Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 Bow Hunt #3 - Getting Closer

I was ready for this hunt, two days before the hunt.  I am happy how I've grown (as an adult, really) to be able to calmly and confidently get out the door in the middle of the night, knowing that I'm prepared and that I usually didn't forget anything.  Full disclosure, though - I forgot my gun on a goose hunt last year.  True story.

But I digress.  Despite a big moon, it was as dark as it could be in the woods and I was frustrated by how many times I had to turn my headlamp on.   As always, I heard some deer move as I was getting to the stand.  Within a few minutes I was in my place, bow hanging beside me in the dark.   No big deal.  Very dark, about 45 degrees.

A doe came up the ravine below my stand and was softly bleating.  No other deer responded and I never saw her, but she was there.  All the leaves are still on the trees, which doesn't help matters.  Around 30 minutes after sunrise - roughly the time I had a deer under my stand during my first hunt this year - a 4 point buck came up the ravine, I suppose trying to find that doe.  He was off to the hard right of my tree stand and under heavy cover, including downed trees; I never felt like I had a clear, confident shot at 25 yards.  

Again, taking a cue from other situations in adulthood, I stayed cool and about 20 minutes later, he reappeared to my left - where all my best shooting lanes exist.  Time was getting on in the morning, now about 8:30am.  I hoped he would swing down the hill to the network of deer trails near my stand, but he kept  his distance at about 50-60 yards on the ridge, and slowly worked away from me.

I stayed in the stand until about 9:15am and had to go to work.  Not surprisingly, on the walk out of the woods, I encountered the 4 point buck, who was lazily working his way back to my position.  He bounded out of there pretty quickly.  Then on the drive out of the property, I saw Big Boy again - a handlebar-racked 9 or 10 point buck who I last saw under a pine tree on a rainy day in September.  He saw me and lept off, right up the trail to my tree stand.

Next time, I'll stay a little later in the tree stand. Cancel my 9:00 appointments!

Friday, October 16, 2015

I Got A New Bow, I Got the Old Weather


Packing my favorite compound bow up to be transported out to the Nebraska Sandhills (more on that to come - trust me!), I was faced with an important choice.   Although I've bow hunted for almost 15 years, I just fell in love with it last year, and I prepared well this past summer to have a successful bow season this year.  So, what to do?

Those who know me can guess.   I found a $500 bow on sale for $150 (used) and bought it.  The new bow, awkwardly purchased at the beginning of hunting season (always a bad idea), is ill fitting at 29.5" (my draw is barely 27") and 74lb (I prefer a comfy 52lb or so).   It routinely passes 29" carbon arrows right through my target block.  And amazingly,  it shoots straight.

I set out about 15 minutes late in the morning, the temperature already an aggravating 64 degrees.  A cold front was predicted to roll through around 9am, and I hoped that the cloud cover was already in place, above the warm fog on the ground.

I made it into the tree without incident and settled in for the morning.  Acorns dropped like stones.  As the sun rose, I thought "well, that sky seems a little blue," and it was.  A beautiful blue sky was revealed a few minutes later, and the woods came alive with blue jays, wood ducks, and squirrels, all staking claim on this year's heavy acorn crop.   But no deer - surprising for this forest.

The temperature rose to an eye-rolling 70 degrees before the clouds arrived and the wind blew a bit, dropping the temperature back to about 62 degrees.  And that was it.  By the time I climbed out of the tree at 9:40am, the temperature was on its way back up to 76 degrees.  The deer never moved, and why would they? Warm skies and food falling all around them.   But I'm happy with how I've hunted so far, and I think things will turn my way soon.