After my all day skunking, it was another 5 days before my schedule allowed me back in a treestand. I planned to hunt on a public-private boundary where I could see out into a massive soybean field that had been harvested but still peek into the big bush honeysuckle thicket where most of the deer seemed to be bedding.
Right at first light, a coyote came loping across the huge expanse of the cut soybean field and ducked into the woods just down the ways from me. Not long after that, I spotted a small buck walking out in the middle of the harvested soybean field – hundreds of yards away from any cover at all. I could not see any other deer and I had not heard anything that sounded like other deer, so I decided to try to call him in even though he was awfully small. A few grunts worked to perfection and he was circling the bottom of my tree just a minute or two later.
After convincing himself that the “deer” had moved on, the little buck headed straight back out into the field. I don’t know if he was lonely or what, but he just sort of milled around for 20 or so minutes. Shortly after I lost sight of him, I saw another couple of deer way out in the middle of the field—a tending buck and doe, and the buck was a STUD! He was wide and heavy and the end of his right main beam drooped down 3 or 4” on the very end, sort of like a drop tine I suppose. He was patiently standing beside the doe mirroring her every move. The only thing that distracted him was that young buck circling back around and approaching the tending pair. It was really cool watching that little buck try to circle downwind of the doe. Every attempt he made, the much larger buck cut him off with hackles raised and antlers lowered. Finally, the heavy 10 point lost his patience and gave a good rushing charge towards the little buck who managed to keep his distance. With the young buck ran off, I watched the tending buck and doe stay within a 100-yard radius out in the middle of the cut soybean field for almost an hour before they drifted south and out of my sight.
Somewhere around 10 o’clock, I heard a twig snap back in the thicket behind me. Cruising slowly but steadily through the dense brush was a two-year old buck with wide spindly antlers. I did not get a great look at the buck, but I was pretty sure one of his beams was either broken off or malformed. I grunted a time or two to try and turn him back in my direction, but his one track mind carried him off to the north for the last action of the morning.
When I got down from the stand, I slipped about 100 yards deeper into the thicket and found a hub of activity with a tremendous amount of fresh sign ranging from rubs and scrapes to beds and beat-down trails. I wandered around just long enough to pick out a tree and knew I would be back in that spot the next good wind I could get.