November 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of our guys hunting weekend. Mark, Jeff, Dan, & I have been sharing a weekend each November of hunting and camaraderie since our college days. Some years this is the only time we can all get together and I look forward to spending time and catching up with these guys all year long. We all have the same passion for the outdoors that provides the underlying motivation for continuing this tradition. Each year we try to target a weekend in early November to catch part of the rut and increase our odds at seeing and harvesting a deer, especially a nice buck. But, due to everyone’s busy schedules, travel plans must be made well in advance which leaves one very important variable up to chance… Mother Nature. This year she handed us an unusually hot and windy weekend. The daily high temperatures were pushing into the low 70’s and the winds gusted over 20 mph each day. Although this is great, comfortable weather for us humans, the deer wearing fur coats find this a bit too hot and limit their activity to the cool and dark of night. Therefore, we didn’t see as many deer as hoped, but since it was during the rut, we still managed a few sightings…
Our first hunt was Thursday evening. As previously mentioned, it was very windy. And hot. Most of us just donned shorts under our camo to keep from sweating too much in the stand. Towards dusk though, the wind did die down and a few deer started moving. Dan saw a couple of small 6 or 8 point bucks that he passed on, and a nice big doe that he successfully arrowed at about 20 yards. I was sitting in a stand over a creek crossing that led to a corn field and had this little button buck come by. Although he was the only one I saw, did hear a buck grunting and chasing a doe(s) off in the timber right before dark.
Friday morning’s hunt came and went without any activity, but Jeff scored a nice 8-pt buck that evening hunting out of the stand in the big Walnut tree where Dan shot the doe last night. Again just like before, the deer waited until dusk before making an appearance and Jeff was kind enough to make sure the buck dropped right on the edge of the field to make for an easy recovery driving right up to where he lay with the pickup.
Saturday morning was once again T-shirt weather, and with the wind, I don’t think I would have seen anything if it hadn’t been for an ambitious buck that chased a group of does my way about 7:30 in the morning. I could hear him grunting and pushing them hard back in the timber, but never did lay eyes on him. The does were not interested in his advances and scattered, but eventually regrouped a short distance off and headed right to me. They advanced on the trail that led right under the tree stand, but this was a new stand we just put up the previous afternoon and had left plenty of our scent lying around. As soon as they reached the stand, they sensed something and turned back trying to go around me on the other side. I was able to catch a picture of them right below me before they turned. Luckily they didn’t go too far and when the lead doe came around the other side it put her right into one of my shooting lanes. A well placed arrow dropped her in her tracks!
That was all the deer activity we had for the weekend, but the highlight of Saturday evening was feasting on steaks cooked over the open fire and watching college football on TV.
I think we did pretty well despite the weather conditions and certainly had a good time enjoying the company and the outdoors. Thanks guys; I’m looking forward to next year’s trip already 🙂