Day 2: Clear, 28 degrees, and only a hint of a NW wind when we headed to the farm. Perfect weather for rutting whitetails, I thought.
I got dropped off at the edge of the woods, and crunched (seeming to be obnoxiously loud) the 30 yards to the stick ladder, then climbed up and strapped in. This morning, I got the camera set up and all gear situated without interruption, and had a few minutes to enjoy the smells, sounds, and sights of a new morning in central KY. A horned owl hooted sleepily somewhere off to the north. I heard a coyote bark to the east of my position. Quail were calling in the native grass field. Then came the crunch of hooves in frosty leaves. In the early gray light, an adult doe ambled by with a tow headed buck fawn trailing along. They passed at less than 30 yards, just upwind of the corn. With the increasing light, I was more and more convinced that the deer had not found the corn overnight. These deer passed it at perhaps 5 yards, but paid absolutely no mind to it.
When they were well past, behind some cedars, but not completely out of sight, I turned the can over a couple of times to see if they would return; I figured there is no better decoy than a live one, so it couldn't hurt to invite her back. The doe lingered behind the cedars, then began to work her way along the field edge, to try to get the wind of the deer she'd heard, but couldn't see. As soon as she got downwind of the corn, she stopped, turned, and eased over to it. She and her fawn enjoyed a few mouthfuls, but soon wandered off towards the nearby sanctuary.
All was quiet for a while, and I pulled out my testament for morning devotions. I kept getting interrupted though, as does and young bucks began filtering past, mostly heading in the general direction of the sanctuary. The young bucks were most interested in the does, and all passed upwind of the corn, seeming to be oblivious to its presence. I was enjoying the show, filming deer. Then I spotted a buck making a rub at 70 yards to the north, just at the edge of where I could see. I glassed him through the cedars, and, best I could tell, he was a 125 to 130 class animal, depending upon brow tines, which I couldn't see well. He began moving off to his south east, on a line that would keep him well out of range. I grunted to get his attention, then turned the can over. He stood, staring in my direction. Finally, he flicked his tail and continued on. I grunted again, more aggressively this time, and again he stopped and tried to locate the sound, turning his body a bit towards me.
When it appeared he would dismiss me and move on, I tried a snort-wheeze. As it turns out, this buck was not impressed by the famed snort-wheeze call. In fact, he turned tail and ran straight away from me. He even gave a few snorts after he was out of sight, in what I am sure in the deer world would qualify as "screaming like a schoolgirl", lol. What a pansy.
Note to self: The snort-wheeze is a call probably best left to use by the professionals. Further noted that I am not
Another 1.5er soon strolled by west of me, also without approaching the corn. A couple of fox squirrels, who had been busy all morning behind me, were rustling about back there again. Then a stick snapped, and I realized that it was more than a squirrel this time. I turned, and this guy was already about to walk under my stand, less than 5 yards from the tree.
Although he had nice tine length on the 1's, 2's, and 3's, he was extremely narrow, and easily fell into the "Sunday buck" category. I filmed him for just a bit, but quickly realized he was not traveling alone. Another buck was coming through the cedars behind me. This one was taking his sweet time, and the first buck passed on the upwind side of the corn, and moseyed on before I even got a really good look at the second buck. This one stayed downwind of the stand, but was only 15 yards away, and the thermals kept my scent well above him. When he finally stepped out at 15 yards, I liked what I saw.
He was also downwind of the corn, and I could tell he would move in to investigate it. He cautiously approached, then began to feed. I drooled.
To me, this is a very nice buck, bigger than any I've ever let walk in my career. But it was only the second morning, and I knew there was a much bigger buck in the area. It took all I had, but I left the crossbow hanging on its hook, and just kept the camera rolling.
The breeze was beginning to pick up, and after the buck had been eating for seven or eight minutes, he caught the crossbow swinging in the wind.
Off he went, with a couple of snorts for good measure. I sat and shook uncontrollably. I realized that I am a sick, sick man, but I was happy as a lark. What an awesome buck!
I had barely settled down when I picked up movement from the west, and spotted a coyote heading in my direction. I've never managed to kill a coyote, and doing so is high on my list. I've always heard how sharp they are, and didn't want to run it off, so didn't even try to film; just got ready for a shot. He passed at 30 yards, and I had him in the scope, but he just didn't offer a good shot, and I am not one to just 'get one in him', even if the target is a much-maligned coyote. I tried squeaking with my mouth; I already knew that I stink at that, but I tried anyway. Just got further confirmation that I indeed stink
Saw another 1.5 year old buck shortly after that, then spotted another buck making a rub at 60 yards. This one was wide and tall. I couldn't get great video, but his tines were a bit short, and I thought another year might do wonders for him, although I'm certain he was at least 3.5.
A few more does and fawns, and it was time to climb down, and head to another stand for the afternoon/evening sit.