It’s hot. Way too hot to be deer hunting. The daytime highs here in Brown County, Illinois are going to be in the low- to mod-70’s today. At least the humidity of summer is largely gone. But you know it is going to be tough when, instead of looking for your long underwear, you are trying to find the bug dope.
This week I have been invited to hunt some superb land in Illinois’ Brown County controlled by Brady Arview, VP of Sales & Marketing for New Archery Products . Also here are Pat McKenna of Ameristep , as well as Mark Seidlinger of Media Direct, who does p/r for several companies including the above but also Stealth Cam , Flextone Calls , and Wildlife Research Center, among others. My friend Mark Melotik, Editor of Archery Business and Managing Editor of Bowhunting World magazines, is also here. This will be sort of like déjà vu all over again for me. In 1999, just a few miles from where I’ll be hunting, I arrowed the biggest buck of my life, a perfectly symmetrical 10-point that netted 181 3/8 Pope & Young points. I’ll get to hunt this incredible area while trying out some of the hottest new gear for 2011.
The first morning Brady sends me to a beautiful oak ridge, with the stand set along a small creek near where three ridges converge. To the north is an agriculture field, while a hundred yards to the south, up on top, is a cut corn field. My goodness, what a great looking spot! But you know how deer hunting goes, and this morning I see nary a deer.
Melotik has better luck. He bangs his rattle bag, and up through the thick stuff comes a buck on the troll. The 8-pointer is a shooter, Mark thinks he will push 140, but the deer never pauses long enough in a hole inside the thicket to offer a good shot. Mark Seidlinger also has a great morning, seeing five different bucks, though all are too young. He did tell us all had their noses to the ground in that classic pre-rut troll, and that is very encouraging.
After lunch and a healthy nap, it’s time to hit the woods again. On top of the very warm temps, a storm front is moving in, and the winds are predicted to blow as hard as 50 miles an hour before it’s done. When I climb into my stand I have to hang on as I get strapped in. This little corner is the junction of a cut soybean field bordered by thick woods, with a grassy pasture 40 yards wide by 100 yards long running parallel to the beans and beginning about 30 yards to my left. The Stealth Cam Unit scouting camera has shown two really good bucks cutting the corner right under my tree, so despite the wind I am optimistic.
I see four does and then, about 30 minutes before dark, out of the woods pops a buck. It’s an 8-pointer with tall, narrow antlers, and sure enough, he ends up coming right under my tree. But the 2 ½ year old is only about a 120 – not the deer I was hoping for.
Tomorrow, as they say, is another day.