Two short days later and still before the rush of inevitable weekend hunting pressure coincident with the opening of pheasant season and peak rut vacationers and out-of-staters, I still had the perfect wind to revisit the same set-up where I had the letdown hunt of only seeing the one lone spike. The only downside was that my one opening landed on a warm front that saw sunrise temperatures jump to a balmy 55 degrees, not exactly ideal weather conditions.
With the warm morning temperatures and no perceptible breeze, a predictable layer of fog hung low in the river bottom at dawn. Without being able to glass very far into the surrounding thick cover, I decided to try rattling in hopes of drawing any nearby bucks in closer to investigate. It worked. Within just 2 or 3 minutes of hanging up my antlers, a decent 2-year old buck was circling my stand about 75 yards out. Though he never worked to within archery range, he was not a buck I would have shot given the opportunity. He was a bit broken up and would not have scored higher than 110 or 115 inches even if completely intact.
His curiosity waned after 10 or 15 minutes, but it was not long before I spotted a second buck, smaller than the first, cruising perpendicular to my set. A couple loud grunts got his attention, and a couple more soft doe bleats coaxed him in from at least 200 yards away. Now to get a big buck interested.
It was another morning that I had to climb down early to go fulfill some teaching responsibilities, so my time was running short when I glassed a big set of what looked like antlers sticking up above the low dense cover 300 yards away. He was bedded down and tucked right up against a hedgerow of thick bush honeysuckle. I was not even completely sure it was a deer until I rattled aggressively and observed his antlers swing in my direction. To the best that I could determine, it was the heavy antlered, short-tined wide 10 point from the hunt where I saw 7 bucks roughly a week earlier. Definitely a shooter. Unfortunately, he was settled in for the morning, and a couple loud and quick attempts to call him out of his bed and in my direction did not work.
Had I not had to get down and go into work, I likely would have tried to put a spot-and-stalk play on him. The wind was perfect and the warm front had dropped a little precipitation the night before. With everything wet and quietened, it would have been interesting at a minimum.
Oh well, duty calls.