November 5, 2008 - Carmi, IL
After an evening of getting acquainted with one another as well as our hunting areas, and enjoying an excellent Prime Rib dinner we finally settled into bed around 10 pm for some much-needed shuteye. Mike and I have been on the road for a few days already and getting up at 3 am is starting to catch up with us! Speaking of which, when our alarm went off this morning neither one of us were too keen on getting up but we didn't come here to sleep so we hit the road and made the 20 minute drive to our hunting location.
Our home away from home for the week. Simple, but effective!
This particular spot we're in is very unique in that it's a rather small block of young timber that's extremely thick and grown over, and totally surrounded by agriculture. Essentially it's one giant bedding area with food on all 4 sides, making for a rather tough place to hunt. We elected to sit in the stands that were already set for us this morning and managed to see a few deer, some does and small bucks, but nothing closer than 60 yards. After around 7:30 the action really died down as the deer headed for cover in anticipation of today's record high temperatures.
With deer movement next to nothing after the sun came up Mike and I took the opportunity to hang a few extra stands to provide us with a few more options for the upcoming days. We hung one morning set tucked in tight to the main bedding area near a few fresh scrapes, and a few evening sets near a picked corn field where the deer are feeding pretty heavy.
Here's Mike getting ready to go out hunting this afternoon. Its amazing how much "stuff" we have just to go try and kill a deer!
By the time we got done hanging stands we were both sweaty messes so we headed back to camp for some lunch, a quick shower, and headed back out. We got into our stands around 3:30 which was pretty late for us, but with the hot temps we weren't expecting the deer to move much before dark.
Here's the view from our treestand looking South. As you can see it's pretty thick and prevents you from seeing any deer until they're pretty much right ontop of you. It also inhibits our ability to get a lot of footage of deer, which could play a roll in our overall score in this competition.
While Mike and I both dozed off in our stands in the evening sun I spotted a group of does headed our way. I quickly got Mike's attention and got in position for the shot. The doe and her two yearlings came in quickly as they were being bumped around by a small 1 1/2 year old buck, which didn't give Mike much time to get a lot of video before the big doe stepped into my shooting lane at 18 yards. I let out a short mouth bleat to stop her, settled my pin, and let my arrow fly. Unfortunately I think I hit my safety harness as I shot, which threw my arrow a bit off target and hit the doe a little bit low. With a telltale mule kick the doe bolted off into the woods and I knew our first deer was on the ground.
Follwoing our post-shot interview we took up the blood trail and found the big doe less than 100 yards later. We shot some quick photos, took some more video, loaded her and up and got back to camp in time for dinner!
Here she is - my 2008 Campbell Outdoor Challenge doe. My shot was a bit low but it did the job by entering low in the near side and completely shattering her off-side shoulder on the way out. That NAP Hellrazor is one tough broadhead for sure!
Our big doe officially weighed in at 148 lbs live weight, which at the time was the biggest doe taken so far. Although a short while later a team brought in a mammoth doe weighing over 170 lbs!! Our video footage is still being reviewed and scored so I'm not sure where we're at in the standings but I'm confident we're in the top 5. After all, there's only been 4 does brought in so far!
Tomorrow is supposed to be warm again in the morning, and Mike is up to bat with the bow in his hand. We're going to get tucked into the thick bedding cover and hope to catch a big Southern Illinois buck checking around for does. A cold front is supposed to move in tomorrow afternoon and bring some rain with it, so we're not sure if we'll get out or not. We both need to catch up on some sleep as we've got a few all-day hunts planned once the weather breaks on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We came to shoot a big buck, and we're pulling out all the stops until we do!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for another update with our final score, the official standings, and any other exciting happenings from our team and the other teams here at the campbell Outdoor Challenge!