I had too much to do Thanksgiving morning to get ready to go to my Mom's, not to mention it was 21* outside, so I stayed at the house other than feeding the horses. I did see a young buck run up through the pasture as I was carrying a bucket of feed to the trough. He was shooting distance as he stopped and stared at me, but not a shooter. On the way home from Raymond, we started counting the deer. There were two groups in one field that we estimated were about 10 or 12. We counted 29 in addition to those. The sun had set as I grabbed my gun and ran to the lease behind the house. I saw a few does across the dividing ditch through the trees, but no bucks.
November 29, Friday morning, it was 24 degrees as we rode down the road to my spot where I get out and walk into the woods to my stand at the hog farm. I got situated and waited. I finally saw a doe going through the woods and then a spike came out and wandered around right in front of me for a while. He'd throw his nose up in the air, but never got my scent. The wind was perfect. Finally he walked on off. Three more does/fawns walked through the woods a little later, and then another doe ran up behind me. She stayed in one spot not moving for a long time. Then she walked on into the big thicket. I had gotten a little chilled, so I climbed down and walked around the hog farm area. I was on the power line when I spotted a deer walking through the woods. Another doe. I let her walk right out onto the power line with me. At last she spooked and ran back through the woods. I jumped another doe in a downed tree top (where I had jumped what I believe is a decent buck a few days ago). She ran a short distance and stopped, then started walking on and I could tell she was limping on her right front leg. She can really move when she wants to! I eased on along the trail next to the property line and then started angling back towards my stand. Two deer on the other property blew at me and bolted. I checked a spot where I had seen a fresh scrape and it had really been worked over since the last time I saw it. It was near lunch time, so I headed home, not seeing any other deer, but did jump a gigantic rabbit that scared the heck out of me.
That evening, I decided to drive across the creek to the back bean field and hunt from the top of the hill. I was hurrying because it was getting late. Some of our dogs were missing. They had gone off hunting and one of the older dogs had come back with a deer leg, so we figured that's where the other pups were.....wherever the deer carcass was. I got to the back field and parked my truck below the pond dam and scooted up the hill to a grassy spot where I could see over the sage down to the creek. I got seated and immediately heard a noise behind me. It was Murdo and Sturgis. They had seen where I went and followed me from wherever they had been hunting. They were so glad to see me and started yipping loudly with joy. Okay, so much for that hunt. I scooped them up and put them in the truck and took them home. My husband put them in the cattle trailer with the others and I took off on foot over the hill to the lease to try to utilize the fading light. I spotted a deer on the far hillside. It was a decent buck, but I didn't get a thorough look because of the trees. He appeared to be heading in my direction. Shortly, I could hear something running in the leaves below the hill to my right where a pond is. Then I could hear footsteps coming up the hill. I stood there with my gun held up, ready to take him if he was indeed a shooter. The deer that appeared had no horns. She looked at me and I kept the gun held up.....but it was getting heavy. I kept holding it as she very warily made her way over to and oak. Another doe appeared behind her and then a fawn. I was till holding the gun up, but brought it down when I got a chance with all of them looking somewhere other than me. They grazed acorns for a long time. I never saw the buck again, but 8 does/fawns poured out of the woods on the far north end of the property right at dark. I spooked the does that were grazing as I turned to go to the house. I told them not to come back unless they had a BIG buck with them!
November 30, Saturday morning, it was 26 degrees. It's supposed to start getting a lot warmer. The puppies make it difficult for me to hunt like I want to. They need a lot of room to play, and early morning is a major play time for them, so I hate to lock them in a horse stall, although it is nice and cozy. The cattle trailer has a good bit of room, but it is so cold in the morning time. I guess we need to just fence them a yard. That being said, I decided to let the deer pattern me as I once again got my husband to drop me off on the road at the hog farm stand. I wasn't as early as I usually am. I climbed into the stand and loaded my gun and waited. And waited. This spot has always been very active with deer, but not this year. Even the squirrels haven't been out and about this year like they have in the past. I was getting ready to come down since nothing had appeared and it was 8:30, but I knew that around 9:00, deer start moving again. And so it was. I heard running in the leaves and finally saw a doe. She walked along and then snorted and ran back the other way. Now she shouldn't have winded me because the direction was wrong, and I would be so surprised if she had gotten my scent from where I walked in. She really wasn't that close to it. Nonetheless, she was gone. After a bit, I spotted a deer body behind a tree. I waited to see the head come out from behind it. As soon as it did, HE bolted and ran. I don't really believe he was a shooter, but I sure wish I could have gotten a better look. A little bit later, another doe loped through the woods and then I decided I was ready to lope home and get something to eat. I walked down the road and stepped over into the woods when I heard a vehicle coming down the road. It was a game warden. He was on his phone and didn't see me. I left the road and walked down one of our field roads to a bottom across a creek. This bottom had grown up in sage, but my husband had clipped around the edge and a couple of paths through the middle. I saw a doe and fawn as I made my way toward the middle sage path. When I got to the path, deer started pouring out of the woods on the north end. I just kept counting....11, 12, 13! Wow, a convention! They all wandered over into the woods on the west side. I waited for the big buck chasing them (???) to appear, but he never did. That made 18 deer sightings this morning, including one buck. As slow as the activity has been during the daylight, it's obvious that the bucks are very busy at night making scrapes and rubs. I do feel that we are now on the leading edge of the rut here in our area. I hope so. I am really ready for some action.