The September heat wave was killing the early season. I had been out a couple times, but it was pretty much a miserable experience. The meteorologist predicted a break in the weather. I am in the Marine Corps and had taken leave this week, as I had a feeling this would be the best chance for a deer in September. Wednesday, I was tied down to an appointment and of course, that was the morning the weather was to turn. I could not hunt the morning, but I knew I could get into a stand prior to the solunar minor period in the afternoon.
I hunt in Fort Leonard Wood, which can be difficult, as available hunting areas are based on military training. The three areas I usually hunt was closed for training, so I took to Google Earth and did a little recon and found a nice bench I thought could have some deer traffic. I took off for the hunting area. When I arrived, I noticed there was nowhere to pull off to the side of the road, so I had to park about a half mile down the road. After a bit of a trek, I arrived.
It is always difficult when you are hunting an area you have never scouted. You must find some sign the deer are using the area then find a tree that is conducive to hunting. It becomes more difficult when you hunt an area you are not authorized to cut vegetation or clear shooting lanes. However, I found my tree, climbed twenty feet, ranged the area and was ready for an animal to pass by. As I was sitting there, something seemed a bit off. Was I on the bench I had reconnoitered? I was not sure so I pulled out the map.
After inspecting the map, I realized I was not on the bench. It was another draw over, so down I climb and off to the correct area. Upon arrival, I went through the process of selecting the right tree again. Found! I climbed the tree, ranged the area and was again ready for an animal to come within range. While I was sitting in the stand the wind started to shift and was now blowing towards where I believed the deer may be bedding.
Again, I climb down to move. At this point, I was a bit frustrated. I looked at the bedding area and decided this is not an area I hunt, so I am going in. Time for a stalk. I found very little. No sign of beds, but I did see a lot of rubs from the previous year. I walk back to my tree and find a big, steamy pile of droppings. Great, I just blew an opportunity. I looked at the tree again and thought this was my best chance at a deer. It was sandwiched between a possible bedding area and a giant oak that was dropping acorns like mortar shells. Not to mention a deer walked by and relieved itself in the half hour I was gone, so back up in the tree, I go.
A couple hours go by and I see a hundred squirrels, a raccoon the size of a Sherman tank and four turkeys who wisely stay out of range. I was becoming numb to movement and sound with all the squirrels. I again thought to myself,
‘if I am going to see a deer it is going to be in the last hour of legal hunting time”. Sure enough, I see some movement in the bedding area. It is a doe. She is followed by several others. I scanned the group and selected the largest. Now I just needed them to come in.
They walked up and down a trail that paralleled my shooting lane for a good fifteen minutes. I am beginning to think they will never come in when suddenly the lead doe banks a hard right towards my stand. I let two of the smaller doe walk by. One looked at me when I drew my bow, but she did not run, just stared. My target doe gave me a perfect broadside shot at ten yards. I placed her in my sights, went through a quick pre-shot routine and let the arrow fly. Perfect shot! I watched her run off in the exact opposite direction of my truck. For once I would like one to run towards my truck and expire.
I climbed down the tree and checked my arrow. I expected to see some bubbles, as I know I double lunged her, but it was just bright red. There was a steady blood trail, but I was a little worried, as I felt there should be more blood. I had to trust my Rage Hypodermics did their job. I stayed on the blood and she made it easy. She stayed on a straight line until she ran out of life about 100 yards away. Now the real work begins.
Since she ran away from my truck it was a 900 yard drag to the road through two draws. I had to drag her to the road then go back and grab my climber. A little bit of hard work, but it is all worth it. She dressed at 107 pounds, which will provide many, many meals for my family.