Time and time again I have experienced where, the first time you hunt a stand is the best and the 2016 season proved this point again. TheHuntBlog team had put a great deal of preseason planning into our set-ups and done an excellent job of getting the stands up early so we could back off and let the deer get accustomed to their presence.
As luck would have it fellow Prostaffer Herb Waliczek shot a nice 6 pt Buck opening day from a ladder stand we hand set up just two weeks before the opener on the edge of a clover field.
On the third weekend of the 2016 season I had the pleasure of joining my son James down in the Huron County Ontario area for a hunt in a location that he had only hunted once before but had been successful at filling his buck tag in 2015. The location was situated in the middle of a prime agricultural region with a mix of corn and soya bean fields surrounding a small 20 acre bush with a river meandering through it.
This hunting location is on public land and we both had the good fortune of being able to arrange time off work to hunt it on a Friday instead of a weekend which we figured would certainly help our chances. We were setup early and waited patiently for sunrise but unfortunately by 10:30 am, all we had seen was a lone coyote that came out briefly into the cut soya bean field.
We decided to take some time out of our hunt to check out another location where we needed to hang two stands for our upcoming HuntBlog hunt camp weekend. We got them done but hanging these two stands proved to be an exhausting adventure in the rain that had both of us wondering if we had enough left in the tank for a late afternoon/evening hunt. However, we persevered and made our way back out to the first location we had hunted earlier that morning for an evening sit.
The sky remained overcast until around 5:30 pm when we were greeted with a few clear patches. We both chatted on the radio that this may be just what the deer needed to get them moving. As afternoon turned into evening daylight was quickly fading on us and just when we thought the hunt would be over I observed some movement in the long grass in the corner of the field I was situated on. With about 15 minutes of shooting light left a small spike buck moved out into the field to eat some of the soya beans that had been left behind by the the farmers combine. At 25 yds he slowly turned and gave me a slightly quartering towards me shot which I was able to make. He ran a short distance out of the field and into some thick cover but I could tell from the sound of my bolt that I had at least hit one lung. I got down from the stand and approached my Lumenock bolt which was covered in blood with lots of bubbles which is always a good indication of a deadly lung shot. Sure enough after a short search in the dark, we found the young Buck and early season success was ours.
The next week I was back in my home territory hunting a familiar area where I have taken several nice Bucks over the past 10 years. It is also a small bush surrounding by crops and is used mostly as a travel corridor between fields. On the first evening I hunted this location I saw a nice big bodied 6 pt and a good sized Doe. I was setup in a ground blind but neither deer gave me a good shot. I went out again the next night and decided to set up in a ladder stand we had setup in the bush. Around 5:45 pm I tried a few Doe bleat calls with my Primos Can Call. Just after my second series of calls I heard the familiar noise of deer on the run. I looked up to see two Does in full flight coming towards me.
They passed by so quickly that I was sure they were being chased and sure enough, a nice big bodied 7 pt was hot on their trail. He was not moving as fast as the Does but I could tell it was going to take a bleat or two to stop him. As he approached me he lost sight of the Does and I was able to stop him quickly with a soft bleat call. Unfortunately he stopped 30 yds from me and behind a thick tangle of brush. He stood there for about five minutes checking the air and looking around and then started to walk back in the direction he had come from. I quickly reached into my pocket for my can bleat call and gave him two calls. Immediately he stopped and once again began to check the air. He then began to slowly walk towards me but he was quartering towards me and didn’t present a real good shot.
I waited patiently as he continued to walk behind my stand. He stopped at about thirty five yards from me and offered a shot but I knew if he came down the walking path we had cut into the stand, he would present me with a much better and closer shot. He finally made a decision to turn and began walking down the path. At 20 yds he suddenly stopped, lifted his head high and started to lick his nose. I had failed to notice that a slight breeze was blowing my scent in his direction and he most certainly had picked me up. Unfortunately for the young Buck he had not noticed soon enough and as he turned to walk away from me he presented me with a perfect 20 yd broadside shot. The bolt found its mark and his back legs kicked straight up in the air which is generally a tell tail sign of a double lung shot. He bolted off but only made it 20 yds before he fell and expired over a fallen tree. When I walked over to him it was quite obvious that the Rage broadhead had done its job to perfection as you can see from the photos. The season was off to a great start and with one more tag to fill, I was certainly looking forward to our HuntBlog team weekend in London and the comradery that goes along with the thrill of our hunts together.