Sunday, November 7th: It was 37 degrees when we got in the truck this morning headed to the stand. Even at that temperature I felt I may had put on one layer too many. NO MATTER how loose the rest of my layers are, if the first one is skin tight I feel like the little kid on the “The Christmas Story”….you know the one. Yeah, him!
Daylight Savings time kicked in last night and although we decided not to change anything, I forgot that I set Crackie to adjust automatically with the time change. We use Crackie as our alarm on all trips so thinking we had an hour to spare, we were instantly an hour behind. However, we were in the stand, still and waiting for daylight with a little time to spare. I had me half of a Dr. Pepper and Peanuts so my morning started off great; but now I had to sit in this tree thinking about the other half waiting for me in the truck.
The turkeys that were roosted in the cottonwood trees across the field were deafening when the sky started to break dawn and each pitched down, one by one. About 30 minutes after the flock of turkeys was on the ground, we had two coyotes cross the field at the far end headed toward the ruckus of turkey chatter. Richard made the comment that the turkey chatter sounded like a commercial chicken farm. I had to laugh…it was rather noisy. The majority of the flock were young jakes and every now and again you would hear one practicing his spring time gobble; Garblesqwalkerp, garblehicurp, garrublesqueak–those jakes were making every racket but the right one. Several times Richard and I just chuckled behind our facemasks.
Around 8:30 a.m. two does came out grazing onto the alfalfa fields. Eventually a third came out from a different area with a buck in tow. The two does across the field is what alarmed us to something coming in the opposite direction. It is really unique how you can tell so much about your surroundings by watching animal behavior; even fair warning of deer or coyote moving in your direction by the barking of squirrels.
Once Richard and I were able to view him with our binoculars to size him up, we were confident that this was going to be a shooter. I was able to look through my binoculars for a longer period of time than Richard because of a treetop blocking Richard’s view. I counted 9 points; a main frame 8 with a crab claw. He never would commit to our area. The buck looked long and hard at our decoy from the end of the field; I even rattled, grunted and tried a snort wheeze…nope, he was not coming. I watched as he turned and walked back to edge of the field and over the ridge. That is a disheartening feeling watching a nice buck walk away from you. I figured I was blessed with opportunity of seeing him and it did get my heart racing so all was not lost.
We watched the does graze on alfalfa and in about 30 minutes they started moving our direction. One of the does turned abruptly and looked hard and long toward the end of the field; something was just the other side of the ridge. Finally a little four point came over the ridge and out onto the field. He made his way into the group of does; dipping and darting his nose checking each one. They ran away from him but closer to us.
I heard Richard say, “There he is!” I grabbed my binoculars and looked at Richard to see where he was glassing. I looked through the binoculars and he was standing on the ridge looking toward the does. He came down the ridge and stopped at each scrape and licking branch that I had placed Northern Whitetail Scents on. Finally he chased a doe off the edge of the field to about 40 yards in the field. He was 80 yards from the decoy and just stood and stared. It was at this point I was able to take a good look at him and see that he was actually a ten point. I was already standing, bow ready, heart pounding, ears ringing, breath noticeably louder….I had major adrenaline rush and was on the “ready” for the shot.
The little four point came onto the field and got his attention and he turned and went back to the four point. He followed the small buck and four does through a head of woods at the end of the field, through the dried creek bank and across the adjacent field.
One of the does had stayed behind and was thoroughly infatuated with our decoy, Brutus. She circled him, tried to get him to follow her, left him and came back to him for about 15 minutes until she finally gave up and walked away. We were glad to see her go because I was getting tired of standing; more importantly, perfectly still. Ever notice how many aches and pains you get when it is crucial to stand PERFECTLY still. Never fails while turkey hunting either….hmmm!! I guess I need to resume the Yoga classes, adding that to my TO-DO List now.
The morning hunt was exciting to say the least. Our afternoon hunt only produced 2 whitetail does on the field and a mulie doe.
We did have a pretty neat show with the turkeys at roosting time. The trees that they roosted in were approximately 300 yards across the alfalfa field and they were flying up from the adjacent field on the other side of a row of cottonwood trees. The horizon was in the background and one by one they flew up and settled in on a branch. There was over 40 at Richard’s last count; I stopped counting at 26.
The sliver of moon in the horizon was a beautiful ending to a great first day’s hunt here in Kansas. We are looking forward to going back to this stand in the morning.