On Thursday, Oct. 7, I found myself running out of my classroom as soon as the final bell rang. I hopped in my truck, and took off for Pennsylvania, as I had been getting daylight pictures of a shooter on a cellular camera for a few days in a row. That particular camera was set up on a pair of white oaks that were dropping acorns like rain. The oaks were on the edge of a dense thicket, meaning they were the 1st available acorns to very good bedding.
After the hour drive to my aunt’s property in southern Pennsylvania, I jumped out of my truck, got dressed, then grabbing my bow and stand, took off on a steady walk. Once I closed in on the area I was intending to hunt, I slowed and began creeping along, since I figured a buck was bedding close. It was calling for a straight easterly wind, but it was blowing a little more out of the north, which was alright, but not as good as a straight east like the weatherman had anticipated. I picked a tree with a lot of leaf cover, slipped my pack off, pulled my climbing sticks and platform off and then began slowly ascending the tree.
Once I got to hunting height, I quickly got my bow ready, as there was just over an hour and a half of light left, and my camera had been showing deer movement throughout the evenings. With high anticipation, I sat and waited. The minutes ticked past, and the wind picked up and then let off. Luckily enough, the wind stayed true, not switching and blowing into the bedding area at all.
The weather was beautiful for hunting. Overcast, and fairly cool compared to the rest of the month up to this point. The leaves were noticeably starting to change, as the wall of green on the mountain to my west was starting to show hints of gold and red. There was a hint of moisture in the air, but no precipitation fell, even though I was prepared with my lightweight rain jacket. Basking in the perfect fall evening, I was less worried about a buck walking out and more excited about the natural changes in the landscape.
As daylight dwindled, hope began to fall away as nothing had emerged from the bedding area. Thoughts ran through my head about how I could’ve possibly screwed up such a sure thing, at least as far as deer sightings go. I was just about to start packing my equipment up, when I heard a small twig snap to my right. It wasn’t the sound of a squirrel bouncing around. Instead, it had a little weight behind it, instantly triggering the thought of a deer walking through the woods. Slowly, I turned to see a large-bodied deer standing merely 25 yards away, on the edge of the thicket. Not being able to tell much about it, I assumed it was a buck based on its size and the fact it looked to be by itself.
A few seconds ticked by, and all of a sudden, the deer fully emerged itself and I immediately saw that it was a shooter buck. Slowly reaching for my bow, I watched as the buck made his way closer with his head down, feeding on acorns. When his head went behind a tree, I drew my bow and prepared to bear down on my sight. As the buck stepped into the shooting lane, I gave a light grunt with my mouth to stop it, then let the arrow fly. Somehow, the shot was a little high and dropped the deer in its tracks with a high shoulder shot. A quick follow-up shot anchored the buck for the count, and I was elated, as I had quickly gone from scratching my head to taking one of my target animals and tagging out in Pennsylvania during the 1st week of the season with a beautiful 10-pointer for the 2nd year in a row.
Although it is a little unconventional to drive so far after work with only a short amount of time to hunt, it paid off in this case. Knowing where the buck was bedding and 1st available acorns were played a huge part in my success, as had I been any farther away, the buck would not have walked by in the daylight. Although the temperatures have been high lately, the bottom is about to drop out, and some phenomenal hunting is on the horizon. I plan to hunt as much as possible, with hopes of filling my W.Va. archery tag before November hits. If you still have a tag, get out there — it is about to get good. o