Wednesday morning started out like any other bow-hunting morning; early! With the pre-rut in full-swing, and big deer on their feet at different times of the day, it wasn’t a morning to miss. With a very weak west wind that was slated to pick-up throughout the day, I was going to head to an west-facing ridge-top on the eastern portion of our property line. That’s right, any scent I couldn’t otherwise control through pre-hunt rituals, would be pushed up and over the hill to the neighbor’s. After a long pre-dawn hike, I came to find that the west-wind, was actually a west wind, quartering out of all 4 cardinal directions.
What now? Too good a spot, too much time/work invested in getting out here. Might as well sit it out. The only scent I had with me was some mock scrape gel, so I applied that to the back of the tree I sat in. This has worked for me in the past during the pre-rut, with bucks being so overwhelmed by the scent they’re looking for, they don’t worry as much about your scent being mixed in. Well it didn’t work this time, 1 hour into the sit and a small buck winded me while coming to an estrus call. He "should’ve" been downwind. Ah well.
Now, here comes another deer, of course from where they never come, through thick cover just side-stepping the hill. Nice doe. Being trailed. Here we go, is this it? Is this the moment I’ve been waiting for? Uh-oh, she smells me too, from a different direction altogether? I showered and sprayed down, promise! …….minutes that feel like hours pass, and the deer behind her finally comes into view. It’s her fawn. She’s not being trailed by a monster, but she has now made me out. The stomping, head-bobbing, and trick-glances commence and carry-on for at least 10 minutes. At one point, she was 15 yards away, locked on me for 5 straight. I’m starting to shake. She blows, and turns around.
Here I sit in a tree, freezing. One morning amongst scores of mornings that I’ve been hunting this fall. Moreso than any other, I put in my time this year…..with nothing to show for it but a head full of do’s and don’ts. As almost a reflex, as soon as that doe turned, my release arm drew back the bow, picked a tiny spot in the brush and waited. The doe locks up, with a big tree "V" completely framing and outlining her vitals. The release seems to trigger itself, and I watch a mortally wounded doe hobble less than 40 yards and tip-over. The rage 2-blade made the un-necessary blood trailing task a fun one, and I recovered about 20-some inches of arrow shaft that went through both sides of the deer. Only fletching was left inside of her.
My family and I usually eat about 2 deer per year, sometimes up to three, so this will be put to good use. A bad idea during the rut? Perhaps. But the meat will go to good use, she wasn’t being followed that I could tell, and it takes the pressure off for gun-season this weekend. I cleaned her up last night, and will be eating fresh venison tonight. I like hunting. Pure and simple. In fact, the single biggest drawback to deer-hunting for me, is the quest for horns. I like buck-hunting like the next guy, but I’m also careful not to let the enjoyment of the moment and the hunt take a backseat to the lofty ambitions of others for taking only a monster buck. I’ve got the rest of the season for that!