I got excited Friday when I turned the the page on the wall calendar and I could actually see “Opening Day” marked boldly on the date square of October 15th. The weather has been turning a little cooler and the leaves are starting to change colors on certain trees. But more than anything, the SPIDER LILLIES aka the Equinox Flower seemed to have popped up over night marking six weeks until the first frost. Not something to mark your calendar by but definitely an indication that winter is coming. With the Equinox comes the old belief that deer will go in rut after the first full moon following the Equinox. Honestly, I am just ecstatic to see cooler weather.

Red Spider Lilly aka Equinox Flower

I have to be honest and say that I did not have high hopes about hunting at home this season; hunting out West tends to put a damper on southern hunting–where deer allowed to walk out West are trophy bucks here in the South. We’ve had game cameras out for several months and to my surprise, unlike last season at this time, this season has major potential with several pretty nice bucks on camera.

I tend to favor several of the same stands from season to season depending on the acorn crop or movement in certain areas. Last year, one of my favorite stands was not productive because of the fact that white oaks are biennial bearing in fruit–translated to NO ACORNS were in the area last season since it had such a great crop production the previous season. This year, the trees are loaded and although they have not yet started dropping, they will be ready to start dropping around the time our season opens.

This will be my third season hunting in this stand and if I remember right, the saying goes “the third is a charm.” After checking the trees in the area last weekend and deciding it was going to be a hot spot when the acorns started dropping, we went back this weekend to move the stand to another tree that would allow for a second stand for Richard and the camera.

As I sat in the stand directing Richard as to which branches needed trimming, I remembered my very first season hunting this stand; two hunts in particular. First, for the buck that I had to let walk because a cantankerous doe was stomping right below me for over 10 minutes, waiting to bust me. All I could do is sit there and watch him walk right down the trail, right out of sight. You can read about this hunt in my blog by {clicking here}. Needless to say the doe, which I nicknamed the “Tapper”, didn’t live to pull that trick on me a second season, I chose her as my doe harvest during gun season when she came stomping out onto a green field late season. It is funny how some does are just born and bred to be erratic even when there is no harm in the area; we have this doe pre-season on deer cam stomping at the wind.

My second memory was of a VERY dark morning, I could not have seen my hand 10″ in front of my face, I had arrived at my stand really early. I was in my stand about an hour before sunrise and was “resting my eyes” when all of the sudden I was alerted to the weirdest sound. I heard it momentarily and it took me a minute to decide if I really did hear it, or was I dreaming (while resting my eyes). There it was again. It sounded like a marble rolling across an uneven floor for about 2 inches and shifting in another direction. I strained really hard to hear it again but this time the sound was different. It was a definite crunching sound and at that moment it dawned on me that a deer was under my stand eating acorns for breakfast. The sound went on for about 10-12 minutes moving in different directions under my stand before the deer moved on. I was proud that the deer never winded me in its full circle it made around me eating acorns. It was too dark to have seen what was under and the not knowing haunted me for several days.

I have a feeling this year may be a little different. The acorns are plentiful and my stand has been strategically placed in a better area with some great cover. So as anticipation grows with each day that I mark off the calendar, I can only dream of actually seeing the bucks on hoof that we have been getting photos of on our deer cameras. It won’t be long now, but yet it will seem like forever getting here. Good luck to you this season…and as I always say “hunt hard, harvest ethically and may your drag be short!”

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