So far this season, I have hunted a small 30-acre piece of private land a few times. I have been running one trail camera out there as well. On my hunts and trail cam pictures, I have seen a decent number of does and young bucks. I have passed on several young deer which keep popping up. I also took one doe early on. However, I have yet to locate a mature buck (3.5 years or older is my goal) on this property. Even without a picture or visual confirmation, I have continued to hold out hope that the property holds one. It is next to several large farms, holds many deer, and has a lot of cover.
With the rut starting, it has been a crazy past couple of days. I woke up at 4:30 am on Sunday to get to my hunting spot before shooting light started at 6:30 am. Checking the wind, I headed to a different corner of the property to setup. by 7:15 am I started to see deer movement. A small 4 point buck walked by my stand. Shortly thereafter, I noticed several does through the trees moving very cautiously. Behind them by about 40 yards was a mature buck. He moved downwind of my location and paced back and forth for a couple of minutes trying to get my wind. The wind was swirling pretty fast at this point, and eventually, he moved about 60 yards to my right and moved through the woods towards the agricultural field. I had a good look at him for a couple of minutes. A nice 8 point, he did a wide circle around my tree. I tried grunting and rattling to call him in, but he seemed unfazed by any of it and kept moving. I typically don’t take shots over 40 yards, and there were many branches between me and the deer so I had to let him pass.
The rest of Sunday was filled with a mix of sleet, snow, rain, low temperatures, and gale-force winds. I saw no real deer movement for the rest of the afternoon except some does way off in the distance.
Monday, I woke at 4:30 again and headed back out. This time I set up closer to where I saw the buck move the day before, hoping to catch him on the same trail. The four-point passed again, as did a button buck. Around 8 am, I noticed movement off in the distance about 120 yards away through the trees. The same two does from Sunday were moving towards the farm field. Sure enough, the large buck followed them. I tried a calling sequence again, but he kept moving. The rest of Monday was largely uneventful, with the evening bringing the four-point right under my stand briefly and the very curious button buck trapping me in the tree for about 15 minutes after shooting light had ended. Finally, he left and I climbed down and drove home.
I am thrilled to have finally located a shooter buck on this property. Nicknaming him ghost for his ability to elude me for all of October, I am going to target him the next several weeks. My plan is to keep setting up in new trees along his travel corridor and near the doe bedding areas. It’s going to be a long couple of weeks of all-day hunts and a lack of sleep, but I am feeling good about my chances of catching ghost in shooting range.