Opening week -
9/16/09 - Wednesday - moon, just a sliver.
Woods were quiet, very little wind, temps in upper 50's. Hunted from the recently moved stand in the New Plot. Got into stand about 5:45 a.m. and stayed until 10 a.m. Nothing but me and the squirrels showed up.
Good winds out of the north and east, temps in upper 70's. Decided to hunt from ground what with the gusting winds. Back to the New Plot, using ground blind installed in mid-August. About 5:30 p.m. a large grey doe came in off to my left front - not at all where I expected to see deer near the plot. Had a decent shot at 30 yards, but figured she'd turn left and come into the plot and I'd get a shot at 10-15 yards. Shouldn't have waited, she continued straight ahead on her course and off into the brush.
6:30 p.m. a small racked 8 pointer came in at about 30 yards from opposite side of plot from the doe. Nice body, but a young deer, good 2.5 year old. Watched him for a while then he left they way he came in.
9/17/09 - Thursday
Little wind, temps in upper 50's. Hunted from the Double Stand, just off the native warm season grasses and beanfield plot. Had a couple of does come through the beanfield plot but too far away to shoot. One bedded in the field for about an hour before moving on. Was hoping she'd double back and down the drainage ditch that borders the stand, but she never showed.
Again with high winds out of the north and east. Temps in the upper 70's. Went to the Hilltop Plot, it's been my go-to stand since we put it in 4 years ago or so. It didn't disappoint again.
At about 5 p.m. had two fawns come in, male and female twins. Both still had spots although they were fading. The buck fawn spend a good five minutes eating dirt from the mineral lick 15 yards in front of the stand. The doe fawn was more skittish, spending time in the brush five yards in front of my stand, and at one time walking directly under me. They spent a good 30 minutes in the plot; I was surprised their mom never showed up.
5:45 p.m. had a doe in front of me off in the woods, she may have been mom, as she blew a couple of times then headed off. About this same time another doe came out 50 yards behind her, off to my left, but did not come into the plot.
6:15 p.m. had a doe and fawn (couldn't determine sex) come into the plot at about 35 yards, but the doe never presented a good shot. Made a brief appearance then went back into the woods.
At 6:30 p.m. the parade of bucks began. Had a decent sized 8 pointer come in at about 30 yards. Nice muscled body, rack at ear width and OK height on the tines, but nothing great. Might have been a 3.5 year old, but more likely a well developed 2.5 year old. He looked like a race horse. Let him walk as I know we have bigger deer. While watching him I could hear other deer in back in the woods. He left after about 10 minutes and two more smaller 8 pointers replaced him. These both came in at 30 yards, but rather than going back into the woods, they grazed across the plot to the mineral lick. One spent 10 minutes eating dirt while the other drifted back into the woods. Just as the one finished at the mineral lick, he was replaced by a different 8 pointer who also spend about 10 minutes on the lick. Too bad they were so young, they presented plenty of great shot opportunities. The last two 8 pointers finally wandered off into the woods just as it was getting dark, about 7:40 p.m.
Oddly, all of these deer approached the plot from the opposite direction from which they normally enter the plot, and they exited the plot either into the woods or in the opposite direction from the fields where they usually feed. It was like they were turned around morning to evening.
9/18/09 - Friday
No wind, temps in upper 40's. Back to the new plot, feeling lucky about it. Had a doe blowing off in the woods along our ridge line around 7 a.m. - not sure what was bothering her. About 10 minutes later had a small doe or button buck head by the stand at about 5 yards off to the left. Moving too fast to get a good look at. It posted up behind a tree at about 15 yards before heading off into the trees.
8:00 a.m. a small deer came into the plot and preceded to spend 30 minutes tempting me with a shot. I just could not make out if it had buttons or not, and of course I left my binoculars back at the barn. Looked like there were some nubs on the head, but just couldn't be sure and figured caution was the better choice. Plenty of shot opportunities with this one, but button buck or doe, it was fairly small so let it walk. Orange coloring has me believing it was probably a large fawn or yearling.
Temps in mid-70', not much wind, what little there is comes from the north and east. Back to the New Plot one last time. Pretty quiet evening. Had a small 6 pointer, no brow tines, come through at about 6:30 p.m. and stay for nearly half an hour. If he comes back next year as a shooter and gives me these shot opportunities he may be going down. That was it.
9/19/09 - Friday
Slept in and headed for home around 10 a.m. - got work to do in our back yard.
All-in-all a good opening week. Plenty of deer and good shot opportunities, just nothing I wanted to shoot.
Have come to the conclusion that the stand we moved in the New plot has been poorly placed, it needs to be further back in the woods to allow for more freedom of movement, and location to plot needs to be adjusted as well. This will have to happen next year. As for this year, a shooting lane needs to be cut off left front quarter.
Hilltop plot also needs a shooting lane cleared off right side of stand to open up view of one side of the plot that is currently obscured. Too much rain and fast growing hickories this year.
Double stand has a tree behind it needing cut as it obscures the NWSG area.
Surprised to see deer still digging on the mineral lick, they were hitting it HARD.
Deer travel on Hilltop plot is odd. They started this travel pattern last year, but it was mixed in with regular pattern so I didn't give it much thought. This year all travel so far has been in reverse of previous years for the time of day. Perhaps they've established a new bedding area, but this still doesn't answer the question why they are moving away from food sources in the evening.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”