As I sat there in my stand, the sun directly in my eyes, I couldn't help but think that so far this year was kind of sucking. I hadn't seen any good deer so far, and from the way Mike talked about Ohio deer, I figured I would be at least seeing lots of does.
There were deer tracks under and around my stand so I knew they were there...but the trail camera wasn't exactly doing its job so that wasn't really helping out. Mike has Wildgame cams set up, and they don't really work that well in my opinion. If it gets too cold or rainy it just plain doesn't take any pictures. Or it takes lots of pictures and they're all just black. I'll stick to my moultrie.
I had brought my grunt tube with me, and every hour or so I would use it. About 5 oclock I heard a buck grunt in return, and the crunching of leaves. Something was coming my way. Fast.
It was behind me so I stood up in my ladder stand and face backwards. Really, I wasn't sure how I was going to get a shot this way since there were so many vines hanging down, but I could certainly wait and see.
The next five minutes happened fast and slow at the same time. A big buck walked into the clearing, looking around for the other buck that had made the grunts. My heart pretty much stopped. In the back of my mind I remembered I still had my gloves on. Using my teeth I took the glove off my right hand and dropped it onto the seat of my stand, then tried to clip my release onto the loop on my bowstring. And tried. And tried. The buck started rubbing a small tree in the clearing and pawing at the dirt. I valiantly tried to get my release on my bow and after a few minutes of shaking I managed to get it.
This is what happens to me when I see a deer and I know that there's a good chance I will get a shot. It doesn't even really matter if its a buck or a doe, I just start shaking. My legs were wobbly as I watched the buck, only 20 YARDS AWAY!!!! And the vines were hanging down directly in my shooting lane. I wasn't sure I could do anything to bring him closer, if I blew on the grunt tube again he would probably bust me. He would have to come around the other side of my tree in order for me to get a shot.
The buck continued to work the scrape, and I waited impatiently for him to do something. I suddenly remembered my camera hanging around my neck. Slowly I moved my hand up and turned it on and held it out away from my body and snapped a picture. I had no idea if it would turn out or not, or even if the buck was in the frame but I didn't want to move around too much just in case he saw me.
The buck only stayed there for about five minutes before once again scanning the field and turning and heading down hill. Away from my stand. Out of my life. Noooooo!!!!!! I waited until he was about 50 yards into the brush and softly blew on the grunt tube again. He stopped and looked back but it wasn't working. He was gone.
On the bright side, he wasn't spooked. He had a fresh scrape that looked like he had been using fairly often. There were two other shooter bucks we had on trail cameras at this same spot. All was not lost.
I sat back down in my stand and I couldn't stop shaking. My knees were wobbly and I was starting to get cold. I waited about 20 minutes before I sent out a few text messages to Mike, Sarah, and a few of my friends. And I checked out the picture on my camera; it had come out beautifully. The buck was an 11 point (I never think to count points when the buck is right there, I just judge the mass and tine lenght/width), he was an old deer and a definite shooter.
That night is the best one I have had so far, and it made me that much more excited to get out there again. I've been out to the stand again in the evening and had some coyotes scare away some deer that were coming in. The rut should kick in the end of this week/beginning of next week. I'm going to be hunting alot over the next few weeks. It's all I can think about, I just want to be out there 24/7. Mike and I put another stand up this week that we will be hunting together Tuesday and Wednesday. I've got my fingers crossed that I'll see (and kill) a shooter buck this week and it will make it alot easier to concentrate on filming Mike shooting some deer.