Grown Up Cutovers - Deer Heaven?
The tripod stand was poorly hidden and had black cloth on it instead of camo.
The hunter stuck up out of the top of the stand like a jack in the box and it was, unfortunately out in the full sunlight - so it was lit up like a billboard.
The two does came out of the oaks and started across the cut down in single file, after likely gorging on acorns for an hour or so since the sun came up.
The cut down was about 10 years old - with 12 - 15 foot pines, lots of browse, honeysuckle and blackberry thickets and a few small elms scattered about.
It was the second week of October - a time when we find some serious rut activity in the lower part of South Carolina.
The hunter tenses at the sight of the does... and immediately realizes he is sticking out like a sore thumb.... because a LOT of things happen in a very short period of time... right about... NOW.
The does make it about 50 yards into the cut down and freeze - both looking in unison directly at the hunter.
At this same moment - a GIANT buck comes out following the does, nose to the ground - at a stiff trot.
The does are frozen, looking at the stand.
The buck sees them like this and he, too, freezes.
The hunter has seen the buck and already has the .308 up.... and ready... but - the buck literally is standing behind the only decent size elm in the area.
The hunter can see the head and rack (ok... DO NOT count points... pay attention, son...) and can also see his hind quarters.
The # 4 German reticle sits right under the chin of the buck.... just take a step... you are only 40 yards out... as the bucks searches wildly all around for what is wrong...
He can not smell the problem and does not see it - but he knows there is one!
The does can take it no more - and they bolt... on across the cut down, not to be seen in this drama again.
The buck is still transfixed, however...
Very nervous now, he half turns - and walks TOWARD the stand.... 25 yards... now 20... now 15... but small pines block an ethical shot at every turn.
Finally, at 7 yards from the stand... he stops and is searching all around... WHAT IS WRONG?????
Our hunter, now half standing to try to gain an angle and a shot on the buck... waits - helpless to do anything but.
With no warning, the buck bolts.... across the cut down at warp speed. He is in view for a good 100 yards... and is then gone... permanently.
Our hunter, much to his credit - did not take an unethical shot.
I know, because that hunter was me and it was October 2009. It was a club stand that was poorly positioned and that was the last time I ever used it.
But, to the point.... that cut down was alive with deer. We had several other stands on that area and they were always great producers as it relates to deer seen and deer taken!
These areas are rich with food and with the vegetation all around them, the deer feel very comfortable moving around in them.
They bed in them - a lot - one walk across the area (in the areas you could walk in) revealed bed after bed.
One of the reasons the deer like them so well is that some areas are so tangled with briars, small trees, plum thickets and all other manner of plant life that you simply can not walk through them.... they are just too dense.... and I am not faint of heart when it comes to traveling through thick woods and growth.
Throw in a rattlesnake or two and you have perfect deer cover!
The pictures below show a great example of a very huntable cut down... this is one that is postioned between a big section of woods that contains a black water swamp bottom and some lone standing hardwood heads that the deer travel to and from... using this cut down as a travel lane... and to top it all off, it is adjacent to a field that has just been drilled in winter wheat...
Come December, when the food sources start to really dry up - this green field will really be a magnet for deer - and this cut down is a very good travel area for the deer to use.
Look around in your area and see if you can identify one of these cut downs (if your area has regrowth areas like this) and then determine if you can take advantage of it better than I did last October!
By the way, I estimate that buck at 140" which is off the chart for our area... I would recognize him again if I saw him.... he had a 3" kicker point off of the rear of his left G2... very identifiable buck...