LADY GETS HER DEER
Late October, I had been bowhunting an active scrape line in the Southern zone. I had been in a tree twice with my climber in an attempt to see that buck and scout the area for deer activity. It had been a few years since I last hunted here, but I knew the property well. The first morning I saw three deer out of range travelling through just after dawn heading towards bedding ground. The second morning nothing and no evening activity either. I gave it a rest.
I had a week’s vacation planned to go up north in the Adirondacks and hunt during the rifle season with family. Upon my return, my rifle tag unfilled, I went back to my bow and set up on that same southern zone scrape line which was still active. I made a plan for a morning hunt. It was a Sunday. My last day off before returning back to work.
This time I climbed a tree closer to where I had seen the three deer cross in the weeks prior. Twenty yards off the scrape line and a hundred yards from pine bedding areas. That morning with my arrow nocked and ready, dawn was about to break. I peered down from my stand, checked for open shooting lanes, and slowly ranged my surroundings, a twenty yard circle. I only had a few hours to spare that day to hunt. I settled in and waited.
It was a quiet and frosty morning. The sky clear and sunrise came rising low on the horizon. I was facing east and I forgot to wear a billed cap under my fleece hat. I cursed myself for not thinking of it. A stand of tall hemlocks in the woods helped screen the early sun. As the temps rose above the freezing mark, I saw White breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers, Downy Woodpeckers and a mouse. No deer.
I had forgotten my phone, so I didn’t know the time. There was no deer activity. No coyotes or turkey. I thought it might be nearing 0930. I wanted to be done by 1000. I was getting hungry and began thinking about that first morning cup of coffee. I was sure the deer would have been through by now to bed, so I looked around, coast was clear, no deer. I lowered my bow to the ground and started climbing down quietly. I said to myself, I’ll hunt as I walk out.
About halfway down the tree, something, whether noise or movement had me look to my left and I saw a buck 40- 50 yards out slowly trotting by coming from the pines. A nice buck! I quickly anchored my seat into the tree, hoisted up my bow, nocked an arrow, turned putting my back to the tree, and faced the buck that hadn’t broke stride and continued to trot away. I cupped my hand to my mouth and gave the best low grunts I knew how to make in order to entice this fella back! Nothing... no reaction! I had my commercial grunt call on doe estrus and I bleated twice. Nothing..! He kept moving uninterested and had even passed through downwind of me. I was only eight feet off the ground when I stopped climbing. He continued and crossed the stream. He travelled up a slope covered in honeysuckle thickets and stopped looking out ahead of him in his original direction of travel. I could only make out his silhouette...100+ yards. I grunted again! Nothing….I quickly hung my bow on my left arm, grabbed my homemade rattle bag from my cargo pocket, and gave four aggressive rattles with the bag. I kept rattling and rattling. Finally, on the fifth or so rattle he turned his head back, listened, and did a roll away 180 degrees and started trotting back towards me on the path in
which he came. He closed that distance by half and I shoved the rattle bag back into my cargo pocket. I grasped my bow again with my left hand. He came in about fifty yards from me slowing and looking for the fight. I tapped the rattlebag in my cargo pocket a couple of times to give him a signal to come my way. He didn’t take the scrape line trail on my left instead he travelled almost the same line in which he came, but the lasts taps worked and he angled my way. I slowly repositioned to the right as he moved closer and when his head passed by two big offset trees, I used it as a blind and drew back. I followed him bow fully drawn and gave a “baahhh” by mouth when I felt comfortable with the range. He stopped. I saw my lane,” broadside chest, release, good shot, chest!’ went through my head. He ran about seventy 75 yards and went down. He broke off the arrow while running, double lunged with an exit wound. I had bagged a beautiful 8 point pre-rut buck. 158#
The hunt was memorable. I threw everything I knew at him in less than a minute and got him to turn back. I just kept thinking and doing. I would have been just as charged up if it was a spike. I got lucky on the mature buck it turned out to be. I thank the landowner for their generosity and the opportunity for this hunt.