Okay, the subject line is a little misleading. I'm not about to give up treestands altogether, nor is ground hunting new to me. But in the past decade I have spent more and more time in trees and less time on the ground. This weekend, I decided to change that, in part on my own size-up of the conditions and in part on the advice of Woods Walker.
Iowa holds a 3 day antlerless, gun hunt on Thanksgiving weekend, which is ahead of the regular shotgun season. I'm not hunting the regular shotgun this year, so it's a great way to wrap up the season. I enjoy the low pressure "meat and management" mentality and it allows me to change up my hunting style for fun.
Anyway, the farm I have been hunting has a picked bean field dominating a high but very gentle, north to south, ridge. Brushy pasture and timber surrounds it on all sides and there is great concealment if you watch your movements. It is also a farm with an explosive deer population. The winds have been high as a low pressure cold front moves in. I did not feel like swaying in a skinny tree and waiting for the feeding does to possibly wonder into range where I would be forced to take a wobbly shot (believe me, I've been there a million times). Instead, I've spent my time glassing the field and circling the herd along the fence lines and then belly crawling my way into a sure shot with my ML. What a blast!
Friday morning found me watching a doe and fawn at 200 yards, safely downwind. I was able to crawl from cedar to cedar as they worked across the high point toward me. I managed to set myself up and make a nice shot at 70 yds and dropped the doe in her tracks. Saturday night was even more fun! I started by spotting a "doe" bedded in the middle of the field and low crawling all the way into the middle of the field before I realized it was actually a spike buck. When he rose to feed, he walked to within 15 yards of me three different times before I shooed him away. I then circled downwind of a small doe herd in the corner of the field. I again went into the dirt and used a slight slope to crawl to with 20 yards. It was getting dusky and the wind was really blowing so they had no idea I was there. I know I could've gotten closer but one of the bigger does offered me a perfect anchoring shot at her front shoulder. Since I did not feel like tracking a deer in the dark woods, I took it.
Talk about a way to bring some fun into a doe hunt! Again, not new to me or the style I intend to use all the time, but something I had missed. Thanks WW!