Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

Although I have a ton to do before leaving, I couldn’t resist going hunting today. The weather was picture perfect for a good evening. The barometric pressure was rising and the rain had tapered off after giving us its best shot for the last 24 hours. I figured it would be an ideal time to get into the woods.

When I thought about where I wanted to go, there was no hesitation in my thought process. I knew exactly where I was going to sit — hopefully. I figured I would walk to the back side of a mountain where I’ve had a lot of luck over the years and look on a small flat for some sign. If there are any good bucks around, they usually lay down some scrapes in this area early in the season.

Having rained all day, it wasn’t difficult to see fresh tracks. I enjoy hunting after or during a light rain because it makes it easy to follow tracks, almost as easy as on the snow.

When I cut my first track, I began following it. It brought me around a few blowdowns and along the edge of a flat covered with heavy evergreens. Before getting into the evergreens, I studied a small opening in front of me. I could see where the deer had been feeding under a lone oak, and the tree was enormous.

Continuing across the opening, I began seeing scrapes on the other side of it. I could feel the excitement in my veins, and I knew I was in a good buck’s neighborhood. Peering down the hill in front of me to where it benched out into a 100-yard flat, I could see the ground torn up. Pulling the binoculars to my eyes, I couldn’t believe what transformed on the other end of the glass.

A scrape larger than I have ever seen could be seen quite clearly. Amazed, I couldn’t stop looking at it. It was as large as a mid-sized car, and the leaves and dirt had been thrown five to 10 yards behind it. The tree under which it was made was torn apart. He had thrashed the tree and done some damage to it. It was easily a 6-inch tree. I could feel me heart trace as I continued taking in the sight.

Since the rain had just stopped, I began scanning the entire area to find a place to sit. I just couldn’t find anything that looked appealing, so I backed up and researched my memory. A fallen tree prevented me from sitting where I truly wanted to sit, so I made a concession and sat farther down the hill. It wasn’t the most ideal place to sit, but I could still see the scrape well.

Before I sat down, I found another large tree that the buck had ripped apart, and I found five to six more scrapes but none of them had a licking branch like the one I was going to watch.

When you find this type of sign, it warrants your attention. In my history of hunting, I know scrapes like this at this time will definitely be visited again in the next few days. Hopefully, I can be in the right place at the right time when he decides to visit.

As darkness crept up on me, the skies let loose and it began pouring. Visibility quickly diminished but not before I could see a deer making its way toward the scrape through the brush.

I couldn’t believe he was coming into the scrape. I hadn’t been sitting there for more than an hour, and the plan was playing out right in front of me. It reminded me of the buck I killed a few years ago in the same exact place doing the same exact thing. History has a way of repeating itself in the big woods and can be generational. Big bucks seem to use the same areas every few years. It might take a bit for another one to move in after you kill one, but in these places where they do, it can leave you with an opportunity to get a look at a good one every few years if you do your part

As the deer got closer, I clicked the safety off and readied myself. When it finally poked out of the brush about 30 yards from the scrape, I could’t believe it was a doe. I really expected that it was going to be the big buck that had left the sign earlier in the day.

She quickly disappeared into the darkness that was consuming the woods, and she blew when I stood up to leave about 15 minutes later. I wasn’t too happy about the one quick blow, but I guess there are some things that you just can’t control. I’m hoping the buck wasn’t in the vicinity, but I’ll never know for sure.

I will give this place a few more tries this week. In big woods, sometimes deer only go through an area once a week or maybe twice a week. I’m hoping he will be in this place regularly since there is so much sign there right now. I know it’s as sure a bet as any when you find sign like this during this particular week, but it won’t last long. The time to kill a deer like this is now. Unfortunately, I can only hunt a day or two before having to fulfill other commitments. I’m hoping to get some good weather to cooperate. I’d like to have a repeat of the Bluejean Buck in the same place on the same date.

Here’s the smaller of two rubs I found today. And the other picture is the buck I killed in this place a few years back. I like this area because I feel alone in the forest. It’s a place that isn’t overly appealing, but when it has sign in it, it’s a good idea to give it a chance.

You can see the bark in the leaves from where he rubbed the tree earlier in the day.

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