One of the best times to see deer movement, especially the bucks, is during the rut. Bucks are travelling more than normal searching out receptive females and this provides us hunters a chance to see more and different bucks than at any other time of the year. This Saturday the nice calm weather and rut lined up perfectly and the deer were out moving! I was back in one of my favorite stands in a tall oak tree on an East-West running ridge. About 30 minutes after sunup a pair of yearlings came by to start the morning off.
While these two were milling about in the woods I could hear an approaching deer coming in from the same direction as they did. I could hear the deer grunting before I could hear him walking through the leaves. It was a nice little 8-point with a big body, but still too young – at least for this early in the season! He pushed after the two little ones for a bit before deciding to keep searching.
The commotion they made however brought in another curious young buck. This time is was a small 6-pointer that provided some good pictures. He was content just to watch the other two and hung around under the stand for a while. The two yearlings by now were out to the edge of the field where they caught the attention of a larger 10-point buck. This guy was really feeling the rut and came after those two fast. He ran them back into the woods and then spotted the 6-point. I’ve never heard a buck snort that loud as he did to the little buck. He snorted a couple of times and then made a charge at him running him completely out of the area. The 10-pointer never slowed down, he charged the small 6 and then turned and was out of there as quick as he came in. He never did give me a shot or a chance for a picture. His rack showed the results of some fighting as most of his tines were broken, so it would have been a hard decision to shoot anyway.
Things settled down for about an hour and a half until another small 8-pointer came along the ridge again travelling East to West. He was not a shooter or even as big as the earlier 8 so I let him pass, but he didn’t slow down enough to let me take his picture at least not until he was out of woods at the edge of the pasture. Another small 6-point from over on the West noticed his presence and came out to meet him. Here is a picture of them getting ready to spar. Their contest only lasted a few seconds before they both headed off to the west.
Another hour passed before I heard some more grunting coming from the West. This time another small 6-point was chasing a doe up the ridge about 70 yards away. She apparently didn’t want anything to do with him and they both ran off the other direction only giving me a brief moment of excitement. I continued to sit until about noon, but only saw one more deer. This little spike buck came through for one last photo shoot.
Typically, I can’t sit in a stand that long and my body usually tells me it is time to get down. Today I took my cue from the birds.
Just one of the hazards of hanging out in a tree, I guess. On any other morning, I would have felt bad, but today was just too exciting to let being crapped on get me down 🙂
The quest for the big buck continues…