Hunting season often seems to fly by in the blink of an eye. Often there is little time to reflect on all that takes place. Between your own stories and the stories you hear from other hunters it all comes at you so fast it’s often hard to sort through it all. Recapping everything is virtually impossible. Boiling two months of a season into one post is far from an easy task. That’s why even a fantastic movie often doesn’t do a great book justice, there just isn’t enough time to boil all the contents of a book into 2 hours of film. Nevertheless here’s my brief attempt to highlight two months of hunting. I could run in a million different directions detailing two months of the whitetail season, but for simplicities sake I’ll zero in on some of my favorite stories from these two months.
I make it a habit to follow all of Bill Winke’s hunts. Winke often think’s through his strategy quite seriously and he does a fine job of documenting it all. Every one of Winke’s hunts can be found at his video blog. Probably the most important tactic or idea I’ve taken away from Winke’s 41 hunts this season is the value of the perfect stand. Winke has docked 15-20 hunts in his Redneck blind that over looks one of his corn food plots. The secret to Winke’s constant success from this blind is his ability to sneak through a CRP field with a cut trail and then sneak past a cedar/tree row for his final hundred yards to this blind. Watching Winke get into this blind without spooking deer is quite remarkable. Equally remarkable is the number of bucks he’s seen from this one tree-stand. Ironically the primary buck he’s been after has yet to show himself since a brief encounter in the early season. Despite Winke’s inability to connect on ‘Lucky’ he sure has had some amazing hunt’s from this redneck blind. I’ve enjoyed watching everything single one of his hunts this season.
Andy Hayes of AllThingsWhitetail took a fantastic Indiana buck after continual habit work with the help of Jim Ward. He posted a brief video of the buck after he recovered that deer. Andy and Jim Ward’s joint work on his property have allowed him to harvest some great Indiana bucks over the past few years. Jim Ward’s tactics and ideas can be found at his Whitetail Academy website. Andy credits much of his success to a water hole that was created for the whitetails on his property to have a place to drink. This allowed him to pinpoint the great ‘Iron Buck’.
Mark Kenyon faced serious adversity after being unable to find ‘Jawbreaker’ early in his Ohio bow hunting season. He’d redeem himself in due time as he took down a fine Ohio buck weeks later. It’s not the lows that define our season. How we as a hunter handle those lows is often what defines our season. For Mark it was his determination to press on that eventually led him to success in Ohio. Read all the details of his Ohio season at wiredtohunt.com. It’s a story well worth your time.
A good buddy of mine Ryan Roberts is free to hunt and free to hunt quite often compared to his previous days of playing college football. Now that his college football days are over he’s hung up the cleats and is putting in his time 20 feet up in in tree. His season had it’s ups and downs, but Ryan found a way to get it done. He worked tirelessly to put his girlfriend on a nice Illinois whitetail while putting in serious amounts of time behind the camera. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as planned. When it came time for Ryan to take the drivers seat things played out a bit differently, and boy did they play out differently. On November 16th (often considered peak rut) he let an arrow fly to put down a great bow buck. Ryan found great relief to put a buck down a week before the gun season arrived. Just a week later Ryan found his way onto a stud of an eight point during the first Illinois gun season. When the moment of truth arrived he made a shot that would put this bruiser down. It was scouting efforts that led to success on this gun season buck. Ryan had located a great pinch point on a hillside near a creak. After telling me this was a great spot he proved it by capitalizing on his second buck of the season. Thanks to the handy trail camera he knew without a doubt that this was a good spot. Ryan’s feat of putting tags on two nice bucks in one season is no easy task. I guess he didn’t want to be outdone by his dad who accomplished the same feat. What a great season for the Robert’s family.
My best hunting buddy proved that the early season can be a just as rewarding as those epic rut hunts we all dream of. Just into his 2014 bow season he took down his largest bow buck to date. It was his first sit in a stand we both hung. Jon had the spot all picked out and we snuck in there well before the season to hang the stand. Both Jon and I felt like it was a great spot, but all the credit goes to Jon for picking the right location. The funny thing about this stand is we did our work and trimmed some decent shooting lanes. Yet our failure to bring a pole saw almost proved costly. Somehow Jon made do of the lack of shooting lanes on the path that the buck chose to take and he made the shot of a lifetime. Having climbed into the stand myself to survey the shooting options I still am in awe he pulled off the shot he did. Nonetheless this mid October buck will sit on his wall forever. Congrats to Jon on his largest bow buck to date.
Did I do all of these stories justice? Probably not, but the beauty of the hunt truly lies in the eye of the beholder. The one who gets out there and stares down these majestic creatures is the person who truly appreciates the beauty of the hunt. Congrats to all who have had success thus far this season and may lady luck bless those who are still fighting to place their tag on a buck for the wall. There is still time to get it done, it won’t be easy, but hunting is never easy.