Saturday morning I made my first hunting trip to the main property I have access to. The corn was still standing, but I was made the decision I was hunting it anyways. I chose a stand that was 100 yards downwind of a bedding area.
I was hunting in the corner of a fence row where it meets the timber with a food plot directly in the corner. I checked my mock scrapes last weekend and they were starting to show some signs of heavy use. The forecast called for a cold front to move through overnight Saturday so I figured that would have the whitetails up and moving.
At 6:45, first legal hunting light, I heard a twig snap behind me. Soon after, a nice 8 point walked down the same path I used along the edge of the plot. He presented a nice 10 yard shot, but I chose to pass. He was a nice deer, probably score 130, but its too early in the season to shoot a questionable buck. If I see him again later in the year and still have a buck tag, I will probably take him. He fed for a few minutes, and then walked back down the fencerow where he came from. That was the only action I saw while hunting that day, but it was encouraging to see a buck that size up on his feet.
When I got down, I went and checked the scrapes. They had been used the past few days and a new one had opened up in between the two I had made. The plot is starting to show signs of heavy whitetail use. It is a brassica blend, so the deer usually don't hit it very hard until late in the year when all the sugar goes to the leaves.
For the sunday morning hunting trip, I struggled to get out of bed, but since the cold front had just moved through, I made it to the stand. This time, I was hunting the other end of the property. I was set up between a chicory clover plot, and the standing corn field. As soon as I got to my stand and was able to see, a young 6 point entered the plot and fed for ten minutes. He then noticed something to the east and went to investigate. Unfortunately I couldn't see what he was going to check out. A few minutes later he returned with a much larger 7 point. He was 2.5 years old and will be a great deer next year. They fed for awhile and eventually passed in front of a camera I placed in the plot the day before. The young deer, after getting one picture taken, walked right up to the camera to investigate. The camera then went off again with him directly in front of it. The larger deer then skirted the detection area of the camera at about 15 yards and escaped without getting captured. Neither deer reacted badly to the flash, but I do think the larger deer circling around the camera, had something to do with the camera. About an hour later, a small fork horn walked out of a bedding area towards my location. He walked within 30 yards downwind of me and stared in my direction. He never saw me or seemed to smell me. I just think he noticed a big blob in the treestand and knew something wasn't right. He turned around and slowly walked back to where he came from.
That made four bucks in the two first hunting trips on this farm. I’m sure the sightings will increase even more once the farmers get the corn out. When I checked the cameras on Saturday, I had a nice 10 point on one. He really resembled the 8 point scoring wise. He's border line 130 so I would probably pass him this early. With all the young deer sightings, this farm should be loaded next year. On one of my other cameras on a near by property, I had a massive 8 pointer. He's not real wide or excessively tall, but he has mass that I’ve never seen on a deer at this property. I had the camera placed on a rub line just outside of a bedding area. A half dozen new rubs showed up in the past week. I made 3 mock scrapes in the area and relocated the camera along them. I can't wait to check it next week. If he's back, I will definitely be hunting the area.
Sunday afternoon, it finally all came together. I was hunting a stand of pines in my climber. No one had hunted them yet this year, so I decided I would be the first. Shortly after 5 I noticed a doe and yearling skirting a creek that was 75 yards away. I saw them very briefly as they headed north. About a half hour later, they headed straight down a trail that was 17 yards from my stand. The doe was in front of her two youngsters. I turned the camera on and filmed as they headed my direction. I grabbed my bow and positioned the camcorder on the spot I wanted to shoot. When she entered the spot, I did a mouth bleat to try and get her to stop. She ended up taking a few more steps than I had hoped, but once she came to a halt, I let the Hoyt fly.
The shot was perfect. She ran 25 yards and piled up. When I replayed the video, she was just on the left side of the screen when I let the arrow fly. It's not the greatest footage, but since I’m just starting out, I’ll take it. That's my second kill on video this year. I’m really falling in love with the sport of filming my hunting trips. She dressed out at 137 pounds. She was really eating well. When I cleaned her, I plugged my nose and punctured the stomach to see what she had been eating. It was full of corn and wheat which is typical for an Illinois whitetails this time of year.
My cousin from Ohio is coming in late this week to do some hunting with me. He is still looking for his first deer with a bow, and I would love to catch it all on video, so I don't know how much actual hunting I will do, but I will definitely be out there just above him in hopes of catching it all on film.