As I mentioned in the previous post (Hunting Season Summary - Part 1), the abundant food situation was similar in Vermont as it was in New Hampshire. However, I did have some camera’s out in Vermont during the preseason that helped identify a few decent bucks that were in the area. These deer were afraid of the daylight as well, but at least I had a general sense of their movement patterns during the middle of the night.
Ending the season with unfilled tags is not a failure, but not learning from your mistakes is. As I reflect on the past season, I am still trying to determine what mistakes, if any, I made. I am not talking about lazy mistakes, such as not paying attention at a critical time. I made plenty of those. I’m referring to strategic mistakes like interpreting sign wrong, moving too often, and hunting the same areas over and over to name a few.
Let me spare you the agony and sum up my last weekend of hunting like this – I went hunting, saw nothing, and came home.
Now let me tell you about the story of the wounded doe. After a morning of hunting on Saturday, I dropped my dad off at his house, and as I was pulling out of the driveway I noticed a doe standing broadside in the brush across the creek. So I did what any hunter would do; I put the truck in reverse.
Well, well, well. I finally saw some deer on Saturday. Eight of them to be exact – little ones, big ones, and even a buck – but I didn’t fire a single shot. Why? Because that’s the way my season is going, that’s why!
The morning started out well enough. Dad and I had a sweet plan in place for me to fill my muzzleloader doe tag that would allow me to be back to my truck by 7:30 with fresh venison. There is a drive we like to do that has worked a million times in the past. If the deer are in this particular small patch of woods, they have to run through a certain spot if they are pushed. Everything was perfect. There was a gentle breeze that was blowing from Dad to me, which would allow him to walk slowly in my direction and let the wind do the work for us.
Someday, I am going to devote an entire article on the most important ingredient required for a successful hunt. The ingredient? Time.
I can’t remember a year when I have hunted over such an active scrape line, complete with fresh rubs and extending over 650 yards. It felt like I was finding fresh sign each time I hunted it. As near as I can tell, the scrape line leads to his bedding area and he checks them during the night. This works out well for him but not for me. Big bucks can be very frustrating.