John's Journal...

Hunt the Storm Fronts for Deer

Day 1: You Can Hunt Deer Successfully in Miserable Weather

Editor’s Note: Oftentimes during inclement weather, you may be the only hunter competing for your buck. Bad-weather bucks can be bagged by hunters who search for them, and knowing where a buck is in bad weather can be the key to taking him. Deer hunting in bad weather may be a miserable sport, but it can pay big-buck dividends.

Click for Larger ViewThe rain was pouring-down as though someone stood over my head with a flowing garden hose. The temperature was in the high 30s. I could find nothing good to say for the day, having had only 3 hours of sleep the previous night before. Sitting beside a red oak tree, I catnapped while waiting on a deer to appear. Had it not been for my friend’s prodding, I still would have been home in bed. But I did tell my hunting companions, “Yeah, this will be a great day to take a deer. Click for Larger ViewThose deer won’t be able to see us because of the rain, they’ll never hear us because of the noisy water, and they’ll slide better when we drag them out of the woods.”

Now I was angry, cold, tired and disgusted with deer hunting in bad weather. As my eyes closed, I leaned against the red oak. From time to time, I peeped out of one eye to see if by chance a deer had wandered by. I only opened one eye with a half-conscious effort, so going back to sleep wouldn’t be difficult. On one of my peeps back into the misery I had escaped by sleeping, I saw a nice 8-point buck. I thought, “That was a deer. But did I see him while I was asleep or awake?” Rubbing my eyes, I peered into the torrent that by now had soaked-through my waterproof boots and my rain suit. Sure enough, not 20-yards away stood a trophy 8 point, feeding on acorns. Slowly I raised my 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot. With the gun halfway to my shoulder, the buck looked-up from his feeding directly at me. I froze. The deer’s stare seemed to last eternally. My muscles ached, and my eyes wanted to blink. But I remained motionless. Finally through blurred, double vision, I watched the antlers lower as the deer once again fed.

Click for Larger ViewI began the slow trigger squeeze with my cheek now to the stock and the bead steady behind the deer’s front shoulder. The 12 gauge roared. The buck fell. I jumped-up, ready to claim my prize. But in an instant, the deer was on his feet and reared on his hind legs, front feet pawing the air. Click for Larger ViewAgain the gun came up, and a load of No. 1 buckshot was fired between the animal’s front legs. The buck toppled. The second time the deer rose, I fired two more rounds into his side, as he sped into a thicket. I returned to my stand and once again leaned-up against the tree. I examined my spent shells and knew for a fact I’d hit the deer in vital organs. But why had he run-off and would I ever find him were questions that plagued me. About 30-minutes later my friends arrived, and we searched for the deer. On the edge of a field, 50-yards away we found my trophy. Every shot had hit the mark. The rain, the cold and my lack of sleep all made no difference, now that I’d bagged my first buck. That was many years ago, but the memory is still fresh today. Taking my first deer in bad weather has played an important role in my enjoyment of hunting in miserable weather.

Tomorrow: Stalking Deer in Bad Weather

Check back each day this week for more about "Hunt the Storm Fronts for Deer "

Day 1: You Can Hunt Deer Successfully in Miserable Weather
Day 2: Stalking Deer in Bad Weather
Day 3: Hunting Fronts for White-Tailed Bucks
Day 4: Bed Hunting for Whitetail Deer
Day 5: Tree Stand Hunting and Tips for Taking Deer

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Entry 645, Day 1