September 26, 2012
I was on the road by 4am Saturday morning, heading east into Wisconsin. Over the past year I picked up a couple new hunting properties in Wisconsin, and I was more than an excited to finally find the time to hunt one of them. Not only was I excited about the hunt itself, but I hung a camera on this property back in mid August and I was curious to see what caliber of bucks were cruising the timber.
By 6am I had descended down into the valley, switched the cards in my trail camera, and was set and ready to hunt. The action started almost immediately as a young four point passed through at 8 yards. Although the forecast stated a 0% chance of precipitation the rain started at about 7am and continued through most of the early morning. In order to protect my camera I had to pack it up and keep it dry. At about 8am (with the camera still packed away) I noticed movement 15 yards straight in front of me. With the rain drowning out any noise and a tree blocking my view, several deer had walked right into bow range. Before I could grab my bow I had a beautiful 145 class 10 point presenting me with a perfect shot opportunity. I quietly slid my bow of its hanger and prepared for an easy shot. Just then I noticed a second deer and then a third, two more large bucks standing directly behind the first. Typically when a hunter has three large bucks in bow range he would be elated, but not me. I knew immediately that the second buck had been watching me prepare for a shot. I stood motionless for almost 5 minutes as the big 10 point browsed within 5 yards of my stand. All the while the other two bucks stared right at me. I couldn’t move! Finally, when it seemed I had reached the “now or never” moment I tried to draw my bow. Unfortunately it was a dumb choice to move and the deer went bounding up the hill in front of me. When I got home and looked at my trail cam photos I thought it was a bit ironic to find that the 10 point I had at 5 yards was the biggest buck I got photos of in the past 5 weeks. To think I was that close and could not seal the deal!
I was back in the same area at daylight on Sunday morning, only this time I moved over into a bigger oak tree to conceal my outline a bit more. It worked perfectly, but unfortunately the big bucks did not return. At 9am I had a large single doe slowly feeding in my direction. When she turned broadside at 15 yards I let an arrow fly and watched the Meat Seeker Broadhead do its job. The doe dropped within 60 yards of my stand.
If you are aware of where some big bucks are traveling, now is the time to get into the woods. Deer are very predictable at this time of year and will be for another 2-3 weeks. My biggest two bucks came during early season, and both hunts unfolded in similar fashion. I saw each of the bucks from more than 200 yards away, walking well traveled trails. I immediately moved a stand onto those trails and shot the deer the very next day. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive! Sometimes it is exactly what you need to do.
- Mike Versland