With time running out we are agonizing over stand selection. Nobody wants to pick the wrong stand including me. So I finally made the call to try the Big Maple. It was the wrong call. I saw one small buck all morning. Kent picked me up at 11 and thawed me out. It was 14 degrees with a steady 20mph wind in my face for five hours. I was getting crispy.
This was the only buck I saw all morning
The winds were still out of the north and steady around 20mph. I don't know why, but I decided to hunt the tree belt. I've been there twice this week and saw almost nothing. But this is a good spot and there's a bunch of bucks running that strip. Kent dropped me off and a half hour later a super wide and mature buck came in. His left beam was snapped off and nearly every point was gone. He was still impressive. as a two point! Obviously I let him go.
An hour later a small buck ran through and chased some does off the bait. One of the does ran out into the field and caught my wind. As she was stomping another doe came sneaking in from the west - passing under my stand. She was followed by a bruiser. A heavy 8 with forked G2's. I was going to shoot him. Unfortunately, he spots the doe in the field and then chases her off to the west and out of sight.
Buck 1 - This was a big buck, but he was completely busted up
Buck 2 - he was young and chasing everything around like a lunatic
Buck 3 - So close - If that doe wasn't in the field I would have killed him
Buck 4 - This was the 10 that was under my stand at last light. It was just too dark and I decided not to shoot. I could have killed him easily.
A couple more small bucks came in as the light was fading. Two does had been feeding under my stand for a while but one had left. I just happened to glass her and she had become a he. It was getting pretty dark, and somehow a buck, a nice buck - had snuck in. I could barely see the rack since it was dark in those cedars. He appeared to be a shooter, a mainframe 10pt that was easily PY. But it was too dark and taking the shot -- even though I could have easily, would have been unethical. Regardless of the crunch time pressure, this buck got a pass. And it was the right thing to do.
Tomorrow is my last day. The bucks are finally running about. It should be fun.
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