On Saturday, December 2, 2017, I took a page out of Matt’s playbook, which is to say that I hunted from sunrise to sunset (6:15 AM to 5:00 PM). It was a perfect day for stand hunting–cloudy, 27F to 40F with very light winds.
To my surprise, I didn’t hear or see any other hunters until I heard three bleats at 2:45 PM–a short one, a medium one, and a long one. “Someone has one of those cylindrical calls that Dad and Brad have,” I thought.
I didn’t see anything until 3:00 when a solo doe came walking towards my tree. I thought there were three deer at first because she was zigzagging like crazy. Why? Because she cut my trail coming in, and she knew I was around. She had her nose in the air the whole time, but she never winded me. She wanted desperately to cross at my tree. She wandered back and forth between 50 and 20 yards from me for exactly one hour. At 4:00, she finally gave up and circled wide around me.
Sunset was 4:13 PM. At 4:17, I heard Mr. Bleater get out of his stand and make a racket walking out–or so I thought. Turns out it was four deer; either a doe with three skippers or a doe with with two skippers and another doe (maybe the one I had seen earlier).
A button buck led them all right through my shot window. I drew twice on him, but he was moving quickly and he never presented a good broadside or even quartering-away shot. I have this on my trail cam, which is 20 yards from my tree overlooking my shot window.
The other three does walked quickly, but slow enough for me shoot them at anywhere from 7 to 20 yards. I decided not to shoot for a whole plethora of reasons.
Due to the between-video delay setting, my trail cam didn’t take a video of the other three deer, which, the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that it was three skippers and a doe. It doesn’t make sense to me that the first doe I saw would join up with these three. She had easy access to where they went without crossing under my tree, and she knew that I was around.
Reasons I didn’t shoot any of them:
1) I told myself that I’d only take a perfect shot (good vitals access, standing still, no obstructions, etc.) Why? Because…
2) I’m surrounded by swampland, which is not easy to blood trail or even navigate in daylight, and I’d be doing it in the dark. Why? Because…
3) I am hunting very close to houses–beyond the setback, but still closer than I’d like.
4) I was hoping that one of these two guys would show up:
5) Or better yet that this guy would show up:
My stand is on his scrape line. In fact, those last four deer walked right through one of his scrapes that’s under my tree.
6) I had to work on Monday, and I had to do a bunch of stuff Sunday in preparation for that.
7) Ever since my “uncle” (my dad’s best friend) Bob told me the story of having to throw rocks at two skippers on Stratton Mt. after he shot their mother, I told myself that I’d never knowingly shoot a doe with skippers. I’d shoot one of the skippers, but not her. That said, I don’t judge anyone who fills their doe tag that way. I just don’t want to do it.
8) I was alone, making things like blood trailing, dragging, etc. more difficult.
9) I didn’t yet know where the nearest check station is. (I now know where it is.)
10) I didn’t have a local butcher yet. (I’ve since read about one on an archery forum post from 2015.)
11) I’d have to drag a deer in the dark with no flashlight very close to some of my neighbors’ houses to get it to my house. I’m not looking forward to that part of this undertaking.
So goes the life of the more urban suburban hunter.