We’ve all been where I currently find myself in my hunting season…as a matter of fact last year I found myself in the exact same situation before Kick’s made his appearance (story HERE). October is ending and I’ve yet to lay my actual eyes on a buck that’s even made me grab my bow. Sure I’ve seen some youngsters running around but seems like yet another October is going to come and go without me giving a buck a dirt nap.
However, just like Kicks’ changed what appeared to be the worst season ever for mature buck sightings last year…this season could take a turn for the better in mere moments. I mean trail cameras have proven RD could have been mine if I’d been up the tree at the right moment…but alas it wasn't to be, and that is hunting as hard as that is to swallow.
As I pack tonight for Kansas I leave the pursuit of RD behind for basically a week, and to be honest that might be the best thing that this journey needs. He’s consumed every hunt nearly for a full 3 years now when I can hunt that property…gun season I just sit worrying about if he’ll make it through the orange army that swarms down on the property and neighboring ones. This break is needed though due to pressure he is receiving. Not necessarily from me, as I don’t believe I’ve applied any on him due to really only hunting a high percentage spot for him 3 times and only hunted the property 7 times (only 6 days affected).
However, the pressure RD is receiving is something out of my control…the landowners.
(Not even discussed in this post is the trespassing/illegal hunting occurring on neighboring protected state land...which is also going to weigh heaviliy on decisions the rest of the year and into 2015.)
Now before I continue with a little rant, know first and foremost I adore the landowner. He has finally respected everything my father and I do to help not only his farming operation but also the deer hunting (planting trees, food plots and keeping trails open) by allowing us to have sole bowhunting rights to the property…all the while not charging us an actual lease price…while the trees/plots and such cost money we have no direct cost to hunt this property: HUGE BLESSING.
All that said though some common practices have forced RD into choosing to RARELY move during a time he’s harvestable legally. One of these practices is they like to...no wait...LOVE TO take joy rides around the property on their Kubota, sometimes 3, 4 or even 5 times a week. This in and of itself isn’t bad and I have no doubt the deer have grown accustomed to it, but it is the locations they choose to be intrusive in nature with these rides. This year we decided to keep all trails mowed…bad idea. One trail actually runs right along the bedding area that is on the property which RD has proven with pictures to be one of his primary bedding areas. Now this trail runs seriously just feet away from the bedding…and trail camera research has shown mature deer of either sex nearly always wait till after dark after these joy rides occur to move out of the bedding. Not a huge deal if just that day is affected but only a handful of times has early movement occurred within even 48 hours of these traversing joyrides...2 visits a week at times has apparently shut down daytime movement for 4 days easily.
Cannot express the frustration I have when I go hunt a stand near this trail only to have the camera by the stand show a ride occurred just hours prior to my arrival that hunt and of course nothing showed…till 2 hours after light was gone and I was on my way home.
Now I share all this not for sympathy or a pitty party I share this because our mindset and plan of attack has to begin to change. Obviously, this isn’t going to change, and being the owner of the property they can do what they want and we must adjust not the other way around. So…I’ve begun studying aerials of the property which I have looked at before but now I am trying to find routes if I was a mature buck I’d take in order to avoid two-track trails. This idea or concept has completely changed how this property is appearing and may make my 2015 stand placements be quite different than they’ve been the last 3 years (this being the 3rd).
Now do I still have faith with my current sets, yes I do however I am realistic that it is going to take either a slowdown of these intrusive travels or a rut minded buck to probably make this happen like we planned…which is fine, but I don’t want to hunt in a fashion that depends on the buck making a mistake.
This spring I’m going to go in depth with the Insiders about the Swamp Property and how changes are a must if we are going to begin to truly tap into the mature deer it has around and on it like RD and others. Hold tight because things are going to change, but that is needed as sometimes we as hunters can fall victim to getting comfortable with a property and how we hunt it…I refuse to let this occur. I don’t want to find myself always chasing the RD’s of this property and never closing the story with success…I’m done with that.
In the coming weeks though I leave this behind me for a while as I hit trees in Kansas after hopefully a personal best buck in the great whitetail state! I promise to keep you updated as much as possible, with Facebook probably being the best way to get updates (HERE).
God Bless and good luck out there!