The Calm Before The Storm

30 Oct

Typically I have seen good deer movement the last week of October. The bucks are starting to get on their feet a little earlier and head back to their bed a little later, stopping along the way to freshen up their scrapes or scent check any does that they run in to along the way. Friday after work the devil on my shoulder was telling me to jump in to a couple of my really good spots, but I talked him out of it. Instead, I wanted to set up shop over a popular fence crossing where a bean field, finger of timber and a small marshy area all meet. My trail camera had shown deer movement in that area almost every day, with the deer using that particular fence crossing or traveling parallel to the fence to the march or to the timber. I had never hunted in area and was excited to see what was coming through. I set up in a tree where I could see the bean field and the western side of the marsh hoping the deer would come from the marsh or timber to feed. It took me a little longer than normal to set up because I was really close to the bedding area and wanted to be extra quiet.

 

Here is the popular fence crossing we hunted Friday night and Saturday morning.

Here is the popular fence crossing we hunted Friday night and Saturday morning.

 

Two hours before the sun set a small buck stood up in the middle of the bean field. He just stood there for a while until someone from the closest farm started up a tractor and was moving big circle bales of hay off a wagon.  About 45 minutes later a doe and two fawns appeared on the far end of the bean field and made their way to a grassy point opposite my direction. So far every deer I had seen was way outside of shooting range. I watched another beautiful Iowa sunset and had high hopes for the next morning.

4:30am came fast Saturday morning and I don’t think my brother was quite ready for the pre-hunt rituals. After we each took a scent free shower, sipped a cup of coffee and got dressed, we were in the truck and off to the woods.  Like I mentioned in an earlier blog, I love having company in… mostly because I hate having to get off my fat ass to open up the gates. Little brothers are perfect for that.

 

Who's the creeper?

Who’s the creeper?

 

From what I could see, we didn’t bump any deer off the field while driving to our parking spot or walking to the stand location. I quickly set up the second cameraman stand and Mark was in the tree quieter than a dump truck with no muffler hauling scrap metal.  I convinced myself that the layer of fog helped with some of the noise and that we hadn’t spooked the deer. Several minutes later we heard does blowing in the direction where we came from. Were they blowing at the truck? Did they catch our ground scent? It was still really dark and my hopes were that we still had time for the area to settle down before the sun would come up.

The horizon became lighter and when the sun began to shine through he fog it made for some spectacular views, but no deer. I had been very patient over the the past couple weeks and had decided not to do any calling. That was until now. So I picked up my horns and decided to wake up the neighborhood. About a minute after I a stopped rattling there was more blowing, this time coming from the marsh. Although they didn’t have our wind, the hunt was over. I think we busted them out of the field when we were walking in and the area never really recovered. Oh well, that’s part of the game we play.

 

I love hunting mornings!

I love hunting mornings… even thought we didn’t see any deer.

 

I was excited for the evening hunt mainly because the wind was going to be straight from the north then rotating overnight to a southeast wind. This was going to be absolutely perfect for one particular stand near a bedding area along a large creek. Over the years we have seen several mature whitetails not only using this bedding area but cruising through it checking for does.Needless to say I was excited.  The plan was to get in their fairly early and take our time setting up the cameraman stand and all the other crap we haul into the timber with us. I think most of you can relate to the feeling you get when you hunt a stand for the first time every year. That feeling of the unexpected, that anything could happen.

The plan was to hunt that night then drive in to town for a haunted train ride with all of the kinds in the family. Well… the plans changed as they often do. My wife asked me if I could be back by 6:00 pm . “Ummm… no.” Then I had to remind her about the best times to be in the timber. Like I have mentioned before my wife is not a hunter and doesn’t understand certain aspects of the hunt. I do my best, but it’s just easier to be as vague a possible. Because honestly, she doesn’t care about the details. Typically… like most men this time of year, I had to pick my battles. She threw out some pretty good point like ” You’re not going to see your daughter for two weeks.” and my favorite ” You can give up just one hunt.” I responded with “I’ll meet you there at 8.” You know that moment when your wife or girlfriend gets so mad or frustrated that they just walk away. Not showing any emotion on the outside, but on the inside they are hitting your face with an imaginary hammer. My wife did that. I typically make my decisions based on whether or not this will result in a loss of sexual activity, but because my wife is just finishing up her first trimester with our second child it’s not like she was lusting for her nine-fingered price anyway. I was screwed…. So I got in my truck and headed to the timber debating the if I had made the right decision or not. I didn’t. So instead of hunting, my brother and I checked a couple trail cameras and went back to the farm. This made my wife happy, and when the wife is happy….    I held a little grudge, but enjoyed the extra time I was able to spend with my family. All was right in the world.

 

Trail cam picture pointing away from the fence crossing on the pinch point.

Trail cam picture pointing away from the fence crossing on the pinch point.

 

Sunday morning I was back in the timber in one of my favorite pinch points that I wrote about earlier this year.  It wasn’t in the thickest timber but I could get a good view of a valley to the north.  I was about half way up the ridge and knew I had to be aware of anything coming from the top down. It was a relatively quiet morning with little wind from the southeast but as the sun came up I could feel the thermals pushing my scent straight up. I’ll be honest, I was a little bored so I decided to rattle to see what I could work up. The sound echoed through the timber. It was close to 30 minutes later when I noticed movement at the top of the ridge. I put up my binoculars instantly knew it was a buck, and at first glance I though it looked like a hit list buck I call Johnny Utah. Over the next several minutes he had worked his way further down the ridge to where I could get a better look at him. It was not Johnny Utah, after getting a better look at his body  I guessed he was a 3 year 9 pointer around the 130 – 140 inch mark, not a shooter. 10 – 15 minutes passed as he made his way through a couple of my shooting lanes somewhere around 30 yards. First official pass of the year, and it felt good. That buck was the first and last deer I saw on Sunday, but it was a beautiful day and I was happy.

 

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November 1st is less than 48 hours and Ryan, myself, and millions of other bow hunters throughout the US are ready to get this party started. Good luck over the next couple weeks I have a feeling this is going to be an awesome rut.

Hunt hard and hunt safe!
Dan (DFW)

One Response to “The Calm Before The Storm”

  1. Diaz October 31, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    “…Mark was in the tree quieter than a dump truck with no muffler hauling scrap metal. I convinced myself that the layer of fog helped with some of the noise and that we hadn’t spooked the deer.”

    Classic.

    If there is a god, the “nine-fingered prince” shall slay a mega-giant whilst on the rut train this year. Choo-choo muthaf****s!

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