What if the deer would've come out 10 yards further down the plot? What if I would've just had my gun already propped on the shooting rail? What if the deer would've kept walking toward the decoy? What if my gun barrel didn't get caught in the burlap? These were the questions running through my mind moments after blowing a perfect chance to harvest a nice 9 pt. Let's rewind?
This past weekend, I had the privilege to sit in the deer stand a few times. Saturday morning didn't offer any luck even though I felt like I was in the perfect setup. I called Clint to see if he wanted to film me hunting over the Tecomate Seed Food Plot on the power line Saturday afternoon. We decided were going to setup a buck decoy and use a rut smoking stick by Tink's. I placed the decoy and smoke stick about 60 yards down the plot. About halfway between the decoy and the stand, there was a fresh scrape on the edge of the food plot. The wind was blowing in our face at an angle, which was good considering the deer should be coming out in front of us. The deer we have been seeing have been coming out close to the scrape or at the very bottom of the plot. It was around 3:30 pm when we finally got situated in the tower stand. Clint and I were whispering what we hoped would happen and just texting people on our phones, trying to kill time until the ?golden hour? arrived.
Since there hasn?t been much rain, the squirrels were making a ridiculous amount of noise in the leaves to our left and right. Around 4:40 pm, the sporadic scampering from the squirrels had ceased and a rhythmic pattern of steps started resonating from the hardwoods to our right. I instantly looked at Clint and said ?That?s a deer!? Adrenaline suddenly rushed through my body and heightened my senses. I could hear every twig snap and every leaf crackle as the deer approached. He was walking right towards our stand! As the deer approached the food plot, he was so close that we couldn?t even see him. At this point, Clint and I were so excited that we literally felt like puking. Finally, Clint saw some antlers moving below us. Since I was in the right corner of the stand, I didn?t see the deer until he was a step away from entering the food plot. First thing I spotted was antlers. So I started taping Clint on the leg for him to let me know if it was a shooter. Clint gave me a thumbs up!!! It was game time! The deer was so close we had to be extremely quiet in our movements. I gently sat my binoculars on the floor and started to get my gun raised. By this time, the deer had spotted the decoy and had taken a few steps toward it. Perfect! I was thinking the deer was going to head straight for the decoy and Clint was going to capture the magic. The deer suddenly got spooked. He paused, turning his ears in every direction trying to pick up the slightest noise. I was frozen! I still hadn?t gotten my gun raised. The deer started walking toward the woods instead of the decoy. It?s was now or never! I quietly, but frantically tried to get my gun positioned on the shooting rail. The deer was just a few steps from disappearing into the woods when my gun barrel got tangled in the burlap on the top railing. As I untangled the barrel and clicked the safety off, the deer darted for the woods. BANG!!! ?Did you get him!?!? Clint whispers. My heart sank. I just had the greatest opportunity to take a nice buck and failed. I?m pretty sure in my rushed state of mind; I shot over the deer?s back at 15yds! We sat until dark and then got down to make sure I didn?t hit the deer. We didn?t find any sign of the deer being hit. This was the greatest hunt, with the worst outcome, in my life.
The image of the buck spotting the decoy & getting all stiff-legged
Even though I missed the deer, I had to show my family this awesome hunt. So when I got home, I played the footage for my dad, mom, sisters, and brother-in-law. As soon as the buck came into the screen, my sister was like I can?t believe you missed that nice buck. Great! Here we go, time for the clowning to commence. Then my dad chimes in, ?That deer about licked your barrel!? Now I?m trying to defend myself by describing what is happening behind the camera. My dad said he was going to get in that same stand in the morning. I said that was cool because I could just film him. He said that I wouldn?t have to worry about that deer again if he came out on him because he would ?put him to sleep?. So Sunday morning we headed back out to the tower stand. After getting in the stand, my dad couldn?t be still. His back was bothering him and he was on a bucket seat that didn?t have any back support. He kept squirming around and occasionally stood up. By this point I thought there was no way we are going to see a deer. So I just started playing on my phone and started texting people. Suddenly dad whispered ?Don?t move! A doe just stepped out.? By the time I get the camera turned on and zoomed down the plot, two more does stepped out. None of these does where on high alert like a buck was with them, so I immediately tell dad to pick one out and shoot. Before he can put the binoculars down and grab his gun, there were six does in the food plot. Three of these does are at least 120 lbs. Dad got his gun on the shooting rail and we pick out which doe he is going to shoot. ?Ready?? he whispered. BANG!!! ?Haha? I chuckled. The deer bounded off. Dad asks ?Did I hit her?? Then you hear me kind of laugh and say ?I don?t know?. I started picking on him because that is the first deer I?ve ever seen or heard of my dad missing. For some reason, he placed the cross hairs on top of the does back and shot over the top of her. I was like why would you do that, she was only 140 yards out. Then I realized that was the first deer my dad had ever attempted to shoot with a rifle. We decided to get down and check for blood just to make sure. As I waited for my turn to climb down the stand, I glanced back down the food plot and another deer had just walked out after all the commotion. I started whispering to dad to hand me the gun, but obviously he didn?t hear me. By the time he finally handed me the gun, the deer had run off. Now it was time for dad to get clowned by the family. Luckily for him, it was only mom there. So all he got was, ?I can?t believe ya?ll missed those deer.?
Even though pops and I were 0 for 2, those were two of the best hunts I?ve experienced in my life. I have to give special thanks to Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag, Atsko Scent Elimination Products, True Timber Camo and Tecomate Seed. Without the Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag and Atsko?s Scent elimination products, I don?t think Clint and I would?ve ever been able to get that close to the 9 pt. To be in a stand that is about 12 feet high and get within 5 yards of a buck like that speaks volumes for these two products. True Timber has great camo patterns for our area and the material is quiet. I will be purchasing more from them soon! Tecomate Seed just keeps bringing these deer in. We haven?t hunted that stand much, but now we have seen 3 or 4 bucks on it and a lot of does. So I highly recommend you guys try these products.
Below is the video of my first hunt
Below is the video of my dad?s hunt
These are 2 hunts I'll never forget!
After the showing we had yesterday, we all felt like we couldn?t do any worse if we went back out again today. Though, after we hunted yesterday, Adam went and bought a new slate and a diaphragm call. He was pumped up about practicing calling birds in and I think he even went hunting yesterday afternoon just to see if he could get one to talk back to him. Adam is pretty driven and when he gets something in his mind to do, then he usually works at it until he gets it done. I have no doubt that he?ll be a good turkey caller before too long and his efforts today yielded some pretty impressive results. Keep in mind that this was his first time turkey calling without a deer antler.
We all met early again over at my place and headed out. We didn?t drop the striker for the slate on the way in this time so already it was a success in comparison to yesterday?s hunt. This morning we didn?t hear many turkeys gobbling from the trees in the dark like we did yesterday. We got set up and had our two decoys out in front of us. We sat and waited and could hear one turkey gobbling way off in the distance to our left. He was very talkative, but remained at a distance and didn?t seem to get any closer as a response to Adam?s calling.
In time, the sun had risen and was up really high and we still hadn?t seen a turkey. We were a little frustrated at the lack of action, especially since we actually brought the slate striker today! We talked a little in between ourselves and even thought about leaving. Then Adam looked at us and said ?Hey, patience kills turkeys? (referencing to a quote that Mr. Puette told me only a week earlier). I said, yep ? you?re right and we decided to stay in another hour just to see what would happen.
We sat and sat and the temperature started to warm up some. Due to their positioning, Will and Adam couldn?t see as well as I could. I had a better perspective so I was constantly scanning the tree line looking for any movement. After a while, I saw something directly across the field from us that looked like the shape of a turkey, but it was so far away that I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me much like they do when deer hunting. I ?whisper-yelled? at the guys and said ?Throw me the binoculars? and they reached to get the binoculars, but before they could grab them I saw the turkey move. I repeated ?there he is, there he is, can you see him?? and they immediately perked up. I could clearly see the turkey, but it took a few minutes before he came into Adam and Will?s view. Adam was randomly hitting the slate call and I told him to talk to the bird. He started slowly ?purring? at the bird and instantly the turkey puffed his feathers up. I whisper-yelled again ?Can you see him? and by this time they had him clearly in their line of sight. We were all excited and the bird was headed our way.
Adam kept lightly striking the slate call ever so often as the gobbler slowly strutted his stuff across the field. It was awesome. He would walk for a bit, then puff his feathers up and walk some, then like deflate and then puff up again. It was like a cycle that he went through and he did this 3 ? 4 times within the minutes that he strutted across the field. There was no doubt that this turkey was hearing what Adam was doing and responding to it. Even once the turkey stopped and gobbled real loudly in response (and you can hear it on the video if you turn the volume up). We were all glued to our seats as this big boy was strutting in the field like he owned it. The bird was coming closer and closer.
As the turkey got closer I noticed that I started getting some shakes going on ? the same kind of rush you get when a big buck walks out in front of you. My heart began to beat more as the turkey responded and kept drawing in closer to us. It was neat to watch this bird come out from about 200 yards away and come directly towards us. I really thought that we were going to get some great footage of a kill shot.
Finally, the turkey got close enough to us and he stopped and perked his head up. He saw our decoys and when he saw the decoys his whole demeanor changed. The turkey came up from the other side of a small hill. It wasn?t until he topped the crest of the hill that he could see the decoys. As soon as he saw the decoys he started walking differently. He seemed to be more in a hurry and then he went hard to the left and was seemingly pacing back and forth for a minute or so. He did this twice and then made a b-line for the trees. As rookie hunters we really have no clue why the turkey did this, but our current theory is that when this turkey saw the decoys he felt that the male decoy was larger than him and got intimidated and immediately fled the scene. The turkey we were calling had a beard, but it wasn?t a huge one. This is what makes us believe this notion.
After the turkey went back into the woods we were all just sitting there deconstructing what had just taken place before us. We were all pumped and excited and we all felt that same rush. It was a pretty intense few minutes for some novice turkey hunters. Again, we sat for a little while and then two more birds came from the corner. I spotted them and then we went back into stealth mode in the woods. Though, these two birds were just feeding and were hens. They came out in the field and worked their way past us. This was fine with us and we tried to give them time to leave, but we were ready to go. We got up and I interviewed Adam and during the interview Will saw the hens working back down. We paused the video to try to get closer and call them in, but had no luck.
All in all I think it was a much better hunt than yesterdays. To see the turkey blow his feathers up like that and come across the crest of that hill was a neat scene for me and one I won?t forget. I hope to see that again in my life! We headed back to the truck and yet again to Bojangles. I don?t know if it?s a good thing to tell the wife-to-be, but I think I may have caught turkey fever!
You'll best see this video if you blow it up to full screen and watch in 720p, but give it time to load