Three afternoons in the woods and three very different experiences. The first afternoon, new years eve I went to a new area sorta on a shot in the dark. I headed out didn't see a lot of sign of deer until I got to where I planned to hunt. I couldn't find a good tree, and it was getting late and I was getting frustrated but I finally got into a sucky tree about 10' off the ground and waited. Around 4 PM I had a doe sneak up on me, I didn't see her until she was 15 yards away and headed right for me. I didn't move or anything but she got about 3 feet from the base of the tree and looked right up at me.. I was done, she snorted and ran about 30 - 40 yards and watched me for a while. She then headed off into the thicket and I didn't see or hear anything else for a while. It was finally getting dark and we both had new years plans so we got down a few minutes early. Just as I was about to start lowering my bow down, I saw movement. I spun around and looked there was another doe, she was walking off to my left at about 13 yards. I got ready to draw and I guess as I raised my bow up I quickly found out she wasn't alone and a deer snorted and ran off. and several more were with them but they all left. I finally started lowering my bow down and when it got down on the ground I heard another deer snort and I looked over and there was another doe over in the thicket to my right, when she ran I saw a pair of antlers go with her. Not sure how big it was but big enough to catch my eye. That was the end of that exciting night, but no success.
Headed back out new years day and had high hopes with the approaching weather. I got in early and was ready to take the first doe I saw. Well, I'll keep this one quick, I didn't see a thing all night. Except a lot of birds and a dog walker. No deer..
Fast forward to this evening, I had decided no hunting because it was too cold and too windy. Well, I changed my mind again and hunted from the ground. I didn't see a whole lot early, but finally at 5 PM a group of deer headed down the hill in my direction. I identified 2 does in the group either of which I wanted to shoot. There was a couple fawns and a buck that had broken both his antlers off that I did not want to shoot. Well, I waited on the right deer and the right shot. It only took a few minutes and what I thought was a mature 2 1/2 year old doe finally turned broadside at 30 yards. She ran off and just out of sight, but my arrow was laying right where she was standing. The other deer that were with her ran off but then started coming back toward me so I knew I had either missed or she was dead... I waited a few minutes and went to check my arrow, and spooked the other deer off in the process.
When I got to my arrow I saw some blood spatters and the arrow was covered in frozen blood, but not the kind of blood I was hoping for. I started looking where the tracks in the snow headed off and saw little bits of blood and then none. I backed off for a little while and attempted to warm up, as it was freaking cold. I then went and started looking and after about 30 yards the blood was gone, none. Thankfully, I was able to follow the tracks in the snow as they were the only ones in that area. I followed them about 20 - 30 yards in the woods and found my deer! It was not exactly what I thought, upon walking up on it, it was smaller than I originally thought it was when I shot and when I rolled it over it was a buck! It had either shed or broken it's antlers off long enough ago that it was healed and hair had grown over. There was no possible way I could have known it was a buck, and I was upset it was a buck, but that sorta thing happens sometimes this time of year. Either way it counts as a doe since it had no antlers and it will taste good. It is a typical year and a half old Loch Raven deer that probably weighs 80 or 90 pounds. One thing is for sure it will taste good and will be a welcome addition to the freezer.
My hunting drought is over and I am hoping that is a good sign for 2014! Hopefully this last month of the season will prove to be better to me and anyone else whom is in a slump as I was.
Anyone else harvest a deer over the last week during the holidays? Love to hear from you on what your seeing!