We woke up to 64 degree weather, a drizzle, a some pretty good wind but we decided to dig deep and head to the stand. We were already up and our clothes were laid out and waiting, so what did we have to lose.
We got to the stand and was settled in at about 5:50 a.m. The wind was blowing pretty good and Marti’s stand was rocking and swaying. About 20 minutes in our stand Marti checked the weather on her phone and at the air port about 2 hours in the direction that the storm was coming from they reported 40 mile an hour gusts. We decided we were going to stay about an hour to see what unfolded then we would pull our gear and head in.
At this point the wind was gusting pretty good, Marti’s stand looked like it was riding waves and I had to sit at an angle in my stand because it was spitting sprinkles of rain or water from leaves on me everytime the wind blew. The wind was causing rain to slap me in my right ear and right side of my face. Marti reached up to the camera to remove the toboggan that was shielding it from the rain. She turned the camera on and placed it on standby since it was just getting light enough to video. We sat there as I was staring off to my left across the trail. I caught movement just below the stand out of my peripheral vision. I turned my head to see what we now know was an awesome 140+ class buck. He was already at 10-12 yards as I reached over and poked Marti on the leg and reached up for my bow. I was trying my best to judge his antler size in that split moment sighting and whispered to Marti, “you think he’s a shooter?” No response. By this the time I pulled the bow off the bow hanger and attached the release to the D-Loop he had made the 3-5 steps around the tree and was headed straight away from me. No shot… turn, please turn……
He stopped one time to look over his left shoulder but I still did not have a shot since he was walking straight away. I watched him walk to the ridge, pausing somewhat broadside between two small trees but a larger tree in front of the stand made it impossible to make an ethical shot; all that was visible to me was his left hind quarter and right hind leg stretched out behind him. He disappeared into the ridge.
Shortly after that I watched through my binoculars as he worked a licking branch. We grunted and rattled but the wind carried it in a different direction. He eventually went over the ridge. About 10-15 minutes later, another buck appeared in the area of the licking branch but only stayed a few minutes when he bolted over the ridge. Then the buck that walked by our stand or another buck with crab claws reappeared at the licking branch. It is hard to say if that was another buck or the 10 point with crab claws that we seen earlier on one of our earlier hunts trailing a doe. Marti worked the grunt call and Pack Rack but didn’t get a response.
We sat there waiting, hoping, praying that one of these three bucks would appear in shooting range. Up until this point the only qualifying deer was a doe…a buck could win this competition and what more gratifying to win something as the first ever all women team? Marti then noticed a doe off to the left of our stand at about 50 yards. She fawn bleated and the doe only raised her head to the call and never would come into it. She finally made her way out to the ridge in front of us and bedded down….that sure is a popular ridge for bedding..a coyote, a buck and now a doe.
We decided to call the hunt so that we would have time to pull all our gear out of the woods to take back to camp and pack up. We were staying the night and leaving out early in the morning so we wanted to get things in order for our trip home.
We may not have harvested a deer on this trip but we sure had a great time. I enjoyed hunting with Marti and enjoyed watching her work the camera like a pro. We shared stories, tips and several laughs. I sure appreciate her agreeing to take this adventure with me and I hope she had a great time. A big heartfelt thank you to her for all she has done for me. I know we both had a great time spending money in the camera shop as I left with a new Sony HDR-FX7 Camera Recorder; with all the peripherals, including a 3rd arm camera arm and Manifroto fluid head–I think I am set for future filming of hunts.
A big thank you to the entire staff of Campbell Outdoor Challenge and all the competitors for giving me lasting memories. A special thank you to Aaron and Mike for answering my never-ending questions about cameras and filming. And thank you to all of you who encouraged us, wished us luck and followed my blog through this adventure….for all of you I am grateful. Next stop…..KANSAS.
© Nancy Jo Adams 2009