My season was here and gone in a flash, as per usual. When I look back on it, I wish I could have gotten out more, but my hunting log shows that I managed to sneak into the woods nearly every other day, albeit for only an hour or two at a time. But at least I gave myself opportunities by being there.
The bucks showed on my property on October 12th, as per usual. There were multiple ghosts running around that I never put eyes on, making me think that access is still an issue and we're busting deer walking in. The peak of the rut came (and went) fast. Chasing started on Tuesday, October 30th with mainly small rack bucks in the game through the weekend, then the big boys came out to play the following week. And by mid-week it was done. Oh, there was activity here and there after that, but not the craziness that multiple doe going into heat simultaneously brings.
I shot the one and only deer that I took this year on November 5th, on a quick Monday morning hunt prior to work. I'd already climbed out of the stand at 8 am when I almost got run over by a small buck chasing a doe toward Brian. So I ducked into cover, thinking to watch the show or help if Brian shot a deer. When the doe spun 180 degrees and ran back past me, there was a nice nine-point on her heels. He came to within 15 yards before turning broadside and saying "shoot me here" lol. Honestly, I had to shoot around one of my tree tubes, but that was it. Chip shot. And likely the most exciting thing I've ever been part of in the woods - I know that's a set-up, but no snarky comments please .
I also passed on numerous small buck and doe over the course of bow season, but -as per usual- my property rotted during gun. It was only after season ended that I had graduate students asking me when the "venison party" was going to be held this year. I told them they missed the bus by not placing their order before the season. I'll shoot deer, but only if I know they're going to be eaten.
I also passed on a stud nine the last Sunday of rifle season in Albion. Why? I don't know. I'd already shot a buck, I was hunting alone and I just didn't feel the need. Maybe he'll make it until next year.
One thing that this season emphasized to me is the importance of tree stand safety and maintenance. I had numerous situations on the land we lease where stands were in disrepair and either prevented my hunting effectively or that I felt unsafe hunting. It's hard as you get older to keep up, but this stuff is important. So, as soon as the season ended I bought four new stands and planned to work last week in the woods. Three days on my back sick and an unscheduled surgery to remove a lump in my finger put a nix on that, as did a new puppy (fox red lab) that kept me up most nights. But the stands are in my garage and as soon as I'm able, they'll go up. Like Rob last year, I'm hoping to get the heavy lifting done early - and maybe avoid the yellowjackets this year lol.
It's been a great time interacting and sharing everyone's adventures; stay well in the New Year; we'll do this again come fall!