Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Slow Night In The Deer Woods

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There are slow nights and then there are super-slow nights. Tonight was super-slow in the deer woods.

First came a four-point buck. He eased down the ridge trail like his feet hurt from walking over red-hot coals. He moved in fits and starts, pausing often to look around, and I could hear him coming for almost 100 yards.

The leaves were that crunchy form of dry, and they sounded like a bowl of corn flakes just after the milk was poured over it. Stop, start, snap, crackle and pop. It’s odd that I can hear so well in the woods but can’t hear a question my wife asks. Is it really selective hearing?

Anyway ... he moved slowly moved across the ridge top 15 yards away and uphill about 10 feet from my ground blind The animal was perfectly silhouetted against the late afternoon sky, and my Red Dot bow sight settled in low behind the front shoulder, and the little buck stopped with me at full draw.

I knew there would be no shots taken tonight but drawing down on the young buck was good practice for when a larger and older buck walked by. I do it with every deer that passes my stands, and so far this week, I’ve passed up three antlered bucks that were well within bow range.

A doe fawn and button-buck passed my way but after a quiet draw and aim at each one, the bow was put aside for the evening. I’ve seen many nights just like this when nothing much moves, and what few deer were out and about moved early. I never saw a deer after 6 p.m., although a flock of wild turkeys came by to provide some amusement.

I’m not sure whether it is the weather, the early Youth Hunt (which I endorse) or what the reason may be, it seems as if the deer are super spooky this fall. I haven’t been winded by a deer in years but I make every attempt to be downwind of where deer travel.

I chatted with my CPA today, and he said he’s hunting in a good spot with lots of deer in Oakland County. He wears a Scent-Loc suit, carries and uses scent eliminating spray, and uses raccoon urine as a cover scent.

“I get winded every day I hunt,” he said.

“Try a new tree and lose the coon juice,” was my response.

“But it’s a great tree for deer hunting. It’s comfortable and there are plenty of deer nearby.”

“Changes trees. Get downwind of where the deer are snorting at you. Move around and relocate your stand.”

“But I like my stand in that tree.”

“If the tree doesn’t produce, no matter how pretty and comfortable it may be, and if the deer keep winding you, there is a major problem. Start with the stand location and move to a new spot.”

He agreed that is probably good advice. However, old habits die hard and are difficult to break. Some people can’t believe their choice of stands is wrong, and no amount of logic will change their mind.

It’s one reason I hunt a different stand every night. I’m not married to my ground blinds or tree stands, and will switch on a moments notice. In the long run, perhaps this is the reason I am not winded. My first and last thoughts about deer hunting is where the wind is blowing and how it will affect my hunt.

That little four-point could have been a big 10-point. The little guy didn’t wind me, and had he been a big old joker, he wouldn’t have winded me either.

Staying downwind of traveling deer is the name of this game, even on a slow night in the deer woods.

Posted by Dave Richey on 10/03 at 07:33 PM
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