Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Deer are in the Corn (Part 2)

There is one section of the farm north of Fort Calhoun I have never hunted.  As described in previous postings, this farm sits on top of a series of hills that rise steeply from the valley to the west.  The valley area is where the deer are hanging out.  These deer came up out of the river bottoms as the Missouri River flood water rose.  Here they are finding some very good dining.  Good for them, but not for the landowner.  He rotates his crops and this spring planted corn instead of beans.  Corn is around seven dollars a bushel and the deer have  big appetites. They like the corn.

Having never hunted this section of the farm, a scouting trip was planned.  High on the hills I looked down into the corn fields below me.  The edges were surrounded with tall weeds.  Several terraces held water from previous rains.  The deer do just fine in a small area with water, cover, and food.  Deer trails also ran from the woods to the north and down the steep hills to the corn.  Climbing down the hills, it was very easy to see the damage the deer were doing.  It was way more severe than anything I had seen before on this farm.  It was obvious the crop was systematically being gobbled up by the invasion of the river bottom deer.

The plan was made to get to a couple of spots on the side of the hill and harvest one or two as they came out of the fields and back into the woods.  If they decided to hide in the weeds, I would be able to spot them if they moved into view.  The watering areas on the terrace were hard to see as the side of the hills were primarily timber.

Three thirty AM came really early the next morning.  On the road by 4 AM and arriving at the farm 45 minutes later, there was plenty of light to help me find the first spot.  The temperature was only seventy-five degrees, but the heavy humidity really made it uncomfortable.  After 20 minutes of hiking to the first spot, I was drenched.  The bugs were also out in full force, and thanks to the Thermacell Mosquito Repellent, it kept them off of me.  Check the front page of the website for more information on this product. You can also click on the following link and go direct to Bass Pro for more information.
ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent - Olive Green

It did not take long.  A really young doe came from off to my left.  She trotted about 20 yard in front of me at a 45 degree angle, paused, looked and sniffed.  She could not figure it all out and she was really small.  I let her go.  Next came a very large buck.  The velvet covered his already sprouting horns.  He sensed I was there and made a very wide sweep.  He moved quickly up the steep hill.  He would pause among the trees and stare, but he stayed clear.  A shot at him was possible, but the goal was a doe.  If he remains in the area, someone will have a nice rack provided he gets harvested.

Daylight was showing, and I moved back deeper into some woods along the side of the hill.  I wanted to be in as much shadow as possible.  The wind had picked up out of the southwest and was right in my face.  This was perfect.  Two really small doe wandered up the hill to my right and never paused.  That was a good sign as I had not been discovered.  Next came a really nice doe.  She stayed close to the fields moving away from me.  The angle was not good.  Then she made a fatal mistake and started up the hill.  This was perfect, and as she stepped from behind some trees into a small open area, the shot was made.  I could feel my heart beating in my chest.  This was exciting, but now for the work. 

I called the landowner, but the cell phone was not able to get a good signal.  I dragged her up the hill, and right below the top field  dressed her out.  I tried again, and got through but broken reception.  All I could hear was the landowner was, "I heard shooting.  Is that you?"  I needed him to come with the loader and help me load this fine creature up.  Laying the Thermacell on the doe's neck, I fought the mosquitoes and got to higher ground.  He was already on the tractor and it was merely to identify my location. 

Thirty minutes later, the deer was in the back of the truck.  We packed it in ice, and I took off for Omaha and the processor.  I was off the farm ground by 8 AM.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

If you have a great hunting or fishing story, e-mail to us with pictures and if published, we will e-mail you a $25.00 gift certificate to Bass Pro.

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