12/26/2011 Afternoon Hunting Trip

I finally was able to make it out in the woods after a while of dealing with holiday preparations and fighting off a nasty cold that I managed to give to half my family.  I went to one of my go to spots for does within Loch Raven, as I am just looking for meat in the freezer at this point.   I got into my stand and got settled in and soon hundreds of robins were everywhere eating something (a bug of some kind I would guess) out of the leaves.  I have never seen that many robins in my whole life, but maybe this is a good sign colder weather is on it's way. After what seemed like forever the birds finally started to quite down but no sign of any deer.  It was a pretty afternoon, and the wind was perfect for this stand, I really had high hopes but as 5 o'clock was quickly approaching I had diminished hopes that I was going to see anything at all.  Finally, at 4:55 I saw  a big doe walking into some thicket about 55 yards away, but she quickly disappeared into this very small clump of brush on the side of a little hill.  I thought maybe she had wondered down the hill in which case I wouldn't be able to see her and she would be gone.  I gave it a few minutes, keeping in mind that I could only shoot till about 5:10 legally.  About 5:03 a yearling came from the same area that bigger doe had come from, but was headed straight for me. I decided a yearling would make some good tasting steak so I quickly got read, as she walked behind a tree I drew my bow, she needed to take 5 steps past the tree for me to have a shot due to some  branches between me and where she was.  She took 2 of those 5 steps, then turned and walked up the hill dead away from me,  had she taken 3 more steps I would have had a perfect broadside shot...... Best laid plans never work right?

Well, now I really though I was done for the day, but now at about 5:05 or 5:06 with it getting dark, here comes the big doe out of the this very small patch of thicket, she must of been eating the whole time.  With it getting dark, I knew I only had minutes or less and needed a closer as I would not be able to get a good visual on her at a distance to take an accurate shot.  Well, she walked up the hill towards me, and then turned up the hill walking perfectly broadside to me, at 29 yards. I drew my bow as she walked behind a tree, as she stepped out the other side, I had nothing. I couldn't even make out an outline of her body, I knew she was there but the only think I could see was the whites of her ears.  I waited for her to start walking again and let my bow down,  I knew I was very close to legal shooting time and I could not see to take an clean ethical shot so I watched the deer walk up the hill and that was the end of my evening.

This was  slow hunting trip, and a lot of the people I have talked to have been telling him similar stories about their hunting trips lately.  I think we are in the post rut pattern where the deer are very hard to pattern and with the lack of cold weather or snow they have plenty of food sources still available.  Which means they are no longer rutting and they haven't started  herding up yet for the winter, so we see small groups of deer with no pattern.  Hopefully the weather will change or the deer will naturally start herding up soon allowing us all to have a better chance at a patterning the deer, and maybe even present us with a chance at a late season buck!

Did anyone hunt this past holiday weekend?  What did you see or did you harvest a deer?  We would love to hear from you! 🙂

1 Response

  1. Gino Ciotola
    I was able to get out Friday the 23rd for a couple hours in the evening. I saw one big doe right at dark move through a thicket but that was it. I also got out last night (12/26) for a few hours and had almost the exact same experience as Andy. I saw my first deer at about 4:50, ended up being a group of 5 does. They made it within range a little after 5:00. I picked one out that was on a trail to pass about 15 yards just off to my right. Nice mature doe. I was at full draw just waiting for her to clear a few little branches (probably could have shot her right there, but it was getting dark and I wasn't positive that I had a clear shot). I needed her to take a couple more steps to clear these branches and then the gig was up. She either winded me, or one of the other does picked me out of the tree, but she got real nervous and they all ended up ultimately moving off back in the direction they came from. Slow afternoons in general. Going to put some time in this weekend to see if I can fill up my freezer. Good luck to everyone! Enjoy these last few weeks, the season is quickly coming to an end.

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