a tasty feller.  I dragged him out, and later took him to a local butcher to be made into sausage and burger, about 10 pounds each, with the tenderloins and backstraps whole.  What a great hunt, and it all happened so fast.  Now that I have some meat, it's time to hunt for a rack.


Anonymous said...

I really envy you, I've always wanted to break into bow-hunting. Something about it is so appealing, it just has so much more challenge and skill involved than hunting with a typical deer hunting rifle. I know you mentioned you were using a tree stand, what kind do you use? I have always hunted on the ground, but I'm looking to buy a stand and give it a try. I was looking at this ladder stand I saw on The Sportsman's Guide's top holiday gifts. So I'm getting myself a gift haha. What do you think about it? I like the price, but I'm no expert and I don't really know what I should be looking for. Any help you could offer would be really appreciated.

Fat Boy said...

I used a Lone Wolf stand up sit down climbing stand that day. I also have a couple hanging Lone Wolf stands. I like them because they're light and quiet, and pack really flat. They don't creak at all as the platform is not welded, a one piece cast aluminum stand.

I like ladder stands if you have a good place to put them for the entire season. If you have a place to hunt like that, then they're nice because all you have to do is climb up and get in. Make sure it's quiet and doesn't creak. Creaking noises scare deer. I like the height of the one that you're interested in, but don't know much about the brand.

Good luck if you take up the sport. It's a lot of fun and quite rewarding.

Thanks for checking in on my blog!