Even Predictable Bucks Can Be Tough to Hunt Now

On the afternoon of October 11, I made the long 1½-mile hike to one of my favorite stands. It's a tripod stand not far from a narrow creek. Tall cottonwoods line the creek. It's a natural travel corridor for deer, turkeys and hogs. A corn feeder sits in the same area.

It was near this spot where I watched the two big bucks sparring, making scrapes, and rubbing, as mentioned in my last report.

I was settled into the stand plenty early, around 4:30 p.m. It was 80 degrees with a 10-20 mph southwest wind. A wind with any flavor of west will work here. Straight south or southeast is no good.

Before climbing aboard my perch, I checked the trail camera. Both of the fighters were on the camera in the previous week. The dark-horned, typical 12-point with the kicker on his right G-2 (that's him above) was there virtually every day, in daylight!

Six hen turkeys walked by my stand at 6:30. They fed for a minute, then wandered down the creek. All was silent until 7 p.m. And that's when the wind started to get iffy. Bouncing back and forth from southwest to straight south and even southeast.

At 7:03, I saw a blur of two deer running down the creek about 200 yards away. The two bucks stopped in a clearing 100 yards away. One was a pencil-horned 10-point, close to 140 inches, and the dark-horned 12-point with the kicker. He dwarfed the 10-point. Maybe 160, maybe 170? Big!

On a string, they were walking towards my stand. They stopped and their heads simultaneously swiveled towards the creek. A 125-pound brown-colored wild hog walked clear of the cedars. The bucks twitched their tails and still kept coming my way.

The big one was in the lead, then stopped like he'd hit a brick wall at 50 yards. He hesitated for two seconds, then spun and ran the way he'd come, taking the second buck with him. Neither buck snorted or made any sound, just spun and high-tailed it outta there!

Moments later, the brown hog walked out at 40 yards. His snout shot up in the air, then he growled and ran away. My consistent southwest wind had become variable, going to south and even southeast. Hunt over.

It's worth mentioning here that before my hunt I showered in green soap, sprayed down my clothes and backpack with a scent elimination spray. I even changed clothes after the long hike to fresh, non sweated clothes. Once in the tripod, I sprinkled a bottle of fox pee on the bushes around me as cover scent.

And my stand was elevated, enough that I thought my scent might travel over the animals' heads, even if the wind shifted. But alas, it was not to be.

Maybe the next time I sit there, the wind direction will hold. A steady wind in your face is still the best scent reduction I know of! I'm hoping for a second chance.