2015 Deer Season – Hunt #12-13
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With warm temperatures and less than ideal wind directions, I had a hard time identifying 3 top tier stand choices for the next evening (the following morning being a rainout) and morning hunts. That said, I sent dad’s buddy to the stand where the mature 8 point was photographed at 4:00 PM 4 days earlier. It’s a stand I always get excited about hunting, but he saw a grand total of 1 deer in 2 sits there…his only luck in Ohio was crappy, I’ll be honest.

I hunted with dad both sits and we enjoyed reminiscing on past memories as we made new ones. Our evening hunt was back in the cut corn field where I saw a handful of bucks and does the prior Friday night. We had 4 does come out early as well as a good looking yearling buck. There was plenty of residual corn in the field and I fully expected the deer to keep piling in.

Before the buck realized the does were in the other end of the field, a guy came traipsing in the field just 45 minutes before the end of shooting light. Of course the deer ran off, and I had to get down out of the stand and walk 50 yards towards him to wave him off of the rest of our evening hunt. Classic public land hunting debacle.

The does must have spooked pretty good because we never saw them again. With light fading, I got aggressive and beat the antlers together for a solid minute. Almost instantly, a 2 year old buck – decent height and mass, not wide and couldn’t count points – came popping out of the hedgerow 300 yards away and came to within 45 yards in a stiff-legged walk. He circled downwind and never caught our scent, but we couldn’t close the last couple steps to get a shot. In the 3 or so minutes watching him approach, we failed to notice another buck – a yearling basket rack – coming from the opposite direction to check things out.

All in all, a good sit with 4 does seen and 3 different bucks.

The next morning was a bust with a guy coming in off private land to set up within 60 yards of us at daybreak. A roaming pheasant hunter intruded around 9:00 AM and we were back at the truck by 10 with no deer seen despite the weather conditions that improved quite a bit from the past several days of humid warmth and rain.

2015 Deer Season – Hunts #10-11
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Two Wednesdays ago, my dad and his hunting buddy made it up from North Carolina to partake of some Ohio public land hunting. I’ve got oodles of stand locations scouted and set-up and I was hopeful to get at least one of them within range of a nice buck.

That morning, I hiked in to an area I had never hunted before, but had found good sign there just a week prior. A steep ditch came up off the primary river corridor and formed a pinch which funneled the deer around the ditch’s end where the terrain was more forgiving. I didn’t see a deer though I did grunt a buck to within 50 yards which never showed himself.

Dad’s buddy hunted an expanse of CRP parallel to the river bottom and in close proximity to where the big rubs from last post are located. He saw nothing if you don’t count the other hunter.

I placed dad in the foggy stand location from where I had seen 4 bucks just 2 mornings earlier. He had good action early with deer grunting and pacing the wet ground below the stand. A little later in the morning, he enticed a cruising buck to within 7 yards of his stand but it wasn’t quite what he was looking for on morning one of his hunt.

Temperatures were warm for the afternoon and I put dad and his buddy overlooking adjacent food sources – a cut corn field and a recently drilled winter wheat field. Both saw deer but they appeared late and without any bucks in tow…oh, and plenty of other hunters seen too.

My evening was more exciting in that even though I didn’t see any antlers, the deer I saw worked into archery range. I was perched overlooking a CRP field that had been prepared for upland bird hunters on the wildlife area. It’s a long ways from any access and the deer sign around it was good.

Around 4:15 three deer stood up and began feeding away from me in one of the mowed lanes of the CRP field. Without any encouragement from me calling or anything else though, they eventually reversed directions and began feeding directly to my location. I wasn’t going to kick a gift horse in the mouth and decided to take the first shot available. The arrow flew true for 30 yards and the deer actually tipped over closer to my tree than that. Heart shot with the ol’ Tricks…deadly.




Hung overnight to cool

I had some daylight left after I got her tagged and taken care of, so I took the long route out and checked a camera on the way back to the truck. It was encouraging to see some daylight activity from a big shooter 8 earlier in the week and on the opposite side of the same field. Plenty of smaller bucks for next year’s crop too.

2015 Deer Season – Hunt #9
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A SE wind once again set the stage for the stand that I opened up the season hunting – a lock-on set in a fence row among CRP fields, skinny hedgerows, and pocketed with marshes and waterfowl impoundments.

The fog had me rather discouraged for the first 90 minutes of daylight as visibility was probably less than 75 yards. Not a big deal when I am hunting in the timber, but in wide open CRP fields where 500 yards is the norm, it was frustrating. Finally, around 8:45 the fog lifted and there smack dab in the middle of the field were 3 bucks feeding together. November 2, feeding together…perhaps stranger than the fog itself.

Regardless, I determined that one of the bucks was worth a closer look so I used the grunt tube to entice one of the bucks in my direction. The only problem was that the one I was interested in wasn’t interested in me. His younger buddy was though and a yearling basket rack slipped under the stand as I kept glassing the larger buck and his comrade.

Eventually the fog settled in one last time before finally burning off. When the fog completely disappeared, all the deer were gone (or so I thought). An hour later I looked up to see a BIG buck heading north to south at a pretty quick pace, definitely not cruising – perhaps spooked by a fellow public land hunter? Regardless, he was a heavy heavy antlered 9, maybe 10 point…easy 140 class buck. He wouldn’t respond to a quick set of grunts.

As soon as he passed through the field, the other bucks that I thought had left, stood up out of their beds and began to mill around once more. Eventually a doe and fawn fed into the field eventually bedding in the thick cover. Overall, a great morning with 4 different bucks spotted, but nobody wanted to play other than the one young buck. It’s still early and I remain encouraged to be on top of good numbers of bucks.

After getting down, I drove to another area and did some quick scouting and found some great buck sign.

I was able to check a camera too and found some bucks worth shooting plus the ever-present competition of other hunters scouting the woods.

2015 Deer Season – Hunt #8
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I had it in my mind all week that I wanted to hunt a specific cut corn field that was not getting much, if any, pressure. Thankfully the forecasted wind held true, and I was atop my perch by 4:00 PM. It took quite a bit of finagling to get everything just right because I had never hunted that area before, but I was satisfied that I couldn’t have done any better with the time I had available. I was 20 feet up a monster hackberry with my old tattered decoy deployed at 15 yards and solid shooting lanes scattered around a 270 degree arc.

Around 5:00, a fawn skirted the far western edge of the cut corn field over 400 yards away and was followed by a doe/fawn pair 15 minutes later. They fed their way slowly towards me with PLENTY of daylight remaining.

Long story short, the entire night became a revolving door of small bucks entering and leaving the field to check these 2 deer out. First, a respectable little 8 point that I recognized scraped along the field edge before venturing over to have a smell. Almost simultaneously, another smaller buck came out 300 yards from them and made his way over for a meet-and-greet. Before long a third buck emerged that was smaller than the first 2. Every time one buck would disappear into the surrounding thickets he would re-emerge and repeat the entire investigative process over again.

I felt like I was watching a National Geographic documentary on deer behavior…posturing, flehmen, snort wheezing, fighting, grunting, chasing, scraping, urinating, you name it, they did it. They did everything EXCEPT convince a bigger buck to step into the field and re-arrange the dominance hierarchy.

I ended up doing some calling as the evening progressed, and one by one the bucks came over in my direction to check things out. I wasn’t real pleased with their reactions to the decoy, but then again I didn’t care too much as they weren’t shooters in my book. This hunt was on October 30 and was definitely a vote of confidence that things are getting ready to turn into full-blown pandemonium!

Call of the Mild: Book Review
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I read this book on the heels of The Mindful Carnivore, and it was yet another glimpse into the phenomenon that’s been coined “adult onset hunting.” Non-traditional hunters that wake up one day, already as adult, heading afield with a bow or a gun in hand for the very first time. This time, it’s a double whammy…Lily who has never hunted before and who is a woman on the wrong side of the gender ‘hunting participation’ dichotomy. She’s a newspaper journalist who moves from the mega-tropolis of New York to eastern Oregon. In so doing, she learns about small town America and starts to encounter local hunters who don’t quite fit the stereotype she was used to hearing/seeing portrayed by the national media outlets. Moving past a simple curiosity to a real desire to learn about hunting, she enrolled in hunter’s safety education, engaged with workshops tailored to sparking women’s interest in hunting, and surrounded herself with a couple folks who already had hunting experience.

Photo Credit: Prois Hunting

Due to the fact that she is a journalist by trade, the writing is very witty and crafty while still being an easy read. Along her journey, the author finds that hunting can not only source one’s table with wild protein, but it can spark up emotions of pride, guilt, satisfaction, the hunting experience can help you deal with personal and tragic loss, and truly participating in the food chain makes you think about issues that are relevant and applicable to every person in America but that are too easily swept under the rug of being able to walk in a grocery store and buy cellophane wrapped beef burger.

Honestly, I’m not sure when I’ll read a book that I don’t actually recommend, but this is a good one.

Here’s an extra couple links: Short interview with author Lily McCaulou and an media piece written by Lily on gun rights and ownership…I think the latter is particularly insightful.

Infolinks 2013