I was given permission on a new place and began scouting it in early October.
The set up was classic. There is a really good bedding area in a deep ravine, briars, honeysuckle and cedar trees with a small stream running through it. There are pasture fields on both sides of this bedding area, which is about 100-200 yards wide and 300-400 yards long. Downhill from the bedding area there is a strip of hardwoods 60-80 yards wide, running perpendicular to the ravine with another pasture beyond.
When I scouted it I noticed white oaks and several persimmon trees loaded with fruit. The oaks were heavy with acorns. I set my stand 20 yards off an outside corner of one of the pastures in an area with heavy trails crossing about 25 yards away.
The heat wave we had been having kept me out of the woods for a week after I hung the stand. I also knew that the wind had to be from the North to hunt this setup. On Friday, October 21st we had a front moving in and forecast for winds to swing from the SW to the North after the front came through.
I got in the stand about 2:00 and waited for the shift in the wind. By 3:30 the wind had started blowing from the North. About 4:30 the birds alerted me to a gray fox moving along the field edge. At 5:15 the birds alerted me again, and I looked toward the ruckus to see a deer moving through the brush about 40 yards away, coming out of the bedding area.
As I watched I saw a rack. At first look, it looked unusual. I saw that it had good mass and spread and attached my release to my bowstring and no longer looked at his rack. As the deer moved down the trail it stopped and looked to its left. I saw a doe feeding under some oaks. My thought was “oh no, don’t go that way.” The buck continued moving along the same trail and passed 17 paces from my stand, offering a broadside shot.
I shot him as he walked and it was a good hit. I watched him go down. When I got to him I was awestruck….I couldn’t count the points. He is a main-frame 12-point with split brow tines and stickers coming from his bases on both sides. All told he has 22 points, but only 21 are score-able. He field-dressed at 192 pounds. I donated the meat to Hunters for the Hungry and he will provide more than 200 meals for people in Virginia.
These were the keys to my success: The deer moved with the front; I was set up between their bedding area and a food source; I was on a good cross trail in a pinch point; and I had the wind in my favor. Careful scouting and not hunting the area until the conditions were in my favor sealed the deal.
And Mike, you called it right when you said October 21st is one of the best days to hunt.—Wayne Mills
And check out those split brows, awesome buck Wayne!