Another annual Deer Camp is in the books. Another year when the "new guy" to camp made it happen. The Vanilla Gorilla (Aaron Goodman) missed camp for the first time since we started in 2006. But the addition of Chandler Lockert picked up the slack. The long drive was over, and we were all looking forward to the next 4 days with nothing to do but hunt.
A warm front was moving in, and the full moon was rising in the East shortly after the sun set. Not exactly the ideal forecast, but our hopes were high. The first morning we dropped everyone off well before the sun was scheduled to rise. The moonlit pasture made headlamps unnecessary walking in. I headed up one of my favorite trees anticipating an exciting morning. Phil had decided to take a high vantage point for the day to get a feel for what was going on in the area. We sent Chandler down the fenceline to a ground blind near a natural funnel, and Bayes into a tree stand in a cedar tree overlooking a fresh scrape. The crisp morning air had the deer on the move, and at about 10 am Bayes sent out a text informing us that he'd just stuck a doe. We hunted a few more minutes before heading over to take up the blood trail.
With four guys to carry out meat, it wasn't long until we were back at camp ready for lunch.
The weather had warmed considerably by the time we headed out again. Everyone saw a few deer, but nothing too exciting. This would be a trend for almost every evening hunt the rest of the trip. The next day played out in a similar fashion. Phil would sit up on a high vantage point and get to see all the action while the rest of us waited it out in a tree or blind with only a few deer in sight. Chandler had moved the ground blind for the evening hunt because his view was limited to under a hundred yards where it was. He had the pleasure of watching a shooter buck walk right past where the ground blind WAS.
Friday night we pulled up Google Earth and devised a new game plan. This time everyone but Chandler was going to sit up high and hopefully spot a nice buck headed in a direction where a quick ambush could be set up. I watched some pheasant hunters push 8 does and 2 small bucks in my general direction, but they went south when I needed them to go East. Bayes and Phil spotted a nice 10 and Bayes was able to run downhill and somewhat cut him off. But he had to settle for a longer shot than planned, and ended up shooting right over the bucks back.
Chandler had decided to stick to the ground blind that morning, but move it once again. This time he had a good view and the wind in his favor. He sent me a text mid-morning saying he'd just smoked a buck. So we rounded up the posse and took up another blood trail!
Bayes and Chandler took it easy Saturday evening while Phil and I sat up on a different hill to the South. It didn't take long for Phil to spot a nice buck bedded in the shade alongside a doe nearly a mile away. He was after something a little bigger, but I decided it was my turn to try a stalk. We worked our way around where we had marked the deer. The wind was non-existent as I approached the top of the hill the deer were beside. They must have heard me coming because when I crested the hill they were nowhere in sight.
Sunday morning Bayes had another opportunity to spot and stalk. He took his time, spending nearly 2 hours getting into position. He was within 14 yards of the plum thicket the buck was in when he got a better look at the deer. It wasn't as big as he thought going in, so he decided to pass.
The fun was over. With a long drive ahead of us, we were already counting the days to next year.
Mid June 2017
1 week ago