We arrived in camp on Thursday afternoon during the second full week of archery season just in time to get ready for the evening hunt. We got our gear on and made our way to the stands. I dropped Mikey off at his raised tower blind, then Mackenzie and I made our way back to the tower we were going to hunt out of.
She was full of questions on the walk out which made me realize I needed to explain things that I and Mikey both take for granted. This was her second time out with a bow in her hands, but it was her first "real" hunt. It was great to hear all of the inquizative questions about what and why we were doing things. We made our way quietly to the tower and began our climb up.
One View From The Stand
Once settled in we got our game on and began our sit. The first two hours were uneventful, then around 5pm we saw movement! It was two big bucks out in the field about 200 yards out. They cautiously made their way down to about 100 yards, when they began to sniff and curl their noses and lips in the air. At the same time we noticed a couple does at the opposite end of the field we were hunting. It reminded me of the blog that Dan Block wrote last week about bucks coming out and checking fields with does to see if they are receptive. That is just what these bucks looked like they were doing. They kept looking down towards the does and kept sniffing, after about five minutes of this they casually walked back into the tree line and disappeared! Both were nice big bucks that looked like 8pts best I could tell. They both had antlers outside their ears, which got my attention right away!
Mackenzie Checking Her Gear
We saw one lone buck that was not quite as big as the first two but was still a nice buck later that evening, he to didn't venture close enough to consider a shot. During the waining light the does began to fill the field all around us! Macknezie told me that she couldn't believe how close they were to us and how many of them were out there! I could see the excitement in her eyes! This alone made me happy to see her having a great time! We only had one doe that came in close enough to shoot, but she had two fawns with her so I told Mackenzie to let her pass. As darkenss fell, the field was full of deer. We had to wait until they left out of the field before we climbed down so we didn't alert them to our presence.
We found out that Mikey had shot a doe that evening but we had a hard time finding a lot of blood. We decided to track it the next morning since it was going to be below freezing for the night. From listening to his acount of the shot, it sounded like he hit the deer good enough to put it down, we just had to find it. All in all day one was a huge success in my eyes!
The next morning was very slow, but I did have an opportunity for a shot. There was a heavy frost that morning and Mackenzie and I left our bows in the tower blind. Just at daybreak I saw a deer making it's way towards us right down the middle of the field. It came within 15 yards of us and by now it was light enough to see that it was a nice big 6 point with the antlers outside of his ears! He was browsing in front of us and finally got broadside to us! I drew my bow and it CREAKED! The cold caused it to creak when I drew back and that was all it took for the buck to bound away three or four leaps! He looked around, flicked his tail a couple of times and then casually walked away back into the brush. Other than that we only saw two other deer that morning. It taught me a lesson, if you leave your gear out in the cold, make sure you exercise it several times before setting up in the stand.
We went out after the morning hunt to look for Mikey's doe with no luck. We had four of us out looking for over three hours. We found blood for the first 100 yards but then nothing. The other guy who helped us search told Mikey that he saw enough evidence to know that the doe was piled up somewhere dead. It just didn't leave enough sign to be found. He told Mikey that he would find it next week and let him know where it was at. There isn't many deer that John doesn't find, he just waits to see the birds circling to find the carcases.
Little Spike In The Field
The evening hunt wasn't much better. We only saw 9 deer, only one baby spike coming close enough to generate any excitement. I did see one big buck, he was too far off to see exactly how big his rack was, but from the distance I saw him from I could tell he had a nice set of antlers on him. We did hear some coyotes off in the distance that drew Mackenzie's attention. She asked what they were and when I told her that they were coyotes, she asked if they were close to us and if they could climb up and get us! I told her that she need not worry, they were far away and couldn't climb up!
The Birthday Girl
One last thing I should mention is that this was her 12th birthday today! Not only did I take her deer hunting, but I also made a birthday cake in the evening for her! Not too many kids can say that their dad takes them deer hunting and makes them a birthday cake! There better not be any Betty Crocker Jokes! Call me Chef Boy-R-Dee!