Well the blog has taken a backseat the last two months while Vermont’s deer season has run most of its course. Neither of us filled a tag during bow season but we had numerous opportunities at small bucks and doe with fawns. With nearly 2.5 months to hunt, the urge to shoot the first deer we see isn’t very high. During the past few weeks both of us were able to put a buck on the ground. Although any deer is special, we both had months of history with the deer we shot. Now that winter is on its way, action on here will pick back up. Check out below for stories of our success!
These voles were a couple of friends that I made while sitting on the ground.
When rifle season began, the weather wasn’t great. Warm, rain, and crunch are the factors that we have come to expect in recent years. On the positive side, my girlfriend started hunting this year and she was excited. With my work schedule, I wasn’t able to hunt at all opening day. She was able to get out with her father and brother for a few hours on Saturday. When Sunday morning rolled around, I was excited because of some of the recent activity on my trail cameras.
We hit the woods early but ended up pushing deer the entire way to where we intended to sit. We were both feeling a little down on our luck thinking that we had forced the deer out the small area that we were in. Fortunately, the deer were just staying ahead of us. As the sun started to rise, the woods came alive. As we sat watching over a scrape line, I heard something coming in behind us. As I turned a buck chasing a doe sped their way through behind us. Unfortunately, the deer never offered a shot and made their way out. We switched up where we were sitting thinking that they might come back through. About 45 minutes later a doe with two fawns came through. Having some errands to take care of mid day, we left the woods.
I went out alone for the evening and had another encounter with a nice buck. Around 4, I checked to see what time legal shooting hours ended. Being in the softwoods it seemed to be getting dark early. A few minutes later I heard a grunt over the hill from me. I got ready but ended up having a deer come into the side of me. Not being able to identify it for almost a minute, I had a feeling that it was a buck when I could hear the dirt hitting the trees as it made a scrape. When it poked its head out I had no shot at its vitals but was impressed with its head gear. It was on a trail that would cross about 20 yards in front of me. With the base of a large spruce in front of me, I waited for the deer to come out. As time went by I thought it should have came out by now but it hadn’t. I poked my head back out and could see its hind quarters still flickering his tail. Back into my position I waited again. Still nothing. I turned back and he was standing broadside, staring at me 25 yards away. Not being able to turn, we had a stand off. I told myself that I would turn when he moved. As his head dipped, I turned and he disappeared into the raspberry thicket nearby. Bummer! A few minutes later A doe came in to check things out. No bucks was following though…
The next morning I tried to convince Mary to come back out with me but she couldn’t because of work. She told me that I would shoot one though. I returned to where we had sat the previous morning. It was pouring rain but I felt like I needed to be out there. As the sun rose I noticed a rub made since the morning before only a 15 yards away. I knew the buck would be back. At 8am the rain stopped. Eight minutes later the doe with twins came right into me but got spooked by activity at a house nearby. The deer worked out slowly. Twenty minutes later, I caught a flash where the doe entered my area. Before I could get my gun up I saw antlers. Game on. He worked through with his head on the ground. It was the buck that I had seen the morning before.
Through the birch slash I couldn’t pick a shot as he moved quickly. He ended up chasing the doe with twins back into view and split them up. The twins went down by me and the buck and doe disappeared again into their bedding area. About 45 minutes later he came in on a string and turned broadside at 4o yards. I took a small window for a shot and he hunched up. My second shot was on a dead run a 20 yards. I dropped him in his tracks. What an exciting morning! He ended up weighing 136 and was a 5 pointer with a 14″ spread.
Although I wish Mary could have shot him or at least been there, I am certainly happy to put some meat in the freezer!
After a limited bow season due to the baby, I was ready to get back in the tree with my rifle. While moving stands a week before the season I came upon a fresh scrape under the tree of one of my rifle stands. I decided to hang a camera over the scrape to see what was going on there. Within the first four days I have three different smaller bucks on camera hitting the scrape with a number of doe frequenting it as well. On days five and six I had pics of two really decent central Vermont bucks which just stoked the fire even more. Even after seeing a larger number of decent bucks on camera there was still one that I had been getting pictures of all summer that I was after. His name was “Crabby”,which was given to him after the first time I got him on camera, he seemed to have had a bit of a crab claw on his right side. Along with the numerous pictures I also had this deer under me at 18 yards during bow season but was unable to get a shot due to a few branches that he seemed to know where there.
The first two weeks of rifle season were frustrating. Both me and my father were seeing a ton of deer but only smaller bucks, and those that were legal all seemed to have busted up the racks. The second Saturday I had 16 deer within 30 yards of me at once, one small 4 point that didn’t seem to care to much about the doe, I chose to pass on him. Where I hunt the flood gates seem to open when the rut kicks into full swing. We have a lot of doe on our property and there have been days when we’ll see multiple racked bucks cruising the pastures in search of our hot does. This year was different, it just hadn’t happened. The second week of the season brought us not so ideal conditions for hunting and deer movement. The temperatures were very cold, we did have a few inches of snow which helped some. Deer seemed to be moving only at night as I had very few tracks by my stand on the hardwood ridge behind my house.
The last weekend was more of the same, however this time I had come up with a plan. From what I could see for tracks it looked like a lot of our deer were spending the day bedded on a thickly covered ridge with ceder and pine trees. I knew that there was a decent buck in there as I had seen his tracks heading there for the past couple of days. All I needed to do was to get them out of there and on their feet. I dropped a buddy off to sit and circled up and around to the top of the ridge. Hoping that having two hunters on the ridge would get the deer on their feet. I wasn’t in my spot for more than a minute when I heard some deer coming. The second deer I saw had good bone on his head! Once I was able to see that he was for sure a legal buck I had to find a way to make a shot. I took the only shot he gave me as he stopped facing straight away from me. It was close but I made it count as the deer piled up. Walking up to the deer I realized that it was Crabby, the same buck that out maneuvered me during bow season and that I had so many pictures of. I am very pleased with the outcome of a lot of hard work scouting and the patience I had early in the season.