October 1st is a magical day for many bowhunters across the US, and especially here in Illinois. Despite the fact that early season hunting is rarely productive for all but the luckiest of hunters, there's something special about that first sit of the year. Whether it's the sights and sounds of nature coming alive with the rise of the sun or the thoughts of monster bucks dancing in our heads, it's like Christmas morning for grown-ups.
This October 1st was no exception for both myself as well as my hunting partner/cameraman Mike Willand. With a new piece of property to hunt for this fall we were amped up to hit the road and get up in a tree. So when my alarm went off at 1:45 on Saturday morning it didn't take much effort to get me out of bed and ready to go. Some 2 1/2 hours later we arrived at our hunting grounds and quickly got geared up for the morning sit.
No doubt that Mike is pumped up for opening day! Ah, the enthusiasm of October 1st. Let's see how you feel come mid-November!
With temps in the low 30's on opening morning our hopes were high that we would see some deer movement. Shortly after Mike's first interview of the year (I was behind the camera) he spotted the first whiteail of 2011 creeping its way along the creek line. Even though he was just a young fork buck, the first deer of the year always gets the blood flowing.
This yearling buck came to within 10 yards of our stand on Opening morning. Not the shooter we're looking for, but the first deer of the year is always exciting!
After the morning sit was over Mike and I checked a trail camera we had set out about a month earlier on a fence crossing. Much to our delight, our target buck from earlier this summer "Hitch" had showed up during late September along with another shooter buck we're calling "Little Nicky".
Our #1 target buck, Hitch, out of velvet. We're hoping to have some encounters with him this fall that end with him in the back of the truck.
Our #2 target buck, Little Nicky. Although his rack isn't huge, judging from his head and neck he looks like a good mature whitetail.
With some renewed anticipation we headed out for the afternoon hunt, this time with me in front of the camera. Unforutnately we were unable to sit the stand we really wanted to be in, which overlooked some big oak trees that are dropping acorns. Due to the NE wind direction we were forced to sit on the edge of a standing corn field where we were limited to spotting just 4 turkeys and a few squirrels.
Have you guys seen any deer around here? Because I sure haven't!
With a long season ahead of us we both decided to sleep in on Sunday morning and just hunt the afternoon. This time we split up and hunted by ourselves. Of course I had a very slow night with only a single red fox sighting and about a thousand squirrels running around. Mike, on the other hand, had some great luck and managed to put a nice doe on the ground. Keep an eye on his Blog for the full story in the next couple of days.
We'll be back at it this weekend despite the forcast of warm temps. At least we'll have the South winds we need to hunt our better stands, so hopefully we'll get lucky and see one of our target bucks.