-By Rich Miller
Well opening day finally got here. I got in the woods about four o’clock. It had been partly cloudy all day until I climbed in the stand and that is when the sun decided to come out and make it feel like it was 100 degrees. Luckily, after about an hour and a half, the heat clouds rolled back in and we received a couple off and on rain showers. The rain cooled things down considerably and made it a much better afternoon for deer hunting.
I was set up overlooking a clover food plot bordered by thick cover on each side where the deer bed and a hardwood ridge behind me where the deer will usually stage up before entering the food plot. There have been a good many deer in this vicinity. A bachelor group of three bucks have been frequenting the area, but mostly does and fawns. I have gotten a lot of pictures of one buck in particular that is a really nice deer for the area I am hunting, and given the opportunity, he is the deer I want to take.
As it always does the wind was swirling all afternoon and getting pretty gusty at times. It was real slow for the first couple of hours before and during the rain. I usually see a lot of turkey in this food plot but they were not even stirring. The rain stopped around seven o’clock and it seemed like the woods had finally woken up. Birds started flying around chasing each other all over the place. Squirrels were jumping from tree to tree and every time one would hit the ground running my heart skipped a beat, making me think a deer had snuck up on me. I even had a couple of rabbits pass underneath my stand sneaking out trying to get to the clover without being spotted by a hawk or owl that hunts the area more than I do.
At five minutes after seven I looked over my left shoulder trying to spot what I thought was a squirrel when I saw a flicker of a white tail. It was a little fork-horn buck that I recognized as one of the three bucks that run together. Then there was some movement beside him and it was the five-pointer, the second of the three. But where was big boy at, and why wasn’t he with his two buddies? After watching the two little bucks for a few minutes I caught movement to their right, and there he was.
The bucks were browsing around on the ridge behind me munching up acorns that the squirrels had cut from the tree, and in no time he was inside fifteen yards. The bad part was he wasn’t clear enough for a shot. I was thinking they will feed there for a few minutes then enter the food plot and offer me a shot somewhere between fifteen and twenty-five yards. Well, being deer they didn’t do what I had planed for them. They decided to take the trail that goes behind me and brings them to cross about fifteen yards from me. The problem with the deer going this way is they are going to be down wind of me. The first little buck came through my shooting lane and got too far ahead of the other two bucks and he got my wind before the big buck got to my shooting lane. They didn’t spook too bad, they just were not sure what was going on and eased back into the thicket they came from.
The rest of the evening went by and I saw a big doe with two fawns and one other small six point. It turned out to be a great opening day hunt. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to get an arrow in the big eight point, but he is still there and maybe next time he won’t get so lucky.