Back in October my SIL said there was definitely a big buck on Bakersfield because one of the trees had been scraped (meaning the deer uses the tree to scrape the skin off of its newly grown horns). She also pointed out that there were a good number of deer roaming through the area and that hunting season would be good this year.
Since the first weekend in November I'd been hunting Bakersfield and the first weekend BIL was there with his son. From my stand I watched a six point come and eat the corn that the feeder put out that morning. As it walked away (it was too small to shoot) I told BIL it may be heading his way. After that, I didn't see any deer for half an hour, so I packed it in and called it a day. BIL and son stayed but I couldn't blame him; he drove over 80 miles to hunt and I live about 25 miles away. I had plans to come back a few more times.
The next time I came to hunt a group of 4 or 5 does showed up at the feeder for breakfast. Since it wasn't Thanksgiving weeked, shooting one of them was out of the question. They caught me looking out the deer blind at them, raised their noses trying to get my scent, but didn't smell me. They finished eating and walked away, and I sat in the blind for another 10 minutes and thought, "They ate all the corn so there probably won't be any more deer." So I step out the deer blind, look left and there's a nice sized 8 point buck looking right at me. I freeze and think "Don't move and he'll walk away." He didn't walk away, he ran away into the cover of trees, then snorted a loud warning to the other deer in the area. I failed so bad at hunting!
So early Monday morning (Nov. 12th) I go hunting and I'm sure I'll get a deer because a cold front hit us and it was 38 degrees out. Being new to hunting I didn't realize how cold that temperature really is, so my thermal pants, thermal shirt, 2 pairs of pants and 2 long sleeve shirts AND facemask didn't keep me truly warm. 6am came and the feeder didn't go off. By 8am I hadn't seen any deer and my feet and hands were going numb, so I called it a day. I left the deer blind and checked the feeder. The feeder was getting power and I had corn, but there wasn't any corn on the ground. I threw some corn on the ground to keep the deer interested, then went home. Being in need of backstrap meat (the filet mignon of deer) for our upcoming family Thanksgiving get together, I went back that afternoon and hunted at dusk. I looked under the feeder and saw the corn was gone, so that told me the deer were still around. I threw some more down and sat in the blind. I didn't see deer and it was too dark to shoot so I called it a night and went to bed.
The next morning I put on the same clothing setup as above, but brought a wool hoodie to help. It did, but I failed to realize what was really causing all the problems was the cast iron chair I was sitting on in this 38 degree weather. So I was miserably cold again, and at 6am when I was expecting the feeder to go off and throw corn, it didn't. I text my FIL about the feeder battery and ask how long they last. He said some don't last long. So I didn't see deer again, I called it a day, and came home to talk to my wife about investing in rechargable batteries for the feeder, especially considering I plan on hunting through the season. We get it, charge the batteries, and I'm off to Bakersfield to hunt. This was last night.
I wake up this morning, put on the thermal pants, regular pants, thermal shirt, heavy duty hoodie, THEN my denim jumpsuit, THEN my wool hoodie, and finally my camo pants, two pairs of socks with toe warmer inserts, facemask and wool gloves. Now I'm ready.
I go to the feeder and change the battery. Test it and it shoots corn at me and all around me. I go sit in the deer blind and start listening to some sermons.
6 am the feeder goes off. I'm a little chilled where I'm sitting but it's not as bad as it has been. I'm exhausted and I start to nod off. I wake up, see no deer, nod off. Repeat about 4 times. The last time, I could really tell I probably wasn't waking up on my own power, but I hear a strange ring, not a bell, not anything I can explain, except to thank God He used that to wake me out of the slumber, because out at the feeder are 5 does eating breakfast.
A lot of thoughts go through my head; I'm discouraged because we need a deer for Thanksgiving and these were the first deer I'd seen in a week. I thought to shoot the biggest doe, I even had which one figured out because she was a pretty big doe. Then I thought "Do not disgrace your LORD by willingly violating the laws of men; God will provide." So I sat back and relaxed, enjoying watching the deer eat.
Right at this time, all the does scattered in an instant, it was crazy. It would have been as if someone dropped a bomb right on the feeder and sent the deer running all at once. I thought "that is the wierdest thing I've seen." Then the two small does came walking back to the feeder. They were eating again and then this big 12 point buck lumbers out of the woods. I was shocked; even though SIL said a big buck was on property, seeing it was amazing. I raised the blind veil, aim my .308 at his chest, and pull the trigger...
...and he runs off. This happened when I shot my last deer, but I was sure I got this one this time. Then I heard in the distance the snapping of tree limbs and twigs. "I think he just dropped" I thought. I didn't want to waste time, so I left the blind and looked at where he was standing. I looked and didn't see it, didn't see it, kept looking...
There it is. Blood on the leaves. Just a drop but it tells direction. Followed the trail, and then there was more, then a splatter. I looked to my left and there he was for me to take.
I took the meat from him and, of course, when you kill a deer like this, you never bring a camera and your phone runs out of power so you can't take a picture on the spot. I did take his horns, and with those and the meat I headed home.
Again, SIL said there was a big buck on property, but FIL couldn't believe I shot him at Bakersfield. I was just as shocked but here's the horns! Well over 13 inches wide.
|Into our freezer you go!|
Even though I was freezing for a few mornings, I had some great time in prayer to the LORD. Oh God, may I keep that pattern and take great time in fellowship with you. Amen!