• The SH Membership has gone live. Only SH Members have access to post in the classifieds. All members can view the classifieds. Starting in 2020 only SH Members will be admitted to the annual hunting contest. Current members will need to follow these steps to upgrade: 1. Click on your username 2. Click on Account upgrades 3. Choose SH Member and purchase.
  • We've been working hard the past few weeks to come up with some big changes to our vendor policies to meet the changing needs of our community. Please see the new vendor rules here: Vendor Access Area Rules

"Unsuccessful" but still had the best sit of my life Saturday morning.

littlefish

New Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
36
Saturday morning the weather was calling for a S wind, so I decided to go into a spot that is new to me this year, that I've previously hunted two evening sits. The spot is below a saddle, in a draw that leads up to the ridge. The ridge runs E/W and the draw runs N/S. My first sit, I saw does come out of their bed to my west, go down the draw through a funnel that brings them to the benches below me. They passed to my south by about 50 yards. The second evening sit I adjusted my location a bit farther down the draw, and had two spikes follow the same path of those does, and went to my south at 35 yards. For Saturday morning's sit I anticipated deer coming up that funnel into the draw, so I moved even further south putting myself at the top of the funnel, directly above the steep drop off to the south. This funnel is the only real way to get to and from the benches below for a good distance in either direction. I figured any deer coming up to bed would pass me, and any cruising buck would be moving E/W perpendicular to the wind below the ridge and would follow the general path I had seen deer follow the two previous evening sits.

At 8:30 I spun around in my saddle to take a leak, and I found myself starring face to face with a very nice buck at 55 yards. He was actually higher than me, since he was on a bluff directly next to the draw (green X on the map). Looking back on it, I realize he went up a steeper part of the face, and was going to bed on that bluff. He could see any danger coming down the draw from the N, and could smell anything below him from the S wind combined with the morning thermals. He didn't spook hard, but eventually walked off and went down the draw going to the benches to the S too far below me for a shot.

Now, where the real action starts. At 9:00 a (what I can only assume was a VERY hot) doe came running down the draw directly at me, with three bucks on her tail. She was running for her life, and they were out of their minds. Tongues hanging out, grunting, and oblivious to the world around them. She made a 90 degree turn to the east about 50 yards above me. I don't know if she caught my wind, since it was blowing directly at her, or if she would have done that anyway, but she made two big loops around the top of the bowl before going over the ridge (blue arrow on the map below).

At 10:00 another nice buck came into the bowl, nose to the ground, and followed her exact path. I tried my estrus can, but he was obviously more trusting of his nose than his ears. He stopped and looked in my direction a few times, but with the wind blowing directly at him, he carried on the trail of the hot doe and passed to my north by 50 yards.

At 11:00 ANOTHER decent buck did the same exact thing as the buck at 10:00. Same exact path and same disinterest in my calling.

At 11:30 I saw an unidentified deer cruising one of the benches below me to the south.

At 12:30 I had to go so I climbed down and walked back to the truck.

Lesson learned: The rut is the best time of year, but also the most unpredictable. With the exception of the first buck I saw, who loosely followed the pattern of what I expected deer to do, the hot doe was not following any predictable pattern or routine. She was running for her life. You can't always expect deer to do what you want them to do or you think they will do. Sadly, if was in the original tree I had climbed two sits ago before I started moving down the draw, all of those deer would have gone directly below me. Now, there's no way to say they wouldn't have winded me since the wind was wrong, but it's hard not to think about it.

Bigger lesson learned: When a hot doe goes through with bucks on her tail and out of range, GET DOWN and move your setup. I should have anticipated another buck following her scent, but I was too stubborn and holding onto what I thought the deer "should" be doing. And when another buck goes by on her scent, YOU REALLY NEED to move and adjust. I had time between the first group that went by, between the fourth buck, and the fifth buck that each time there was enough of a window for me to adjust my location. Next time, if I see a doe who is clearly as hot as this one was go by out of range, you can bet I'm moving down and getting closer.

All of the bucks I saw minus one out of the group of three were at least 2.5 years old, with the first one on the bluff being a really nice 3.5 year old 130" deer.

Either way this was the most excitement and action I've ever had in one sit, and is a hunt I won't sure forget. Days like this are what keeps me going back.

Sunday morning I ended up killing a spike on another property. I needed a win and confidence boost after not putting anything down last season due to a major struggle with an EHD outbreak on farm closer to home and the freezer needed to be filled. I would have preferred a doe, but beggars can't be choosy.

I didn't go back to this spot the following morning because the wind was wrong, and I figured the action I saw was such an unpredictable fluke, I would be better sitting in a spot I know works for the foretasted wind. Turns out I was right because the spike I ended up killing followed exactly what I thought the deer would be doing based on the wind.

Screenshot 2021-11-16 8.11.31 AM.png
 

ofor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
818
Some great lessons learned on that hunt. Thanks for sharing.
 

littlefish

New Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
36
Good story. What are the blue and green lines? Bino icons are your trees?
Blue line is the path the hot doe and the bucks that followed her took. Green line is the route that I anticipated deer taking based on previous movement and my tree is in the red circle. The binos are areas on the map I want to scout in person but haven't been in to yet.
 

1simplemann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2014
Messages
385
Understood. Now it's a little clearer. I think you have found a good area. Definitely worth further hunts to learn their patterns. I've never been very good at this but it sounds like you should have moved as soon as you saw those 3 bucks on her trail. I have watched THP do this successfully a couple times. It paid off with 2 BIG bucks. Sometimes small adjustments pay off w/ big rewards.
 

littlefish

New Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
36
Understood. Now it's a little clearer. I think you have found a good area. Definitely worth further hunts to learn their patterns. I've never been very good at this but it sounds like you should have moved as soon as you saw those 3 bucks on her trail. I have watched THP do this successfully a couple times. It paid off with 2 BIG bucks. Sometimes small adjustments pay off w/ big rewards.
I absolutely should have moved after the hot doe went by with three bucks in tow. I honestly thought about it, but talked myself out of it thinking that another wouldn't possibly come by. Then when the next buck did, I talked myself out of it again thinking I missed the chance and another one couldn't possibly come by. By the time the fifth one came by I had to pack up and head home, but the lesson is learned for sure.
 
Top