Saturday, October 20th a.m.

Wind: West, 5-3 mph
Temp: 44-50 degrees
Hunt time: 3-1/2 hours

What a beautiful morning! All the little critters and birds were out and about like crazy – fun to watch! After sunrise, the wind was non-existent, the clouds broke up and it was cool but not really cold (not having wind makes such a big difference!).

For this kind of morning and wind, I only had one stand on my mind… my absolute favorite. Amazingly, with being my favorite, I actually haven’t harvested anything out of it before, but this is the stand I’ve seen the most action out of ever, not just with deer but with other wildlife as well. The reason is because it is one of our “prairie” stands. The stand sits on the edge of a huge, steep dropoff and faces a steep hill. Between these land features is a long stretch of thick tallgrass prairie. Right where the stand is placed is where the prairie “pinches” between the hill and dropoff to only about 23 yards wide. This whole thing is a natural funnel and an excellent spot to call in bucks.
This is the first time in this stand during this season. It has changed since years before because the prairie is not near as tall and thick as usual because of the severe drought. This area we also didn’t catch any good bucks on trail cameras this summer, which was odd, but doesn’t necessarily mean anything come season and especially the rut.

Getting in, I scared a deer out of one end of the prairie. I was mad at myself because I was entering this area a little later than I prefer. I’ve had bucks come through this area in the dark immediately after getting in the stand because I think they just hear something out in the prairie and go up the hill to check it out. So it’s important to be early and move fast and, well… I wasn’t too fast this morning! So I don’t know if it could have made a difference if I was earlier or if it was a deer just bedding in the area and I would have spooked it up no matter what.

Just before 7:30 a.m., I had a doe and her fawn come through and while at about 21 yards broadside, I stretched my arm out to start to pull back and she just plain busted me. Dang it! I think that is actually the first time I’ve ever been caught pulling back. I know it happens but I’ll admit I sulked in the stand for quite awhile. This season has been kinda frustrating for me so far. I just am not seeing as many deer and getting close to as many deer as I normally am able to (and I’m extremely careful with my scentless routine). Our county was hit hard with EHD this year so hopefully it’s not that our deer numbers are that much lower. The deer seem spookier for this time of the season too though. At least failures in hunting are lessons learned and even though this stand is in a much more “open” tree than our other stands, it will keep me more careful when pulling back the rest of the season, so you never know if that will be all the difference to achieve a success down the road.

For the rest of the morning, I didn’t see anything else. I tried rattling two different times for the first time this season to no avail, which is odd in this area. I almost have always had a buck come in to this stand after rattling in the past. Maybe things have changed for this area this year. You never know. It might be a stand I just leave until closer to rut.

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