And the winner is…the buck, for now. If I’d had enough light to legally shoot, I’d have tagged him last week and given half of the rack to maynardtl8, who was the first to suggest mock scrapes, and the other half to finnyk, who suggested I stick with my first stand (S1). Here’s what happened.


Between wind, work, and kids, I couldn’t get back in the spot for a while, but in the meantime, I did get out at midday to make several mock scrapes around S1, as well as scent trails (one along the creek and one along the edge of the field), leading from the south down to S1. When I finally got a huntable wind (southeast), I walked in from the north, checked my mock scrapes, and could see they’d been hit. So I settled into S1.

The action was slow until about 10 minutes before the end of shooting light when a doe and a fawn appeared in the field out of nowhere right in front of S2. Then I heard a hoof stamp the ground just to the south along the creek. A doe had spotted me while I was glassing the deer in the field. She stood staring at me…and staring…and staring, until after all the legal shooting light had faded, she flicked her tail and finally starting tiptoeing her way toward me. I didn’t want to climb down with her so close, so I hung up my bow and waited.

She took her time. When she eventually walked into my shooting lane east of the stand, she had almost fully morphed from a deer to a dark blob. That’s when I heard, Uurp! I looked south and saw a much bigger blob moving in. Through the binoculars I could make out the basic frame of the rack. It was him.

The leaves suddenly crackled as he spotted the doe and pushed her out into the field–where they both caught my wind and bolted in opposite directions. She ran out into the middle of the field, stopped, and blew for about 10 minutes nonstop. He crashed back into the woods, blowing two or three times as he barged up a black hemlock ridge.

And that was that.

But it ain’t over. I’ll be back after him this week and as before, if I tag him with your strategy, I’ll send you the rack. So, if, given this update, you still like your original plan, you don’t need to do anything. If you want to update your recommendations, go for it in the comment section below.