Southern Public Land Site
It’s been quite a while since we have hunted this piece of public land. December 1st was our last update and that weekend we scouted a cut corn field bordering this public land unit, but did not see any deer using this food source. After that, we went through a period of a couple weeks with temperatures barely getting above 5 degrees, where we didn’t hunt. So, finally this last week we were able to return to this public land site. Instead of hunting along the river or next to the cut corn field like we were doing during the beginning of the month, we moved back to our early season stand location.
We moved back to the early season stand location along the cut soybean field to see if food sources on the northern side of the property were drawing deer. We knew the cornfield on the southeast side was not the “hot” food source. So, we decided to see if there was any movement on the other fields surrounding the property. We didn’t figure deer would be using the cut beans, but based off our early season observations, figured deer may be traveling across the field to reach a food source just off the property.
We decided to setup along the fence row of the cut bean field where we had observed deer crossing over in September to travel to other food sources. It didn’t take long and we had deer in the field. But to our surprise, they didn’t travel across the field, but began to browse along the edge of the field. Within the next few minutes we had even more deer enter the field. With 30 minutes left of shooting light we had a total of 30 deer in the field consisting of a few spike bucks and does. We had two major surprises that night. One was the number of deer using the field and two, the fact that this cut soybean field was the “hot” food source. Never would we have guessed that this field would be drawing so many deer. Nonetheless, it highlights the importance of finding the hot food source during late season hunts, whatever that food source may be.
We returned the next evening and set up once again along the field edge. But, this time the first deer into the field wasn’t does, but a 5x5 shooter buck. He entered the field with a couple does and they were soon followed by a few more does. A few minutes later and we spotted another buck entering the field. We knew right away this was another shooter, but as we looked further we realized this buck had a unique set of antlers and that we had gotten a couple trail cam photos of this buck earlier in the season. With two shooter bucks in the field, our excitement grew as we watched more deer enter the field. In all we had two shooter bucks, 3-4 small bucks, and numerous does in the field at sunset totaling about 25 deer, but the excitement wasn’t over. Again, we watched as another shooter buck jumped the fence into the field. We knew right away that we had seen this buck before too. This buck was the one we watched get up from the sandbar in the middle of the river to chase does in early November. We were able to identify him by his characteristic limp. We ended the hunt that night with the goal of setting up a game plan to get closer to where these bucks were entering the field.
The reason we were not already sitting along this field edge was because a hunter had about every inch of that field edge covered with multiple stands for early season hunts. But, we believe he has already tagged out and we have yet to see another hunter since the end of rifle season in late November. So, our game plan is to set up along the field edge right where we had observed those bucks entering the field. No sense in watching them from across the field. We know that this move is very aggressive and we risk spooking the very bucks we are after. But, late season hunts sometimes call for “out of the box” and aggressive moves that you wouldn’t do during any other part of the season. With less than 7 days left in the season, the time to make a move is now. We are going to take our scent control to the next level and we are going to return tomorrow with hopes of tagging out on one of our hitlist bucks.