Playing the Waiting Game

I set the pop-up blind on the fence back in early September. A beat-down trail connects broken canyon country to a field there, and the deer lope over the sagging barbed wire by a large mesquite tree. It's a perfect funnel. The blind sits 18 yards from the trail and the sagging wires. It's an afternoon-only spot.

My first sit of the season there was on Oct.7. It was warm, 80 degrees. The wind was out of the south at 10 mph. The buck I wanted had been caught on camera there twice in the last four days just before shooting light ended.

It was after sunset, 7:25 p.m., when the first deer appeared: a velvet forkhorn buck. He was on edge, but passed at close range. Ten minutes later, another small buck came galloping in from the south. He too passed inside slingshot range.

I was watching the clock on my cell phone, well aware that with each passing minute my chances were both increasing and decreasing. The big buck would likely show at the last minute of light, or after it.

With three minutes of legal light left, silhouettes to the north caught my eye. Through the Leupold glass I could see antlers bobbing in mesquite trees. Three bucks on the way!

As they got closer, I could see they were two small six pointers and one middle-aged 9-point--not the big 10-point I was hoping for. They milled around inside 20 yards, then disappeared in the inky darkness. Time was up. I let the bucks wander out of range, then gathered my gear for the walk to the truck.

The next day, late morning, I went back to the blind to retrieve some gear I left in the blind. I checked the trail camera on the fence and found that ten minutes after I had exited the blind the night before, the big 10-pointer had posed in front of the camera.

That seems to be the way of my deer season so far. Little ones in range at last light, and big ones moving after dark. I'll try that spot again in the next week, but I'm going to wait for colder weather before I do. When the sun is hot and the temperatures make you sweat, the old bucks act like vampires. With colder temperatures, they go back to acting more like deer. That's when I'll kill him.