I spent the past weekend in Wisconsin on public land trying to fill either a buck or doe tag with my crossbow, and as you might have read in my January 2 web article, “Deer Report: Going Public,” I was on deer and simply needed to close the deal.
Sadly, the whitetails never cooperated, and even though I carefully hunted the edge of this public land a few more times during mornings and afternoons, the deer were never on their feet during daylight hours again. They continued to travel the half-mile or more from public land bedding to private land feeding (standing corn) each day as evidence by their many new tracks, but even the arrival of a major winter storm and cold front didn’t force the deer by my ambush.
So . . . the fat lady sings on another deer season, and the box score heavily favors Team Whitetail in its 4-month battle with me. In total, I bowhunted either South Dakota or Wisconsin every weekend from mid September through early January, and I also burned at least 3 weeks of vacation in pursuit of deer. I released one arrow. One. And with it I tagged a mature Wisconsin doe on opening weekend of the season. For that I’m thankful.
Although I spent the vast majority of my time in pursuit of a whopper whitetail in South Dakota, I passed on deer after deer and buck after buck (literally thousands of inches of antler), but never took a shot. In fact, I attempted to draw my bow only twice in SoDak, but a big 5x4 (scouting cam pic below) busted me both times. Again, I’m thankful for the opportunities, but certainly disappointed I couldn’t close the deal.
Yesterday I stored my plastic tubs filled with deer gear and will now turn my attention to predators, namely coyotes. And sometime over the next few weeks I’ll have to hike my deer properties one more time to remove treestands so they aren’t trashed by the weather between now and next deer season.
I’ve already started making a mental list of treestand locations that need to be changed slightly, food plot plans that need modification, gear that needs to be replaced, etc. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about deer hunting, so while the season has closed, the chess match continues.