Early Muzzleloader Season

Steve Johnson

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  • Prostaff Member Steve Johnson

I found myself right were I belong 3 hours before sunset on Thursday and Friday evening, 20ft up in an Oak tree overlooking a well traveled deer trail!

The deer would have different ideas on their travel patterns these 2 days and I believe the moon had a lot to do with it. Although I did see 6 deer between both evenings that number is about a quarter of what I would normally see in this area. A few days prior to this I sat just a short clip away and saw 11 and I think that was a quiet evening. I know the deer are using this area, but I believe the full moon had them feeding throughout the night and possibly at mid-day. This real job wouldn't allow me to confirm the mid-day hunch so we’ll leave it at that.

On the evening of the 21st I was setup 50 yards from the power-lines I expected the deer to cross on their way to an uncut corn field. I found a few scrapes and rubs in the area but nothing to get excited about. I sat watching on the windy afternoon until 6:20 before I saw the first deer. She came from the exact opposite direction I figured they would be coming from. Apparently her and her two counter parts, two more does, had made a daytime home in the uncut corn and were headed out late in the evening to the nearest water source. Now I didn't actually speak to them on their way through as they were 120 yards away when they came through, but based on where they came from and where they were headed I think it's a safe assumption. Another doe trickled through right at dark as well, down the same trail headed the same direction. So no close action, but at least I saw a few and got a little education on the current pattern in that area… At least until the corn is cut!

The evening of the 22nd I found myself late again, headed to a new area to take a continuing education course in local deer movement. Now, I was perched on the downside of the uncut corn field in a minor funnel between the field and the power-lines. I had seen some deer come from the area on previous sits nearby, but figured getting down in to the area would yield better results as to their travel tendencies. Again it was windy and I able to slide in undetected. This time it wasn't long before the first button buck came from the bottom headed to the corn field. He came close, checked out everything including me and continued on his way. Again about 6:20 I caught movement off in the distance and picked up the binos to see two does feeding on what was left of the acorns on their way to the corn. They never did get close enough for a shot, but again at least I’m seeing something…

Only judging by previous experiences in this area, I think the moon had a lot to do with the limited evening movement. I did talk to a lucky hunter who was on-stand at 3:00 when a nice 9 pointer came by trailing a doe. He got a round off with his muzzleloader and after looking at the picture, I’m sure has a bill from the local taxidermist to deal with now. I did hear of a few bucks hitting the ground this weekend locally and there are always exceptions, but I think this weekend was a bust for most who hit the woods for the Maryland's Early Muzzleloader season……

Stay tuned, bow season is back in now, the moon is fading and the extended forecast is showing temperatures plummeting Thursday night… I think we’ll be hearing about many “Halloween Bucks” this year and I’m hoping to be one of the lucky hunters!!

Posted by Steve Johnson under Field Journals on October 25, 10 02:54 PM | Permalink

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