Trail Cams Lie (and Three More Lessons from a Great Deer)

You probably know by now that the Blind Hog Theory was once again proven true on Sunday, when I tagged … Continued

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You probably know by now that the Blind Hog Theory was once again proven true on Sunday, when I tagged a nice buck not far from my home. I thank you gentlemen for the kudos directed toward that deer and will pass them on as I honor him. A couple of readers wanted more details about the hunt, and I have been thinking of what to provide that might be useful. Here’s a trio of lessons I learned from this hunt:

Lesson 1) Trail cams lie
Dave got two cam-pics of my buck this summer (see above). Though we agreed he was a shooter, we misjudged him badly. To the tune of 20″ or more. I figured the buck might make 150 with a break or two. He gross-scored 176 and change. Lousy judging skills? Poor camera/deer angle? Yes on both counts, and it makes me wonder how many other deer I’m not giving proper credit to..

Of course the camera also revealed two important truths; the buck a) not only liked the food plot we planted, he b) hit it during shooting hours.

Lesson 2) Experiment With Stands
I’m primarily a hang-on stand guy. Over the years, I’ve learned to conceal them in all manner of trees and brush for effective shooting. Trouble was, there were no stand trees within bow range of this plot. None. Dave and I spent hours walking in circles around various candidates, eventually rejecting them all.

But I had a tripod stand at my house I was doubtful I’d ever use, and one apple tree that looked like it might provide enough backdrop to conceal the thing. So we stuck the tripod (which resembled an oil rig) against the apple, fully intending the set would be reserved for Dave’s girls when they gun-hunted in November. But I admit I was curious, so I decided to sit it that afternoon and see how many deer would bust me. Answer? None. Five bucks and a doe fed within bow range and none even looked my way. And I was comfortable!

Lesson Three) Question Your Rules
I live in bluff country, and 20-plus years of hunting this terrain have convinced me that valley bottoms are bad news. Take a true wind on a ridgetop, walk 500 feet to the valley floor, and it will change 180 degrees…if you’re lucky. Mostly it just bounces around, throwing your scent to the compass points and making the area as foul as a discussion on “The View.”

But Dave had hunted this valley before, and told me that, for some reason there was always a true, predictable wind direction at this stand site. When I left the truck, winds were gusting to 45 mph and all over the map…on the ridgetop. Down at the ladder I had a firm westerly breeze that never varied for three hours. Are there other places like this in bluff country? There have to be…I just need a way to find them.

Any worthwhile nuggets in here? Care to share lessons that specific bucks have taught you? I’m all ears…