Nothing tagged, but still a successful start to deer season

As it does every year, Oct. 1 found me in a treestand, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It was a little too warm for my liking for the beginning of October, but at least I was in a stand. Amen, glory, and hallelujah! After almost nine long and agonizing months, my world has been righted once more.

When it comes to hunting, I don’t measure a successful hunt by whether or not I burned a tag. Rather, I prefer to base my successes on the encounters I have with deer. And by deer, I don’t mean only bucks. Does, fawns, bucks, it doesn’t matter. Any interaction that allows me to see further into what makes a whitetail’s world go ’round is an accomplishment in my eyes. It’s a mindset that I believe most hunters stand upon and can relate to – at least I hope they do. Because, if they don’t, they’re really missing out on the good stuff.

I sat in a stand in the southeast corner of a section of timber that we call the North Woods. Behind it, there’s a tiny food plot we started last spring using Mossy Oak Non-Typical Clover. Most of us don’t have hundreds of acres to devote solely to food plots. The average hunter sees photos and videos of these giant, lush, and perfect plots plastered across media outlets. They know there’s no way to compete with the glossy editing, high-definition videos, and a whole lot of cash, so they deem implementing plots into the property they do have or hunt as a waste of time and energy. However, in my opinion, something is always better than nothing. And while a small corner plot like the one I mentioned may only bring in does and younger deer during early season, what is the one absolute come November? Where the does are, the bucks will be, too.

That morning, I saw two young bucks and four does/fawns. I set my sight on a doe, but she never stepped into a clear shooting lane. I hunted that afternoon, and was nearly eaten alive by gnats and mosquitoes. I didn’t see any deer until waning daylight, and I was getting ready to call it quits when I turned and saw two bucks grazing in the “mini plot.” By then, it was too dark to shoot, and they were a little far out of range anyway. However, they were close enough that they would have busted me getting out of the stand.

After sending my bow down, I texted my husband to come get me with his truck. Running from headlights is one thing, being spooked because a hunter disrupted their peaceful end to the day while enjoying a bedtime snack is a completely different matter.

And the only “busting” I want to be associated with now is busting through a couple of lungs via bow and arrow!

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Illinois – Keri Butt, Whitetail Deer

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