This is supposed to be the time of year when the whitetail woods are full of booners chasing does and deer all over the woods and hunting is at it's peak. Such was not the case this weekend where I was hunting.
Friday morning dawned cold and clear. It was the coldest morning of the hunting season so far. Temperatures dipped below the 20 degree mark and winds were calm. With temps that cold this time of year, I just new I was in for a good hunt. As I entered my stand well before daybreak, I noticed a large blob in the field. It was too hard to make out at the time, but as the woods began to awaken I was able to make out what it was. Not 100 yards from my stand sat a tractor and disc. The stand is easily seen from the field. The farmer that farms this ground can not stand that I get to hunt it. He was part of a crew of hunters who poached a nice 8 pointer, I had been watching for 3 years, from the road last shotgun season. I was able to watch the whole incident unfold from my stand last December. This was only the beginning of my run ins with him. Needless to say, I didn't see a thing while in the stand. I did notice that the scrape I was set up on had been worked recently. While slowly hunting my way out, I did watch an up and coming 10 pt. chase a doe through the pasture. I watched them for probably 10 minutes, but the closest they got was 100 yards.
That afternoon I decided on hunting the other side of the farm to get away from the tractor. As I approached my stand, I could see the corn field had been disced. I’ve hunted this farm for five years and they always no-till beans in the spring. They have never worked the stalks in the fall. With that food source gone, I didn't see a whitetail deer.
Saturday, I decided to sleep in a little bit and head out on a mid-morning hunting trip. With the full moon on Sunday, I thought maybe I would catch some mid-day movement. I was settled in at 9:30 AM. Six hours into the hunt, the farmer shows up again. He pulls into the field and hops in his tractor, worked in the corn field for a half hour, and then decided to stop. He left the tractor in the corn field and walked through the timber to his truck and left. About an hour later, he shows back up. He let his truck idle for almost a half hour on the side of the field then someone got out of his truck and went to the tractor. The truck left, and tractor started up again. The tractor went back and forth through the field until 530 when it was too dark for me to see. Just as I left, he made the last pass in the field and left.
By this point, I was so furious; I decided to not go hunting on Sunday. I figured I would let things settle down an extra day before I came back for next weekends hunting trip. I went out just before noon to check and move trail cameras. The scrape I had set up my infrared camera on is getting worked over pretty hard. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to turn the camera on. Just one thing to add to a great weekend of hunting, Not!. I went over to my food plots to check them and they are still getting used heavily by the local whitetails. I’m sure activity in them will be on the increase since the large corn field is gone. I planted some sorghum on the edge of the plot for added security this summer. Well I guess the farmer didn't like it being next to the lane, so he mowed it off. He also cut the brush on the other side of the lane the deer like to bed in, as well as an overgrown drainage ditch that connects this timber with another. These moves will majorly effect all my hunting locations, bedding areas and whitetail movements for the rest of the year.
At a time when deer hunting is supposed to be at its best, I had my worst weekend of hunting ever. Nearly 20 hours in stand without seeing a deer. Hopefully he will stay out of there this week and things will return to normal. I’ve got one more weekend before shotgun season when the whitetail hunting really gets turned up.