Saturday the temperatures dropped and the thermometer in Clyde read 20 degrees when we got in the truck headed to our stand. We both had our wool gear on and I was so bundled up all you could see were my eyes.
The little spike and basket rack buck from Friday morning came in briefly at daybreak. We had seen more mule deer today than whitetail by far.
We had a doe that was amorous with Brutus, the decoy. Richard had not put Brutus out when we got to the stand this morning so it was still laying in the weeds in front of us. We literally thought she was going to bed down right next to him. She kept going back to him and standing over him in the tall weeds. After about 30 minutes she finally realized that Brutus was not interested and she lost interest herself.
Richard spotted a mule deer doe walking behind us in the adjacent field and after I got turned around to see her, we realized there were 8 mulie does walking single file down the edge of the alfalfa field 30 yards behind us. Later in the afternoon the herd of mule deer had worked their way back around and bedded down around 70-80 yards from our stand in some heavy brush. There were now only 6 does but they had picked up a small buck and a pretty nice mature buck.
Sometime during the afternoon we watched a young mule deer buck tending to a doe walk by us. Several times he tried to mount the doe to breed her but she kept a steady pass meandering through the woods and across the alfalfa field. It was obvious that the mule deer were in rut; the whitetail…not so much.
In late afternoon, the amorous young whitetail doe from early this morning came back frolicking across field. By the time she was on our side, we noticed that she turned looking back across the field pretty intent. She stood there for a couple minutes just fixated on an area of the woods. We could not see anything at first but then a mule deer doe came over the berm and walked out on the alfalfa field followed by her two yearlings. The whitetail doe stuck her tail straight up in the air and bounced forward about 2 or 3 yards. The mule deer started across the field in the whitetails direction. The whitetail kept moving forward. At first it looked like there might be a fight because the whitetails tail was flared.
The mule deer doe turned and started walking right down the middle of the field with her two yearlings in tow. All of the sudden the whitetail doe started trotting out to the center of the field, head high in the air like a parade horse, tail flagging every step like a Nascar caution flag. At that point, all three mule deer started trotting down the center of the field and the whitetail followed suit….it was almost as if it were saying, “Hey! Hey! What’s your name? You want to play? Hey, wait! Hey, want to play or something?” She just bounced merrily along behind the three mule deer and followed them right out of the field on the same path they were on. It was really comical.
We started to count down the last few hours with hopes that the big buck would reappear somewhere from over the berm in front of us. Three hours left. Two hours left. One hour left…about 30 minutes before dark a 9-point came in that we had not yet seen this week. After he walked out of the field, Richard turned to me and said, “time to call the hunt, the fat lady has sung and we need to pack it in.”
I really had hopes that Richard would have filled his tag on this trip, but it was not because of the lack of opportunity but the choices he made to let smaller bucks walk and holding out for the bigger buck we had seen. He said he really feels like he was successful on this hunt because he was able to flawlessly get my harvest on film. I won’t lie when I tell you that he was shaking like a leaf in the wind right after I shot my buck and he even laughed when he said, “Whew, I feel like I just shot that buck. Look at me shaking.”
We still had a ladder stand and two lock-ons to take down and needed to pack the truck and trailer for the 19+ hour ride home. We said goodbye to the cabin in Kansas at 9:00 p.m. Saturday night headed South to Sweet Home Alabama. Matilda (the GPS) had our ETA at 5:12 p.m. Sunday evening but after stopping for fuel, food, a two and half hour much needed nap and a quick trip to the taxidermist to drop off my cape and antlers; it was closer to 9:30 p.m. when we finally arrived home. Jaxon was so happy to see Richard and I; and I cannot lie, I could not wait to hug the little fur ball!
We had a wonderful time on our 2010 Kansas hunt and made some great memories, shared some laughs, met new friends and achieved new goals. Stay tuned to my blog, our winter calendar is packed with some more great hunts and I hope to bring you some great photos and interesting blog entries.