Although the 2012 KS deer archery season is well underway, I have not yet found much time to hunt yet. That will change this weekend when I finally get to spend a few days in the stand. As I’ve been preparing for the upcoming weekend my thoughts go back to some of last year’s activities:
Bow season doesn’t open until late September, but preparations usually start much sooner. There are stands to get hung, scouting to do, and of course a little shooting practice never hurts either. My first trip to the practice range went pretty well.
I was shooting three shot groups in a nice little circle at 30 yards – the third of which group resulted in a “Robinhood”. This is pretty cool the first time it happens. The second is more like “Dang, I just ruined a $10 arrow.”
My buddy George dragged me out for the first 2011 hunt in mid-October on a nice mild afternoon down at his place near Ft. Scott. I hadn’t even gotten halfway through the walk to the stand before I registered my first bow kill of the season.
Technically this was my first and only armadillo that I’d ever come across here in eastern KS. The rest of the evening held quite a bit of activity with a flock of turkeys coming by the stand, later followed by a couple of young deer, and quite a few more deer moving off in the distance. Definitely a good start.
Annual ‘opening weekend’ with the guys:
This is our traditional reunion weekend when Mark, Dan, Jeff, & I all get together for a weekend hunting trip. The opening weekend trip started out 18+ years ago as a pheasant and quail hunt, but has gradually morphed into a weekend archery deer hunt. It doesn’t really matter what the quarry, these reunions are really about getting together with friends and enjoying time together. I look forward to this annual tradition all year long!
The first evening hunt was a little slow. This guy was all I had to keep me company.
Next morning I was sitting in a stand we placed way up in a tall oak tree over a trail on a good ridge. It’s been a good stand to see deer moving in the morning on their way back to some bedding areas and today was one of them. Two adult does came by about 8:00 am traveling on the path that went nearly right under the stand. I quietly drew back and took aim at the lead doe and released an arrow when she passed by at less than 10 yards. It was a perfect shot and she ran just a mere 5-6 yards before dropping over.
My 100-grain Montec broadhead passed cleanly through the deer and was sticking into the ground on the opposite side after doing a perfect job on the large doe. The scene happened so quickly and quietly that trailing doe didn’t realize what happened. Here is a picture I was able to capture of her companion before she decided to head back the way she came. There is no greater excitement than taking a deer at such close range with a bow and arrow. Not to mention a clean kill that didn’t involve any extended tracking 🙂
Saturday morning was quiet – no one saw a single deer moving anywhere, except for Dan who had this very nice buck come in grunting after a doe.
He never saw the doe, but was alerted to the buck’s presence by his low grunting. A quick blow on the grunt call back got the buck redirected and headed into range. I didn’t witness the shot, but it must have been a good one as he only made it about 50 yards from where Dan’s arrow passed through.
Most Memorable Hunt:
We had some very nice weather the week of thanksgiving, cool and calm and not too cold to bring my 7-year old son, Kale, with me on his first “tree stand” hunt. He was excited to accompany me out and get to sit in a real tree stand (instead of just on the ground). We spent the night before getting his safety harness fitted and practicing putting it on and off over several layers of clothes. This was the first time he hunted with me out of a tree stand and I was excited to have him along but extremely anxious about what we might see. I really hoped the deer were going to be moving so he would get to see some action and didn’t want to spoil his future deer hunting ambition with an uneventful outing. 7-yr olds can get bored pretty quick you know! My concerns quickly passed; we hadn’t been in the stand more than 10 minutes when we spotted a nice 8-point buck following a trail 40 yards to our left. Against the advice of my son, I deemed it still too dark and a bit too far to take a clean shot and settled for just watching move on through the woods. Don’t think I didn’t hear “why didn’t you shoot ‘em, Dad?”, and “you should have shot ‘em Dad” plenty of times the rest of the morning. I tried to use it as a good teaching moment; waiting to get a better shot rather than risk missing or only wounding the animal, but the lesson may take some time to set in; his response remained firm “it wasn’t too dark; I could see him just fine!”
I was able to rattle in two different small fork horn bucks on separate occasions that morning and we later saw a small 6-pt just out of range. The morning hunt was topped off with a bobcat sighting – he came sneaking in just 30 yards away. I tried to get a picture, but the cat sensed our movement before I could get the camera out.
Looking forward to a great 2012 season! – Eric