It was seven thirty in the morning when I made it to the ridge at the top of the hill just off the snow mobile’s entrance to the woods. I set up with the new mesh and gave a grunt with the primos grunt call. This will be the first year I’ve tried using a deer call. I’ve always managed without it, but it was time to try something different.
Three days ago I seen a very nice buck in this spot. I was still hunting the ridge when he just appeared as I stood watching down the ridge, reminiscing in my mind of the many times I’ve stood on this ridge and how glad I was for the chance to be there today. The sun was shining and the weather was reasonable and I was in the woods hunting.
I assume he was bedded there, maybe even letting me walk by, but got nervous when I stopped for a time longer than he liked. I had probably stood there for five minutes or so when he appeared. He was obviously outside the bow range. It would have been a fairly routine shot with my rifle (if there really is such a thing as routine shot when your heart is trying to leap from your chest) but we’re bow hunting today, so the buck wins.
The following evening I was sitting in the lower gulley. This is a long stretch of woods, swamp and hilly rocky lands that follows a stream. It varies in width from thirty to a sixty yards or so. This year, the south side and where it stops at the end is surrounded by corn and with a working hay field to It’s North side. The west is pasture and more woods that is outside my permission area.
It’s been a favorite hunting spot of mine since I was a kid, so I know it quit well.
The hayfield is about three hundred yards across to the top wood lot which holds the ridge I mentioned.
Sitting in the gully I can see the edge of the upper woods. Just before dark, four nice buck fed along the wood’s edge. Each carried a respectable set of antlers, with one being of trophy size for this area. I’ve made that shot across that very field with a rifle before. But with my hickory stick and poplar arrows, all I could do was gaze at the spectacle and dream.
The next day I came back to the spot on the ridge I had originally seen the buck. To get to the ridge I decided to hit below the ridge coming in at the center and circling east, then head back west toward the spot I was looking for.
I spotted a doe on the ridge, bedded looking west, just laying there chewing her cud. I failed at an attempt to circle her. She either heard me coming or caught my scent. I never seen her again.
So I continue down the ridge and looped back like I had originally intended. It seemed today there was nothing to see.
I found two blow downs side by side and jumped between them. I sat my pack and quiver beside me. The front blow down was just about chest high as I sat on my seat, leaning against the back tree.
I sat for a while, maybe and hour or so. I was sitting with my head down (not sleeping although the thought had crossed my mind). I slowly raised my head and there, about ten yards in front of me was a smaller (probably about eighty pound) doe. She looked at me, then looked away. It was at this point I realized I had not taken an arrow out of my quiver. The way my quiver was setting, I couldn’t get an arrow out of the side, and raising it from the top meant the movement would be above the log and in sight of the deer. I started lifting the arrow, very slowly, then when she’d look my way I became a statue, when she looked away, I raised the arrow more.
Finally the arrow is out of the quiver and on the string. At this point she’s fifteen to twenty yards away. Still a very doable shot, but I need to draw, and she’s walking. The fifteen to twenty yards quickly became twenty to twenty five, then twenty five to thirty. I had to smile as I booted myself in the behind. Missing this shot was my mistakes. First I forgot to remove the arrow from the quiver when I sat down, and I never do that! Second, I sat with my head down, not paying attention and let that deer walk right past me almost close enough to throw a stone at. But that’s part of the hunting experience right? After fifty years doing it, it’s these experiences you’ll remember, right along with the times it all falls together perfect.
And this brings us back to today. I parked the truck and planned to walked the ridge again. I added some doe lure to my boots, and climbed the three hundred yards to the woods. Then I still hunted to the ridge. Here I set up again. Today I’m trying out the new camo mesh that just arrived yesterday to help hide myself. I do not like tree stands and I like to sit at the spur of the moment. It’s not perfect, but time will tell if it works. I’m hoping it works well with my DIY portable seat.
After about two hours sitting there a see a deer walking by. As it get closer I see it’s a spike, but he’s walking on a trail that’s about fifty yards away. I once again I try a grunt from my primos grunt call. He stops, but really doesn’t want any part of it.
I had the wind in my favor, but I guess I just wasn’t convincing enough. He eventually turned and walked away.
As I sat there I decided to try the rattle bag. My research says early hunting the rattle should be light. Early in the season buck are not yet territorial so the sparing is light and not aggressive. I’ve read mixed reviews on the rattle bag, so I probably should grab a set of antlers to try as well. I rattled lightly every fifteen minutes or so for about an hour. This morning it produced nothing. Maybe later!
The rest of the morning was uneventful, I still hunted back to the truck and went home for lunch.