Friday, November 17, 2017

Today was our final day of hunting. The weather wasn’t nearly as bad as it was supposed to be. It never got very cold, but the winds took their toll by the end of the day. Brian and I hunted the pine tree stands one last time. We both went in with hopes of seeing the deer we call Lucky, but it never panned out.

In the mid-morning hours, I heard a wicked ruckus in the brush across the creek. When I turned in that direction to get a better look, I saw two bucks chasing a doe through the CRP. The noise I heard was a shooter buck’s antlers banging off from all of the saplings he was running through. It was a sight to behold. The deer looked just like the buck that Dad killed on ¬†opening day of Ohio’s shotgun season about 10 years ago.

I thought he might make his way across the creek after he lost sight of the doe, but he turned and headed back toward the ridge on the opposite side of the CRP.

After a phone call to Dad, we decided to pull stands. He had a guy in front of him who was metal detecting. The amount of pressure we’ve ¬†seen this year from a number of different types of people has amazed me. Everything from hunters, people playing in the creek, boaters, metal detecting and squirrel hunters have had a negative impact on the hunting. Every time I hunt here, I tell myself I will never come back. I’m not really sure why I return. The frustrations constantly build until I almost get to a breaking point.

After pulling those stands, we decided to get the few remaining cameras and pull the last few stands. I decided to sit in my culvert stand and pull it when I got out of it at dark. On my way in, I jumped six does that were bedded on the side of the ridges.

When I got close to my stand, I could feel something looking at me. Glancing to my left, I could see a deer’s body behind a tree. The deer appeared to be about 250 pounds or more. As soon as I stopped to get a better look, the deer bolted. It was a giant buck. I was really disappointed to see it run away but felt lucky to see it.

After getting into the stand, I settled in for the last three hours of my hunt. Sitting in the tree, I reflected on the trip. I hunted harder than I can remember hunting in a lot of years. I spent every day in the woods from sunup until sundown. I just never got a great shooting opportunity. Although I saw a few dandies, the timing never lined up quite right.

Just as daylight was fading, I heard a lot of racket down in front of me. Peering into the brush, I saw a shooter buck rubbing its antlers. As he thrashed the tree and pawed at the scrape, I hoped that he would walk under me after he finished his business.

Unfortunately, he walked in the opposite direction when he finished destroying the tree he was rubbing. I was sad to see him go but realized I saw some fantastic deer on this trip. Hunting is made up of a lot of luck, and I didn’t have luck on my side this year while in the Midwest.

When we got back to camp, we checked the last few cameras that we pulled. One buck stands out above all others, and the picture tells you that it’s all about timing. We had stands in every location that there were cameras. We just didn’t pick the right spots to sit on some of the day we hunted.

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