By Jason Reid
Rochester, New York (November 3, 2016) – My mind felt eerily similar to the contents of my car-all over the place. After the fourth straight weekend of playing road warrior and driving all over the state of New York trying to get within range of a deer, the woods were finally starting to change.
Bucks were beginning to chase does. Fawns and young bucks were roaming around the woods alone looking lost. And scrapes were everywhere. Feeling much like the bucks who were getting on their feet, I was having a hard time thinking straight, especially since a particular buck we had seen on trail camera in 2014 had shown up in daylight. The buck we named Texas is a five year old ten point and is over 22 inches wide. His distinctive wide spread and tines which are peculiarly even began haunting me instantly.
I nearly dropped my coffee mug on the table of the camp when discovering his photos. Three different times in five days, even though it had been two years since the one time we captured his photo on a late summer night. I knew immediately what deer this was and began thinking of how to get within range. Heading into the office Monday morning had me feeling like a zombie. Yet, the game was on. What game? The game of technical deer hunting.
My father summed it up perfectly, “He will be a very hard deer to kill. He will not make a mistake easily.”
Truth. The challenge is worth the reward. Here are a few things we are doing to try and close the distance on this mature buck with only the weekend to hunt. There are many chess games in life and trying to predict where this deer might during the rut might be totally insane. Think about how big the world is and the chances of one deer walking within range.
Being technical about deer hunting sometimes can feel torturous as it is much more than just going to a stand and hoping for success. Technical deer hunting forces one to pay much closer attention to detail. Details kill big bucks since you are trying to catch them in a moment where they do not pay attention. To kill a mature five year old deer, our game plan for the coming weekend became much tighter.
Technical deer hunting is funny in its own way. Check cameras with obsession. Deciding to walk into a stand one way but not another. Targeting specific hours and hunting certain stands because of specific details. However, this is just the evolution of the hunt if you want success on big deer.
Hunting pressure is everything when chasing a big buck. Immediately my brother and I threw claim to spots six days in advance in order to keep the hunting pressure down.
How we were hunting this particular piece of property finally dawned on me to be incorrect. With a prevailing westerly wind traditionally anyone that hunted the property would take the West trail down from the cabin into the woods and hunt to the East. Why this just dawned on us to be wrong, I am still not sure. Sometimes those little details are like buggers-right under your nose.
Protocol for how we were going to hunt this deer was developed over the course of multiple phone calls between my brother and me. How we approached the stands from the much more difficult east side of the property became rule number one.
Staying sharp through the midday is the downfall for many big bucks. Evidence from trail camera photos shows his daylight movement happening around 1pm. Gearing up for the Saturday hunt we are committed to hunting the entire day and not taking a nap in the camp. Quality food to keep energy up and not cause jittery crashes
Check out this week’s edition of Rut Radio for live reports from the field to help you get ready for the weekend.
Checking cameras will be imperative to success. Making last second adjustments is key and this is where a climbing stand is necessary. To push closer to a trail or a specific scrape, using a climbing stand allows for mobility when needed. For this particular hunt we are utilizing climber in order to push closer to known bedding areas depending on what the cameras tell us. A risk worth the risk for a chance to shoot a deer of this caliber.
Deer have been known to make people lose some sleep. Truthfully, even though it is hard not to take this too serious, this is truly fun because as a hunter I am learning about a specific deer and his relationship with a small piece of woods. A deeper understanding of an animal and the land? Something hunters understand and others might never have the chance to grasp.
About: Dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of hunting, Jason Reid, balances a day job with his passions for hunting, capturing the stories and sharing information through writing and photography. Follow Pushing The Wild Limits on Facebook for unique outdoor content.