Two more weeks of our Pennsylvania archery season have come to pass. It seems time is flying by quickly and that leaves me 3 more weeks to tag my buck. What can I say about the previous three weeks? People talk about the October lull, I’m not sure about all that, but the deer sightings were down these past two weeks. Perhaps it’s no so much a mystical lull but it may have more to do with overly warm seasonal weather. Our weather certainly has to have played a major role in the lower deer sightings. I know my deer are there but I also don’t doubt how they’ve been laying tight with the warm weather.
With my injury I also didn’t get out as much as I would have wanted to but I made the most of what the weather would allow. My beautiful wife would deliver me to the treestand and then later pick me up. The walk back was still really tough with the crutches and I wasn’t supposed to leave them behind just yet. Wednesday of the second week my cast came off and physical therapy started. Late the second week I passed a dandy bodied 5 point. According to our Bowhunting Forum many put him at possibly 2.5 years old but when the consensus came together and put him at a very healthy 1.5 year old. I look forward to crossing his path a couple years down the road.
Kurt came back into town that 2nd week and I got to thinking, what about riding a mountain bike back to my stand. The field access road is within 20 yards of the stand and I could ride the bike back to the stand quickly, quietly and scent freely. I gave it a go when Kurt arrived at the house and was very successful peddling around the driveway. I’d put the bike to a test that next morning. With the cast off this might just get me out more than I anticipated without a ride.
The week ended with little to no sightings. I wasn’t too concerned, with the warm weather and difficulty I had getting to and from my stand locations, I was actually just looking forward to colder days.
I do have to admit the time spent in the treestand was peaceful and relaxing. I was excited about Saturday coming as well. A very generous member of the forums and a fellow journal writer invited me up hunt with on his property here in PA. He has as he put it, too many does. Matt Miller (Rick James) and I laid the plans for this hunt through the forums. If your not a member of our forums, I highly recommend you become one and take advantage of opportunities that could arise. Matt and I have been part of the forums for many years and we met a couple times in other venues. We agreed that I should head up that Friday night and we’d hunt that next day. I was looking for a doe but Matt insisted if I had a 3.5 year old or better buck come in, he’s be disappointed if I didn’t take it.
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That Saturday morning he put me in the “Nanny Whacker” stand, famous for many doe tags being filled. As light came I made sure my attention was toward the oak flat that Matt mentioned many of the deer might come from. Shortly after light I caught movement coming my way. I immediately knew it was a buck, although I had yet seen any hint of antlers. Then sure enough, antlers and I felt my heart beat increase. He was already within bow range but in the brush and headed directly to me. His path would have his cross the logging road that I overlooked offering me a less than 30-yard shot. As he came closer I decided he was a solid 2.5 year old and would get a free pass from me. I did however capture him on my camera to show Matt later.
Morning faded away and I heard Matt across the radio that he was going to still hunt my way and we’d head down and head out. On our walk out I mentioned I’d like to buy Matt breakfast so we headed to a local restaurant and enjoyed a hearty breakfast.
We discussed the afternoon plans and he mentioned he’d quickly show me the property via my truck so I got a lay of the land tour. Prior to heading out, we took a quick “group” picture to share with you. You can read all about Matt’s camp and food plots on this property in his journals. Check them out, he’s done some fantastic things with his plots. Matt decided to hunt with me in one of his ground blinds that over look a food plot. The wind was right for this blind and he wanted a particular doe taken out. A doe that has busted Matt on two previous hunts from this blind. We quickly headed out and I hobbled as best I could to the blind. He offered dropping me off but I call that kind of walk, physical therapy.
Once in the blind we talked and got to know each other even more while anticipating the first deer sighting. Afternoon turned to evening and Matt couldn’t believe we hadn’t seen a deer. Evening crept by slowly and then suddenly movement to the left. I got Matt’s attention and we glassed the deer. The first one in was a button buck, then it’s sibling doe fawn and then suddenly the maternal doe. Matt exclaimed, that’s her. That doe burned a hole in the blind with her eyes the whole time she followed her fawns toward the food plot. As I anticipated a shot on her, Matt filmed over my shoulder. The fawns would glance at the blind; the maternal doe would glare at the blind. The wind was still right and we were still hopeful.
All of a sudden the fawns became alert and the doe threw her head up, stomped and we thought the gig was up. Matt said, “ If you can take her, take her.” I ranged her at 41 yards and waited until she turned broadside. Slowly she turned, I drew and settled the pin and loosed the arrow. I saw the arrow impact her. I was concerned it was slightly up and slightly back, but the devastation that a Rocky Mountain Snyper does, I was optimistic. Matt said the arrow was perfect. The doe reacted at what I assume was the arrow noise and attempted to bust out of there but it was too late.
We discussed the shot and Matt snuck out to look for the arrow and/or blood. He motioned me up from the blind and we found blood immediately. It was a solid hit but we wanted to error on the side of caution and backed out to wait a couple hours. Matt said he heard he crash but we still waited, it’s always best. Back at the scene with lights it didn’t take us long. The doe only traveled about 150 yards from the impact point. As we lay my Bowtech Allegiance across her shoulder, we celebrated over a solid 2.5 exceptional nanny. The exact doe Matt hoped and wanted me to take. That made for an exceptional and satisfying hunt.
Matt is such an exceptional guy, friend and host that he dragged my deer up the hill to the truck and gutted her for me. Back at camp we celebrated with Matt’s father Mark and all chatted it up on a wonderful day at field with great people. I was invited back and we talk of plans for a spring turkey hunt. That is a later journal that I’m sure we will all enjoy.
The rest of the week the sightings were again down. The temperature was up, the sightings down. I again look forward to cooler temperatures and, increased activity. I did manage to get close to another 1.5 year old legal buck and gave him a free pass.
The leaves are changing, the thought of a big buck is on my mind and I have 3 more weeks to tag him. I look forward to the challenge, the time spent in the woods and the friends that are coming soon. More plans were laid from the forums and next weekend I have the “southern gentleman” from NC coming to hunt the PA woods. Jeff and Lisa from two of my previous journals are coming for a visit and Jeff and I will head to the trees. Along for the hunt several other members are trekking along. Matt Mickey (Matt / PA), Kurt (Q2INWHITETAILS), Denny (tkycaller) are all headed in with Jeff (GMMAT) and myself either as hunters or cameramen for a great weekend of camaraderie.
I’ll be in the trees tomorrow (Saturday) and the beginning of the week. I get around now without crutches, without the mountain bike so I look forward to a little more freedom and a chance to hunt the food plot stand. Perhaps this week I’ll tag my buck. We’ll see, until then Good Luck and Good Shooting.