-By Rich Miller
It started raining this weekend and not the kind of rain that gets you wet. I am talking about the round and hard kind that falls out of trees, also known as acorns. Until this week there had not been a lot of acorns dropping, and hunting the hardwood ridges had been slow.
Wednesday afternoon I hunted a hardwood ridge that I hadn’t been to all year. It drops off the backside of an 8-acre field that we use as a dove field. There is a lot of volunteer wheat in the field that has been attracting deer to the area. The side of the field that I was hunting is bordered by a stand of hardwoods that drops off into a creek bottom. I climbed a tree in the hardwoods where I could still see the field. It was raining acorns in the hardwoods, and the ground was littered with acorn caps and deer droppings. I got in the tree about 4:40 PM and I started seeing deer around 5:15pm. The first deer were two does and a couple of fawns. They came to the wheat field first and then worked their way to the hardwoods. After that, the deer just kept coming and before the night was over I think I saw ten or eleven deer total. However, they were all does and I can’t believe that there was not one buck with all those does.
Thursday afternoon I went to another ridge that has a lot of hardwood trees. This ridge is one of my favorite areas to hunt. It is a beautiful stand of hardwoods with a 10-acre pasture on one side and pond on the other side that makes a perfect funnel for the deer. I figured that the acorns would be dropping here, too. Well it didn’t take me long to realize that I had guessed right because this area had plenty of acorns also. About 5:20pm I had a two big does and two fawns again. I thought the does had one fawn each, but then I saw both the fawns nursing on one doe. I realized how old the doe that was not nursing looked. She had a head on her that looked like a mule and was too fat to have been nursing any fawns, so it was time to do a little QDM (Quality Deer Management).
After all the time I have spent in the tree this year and have still not let an arrow fly, I was definitely getting an itchy trigger finger. With an old baron doe like this coming in range I didn’t need a better excuse to let an arrow fly. As the doe moved toward me scuffing up acorns, she offered me a perfect 15-yard quartering away shot. With a well-placed arrow tucked in behind her left shoulder she didn’t make it out of sight. After we got her out of the woods and taken care of, she weighed 130lbs and we estimated her to be 7 to 8 years old. This is a perfect example of a deer to get out of the herd if you are trying to manage the areas you hunt. I have been seeing a lot of does this year but most of them have been young or have had fawns with them, and I don’t like to take the mother away from them too early in the season.
Though I didn’t see any bucks on those two hunts I know they are around somewhere close because the does are there. With the rut approaching, everybody knows where the does are the bucks won’t be far behind. Plus I have been getting a lot of buck activity at night on my game cameras.