You’re never to busy to go deer hunting. That’s always been my motto but at times even I can get too busy with tasks related to our shows (work) to really get out and hunt all the time like I’d like to. However, the weather conditions were almost perfect for bow hunting a new stand so I was going to find a way to get into it. To set the stage… it was early in the rut, which I feel is a prime time to rattle. It wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t to hot. It was a bit overcast with light winds from the southeast about 5 to 10 MPH, which would be perfect for a new stand we’d put up over the summer. This is the story of that hunt.
The first time you bow hunting a new stand can be an adventure in its own self. I’d marked my way into and out of the area with a Garmin GPS so I knew walking the new trail in the dark wouldn’t be an issue. I’d parked our side X side about 400 yards away, applied plenty of cover scents and was planning on putting out attractants in the form of VS1 from Conquest Scents. As my cameraman, Kevin, and I eased down the trail I heard the first turkey in the early morning darkness and sure enough they had roosted all around the stand and were getting agitated by us walking under them in the dark…so much for getting in quietly as what sounded like 100 turkey were now all flying off into the distance at 5:00AM. After laughing with Kevin, we settled in to wait for sunrise. It wasn’t long before we made out the shapes of a few small pigs working the brush line heading off to find a spot to sleep to our left. Then shortly afterward we saw a pair of does walking towards us that passed almost under the stand before disappearing off into the brush. It wasn’t long after we had good light for the camera and I decided it was time to rattle a bit and that’s when the hunt quickly changed.
In the first 15 minutes or so, after the first series of rattling, I’d called in 4 separate bucks that you’ll see in the show, along with a couple of curious does. One of the bucks came charging in all puffed up and caught me off guard. I thought he was a shooter before realizing he was younger and his antlers were all busted up. As you can see in the video, and the photos, his antlers were broken off at several places from fighting with several other deer before hand. It’s not uncommon to have a buck of this age class be broken up from fighting bigger, older, more mature deer that think they are more dominant – but really are not. Those are also, often, the first and fastest deer to show up when rattling.
We saw several other deer that first morning in the new stand. I knew this was a stand that was going to be a good one for the next few days. The weather conditions on the next hunt were similar to the earlier hunt with winds blowing into my face from the southeast and temperatures in the upper 40’s. Despite getting into the stand an hour later than I’d hoped, thanks to a flat, I was still hopeful to rattle a few times right after settling in. When I’m hunting in a situation like this I really like to set out with a mix of cover and attractant scents. I like to place the attractants out in the area and put the cover scents on my boots and clothing. On this hunt we were using Conquest Scents Evercalm for the cover scent and VS1 in stick and liquid formulas for the attractant. I also like to have several Garmin Virbs out, like we did on this hunt, to lessen the need for movement by the main camera and also capture unique angles from the hunt for the television show. On this hunt we had Virbs aimed at me. One on my bow and another one out in the field aimed back at us to get different angles for the final show. While in the stand, which was about 20 feet up in a live oak tree, I had a Cabela’s Fortitude bow set at 65 pounds and I would be shooting ACC Compliance arrows tipped with Instinct mechanical broadheads, also, by Cabela’s.
We had placed two ladder stands out over the summer. One for the hunter and one for the cameraman. The hope was to be able to hunt this live oak thicket that had a wet weather creek in it that created a natural pinch point between a mix of other brush. It was a perfect set up on paper but until you sit in a stand you never know how perfect it will or won’t be.
When rattling that day I got the show-of-shows. One huge fight right under the stand and when I say a fight I mean a brawl The broken off deer we’d rattled before tangled with a nice 8 point for a fight you’ve got to watch to believe. We also had several other young deer come in to both our rattling and the huge fight that had broken out. Shortly thereafter the deer you see in the Yamaha Viking below came into the area looking to show everyone else he was the boss. What happened is still somewhat of a blur. The buck came down a trail from my left to my right just inside of 20 yards. He stopped a couple of times before crossing behind a tree which gave me great cover to draw. The shot was true and in the video you see my reaction as the buck …well you’ll have to see the video to get the rest of the story!