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Opening Weekend 2009

I always look forward to the start of hunting season.  Though, I wasn?t able to get in the woods until the weekend of the opening week of deer season.  We hunted over a corn pile out of ground blind, I hunted out of a box stand in a soy bean field, and out of 12 foot ladder stand in the woods this morning.  The first two days I didn?t see anything but mosquitoes, but this morning was different!

I got up in the stand well before daylight and on the way in I spooked a turkey that was roosting in a tree above me.  The sound of the turkey flying off seemed magnified because, as you most likely know, when it?s pitch black and quiet in the woods, everything will startle you a little bit.  It was slightly raining early on, but eventually is stopped.  The two previous days had been hot and humid, but today it was cool and just right with a little breeze.  The stand I was hunting out of is positioned in the break of the woods and by break I mean it?s right on the edge of where some planted pines meet a tree line of oak trees.  From looking at the signs, it appears that a buck has a scrape-line along this break in the woods as well. 

Hunting in the woods in early season is always a challenge as the leaves provide so much cover.  It?s just difficult to see far.  In this scenario, I was going to have to have a deer within 30 ? 40 yards before I could see it.  I?ve often been in this scenario and had a deer sneak in on me and get right on top of me before I could even get my gun up.  So I knew it was important to keep my head on a swivel.  We had put out 2 corn piles and from where I was sitting one pile was at my 5 o?clock and the other at my 10 o?clock. 

Soon the sun started to rise and the visibility got better.  I sat in the stand for a good while and then I noticed a flash of brown moving down the hill past the corn pile that was at my 10 o?clock side.  I saw enough movement that I knew it was more than 1 deer.  I took this opportunity to turn my body in my stand to get in better position.  A few moments later I took my safety off and put my gun up on the railing that surrounds the stand.  At this point, I knew there were deer back there, but didn?t know how many or if they were bucks or does.  The heart started beating fast again!  That rush that every hunter understands came on me.  I started looking through the scope and out came 4 deer.  There were two fawns and 2 does.  I believe one of them was the mama doe, but the other I wasn?t too sure about.  The other doe had a much darker tone to it than the other three.  I watched them eat acorns and corn for about 15 minutes through my scope.  I wasn?t satisfied with the size of the does, so I decided not to pull the trigger on either one.  I?m guessing they were around 80 lbs or so and I say that because I could see their ribs when they would take deep breathes.  I put the safety back on and lowered my gun when they all either weren?t looking or were behind a tree.  The fawns weren?t that attentive so it wasn?t too hard.  At one point, one of the larger does raised and charged for about 2 ? 3 steps at one of the fawns making the fawn move away.  I?m not sure why, but I think it didn?t like the fawn eating the same thing it was trying to eat.  So that was neat to see. 

After 15 minutes I traded my gun for my camera phone.  Since I wasn?t going to shoot the deer, I figured I?d at least try to get some pictures.  Though, I knew with the camera phone the clarity wouldn?t be that great.  By this point, the mama doe had worked her way behind me and I could no longer see her.  She was headed to the other corn pile that was at my 5 o?clock.  The two fawns and other doe were still on the first pile of corn to my left.  The fawns followed their mom next, but they came extremely close to me as they were passing.  I could have spit on one of the fawns it got so close to my stand.  It got right up under my stand, but yet was directly behind me, and just stood there for about 10 minutes.  I was sitting sideways in the stand and was holding the camera and was locked in for the whole 10 minutes in hopes of not scaring the fawn.  It was difficult to hold still that long without moving an inch!  Eventually it went by me.  So now the mama doe and two fawns were walking behind me and the odd doe out was starting to head that way.  Then, all of a sudden, that shrieking sound came.  Yes, you know the one I?m talking about.  The mama deer either saw me move or smelled me and she blew as loud as she could.  Though, she didn?t run, but rather blew about 4 ? 5 times.  Then 2 other deer blew back at her.  It was kind of funny because I was hearing them all going back and forth and it was coming from different spots in the forest.  They were alarmed and on edge now.  The odd doe out was now eating at the corn pile behind me to my right at my 5 o?clock.  It started stomping its feet like deer do when something isn?t right.  The sounds of the does shrieking blows continued for a little while longer.  I swiveled all the way around in the stand to look at it from an easier position.  I watched the doe for about 5 minutes.  The mama doe had obviously circled back around closer to where I first saw them, but she must have done it from a distance where I couldn?t see her because she blew again and was in front of me.  I never saw her, but she blew and finally ran away.  She blew the whole time she was running and with every bound I could hear the sound fading away.  This also alarmed the doe that was eating behind me and she slowly went into the forest behind me.  It was now 8:30. 

These does and fawns had me occupied for over an hour.  I wanted to give them some time to clear the area so that I could leave.  I waited 15 more minutes and was ready to start heading out when I hear another shrieking blow sound from behind me.  This time the deer must have smelled me because I wasn?t moving and the tree the stand is on was in between me and the deer + she was further away this time.  So I waited another 15 minutes and it was pushing 9 o?clock.  I bolted the shell out of the chamber, stood up, put my orange vest on, clipped my bag around my waist and stretched for a few seconds.  I figured the deer must have left the area because I didn?t hear any response movement to the sounds I was making.  I turned around and started going down the ladder.  When my first foot hit the highest step, you got it, another shrieking blow from deep in the woods.  This time the last doe bounded away and I here again, I could hear the sound growing faint with every bound she took.  I really didn?t want to spook the does away by any means, but I couldn?t get them away from me far enough to let me get out of the stand!  What a problem to have right. 

Here are some pictures that I took of the deer from my I-Phone below.  You may have to squint to see them in some!  The deer are the red "blurs" that you see

And fawn #2 when she walked behind my stand

I also saw a nice little rub on the way out too. The buck is continuing to work that scrape-line.  From the size of this rub, I?d say he?s a little 6 point.


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