Calling Gets Deer Moving (if not Exactly to the Right Spot)

Hunting a new area is always fun, especially when you find as much deer sign as I'd found on a farm country wood lot in northwestern Pennsylvania where I had gained hunting permission. Somewhat surprisingly, but keeping in line with the unusual rut this year, I found no scrapes and just one rub on a finger-size sapling.

Late in the afternoon, with my wife, Jeri, on stand about 50 yards to the east from my stand, I started calling, using my bleat-grunt-grunt sequence. It seemed like the perfect time and place to do so, since we were close to land where we could not hunt, and we knew of no other hunters in the area.

I spaced my calls about 20 minutes apart. Soon after one sequence, I heard movement close downhill. Brush was too dense for me to see anything, but I was at the ready. Then a loud crack of a rifle startled me. I figured my wife had her buck. After waiting a bit, I walked to her stand. There she waited for me--hoping I would tell her than I had shot my buck.

Somehow another hunter had gotten between us, no farther than 20 yards from either of us. He had cut off the buck that was coming to my call--innocently, I am quite certain. Since we did not know he or she was there, that person probably did not know we were there. We did not even go to see what the hunter had shot. It would have hurt too much if it had been a trophy buck.

We were close. So, so close. But at least we learned that the call sequence is working at this stage of the rut, as I expected. We know bucks are looking for hot does, and we know deer will move during daylight hours.