It’s a Good Time to Find Out What the Trail Cams Are Missing

Reports from friends in the region indicate the hunting has been slow so far. The biggest complaint is that while bucks are showing up on camera, it’s always after hours. They act like vampires, not deer. As for me, I’m seeing the same faces every time I check my cameras. Small bucks and does only, nothing bigger than 110 inches. By contrast, at this time last year I tagged a 150-class stud and saw two others almost as big. I have seen two solid mule deer bucks, both mature and big enough for most rednecks anywhere, so I can’t whine too much. I may spend the next week hunting mule deer since whitetails seem so uncooperative.

While trail cameras can tell us lots, but they don’t tell us everything. A high vantage point and a good piece of glass can find deer the trail camera misses. So I set out the other day with a spotting scope to dissect the jungle-thick creek bottom that so far has only yielded small bucks. I suspect the thick vegetation has older bucks that are not yet interested in corn feeders staying in a small area.

It was well after sunset when a silhouette of a deer caught my eye under the cottonwoods. I was more than a mile away but could tell it had antlers. I squinted and rotated the focus knob on the scope, trying to see things that the fading light would not give up. For one brief instant the deer lifted its head. And for that instant I thought I saw something good, real good. But then the deer dropped its head to feed and the light was gone. Maybe he was a 140, 150 or maybe my eyes wanted to see something big so badly that I dreamed it all up. It’s hard to say. But for that brief instant I had hope again that the big bucks are down there. And there is still a lot of time to catch up with one.

Sometimes hope and what we think we see are what keep deer hunters coming back for more.