Last week I found another opportunity to sneak away to see my Grandpa for a few days, and spend some time in the woods. After a two hour drive, I pulled onto my Grandpa’s gravel road, and as I rounded a bend my headlights lit up the biggest buck I have ever seen in my life. What a great was to start my long weekend!
The weather for my trip was looking great, clear and cool. There was one weather indicator I didn’t look at though, the wind. The first two days of my hunt I found myself 25 feet up in my tree stand, swaying with the 30mph winds. I saw a total of 6 deer in those two days, but none were within bow range. The winds kept the deer bedded down most of the day, and what limited movement existed was hard to detect; any audible indicators of movement were being whisked away by the constant sounds of the winds rolling through the trees.
On my third and final day of hunting the action really started to pick up. I awoke to a cool 25 degree frost and arrived to my stand about 30 minutes before the first sign of light. I had hunted this location on my previous trip in October and I knew that it was a good transition area between feeding and bedding zones. I climbed up my tree and got settled in over an old abandoned logging road. Just as the morning glow was beginning to hit the sky I heard some wrestling in the leaves off to my left. A young doe was just coming up from her bed and was working right towards me. She continued to feed right under my tree for a good 10 minutes before heading and feeding about 50 yards to my right. I had several good opportunities to send an arrow her way, but she was just too small and I decided to let her pass.
Throughout the rest of the morning I had a few more does work their way into my area, but none of them gave me a chance to make an ethical shot. About 30 minutes before I was forced to call it quits and head home, a nice 5 point buck came out of his bedding area and began to come right into my stand. The buck was approaching head on and I was just waiting for an attempt to catch him broadside. A couple of times on his was in he almost spooked away as the forest was alive with birds and squirrels making a racket. Finally he stopped on his trail and gave me a good broadside shot at about 32 yards. I drew and just began to settle my 30 yard pin on his shoulder when out of the corner of my eye I see a squirrel leap from one tree to another. This squirrels crash landing onto the branch sent a flury or noise out into the air and the buck quickly escaped my sights and headed for cover. So goes hunting.
Even though I wasn’t able to bring home some meat, the trip was a great time. I felt very privileged to spend some great time in the woods, and then come home and spend several hours of quality time with my Grandpa each evening. I have lost loved ones suddenly, and I have lost loved ones when I was too young to truly enjoy the gift of their life. I feel very grateful to be able to spend this time with my Grandpa as he continues to fight his battle against cancer.