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Low Impact. A Deer Story.

My whitetail season usually starts in mid-March scouting snow covered woodlots and hunting for sheds. Once turkey season is over, I start running cameras, hanging stands, cutting trails, and planting plots. I spend countless hours in the woods doing some of the most enjoyable labor there is. For 2014 I decided to change it up. After turkey season I didn’t go back in the woods. Here are strategies I vowed to follow to make as little impact in the deer woods as possible.

-Don’t hunt the same stand twice

-Don’t hunt the same property twice in a week

-No cams

-No bait

-Ultra scent control

-Only hunt when the wind is right

-Good note taking and journaling

 

jakebowdrawThe idea was coined by me as “Super-ultra-crazy-low impact.” Since I was hunting the same properties basically for the last few years I didn’t even scout. I’ve got to say it really paid off. Based on my note taking and tedious logs, below is a chronological order of events for my 2014 season. (In a later blog, I will detail note taking, journals, and logs.)

-Sept 27-Sept 29th

I hunted 4 times in these days at 4 different properties, all under 15 acres. I saw deer 3 of the 4 hunts and took doe #1 of the season the night of the 29th.

-Oct 1- October 9th

2 Hunts at 2 properties, and saw deer every hunt. Passed a few dink bucks and a doe. I would’ve liked to hunt more, but the wind didn’t cooperate. So I stuck to plan and stayed home

-Oct 10- 25th

I Didn’t hunt at all in Ohio. I was either in Wyoming hunting or home cutting meat!

-October 26th

I started hunting bucks. I hit a property that holds good deer, and sat an observation stand a hundred yards from where I thought deer would be. I didn’t see a thing!

-Oct 28th

I went to an area with good deer and saw one small buck showing signs of rutting. I made a large stalking loop on my way out and saw two more small bucks.

– Oct 29th

I hunted a 7 acre spot where I killed my buck last year. I climbed the same tree about 30yds off a bedding area where the bucks travel and scent check for does down wind. I saw a good 3.5 yo half rack. He came in downwind of me and had his nose in the air. My scent control was working well!

– Oct 30th- PAYDAY

Today was the only deviation from my Ultra-super-low-impact plan. Due to hunting only a few hours before work each morning, and the back breaking hike uphill with my stand, I elected to leave my stand the day before and hunt the same tree twice in a row. I climbed up and settled in about 40 minutes before shooting light. Right at first light the 3.5 half rack showed up. About an hour later, a herd of does piled through. Followed by another half rack, I think a 2.5 year old. I watched the 9 deer chase and eat and play for half an hour. A few does gave me great shots but I passed hoping for a buck.

At 9:00 I rattled in a 4×1 buck. I was playing with him grunting at him for a little when I heard some close leaves crunching. I turned and saw a 10 pointer heading right for me. He wasn’t a giant. In fact my initial thought was “He’s not a shooter” but the closer he got the better he looked, and, with a baby due any day now I decided he was good enough. I waited as long as I could to draw. He had his head down sniffing a trail when I drew and he caught me. The buck paused just long enough at about 18yds for me to aim and let fly. My arrow hit him high and passed clean through

I listened intently and was pretty sure I heard a crash about 10 seconds after the shot. It sounded like he was only 60-100yds away. I was pretty unhappy with the high quartering to shot. I knew I got 1 lung and liver and saw blood pumping out but it just wasn’t that “perfect shot”. I backed out and called my friend Bill. Luckily he wasn’t working and put his life on the line leaving his wife at work with no car to come help me! If you don’t have a buddy to talk you down after a questionable shot…FIND ONE!

We got on the track and there was very little blood. I mean it looked bad. It was good blood with some bubbles but it was very scarce. Fortunately, the buck had fallen where I thought I heard him crash just 60yds from the shot. We got him out as quick as we could and snapped a few picture for posterity.

2014deerThis deer marked a big personal milestone for me. It’s the first time I’ve killed a buck with my bow back to back years. I’ve gone gun, bow, gun, bow for a while and really had my heart set on crossing that barrier.

I’ve been so blessed this year hunting from Ohio to Wyoming and still a few doe tags and a maybe another deer and bear tag to fill. I’m looking forward to compiling my journal and numbers into some hard data for my Ultra-super-crazy-low impact hunting. I’m going to continue hunting the rut “low impact” and continue the research. So far I’ve spent less days and seen more deer than last year when I ran cameras, bait, and used fixed stands.

It’s never too late to cut back your footprint on the woods. If you’re hunting hard and having a hard time seeing deer. Try scaling back to the basics and go low…Ultra-super-crazy low that is.

 

-God Bless Happy Hunting,

 

Jake Hacker

Contact the author at Jake@chasinwhitetails.com

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