When most hunters have already left their stands, I am just getting excited about the morning hunt. I abandoned the “get to the stand an hour before sunrise to settle in and get quiet” mode of hunting deer several years ago. Seeing in dim light has always been a challenge for me, so there is no advantage for me to hunt at first light. I have a tough time aging a deer or counting points in dim light, so why should I risk bumping a deer getting in to my stand in the dark. Deer have good vision, so if they can see me, they will surely leave and probably won’t come back. I prefer walking in at first light so I don’t need a flashlight. From my experience, deer start to bed down after feeding around dawn and then come back out between 9 AM and 11 AM to graze, top off, then bed down for the better part of the afternoon,
Last year, I scored two big bucks between 10 and 11 am. I took my largest deer ever, weighing 201 pounds, 19-inch spread, with eight points right at 11 am last October.
This season I have not had as many opportunities to hunt, and I was excited about finally getting in my stand. After an uneventful morning sit in my stand, I decided to walk to my husband’s stand, which was about a half-mile away around 10 am. His stand had not been hunted at all this season. Unfortunately, he had a ladder fall about seven weeks ago, and would not be able to climb into his stand until his arm healed.
I wished he could have joined me this season, as hunting was something we love to do together. He had seen a huge buck last season at this stand and texted me to try the grunt call to see if I could lure him out. After about 30 minutes of staying quiet and still I used my doe bleat call and a few minutes later did a short series of grunt calls. To my surprise, I saw movement in the distance! An impressive buck appeared out from the deep end of the trail, walking in as if he was on a mission to find out who was in his territory. I took no time to think about what to do. I couldn’t count points, but this buck’s body size and antler spread gave me the confidence that it was a shooter buck. I was reasonably sure he would not turn broadside, and the best I could hope for was a neck shot. As soon as he presented a clean neck shot, at about 160 yards, I squeezed the trigger, and he went down. I climbed out of the stand, cautiously made my way to the deer to make sure he was not alive and was pleased with my decision to take him.
He was a gnarly mature deer with a distinctive drop tine. He was estimated to be a four and a half to five-year-old deer and would not likely grow any bigger. The rut is just getting serious, and I am eager to get back in the woods and probably will be hunting my favorite time of the day! I am so excited that my hubby will finally be joining in on a hunt in a ground blind! No ladder needed!