Now that I have had a lil time to reflect on my trip. I figured I would share what I learned, what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I would do differently.
If someone is on the fence about doing a trip like this I highly suggest it. You learn a lot. Not only about deer but about yourself.
I believe u would have more fun if you went with a buddy or group. While it didn’t bother me when I was actually hunting. Sitting at a campfire by oneself is a lonely place day after day.
I chose the spot I went to based strictly off a large population of whitetail in the area. Figured this would up my odds of getting on deer. I feel this was smart on my part cause I got on deer right out the gate which made me feel good and believe I could do this. But so many deer also created a challenge I was not used to. There was deer sign everywhere in every direction making it really tough to interpret. Doe groups were large at 12-15 per group. In my parts it’s typically 2 and a fawn. 1 group of that size can really leave behind a lot of fresh sign while just passing through once making it seem like a happening place.
Food source was another problem for me coming from hunting farm country. Seemed these deer just browsed around randomly most of the time. I did notice most drainage systems were lined with live oaks so I focused most my efforts there. I saw several deer feeding on them but don’t feel it was the hot source. All the doe I witnessed from stand were out in more open areas feeding on grasses while the bucks sticked to the thicker cover the drainage provided and the live oaks.
I chose the last week of archery season for the trip because being a gun hunting state I believed pressure would be light as everyone has plans for the big firearms opener. I was correct as I never saw another soul.
What phase of the season was going on also confused me and changed how I was hunting more than once. I figured the rut would be kicking off and bucks would be cruising. Yet one morning I saw twenty something relaxed doe and not a single buck. So I changed my approach to food. The buck I missed was traveling with 2 other bucks all friendly munching on acorns. But shortly after I whiffed a big 10 comes flying by with his nose to the ground grunting. So I was wondering what is going on.From then on every buck I saw was cruising alone.
Evenings just ate my lunch. I couldn’t get on deer to save my life. I bounced around every evening but could not locate anything. I don’t know if this was do to the morning being cool in the 40s while evenings were blistering heat in the mid 80s or what.
Locating bedding was another real challenge. Wasn’t any big thicket areas like I’m accustomed to. The thickest stuff I could find was along drainages which I was already hunting. But wether the bucks were bedding in there or not I really don’t know.
I wish I would have taken several cameras with me. Feel that maybe this would have helped me get on deer in the evenings. I wish I would have walked that entire drainage b4 I started hunting and found the absolute best spot. I picked a good spot right out the gate and had one young buck walk under me. But I noticed the bulk of action was happening a lil farther down. So I moved again. This move provided a shot at a good buck but again 75% of the action was further down. When I got there and in the tree the big picture revealed itself as trails poured in from every direction. That morning 100% of deer passed by within range. Had I started there I would have had a chance at the big 10. Lesson learned! Never settle for a good spot, find the absolute BEST.
Already making plans to go back next year for a redemption tour. My advice to anyone going on one of these excursions for the first time is to set realistic goals. With limited time on new ground killing a whopper probably isn’t gonna happen. But I shot at a buck I never would have shot here at home. But if I wouldn’t have missed I would have been so proud and tickled. It’s not easy but it’s doable and very rewarding to go into a new spot and just see a deer. When that first one walked by in front of me I was grinning ear to ear. This type thing isn’t for everyone but if u want the ultimate challenge this is it in my book. Good Luck
Eat the donut not the hole!