What a week it has been. I punched my Wisconsin buck tag last Friday, then put a nice doe in the freezer on Sunday. If you know me, that’s just a warm up!
So, I took to the woods yesterday afternoon in hopes of notching another early season whitetail. The only problem facing me was the stand my buddy Cory Johnson had waiting for me had already been “made” by several mature does already. They knew the stand was there, and they wanted nothing to do with the lush Whitetail Institute food plot directly in front of that stand.
I mulled this dilemma most of the morning yesterday before realizing that I had a fresh, unopened bottle of Tink’s Salad Dressing sitting in our Deer Talk Now TV studio. We’ve been talking about this new deer attractant for weeks, but I had yet to try it out myself. What better time to do it then on this hunt!
The half-mile walk to the stand got me sweating pretty good. The temps were in the 70s yesterday, and the sun was shining brightly. When I was about 300 yards away from the stand, I stopped near a large boulder in the woods and doused myself — head to toe — with Wildlife Research Center Scent Killer Gold. As mentioned previously in this blog, I love this stuff. When used in combination with my Ozonics unit, it is a great one-two punch for scent control.
Then, as I was skirting the food plot leading toward the stand, I fished the spray bottle of Salad Dressing out of my backpack and sprayed the far edge of the plot … where the turnips met the weeds. I doused all of the vegetation in a straight line for the last 50 yards leading toward the stand. I then stopped and walked straight for the stand right through the middle of the plot. My last effort was to spray a round circular area in the food plot in a spot 28 yards from the tree.
I buckled my Hunter Safety System harness onto the tree at precisely 3 p.m. It was going to be a long sit.
The wind was out of the southeast, which is unusual for our area, but not unusual for this time of year. This warm days usually mean a south wind of some sort is blowing. The afternoon, indeed, was slow, but at about 4:30 p.m. a deer showed up from the south. It was a buck fawn and — like buck fawns usually are — he was traveling solo.
The little deer fed casually in the plot for about 20 minutes, and he worked closer to my stand with each passing moment. When he hit the edge of the food plot, he got a whiff of that Salad Dressing. Imagine my surprise when he put his head down and — almost like a lawnmower — walked in a straight line up and down that edge, eating every green leaf that I sprayed. It was amazing. When he got to the end of the line, he simply turned around and came back — eating turnip tops, weeds, grass, everything.
I smiled, knowing that this might be a good night after all.
The fawn eventually entered a small stand of Norway spruce that borders the food plot. Once in there, he bedded, staying put for about 45 minutes. Then, as dusk approached, he got up and came back to the area I had sprayed the plot.
By this point, several young antlered bucks entered the field about 80 yards from my stand. They stayed there and munched on turnip greens and Winter Oats Plus.
I was satisfied to call it a day having at least seen some deer. Then, just like it happens so many times, I peered over my shoulder to the north. I hadn’t heard anything; just turned on the hunch that more deer might be out there. I was right!
Standing just 50 yards away was a good-sized doe — just what I was hunting for on this day. She was unaware of my presence in the stand, and she was headed in my direction.
It only took the doe a few minutes to close within bow range. At that point, she lifted her nose in the air almost as if she smell a “new” smell. She then put her head down and walked straight to the spot where I had sprayed the Salad Dressing in the food plot in my one and only shooting lane.
The doe proceeded to eat voraciously. Within a few moments, she quartered away, offering the perfect shot opportunity.
I don’t know if I can stress enough how much I am impressed with the Rage X-Treme broadheads. As many of you already know, I was not a big fan of expandables of any kind for many years. My biggest critique of them back then was the lack of quality control on the manufacturing process. In the early days of expandables, which was only 15 years ago, the blades on many of them were dull. The only way you can really test sharpness is the good, old rubber band trick. If you stretch a rubber band between your fingers and then — gently — run a broadhead’s blade across it, the band should snap immediately.
I didn’t find reliable sharpness until I started shooting the Rage Titanium heads a few years ago. I really liked those heads, and they are still available, but the X-Tremes are even more impressive; mostly because they inflict insane cutting holes. Some of the entrance and exit holes on these deer I’ve been killing have exceeded 3 inches. That’s just unbelievably lethal.
What’s more, the blood trails are immediate. I’m sure there will come a day when I make a marginal hit and will have to search for a blood trail. But as long as I keep putting my arrows in the “boiler room,” I can expect blood trails like the one Cory and I found on this doe last night. The blood trail started after just 1 yard. Insane!
Dan’s Picks of the Week:
1. TINK’S CARBON SACK CLOTHING CONTAINER. Dan says: “I use this bag to keep my clothes scent-free when I’m driving to and from my hunting property. It’s convenient and well-built.
2. TINK’S SALAD DRESSING SPRAY. Dan says: “I’ve only used this spray one time, but it helped put a big doe in my freezer. Deer seemed to be drawn to the odor like a magnet. I will definitely be using this on future hunts. It helps position the deer in shooting lanes, which aids in ethical shot placement.”
*(check your local game regulations before using any kinds of attractants. Dan was hunting in an area where these are allowed)