Cold swamp mist circles around this big buck.

Someone once said the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Mine were honorable, and I’d planned to hunt whitetails this evening.

That is until the raw northwest wind picked up, and began swirling. My spot at my buddy’s place is in his long and narrow swamp, and the wind must be perfect even when wearing Scent-Lok clothing.

I had my old underwear ready to go and outerwear from several years ago to put on over it, but it just seemed like I would be running a risk of spooking the animals. One thing I’ve learned about this area is there are no second-chance winners.

Make one mistake, and get busted, and it’s all over at that stand. The deer avoid it, move to another portion of the swamp, and work through some funnels before leaving his property.

The swamp is a great place to hunt but mistakes aren’t allowed.

I’ve seen it happen before. A friend hunted with me last December, and a deer caught his movement as he climbed into the stand. He could see the deer 60 yards away, and well out of his effective bow range. Once he climbed into the stand, the winter air at the slightly higher elevation carried his scent directly to the deer.

They stood out there and snorted. And then they moved 50 yards and snorted some more. He climbed down and walked out to his truck and waited for me to finish my hunt. His spot was then abandoned by deer.

Scent is one thing that I am cautious about. I move slowly to my stand, but I don’t try to sneak in. I’d rather walk along like I’m heading somewhere else, and then quickly get into my stand with a minimum of muss or fuss. No noise is the ideal situation.

This area is a narrow 80 acres, and for the most part, is a cedar swamp with some pine and birch trees. I scoped it out last summer, and put up my stand and then stayed away from it for almost six months.

It is a world-class spot in December after the firearm season ends. I hunt it when the wind has been right, and have stayed out of there when the wind is wrong. It’s common sense deer tactics.

The owner has two or three stands in place, and I have just one. There are days when he can hunt and I cannot, but that’s OK by me. I simply pick and choose my hunting days with care.

Hunt here just once of twice in October and again in December.

So far this December I have hunted there twice. Each outing has produced deer sightings, and I haven’t been bumped by a deer….yet. I’ve seen but one buck, and it was just a glimpse two weeks ago when it was much warmer than now.

Three trails come together within 15 yards of my stand. There are tracks going both ways on each of trail, and I’ve seen deer moving along each trail. As legend has it, there are two very nice bucks living in this swamp but I haven’t seen them nor have I spotted an unusually large track in the area.

I’m hoping to get out tomorrow night if the wind cooperates. I may be able to hunt Saturday evening, and I hope to hunt Sunday evening if we can finish our family dinner by 1:30 p.m., which would give me enough time to hustle into my stand.

It’s never been my intention to over-hunt a stand, and I haven’t logged too many hours or days in this one. The deer here, as in most areas in December, seldom move until the last 15 minutes of legal shooting time. The last time I hunted it I couldn’t leave because the deer were still milling about, and had me pinned down.

When shooting time ended, I removed my arrow from the bow, put it in my bow quiver and sat motionless. The deer continued to mill around for 15 minutes before they drifted away to the east to work over a nearby farmer’s corn field.

Overhunting key areas like this can chase deer away.

So again, not because I didn’t want to, but I was unable to hunt tonight. This I will promise you: the owner has given permission to put up one or two other stands.

Those will go up in the spring, and I’ll stay away from them all summer. When the season opens, I’ll have a good spot picked out for those days when the east wind blows. It’s tiresome trying to find a decent spot to hunt on an east wind, and if I sat out every east-wind evening, I wouldn’t be spending much time in the woods.

That will change next year.

Posted via email from Dave Richey Outdoors

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