The toughest part of hunting a tiny urban archery zone is the limited number (sometimes just one, as I experienced last year) of quality spots. With only one or two decent places to set-up in a zone, one’s ability to hunt that spot effectively is tightly tied to whether or not the wind direction and forecast are favorable. Unfortunately for me, the wind was categorically horrible for the next 7 days after earning my buck tag. With time running out in my allotted 2 weeks, the wind swung back around to the right direction, and I had a Thursday afternoon opening (October 12th) to climb back in the same tree.
The action started before I even got to my tree when a couple deer sprinted off from under the red oaks when I sneaked in at 3:30 PM. At 5:45, the sun began tilting closer to the horizon and the effect of the shadows falling over the old field that bordered the oak flat was near instantaneous. Within minutes, I had 2 does and a fawn feeding towards me from the north and another doe fawn pair easing in from the west. Thirty minutes later, a lonely spike fed through followed by another 2 small antlerless deer that filtered through the old field and into some neighborhood backyards a couple hundred yards distant.
While I was focused on them with my binoculars, I thought I might have heard some antlers lightly tickling together further up in the woods in the primary bedding area where most of the deer had come from. Sure enough, 2 bucks slowly filtered out of the bedding area right at dusk. They took their sweet time and did not make it in range before I lost shooting light, but I was treated to a great early season display of bachelor group behavior. The bucks – both probably two years old with a 15 or so inch spread – engaged in light sparring, facial grooming, working a licking branch and pawing out a small scrape under a low beech branch. Neither of them were the urban giant I had pictured in my mind, but it was one of the most active early season hunts I have had in years. In terms of overall action, probably the best since one of my very first hunts ever in Ohio back in 2013 (link to post).