My weekend started Friday afternoon about 4. I was late getting to the farm, but luckily I didn't have far to walk to where I was going to be hunting. I had never hunted this property before. Its a 3 acre piece of a 300 acre tract of timber that my fiancÃ©s father owns.
In past years I’ve walked through it just to look it over for hunting and I’ve seen some nice rubs in there and it is full of oak trees. So many it makes it hard to hunt. There aren't just one or two trees to concentrate on and the deer can feed on mast anywhere. I took my climber and told myself the first rub line I could find, I would set up there. Not long after leaving the truck I found 5 rubs within 40 yards. I picked out an oak about 10 yards downwind side of the trail and went up. This was my first time hunting this year from a tree. I was lucky enough to get a video camera for Christmas last year so I can film all my hunting trips this year. I saw an over abundance of squirrels tearing up all the acorns and shortly after 5 I heard what I thought was a herd of squirrels about 50 yards to the south of me. Upon further inspection I noticed a couple dark blobs. Looking through my binoculars, I realized they were turkeys and before long, I had 8 within 20 yards of me. This was the last thing I expected to see. I had never seen turkeys while bowhunting in the fall so I never felt the need to buy a turkey tag. After this encounter, I will definitely be visiting the local gas station / hunting store and picking one up for next weekend. I was able to get 15 minutes of footage of them feeding around me. The closest one was right at 10 yards as she stepped up on a log and peer around the woods. She presented an awesome shot, if I had only had a tag. They eventually fed off and the rest of the hunting adventure was uneventful.
I’ve never had much success during morning hunting trips when there is a full moon, but I have enjoyed a limited amount of sightings during evening hunts. Everyone I had talked to this past weekend was not seeing many whitetails and they were blaming it on the moon. We had clear nights where the deer could feed all night in the fields because of the moon light. The times I have had the most hunting success during the full moon phases is when the moon rises before the sun sets as was the case on Saturday evening.
I was driving a tractor, helping harvest beans when my buddy called and told me he was in town for the day and wanted to go hunting. We used to hunt together all the time, but then he married and had two daughters and his hunting time became very limited. I picked him up at 4 and planned to be set by 4:30. We don't have any treestands set on this property and we hadn't really been hunting it for a couple years, so I brought my climber and a hang-on treestand with climbing sticks. I told him I wanted to film him so we had planned on sitting near each other. As we rounded a corner of the timber that extends out into a field, we noticed a ladder stand, so we decided to set up there. I took my hang-on treestand and sat about 6 feet above him. The treestand was set 5 yards in the woods about 50 yards from an inside corner on a late planted bean field that was still green. At 6:00 we had out first visitor; a small 5 point. He fed in the beans for awhile, but every few minutes he would look back behind him towards the corner. Eventually, a doe and two fawns entered the field. She immediately grabbed the attention of the buck and he worked his way toward her. Before he could get within 10 yards she ran back towards the woods so he continued foraging. After a few more minutes, he decided to try again. This time the doe ran back into the woods. The buck became frustrated and headed to the edge of the woods. He then proceeded to thrash his antlers in the low hanging branches, hit a licking branch, and pee in a scrape. It was the first time I have ever seen the whole process take place. I’ve seen deer make rubs and make a scrape, but never hit a licking branch or pee in a scrape. The best part, it was all on tape.
The doe eventually ventured back into the field and presented a perfect broadside shot at 40 yards, but my buddy is uncomfortable shooting that far. She eventually worked her way directly towards us and got within 10 yards, of our treestand but never presented a shot. She ended up seeing the climber in the weeds, below the stand, and bolted. My buddy hit his can call and the buck immediately turned his attention towards what he thought was a doe just inside the edge of the woods. He walked towards us and was within 20 yards before losing interest and venturing away from us and back into the timber. After a few minutes of the excitement being over, we looked further out into the field and saw two monster whitetails a couple hundred yards away that had just entered the bean field. It was only a few minutes before shooting light was over. We could vaguely see their racks in our binoculars, but it's was too dark for video. The larger deer looked to have a 20+ inch spread but we weren't able to count points. The other buck was 16-18 inches wide and nearly as impressive. They fed in the field until we were no longer able to see and the hunting trip came to an end.
This was one of the most memorable hunts I’ve been on. What makes it even better is I’ll be able to watch it on video whenever I want. My buddy is currently in negotiation with his wife about returning to hunt next weekend. I think it's a long shot, but I really hope he can join me again. They’re forecasting a big cold front to move through Thursday. High temperatures are supposed to be in the 50's and lows around freezing. That should really get the deer on the move. I would love to get some footage of these deer up close, and if we would happen to get a kill on video, I don't know who would be happier; me or him. This was my first experience filming someones hunt. I experienced the same feelings and shakes when seeing a deer as I do when I have a bow in my hand. I think filming is just as addictive as hunting.