This week has always been a struggle for us. Our cams slow down just a tick at this time of the year and our sightings do the same. Cody has been successful twice on October 15th on mature bucks, and that day has been and gone. I have shot my only October buck, on the 23rd in ’17. After a set of crazy circumstances I shouldn’t have been there in the first place, so that was dumb luck. We think we have a solid plan for early season and we know when and where to be in the rut, but this timeframe right now seems to be a tough on for us.
For this hunt it was a new area that we really had been eyeballing on a map. We knew people have hunted around this area in the past and have had some success, but we pushed in just a little bit farther. A little grass field with a giant oak tree in the middle of it, on top of a bluff that was close to ag. We had some hope that we could have an encounter but as the evening wore on, we were just both happy to be hunting. We did see one deer in a no hunting zone approx, 184 yards away. Close just not close enough.
This hunt this morning was first on any private land we had, a scenario I love hunting. Close to an open and active scrape after a rain. I had made the 47 minute journey, strictly due to past trail camera data and due to the open scrape with a rain. They say deer will be in the same area within a 3 day window. I figured I would put that to the test. The past 2 years I have had a shooter buck daylight on October 22 in the morning. Nothing really special about either day each year, one was 37 degrees which is slightly cooler for an October morning and the other was 55 degrees. These pictures were not the same deer and they were traveling opposite ways in and out of the bedding area. I figured I would try my luck hopping in there a day early on them. Did not see one single deer.
Back to the public land I go. Was able to get out for a morning hunt, back in the same spot we had encountered does the weekend before. It was a cold morning and my first official pack in on public land with “all the gear” as I was the only one hunting. Absolute perfect morning to hunt, just didn’t work out. Land managers were re-rocking the road about 150 yards away.
On this day Cody hunted our private piece in the morning and had a great encounter with a buck we call Sunshine. This is about the only buck we are all over. We had him on trail cam 9 days in a row to begin the month of September, mostly mid-day and early evening. He is what we assume to be a solid 3.5 year old 9 pointer, who is just on the edge of being a shooter. We needed to see him in person to make the final call. That morning Sunshine got the pass from Cody at 12 yards, but it was not a quick decision. The evening hunt we packed in did some quick scouting by the food plot cut our way into a small ever green and hunted. Shortly after 6 p.m. Sunshine made his way to the plot. We did not think it was Sunshine as his body and rack seemed to be quite bigger in person than on cam. I was the hunter and he has his head down straight on at me almost he whole time I seen him. I knew he was a 9 but at that moment didn’t put 2 and 2 together, which we had no other 9 pointers running around there. He came and worked a scrape at 20 yards with no shot of course, at the same time dow bumps into the field, he bounds out to check her. Standing 42 yards broadside I got one small limb in the way. He knows she not interested so he is going to exit the plot and is now 32 yards. I make a not so good shot on him, as it was far back. We came back and checked were we knew he last was, which was about 600 yards away. We jumped him out of his bed a mere 5 yards from where Cody passed him Friday morning, 1,000 yards from the shot sight, and 15 hours had passed. He seemed to be running good, after a non-lethal hit.
After walking all of our private piece on the track for Sunshine, we didn’t hunt much over the weekend. We let our private piece cool down and our public spot has restricted access for the upcoming week. After that encounter and being so close to getting it done a quick break is almost needed. We are getting ready to hit it hard, so we took one last weekend with some extended family time.