I took the day off Friday, October 7th to get some things done around the house in the afternoon which provided the perfect excuse to get in the woods for a morning hunt. The winds have been out of the South East for 3 weeks now and have most of our stands inaccessible.
There is an area that I hunted last year and consistently saw deer on weekday mornings. On the weekend, the place is packed. The SE wind is doable in a woodlot that funnels deer between two fields and provides some exciting ground hunting opportunities. I decided to give it a shot even though I have not even seen the place since early last season. I arrive at 5:45 to beat anyone to the location and walk in. I opt for my ghillie suit and a stool, no blind. Pop-up blinds that appear out of nowhere in a funnel is not the best idea. Deer aren't that dumb.
The woodlot has several small gullies that run throughout it and I drop into one for my stand location approach. There's a downed tree running across it. I go around and back into the gully. There's another downed tree. I'm wondering what happened here in the last year. This causes me to get confused as the scenery has now greatly changed and I'm not sure where to sit anymore. I look 10 yards to the north and there is a pair of green, glowing eyes looking at me. I quickly analyze them. The shape, size, width apart, and color. It's a deer. You've got to be kidding me. I just walked up on a bedded deer. Then, I see them. Two more sets of green, glowing eyes. Crap, 3 bedded deer? I retreat to the top of the gully to the SW of the bedded deer. The wind is blowing 10-20mph from the SE. I figure my scent should move away from them as the deer moved from NW to SE last year. I can barely hear anything above the roar of the wind. About 6:15, I pick up what sounds like deer moving.
As daylight breaks, the bedded deer are no longer there and nowhere to be seen. I notice that I'm about 60 yards to the WSW of where I want to be. I can't hear anything. I sit quietly (not as though it'd matter with the wind) and scan the woodlot. I then spot a doe bounding toward the spot I wanted to sit at. Seriously? She turns around and bounds back to the NW. As I'm looking in that direction I spot more movement. It's a buck! He's about 70 yards away and making a rub, then he makes a scrape. It looks like he's a 6-point, maybe an 8. Since I had to setup quietly and without my light, the camera is situated where I can't see the screen to zoom in. I have the camera pointed toward that area. The doe goes bounding back to the SE, and a few seconds later, bounds back to the NW again. I lose track of the buck and tried to grunt at him. I figure if he's making a rub and scrape, he's territorial. I sit for another hour with no movement. I find a spot near the rub for Saturday morning. It'll be the same wind and conditions.
Saturday morning, I head to the same area. I realize when I'm about to park, I left the camera at home. You've got to be kidding me. I have a great feeling about the morning and the setup, but no camera to document it. Great. There's another truck with 2 hunters getting ready as I pull up. I dress and get my gear as quickly as possible, but they're already ahead of me. I'm walking to the spot I found the day before and end up following one of the guys as he walks past it. I don't know where he's planning on setting up, but I drop into a gully and come up behind the white-oak that I'm going to sit next to. 5 yards away, glowing green eyes. Seriously, you've got to be kidding me. 2 mornings in a row in different locations of the lot? I turn off my light, but it's too late. She gets up and moves slowly to the North. I quietly get in front of the oak and setup. That's the only movement I saw that morning. About 9am, my butt is tired of sitting on the camp stool and I know there's hunters all around me. Time to go. I pack up and head out. As I come into the field that runs right up to the parking area, there's a pop-up blind in the middle of the field. I'm guessing the guy got there late and didn't know where anyone else was. I look to the left and about 200 yards away, another pop-up blind is on the edge of the field. It feels cramped suddenly. I get to the truck and there are 6 other vehicles there. This is why I hunt this spot during the week primarily. Below is a video of Friday morning. Again, I couldn't zoom the camera in, but in the middle of the frame you can see the doe running back and forth several times.