I went into this season knowing full well that it was an experiment. I was trying new tactics, such as hunting from the ground a lot more, as well as using a mobile treestand setup. More than anything though, the experiment wasn’t about how I hunted, but where I hunted.
Last year I gained access to a property that is really close to home. I had success as soon as I began hunting it, in late October of 2011. It is always exciting to go into a new property, and with no prior scouting, kill a deer on your first hunt. I hunted this property again a few times in early November and saw a lot of rutting action. Over this past year I used the off-season to learn the property, get a better idea of what deer it held, and understand how they used the land for water, feed, and bed, as well as the travel routes.
Going into this fall I was confident that I was going to have a great season. After all, I knew this guy was hanging around, as well as a few other decent bucks. I did have some concerns though. The coyote activity was more than I liked to see, and though I came close on a few occasions, I wasn’t able to do my part in controlling that population. I was also a bit worried about the number of does that I was seeing; there were very few.
I’ll skip recapping the early season, which I have written about already, and jump straight to the past couple of weeks – the magical time for every whitetail hunter – November. I set aside a lot of time to hunt early this month, which is difficult for me to do. This is always a very busy time at work, and taking any amount of time away from my wife and two small kids is always hard. Nevertheless, I’ve been able to hunt 7 out of the last 10 days.
Seven days of hunting in early November…it doesn’t get any better! To say that I was excited going in to this stretch of hunting would be a massive understatement. To say that, now, on the other side of all of this hunting, that I am disappointed, wouldn’t even begin to describe things.
Horrible weather, interruptions, trespassers…I’ve experienced a lot of challenges over the past couple of weeks of hunting. What I haven’t experienced, however, was many encounters with deer; they seemed to have vanished. The pre-rut?…There were no signs to be seen. The rut?…It didn’t happen. Bucks cruising, chasing, pushing does? Nope. Speaking of does, there were none.
There are a lot of reasons that I think I experienced this and there are a lot of lesson that I learned. I will definitely spell it all out, but for now I want to continue telling this story, because it isn’t over.
It is about to get better…and then worse.