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Most any bowhunter will have a story related to the uncanny sense of smell of a whitetailed deer .The slightest shift of a breeze and that old buck will detect us. Thermal air currents will also give us away as the day warms or cools . Most times our position is given up to deer we never even see , but when those bucks scent us they will remember the exact place and be extra cautious next time through the area .

The Autumn woods have an abundance of things relating to our own senses. Most obvious to our eyes are the brilliantly colored leaves against the bluebird skies . The multi-colored leaves catch our eye as they drop to the forest floor to create artwork that can really be appreciated from a treestand twenty feet up in a red oak . Flocks of robins normally thought of as harbingers of Spring now make a presence as they reverse the migration pattern. Even a swaying fern fools the eyes briefly as the first thought is a tail in the distance .

Our hearing gets tested also while on alert .Acorns dropping is a welcome sound to the hunter and hunted alike , meaning food in abundance for all .Scampering chipmunks and squirrels make noise much busier to our ears than the methodical swish a deer makes moving along a trail .Scolding from a nearby titmouse,wren or jay may signal the approach of our quarry ,too.

Our sense of smell is not to be overlooked .From the moment we enter our forest patch we take notice of the pines,leaf duff ,woodsmoke and other scents drifting into our zone . Some hunters may even pick up on the musky buck that may have sneaked through a bit earlier .

This leads to the jist of my story of a buck aptly named the aroma buck .My hunting buddy and I ,after gaining permission to hunt a parcel of property ,scouted early and picked a few stand sights that looked promising.The small piece of land is mostly fields , but has a decent patch of forested ground ideally suited for a bedding area .
Glassing evenings during August and September had us convinced that our new area harbored its' share of deer and in particular a couple of nice bucks with prominent headgear !

Throughout the preseason scouting I noticed that when the winds changed direction so did the smells .The prevailing north west wind would bring along with it a treat of freshly baked bread from a nearby bakery . A southerly breeze brought a much less pleasant odor on its' currents , since a chicken farm was less than a half mile in that direction. Best of all was wafting winds from the northeast area , as the Hershey factory gave the best of all -chocolate !!

The first day promised to be a gem of nature . Starlit skies enroute to our stands and a comfortable fifty three degrees .After a fairly short walk to the deisgnated parting point , good luck wishes exchanged then another fifteen minutes to our respective patch of woods .My perch was placed above some younger saplings in order to break outlines .Climbing and clicking onto the safety harness gives a safe feeling and comfortable place to spend the morning.

After sitting just a few minutes in the darkness the silence was broken by two coyotes trotting past a mere thirty feet away . At this time a light breeze began to bring to me what I had hoped for - chocolate from the northeast ! Pink skies to the southeast gave way to a brilliant sun poking above the horizen .

About twelve rows of corn had been cut around the perimeter of the field , so I could see quite a distance with the binoculars. Movement about a quarter mile down the hill made me focus them to sharply see my first deer of the season. Although too far to see if it was a buck or not it was exciting to have it making its' way towards my position . In a few minutes the deer proved to indeed show that it not only was a buck ,but one that we had hoped to see and maybe get a crack at .He purposely made his way along the corn rows , seemingly carefull to stay in their shadows as he was making his way to the bedding area .Pausing at the end of the crops ,the high tined eight pointer scanned down the edge before walking acrossed the grassy strip and into the wooded safety .At this time he appeared less nervous and stopped to sniff something on the path I had taken. My left glove was dropped unknowingly earlier but only now did I see how big a mistake it may be.His head came up , looked all around ,then slowly began walking towards the thicket which would bring him broadside in front of me. Heart pounding I picked the opening that he should enter in just seconds .At full draw and taking a deep breath I waited . Nose. Antlers.Neck.One more step...Whack!!! The monarch I dreamed about dropped immediately as the shot was a bit too high . Another arrow nocked and sent on its' way finished what should have been done with the first attempt .Twenty five yards away lay the most magnificent antlered deer I had ever seen in the woods while hunting .

Still trembling from the events that had just taken place a glance at my watch read 7:05 . My season was about over before even really beginning !After climbing down and going over to him I sure gave thanks to the heavens for such an oppurtunity and for the meat that would be savored in the months to come.

The dandy that adorns a wall in my flytying room brings back memories instantly every time .The aroma buck has a very special place in my minds' hunting archives and whenever I catch a wiff of that chocolate factory as well .I often wonder if these great whitetails use the famliar scents as I did on that special hunt .
Finn
 
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