A couple day++s ago I went out to do, if necessary, an all day hunt for a bow season buck. I arose at 4:30 AM, quickly dressed and headed out the door. I had packed everything I needed the night before and quickly looked everything over to make sure I did not forget anything before backing out of the drive.
The drive down to my hunting property 75 miles away was uneventful and I was in a tree stand 50 minutes before sunrise. The winds were light and in my face so I knew I would not be scented (smelled) by any deer and therefore was confident it would be a good day.
Sunrise came and went without seeing a single deer. Finally, at 9:30 AM I noticed a lone doe heading my way. “Hopefully she’ll have a buck in tow” I thought to myself as she stopped 15 feet from my stand. Then, I saw another deer. As I strained my eyes, I could see it was a buck, but not a big one by any means. As he closed in I noticed he was missing his entire right antler! “Jack, I’ll call him, Half Rack Jack”, I smiled as I thought this. Both of these deer would walk away unscathed in hopes of a bigger buck coming in.
By 10:30, eight more does had passed me without any male escorts with them and the wind was picking up. I needed to move to a calmer area to see more action so I packed up my gear, climbed down out of the tree and headed to the creek bottom a half mile away.
While walking to the creek bottom, I noticed the path I was on had scrapes about every 20 feet. The deer are definitely using this mowed path and it gave me hope. Walking ever so slowly to avoid making any noise that would scare off my prey, I finally arrived at the next stand at 11:00 AM.
Nestled at 20 feet above the ground, I started scanning my surroundings for any deer. In an open field on the other side of the creek were three does grazing. I watched them and kept scanning in hopes of locating a buck. Much to my dismay, nothing.
About 12:00, an adult doe started down a path towards my stand. I sat there motionless as not to spook her moving only my eyeballs to search for any buck she might have with her. Turns out she was not seeing anyone at the time and was all alone. About 35 feet from my stand she stopped and was staring me down. I did not even flinch as not to give me away. Finally, she turned around and walked back in the direction she came but not in a hurry or anything.
At 1:00 all was quiet as far as mammals were concerned. I sat there and watched bluebirds flitting around amongst the oak trees. White Breasted Nuthatches were abundant as were the woodpeckers. I heard what sounded like a dog shaking off water behind me and I glanced to see what it was. There had been another doe bedded a few feet behind the tree I was sitting in and neither one of us knew the other was there. She proceeded to cross the ditch to the south and make her way up the far side to the hilltop.
At 3:15 three pheasant roosters flew into the woods close to me from the field across the creek. They landed on the mowed path and proceeded to start pecking at what I assume were seeds from weeds or bugs as they made their way past me. I had not pheasant hunted in years and was awed by their beauty as they walked by.
About an hour after that, some crows flew into the tree tops near me and started making a ruckus. I thought maybe they had somehow spotted me and were trying to drive me off as they closed in to as close as 10 feet away from me. Then, from the far side of a tree ahead of me a hawk took to flight and the crows took off after him. It’s amazing how they can locate hawks and eagles like that and then gang up to drive them off.
As the sun disappeared over the far hilltop, I knew my day would be ending shortly. On the hillside south of me I heard a turkey take to flight up to its roost for the evening. Then I heard turkey hens clucking as they walked along the forest floor. I could not see them, but a doe stepped out of the underbrush ahead of them. As she reached a little ravine with a log next to it she took off stomping as if to warn others that the turkeys were coming.
The hens then appeared in what is best described as a picket line. Side by side they made their way from the east to the west. As one turkey reached the little ravine with the log, a bobcat jumped out of the shadows and took the hen by the neck. As she flapped her wings trying to beat the bobcat off, the other hens took to flight to escape, leaving the one to her fate as dinner for one. Soon the flapping stopped and the bobcat started dragging the hen, who was as big as the cat, away by the neck.
Back on my side of the ditch another two does walked by my stand and then the light failed. Quietly I again packed up my gear and made my way to the ground. The sunlight and wind during the day had dried all the leaves on the ground and my walk back towards my truck was not as quiet as my walk in with the crunch of leaves announcing my every step.
When I finally reached the truck, all that was left of the day was a faint glow of the sun silhouetting the trees to the west. I removed my gear and packed into the truck and started the drive home.
It was a long day without harvesting a buck, but all in all it was still a great hunt!