Here we go again! The best 15 days of the year is finally here and we are ready to hit the woods in hot pursuit of some giant Midwest bucks! Rubs and scrapes have been popping up all over our hunting areas in the last 10 days and with this colder weather finally here the bucks have been moving a lot better. This is what we all live for, so I hope you're all as ready as I am. I've been shooting my bow quite a bit lately to make sure I'm tuned up and ready to go for the moment of truth, and from the looks of this Robin Hood shot I made the other day I'd say that I'm good to go!
In the past few weeks I've been hunting a lot of my stands that I unfortunately didn't have time to visit over the summer months and found a lot of them to be pretty grown up. So take it from me, if you're going to your stand for the first time in awhile bring a tree trimmer with you! You never know when that once in a lifetime giant buck is going to step out in front of you, and you'd definitely rather be safe than sorry! Just make sure you're careful when you're using it. I ended up with this pretty nasty cut the other day with one slip of the saw. Man, those things are sharper than you'd think. Make sure to carry a few Band-Aids in your pack too.
As we really get into the heart of the season I start taking my scent control even more seriously, and that includes using Gum-O-Flage from Hunting Science. Their new apple flavor tastes great, and I've had good results over the past few seasons that I've been using it. And as you can see from the photo, my dog likes it too! She ate 4 packs of it the other day, which was worth about 20 bucks! On the bright side, at least she had good breath.
Now back to the really important stuff - hunting! I've spent a lot of time in Wisconsin recently as the rut always seems to kick in a little earlier as you go further North. I really like to concentrate on this last week of October as I've traditionally seen a lot of good buck movement and had some really great hunts over the years. This allows me to capitalize on good movement up North while the Illinois bucks seem to be in that "October Lull" and then head home when things start heating up there. This year was no different and so far has gone perfect according to my plan.
|Check out this trail in my swamp property! Of course the one day I decide to hunt over it, I didn't even see a deer!!
There's certainly no shortage of nice shooter bucks in my area, as I've seen a lot of them. But as they often do, they hung just out of bow range. I will admit that I was getting a little frustrated as seeing some of these dandy 140 and 150 inch bucks and not being able to get a shot at them. If it was rifle season they'd be dead and in the back of my truck on the way back to Illinois, but of course if it was rifle season I probably wouldn't have even seen them at all. That just good old Murphy's Law hard at work in the deer woods!
However, don't think I'm singing the blues over here because I'm certainly not! My good friend Josh came through the other day for me as cameraman and I managed to score on a really nice Wisconsin buck. He's no monster and I've definitely seen bigger deer in the area, but he'll look great on my wall and now I have some additional memories to last a lifetime (and some more video for HuntingNet.com and White Knuckle Productions' 2008 DVD).
After Josh and I witnessed first-hand the best knock-down, drag-out fight between two bucks that I've ever heard we were pretty excited. All that grunting, snorting, chasing around, and crashing together will certainly get your heart pumping!! We were in the same tree I took my big brow-tined buck from last year so I knew the spot was good. Our stand hung not too far off a cut corn field, down a draw with a lot of oak trees, and directly adjacent to a Tamarack swamp where the deer like to bed. It's a perfect little travel corridor for bucks that are out crusing for does. After a few smaller bucks came by Josh whispered over to me that there was another good buck coming and that I should get ready. I picked up my bow and made sure I was prepared for the shot.
|Josh and I with our Central Wisconsin video buck. Not a bad way to kick off my season!
When the buck stepped into my lane at 12 yards I made sure Josh was on him and let the arrow fly. A perfect heart shot later and the buck didn't make it 70 yards before piling up. Talk about exciting! Although my friend Mr. Murphy would strike again soon after, as another bigger buck came and stood directly under my treestand! That buck has no idea how lucky he was that night!!!
All in all it's been a great few weeks in Wisconsin but now that I've got my archery buck down, I'm focused back here in Illinois. I've got my eye on a few dandy's that I'm hoping to score on before rifle season. They're definitely there, and with the best two weeks straight ahead of us I'm ready to go!
Good luck to everyone out there who is hunting, make sure you stay safe and shoot straight!!