September 16th marks the first time out for the year. Hot temperatures put a little bit of a damper on the hunt but I learned a few things and was reminded of a few others. My goal each time I hunt is to learn something new. It can be about the land I’m hunting, the travel patterns of the deer, or something else. The point is to come back from a hunt with new found knowledge that will help me on the next hunt.
Besides remembering that I have a tendency to not remember things (I forgot my binoculars), I also discovered a new area to hunt by hiking further away from the truck than I ever have in this particular location. Having not had much time to scout this year, my intent for the evening was to do a combination of scouting and still hunting so I left the climber in the truck. I walked along a creek bed for a couple hundred yards looking for crossings with hopes that I might find some late summer trails. I did find a nice crossing in an area where the creek flattened out but the trails were the type that had been around for eons and not necessarily used every day.
It was 5:30 by the time I discovered the trails so I decided to sit for an hour before heading back in the direction of my truck. On the walk in I passed through an area I had become familiar with last year when I bow hunted the area and ended up shooting a deer with a rifle there. Towering oaks and a convergence of stone walls define the spot. It looked as active as any spot I’d seen as it was full of droppings and freshly cracked acorn shells. I continued on anyway and decided to walk back through it at the end of my hunt.
It turns out I should have stayed there. On the walk out I spooked some deer that had come to the oaks to feed in the late evening hours. The wind was in my favor so they must have seen me moving. I never saw them but from the sounds of it, one of them had a rather large lung capacity. It was probably a monster buck.
I don’t regret the decision to not stay put in that spot. The swamps and winding creek bed had been calling to me for some time and I’m glad I checked them out. The lay of the land is such that the trails I discovered crossing the creek are in a direct line to the oaks that hang over the stone walls where I jumped the deer. Even though they are a good distance apart, they are almost at the same elevation and the land is formed in a way that makes for an easy travel route for the deer from one to the other.
The next time I have a chance to hunt I’ll be setting up in the oaks with my climber. One oak in particular had a lot of cracked acorns at the base which leads me to believe that the deer are hitting it hard right now. I read once that deer will often go back to the same tree for two or three days in a row before finding a new tree to feed under. I don’t know if that’s true, but I plan on finding out. I’ll let you know what I learn.
Deer season is just getting started! This fall I plan on sharing my adventures on Monday and Thursday of each week. You can look for updates on Facebook and Twitter, or you can subscribe for email updates. Do that here: Subscribe