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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nov.15 &16th

It's that time of year again that bow hunters dream of...the rut. In northern Mn it is really starting to heat up, so I had high hopes climbing into my stand. Within 10 mins of settling into my stand I could make out a silhouette in the darkness moving towards me. It stopped about 30 yds under the now bare apple tree. To bad there was still a 45 min wait until it got light enough to shoot! I could hear some antlers hit the tree branches but couldn't make out what he was. He stayed around for a few mins and headed out.

Fast forward to about 8 a.m. I looked out past my apple tree to see antlers low to the ground and moving my way. I quickly grabbed my bow. As he got closer I could tell he was a 8 pointer. A very nice 8 I will add. I would have guessed him in the 130 range. As he moved closer to my position I expected him to follow the route every other deer I have seen in that stand take. Wrong! He went behind the apple tree leaving me no shot, the he cut out in front of me where there is a bunch of scrub brush. Still no shot. I could see where he was headed and knew I had only one hope left. I had about a 2 foot wide opening to try to stop him in. As he made his way threw the brush I drew my bow. Wouldn't you know he stopped. I held my bow for over a minute when he finally started walking again. I tried to stop him as soon as his front shoulder hit the opening, but as luck would have it when he stopped briefly all that was in the opening was a gut shot. After that he spun quickly to try to figure out the noise, but he didn't offer any other shot, so I had to watch him walk away. I tried grunting, but he was gone. Thinking about the events later I probably could have tried the shot when his front shoulder hit the opening, but I just wasn't comfortable taking that walking shot with such a narrow opening. In my opinion it was better to let him walk than take the chance of a bad hit. He was a very nice deer though!.

Around 1pm I had a small basket 8 walk by my stand about 40 yards out. He wasn't close enough or big enough to consider shooting, but what happened next was what you hear the rut is like. As he moved away from me, he stopped on this little noll that overlooked some scrub brush below. I saw him look down below him. Next thing you know he takes off. Down in the bottom I hear brush breaking and 3 deer go busting out of the cover, the doe in the lead! They must have pick up a 4th someplace but I got to watch as these smaller bucks took off in hot pursuit! The 4th buck must have been a bit slow on the uptake, as he didn't see which way they headed and just ran a few circles around a patch of brush. I lost sight of them for awhile, and I figured things were going to settle down again. Next thing I know they had somehow made it back to the original patch of woods they started from. I heard some loud grunts, almost the growl you hear about and brush breaking. Then 3 small bucks got chased out of the brush patch the were in. By this time they must have got the hint to keep out, as they finally disbanded. I never did get a look at the buck who was controlling the roost, but he must have meant business. I tried grunting, but he never came to my side of the cover.

The rest of the day went by with several sightings of does and smaller bucks, but none of it was close to my stand. Of course that 8 didn't return either.

This morning when the alarm went off at 4 a.m. I was excited to wake up and get to the woods. It was a beautiful morning, 21 degrees and very little wind. I figured it would be hoppin'! I didn't see my first deer until 8, a really small 6. On this morning I forgot to reset my stand a bit before climbing in. What I mean by that is that I just lift the front of the platform. It seems to take all the "pops" out of it. Well when I saw that buck coming I shifted my weight and pop! This instantly put this deer on alert. He turned and headed the other way. About 10 mins later I heard something pawing at the ground behind me, so I turned to look. There was another deer. I saw that it was a buck so I turned to grab my bow. When I went to turn my head back to see the deer he happened to catch my head movement....busted again. When walked back the other way. It looked to be a small but decent 8. I figured things were starting to pick up, as far as deer movement, but how wrong I was. I sat until 1 pm when my feet could no longer stand it and only saw 1 doe way off in the distance. It was like the whole herd had left the area. I really don't know why they weren't roaming heavily like the day before. I guess that's why they call it hunting instead of killing! Fortunately for me, I have a extra day to hunt this week, so I will be after them again tomorrow!

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