At the end of last hunting season I walked the woods for a few hours in the area I hunt. While walking the land I almost felt dumb because I saw all kinds of buck sign (rubs and scrapes) in areas that I never even hunt or go to during hunting season. As I walked the lease I was beating myself up for not hunting these far to reach locations. So at the beginning of this hunting season I made the plan to hang a stand real deep in the woods and not hunt it until the rut. And that’s exactly what I did. I went really deep in the woods in the same area where I saw all the buck sign and hung a stand and cut a shooting lane. I didn’t set foot near that stand all season. The Thanksgiving Streak As Thanksgiving approached this year I didn’t mention it much to anyone, but in the back of my mind I wondered if the lucky streak would continue. For the past 2 Thanksgivings in a row I’ve killed nice bucks on Thanksgiving morning. In 2013 I posted the “ Thanksgiving 8 Point ” blog recapping the first of my Thanksgiving bucks. Last year I posted the “ Thanksgving Day 9 Point ” blog about the buck I got exactly one year later. The Long Walk In I knew bucks would be in the area near the stand and I knew it was time to make the trip deep into the woods. Yesterday I sprayed down really well and carried a bag of corn down to the stand and poured it out in the shooting lane. I felt sure deer would be moving in the area and I just wanted the corn there to potentially get a deer to pause in case I needed to make a shot. I was eager to get in the woods this morning and since I had to make a long trip in, I got up a little extra early. It was about 40 degrees and the wind was blowing 3 mph in the direction I needed it to be blowing for a chance. The only thing that wasn’t cooperating was the moon. It was very bright… it looked like a flash light in the sky. Since I had a long walk in I unzipped the zippers in my legs and my chest to let my body heat out as I walked. I hate walking a long distance with multiple layers on, getting to the stand and being all sweaty, only to have the sweat dry on me then be freezing. I walked half way in just by moonlight. The Arrival & The Wait As I hit the edge of the woods near the stand I sprayed some buck bomb on the sides of my boots. I arrived to the stand and got situated in the stand and left my zippers open until I cooled off. I could hear dogs barking off in the distance and slowly the sun started to rise. As time passed I wasn’t seeing or hearing anything. I felt like I should be seeing deer. I started hearing rifle shots off in the distance and then close by. I bet I heard 7 shots all around me before it was all over. I started getting a little down on things thinking I shouldn’t have hunted that stand. I felt as though the streak would be over. Then around 10 minutes after 7 I heard something. It wasn’t a stick pop or rustling of leaves, but just some sound that caught my attention and I looked to my left. This deep in the woods it’s really thick with oaks and pines so visibility wasn’t the best. I saw something brown moving behind some trees and tree limbs. It was a deer! My heart instantly started pounding. At first glance I thought it was a doe, but yet it was alone. The deer was probably 40 yards away from me to my left and moving at a steady walking pace. Initially I thought any deer I saw would be heading toward a fresh pile of corn. This buck could have cared less about that corn. He was heading in the opposite direction. The deer went behind a large oak tree and I put my gun up. The deer came out on the other side of the tree and I found it in my scope. Antlers! I could tell it was a buck, but it was so thick I couldn’t get a clear view of the deer’s rack. The deer stopped and stared at me. I wasn’t moving at all and the wind was blowing towards me so the deer couldn’t be smelling me. Regardless, the deer knew something wasn’t quite right. The Shot The buck stood behind some small trees and limbs and continuously moved its head up and down trying to check me out and wind me. I knew it wouldn’t be long before the deer bolted out of there. I’ve seen this scenario happen one too many times. I needed to know if this deer was big enough to shoot as on our club we have game management rules. The deer stood directly facing me and turned its head slightly to the left. This gave me a view of the tines and I could see the thickness in the tines. I knew it was a shooter. I pulled the trigger and the deer ran about 15 yards and dropped! I tried to calm down and then I climbed down out of the stand. I walked over and found a nice 8 point awaiting me. Here is the picture of the deer as I found it laying Just when I though the streak was over this buck came strolling through and helped me keep the streak alive. 3 Things I Learned From This Hunt Hanging a stand and not hunting it until the rut can pay off Even when conditions are in your favor a mature deer can still tell when something is not right When the rut is on, a buck doesn’t care much about your corn when he’s chasing So now the pressure is really on for next Thanksgiving! If somehow I get 4 in a row I don’t know what I’ll do. I can say this though, Thanksgiving weekend in Chesterfield County sure is a good weekend to hunt from what I’ve seen.