Monday, November 16, 2009

Bow Hunting the Rut 2009


If you like to deer hunt, then bow hunting the rut is the thing to do. Although I didn't get a shot at a buck, I was witness to a doe, or does bringing bucks hot on them past my deer stand.

The first one was on Monday, Nov. 9th. I hunted a stand in the early morning over a food source with no success, then moved down to my "river" stand that sits 125 yards or so from the river bank on a natural deer route. I just got to the stand at about 10:30 and rattled vigorously, with the nice 5 pt. shed my Uncle borrowed me and a small moose shed I had found years ago in MN. This combination makes for a nice loud "rattling". I had read that when walking to your stand rattle right away to cover the sound of your walking into trying to fake the deer into thinking the ground noise is 2 bucks fighting. I then did a few grunts. Within 3-5 minutes I heard a deer coming from behind me on my left. Only problem is, that's a thick brushy area with the trail and my shooting lanes on my right. The doe didn't seem to care about the dense brush as she came trotting through, and I mean through. She was obviously moving at that pace for a reason. As she moved across the small clearing in front of me, she headed for a small patch of slashing with popular (popple) whips. Moving through the tight growth, he right hind leg kind of hung up some as she forced herself through it.

8 minutes later I hear another deer coming from the same direction as the doe. The buck came up even with my stand as it swept back and forth like a beagle would looking for a rabbit. The nice 8 pt. came within 20 yards of my stand, but way too brushy to even think about a shot.
He got back on the doe's scent, making a few grunts as he started across the small clearing on the same route as the doe. I started to grunt, bleat and snort-wheeze to turn the buck but to no avail. The buck slowed once or twice but was on a mission to find that doe, to the extend of again sweeping before the small patch of popple whips, before he dove in and followed after her step for step.

Two days later, while sitting in my stand by my hunting shack, as dusk was setting to settle in, all hell broke loose. A couple yearlings were milling around under my stand. They started to act a little nervous and started to pay attention to something toward the east, beyond my shack. A few minutes later, I heard a snort about 70-80 yards away coming from that direction. I gave the call a few grunts with some snort-wheezes thrown in, all as loud and as a aggressive as I could make them.

Suddenly I hear them coming, crashing through the underbrush, the buck right on this doe. I can assume it was the same combination from a couple days earlier, but who knows?
The doe ran past in front of me, 50-60 yards out in the heavy slashings. It was dark enough where I couldn't see the animals, but I surely could hear them. I remember thinking at the time that I was glad I was up in the tree and not down on the ground. It sounded like a D-8 crashing over the area in front of me, slamming over and through the brush back and forth in front of me and then they were heading east again, back toward the river.
I got back on the grunt call and in 20-30 seconds I hear the buck and his continuous grunting heading back toward my tree stand.

This time the doe turned within 20 yards of my tree and in the darkening blur she was past with the guttural deep-throated grunts of the buck right there behind her coming fast. I made a couple quick snorts and the buck stopped, looking in my direction. I could only see the black blob of the buck's body and the slight, light flashing of his antlers as he scanned his head back and forth searching for his competitor. Alas, although in range, too dark to launch an arrow!

I was hoping he'd come closer but he never did and he turned and got back on the hunt.
I'm not sure, but I'm wondering if the doe(s) were bringing in the bucks into the vicinity of another buck trying to get the guy off her, or was is all just coincidence? Obviously, she was not ready for breeding as she was not standing for her suitor. Next year during the rut I'm going to have a decoy setup as it adds to the bucks natural desire to defend his territory. It's one way to get it off the doe and maybe get a standing shot within range.

Rifle hunting starts in 2 weeks, let's see what that brings.

No comments: