I decided that this evening was a good time to try hunting the stand I hung the other day. A small front is coming through tonight and it is supposed to rain all day tomorrow, so I figured that there should be some pretty good activity. I got out to the property at about 4:30 and was in the stand by 4:45.
By 5 I had already seen my first three deer. Three small bucks came out into the neighboring field from the West and started to walk down the fence line towards me. They were at about 80 yards when one of the neighbors let out their 3 large dogs and spooked the deer off the field.
At 6, a large doe began to feed from West to East in the same field. She came out on the fence line 200 yards North of me, fed for 20 minutes, and then moved out of sight. The wind picked up after she disappeared and I didn't see anything until about 7. I looked behind me into the field and saw a group of 8 deer. There were 2 fawns, 4 small bucks, a nice 6 point and a large 8 point. All of the bucks were hard horned and you could tell they had just recently lost their velvet...
The 8 point is probably a 2 1/2 year old. He had a big body and I would estimate his inside spread
to be about 15 inches. His tines are pretty short and he didn't have a lot of mass, but he was perfectly symmetrical. Hopefully he makes it another year or two!
The group got within about 100 yards of my stand before they moved off to the Northeast and disappeared in the same spot the doe had. Finally, at about 7:45, 3 more small bucks entered the field and fed until black dark. They were still in the field when I climbed out of my stand.
All of the deer are feeding off to the Northeast and ending up about 350 yards from my stand in the small apple orchard on the property. There are about 6 trees and they are loaded with apples this year. I walked over to the orchard at dark and saw all the deer feeding under the trees. Unfortunately I can't hunt the orchard because it is a high visibility area that all the neighbors have to drive past.
I may hunt this stand again in the evening, but I am probably going to concentrate on hunting the wooded ridge that is absolutely covered in acorns and beechnuts. Hopefully the apples are gone within the next few weeks so that the deer will start patterning towards the ridge with the acorns. If so, they will be using the fence line where my stand is hung.
All in all I think I did a good job placing this stand. I am perfectly happy just watching deer, so tonight was definitely a successful evening. My Dad has hunted this property for 20 years, and I have for 10, so we know that within the next few weeks the deer will start using that corner to cross from the fields to the woods and vice-versa.
I'll be back at it Saturday morning. The temperature is supposed to drop after this front and rain move through tomorrow. Saturday is supposed to be clear with about 52 degree temps in the a.m. and a high of 70. I may end up hunting morning and evening, it all depends on how my morning hunt goes. Less than a week to go before I start working, so I need to get my act together and kill a few more deer!