I’ve been a deer hunter, not a deer shooter from a kid to most of my adult life. And I could bore you for hours on the whys and hows I didn’t get the deer I hunted. Oh I got some, the wine sack doe my daughter called it, the spike and even the small 8 pointer up at hunting camp.
But I never really learned to hunt until my first trip to Africa. In Africa you learn to hunt the wind. You can wear all the camo, spray yourself all you want, but in Africa they don’t use that stuff. They work the wind. They kick the ground to see which way the wind is blowing or they use what I wouldn’t go hunting without now – a small bottle of powdered smoke. They know their areas like we know our hunting spots. If they have to get somewhere they make big circles and walk a mile or more to avoid scenting any spot that may hold some animals, and approach quietly and slowly into the wind. You just won’t believe what you’ll see this way of hunting.
My next lesson is part Africa and part my own invention. Here in southeast Pennsylvania we have a BIG deer problem. So we have been allowed by the Game commission to bait the deer in. I know for a fact that a couple of deer I’ve taken in recent years live behind someone’s garage in their Azalea bushes, or in someone else’s back yard. So what I came up with is I hunt in a blind with my crossbow. Before you Big Boy bow hunters start crying, I’ve had 14 back operations and my shoulder replaced and DO have a permit to use one. Over the years I’ve had fun refining this obsession not just hunt, but to see how close the deer can come to me in my blind.
If you look at my pictures you will see a pop up blind that you can purchase anywhere. At first I just had the blind, and then I covered it up. The deer still smelled me even though I showered and sprayed with a no scent and all my clothes done the same with a scent killer and kept them in a locked bag. Even with some corn sprinkled around 20 yards they still knew I was there. Personally, I think it is me, because all animals seem to have a connection to me, but we will leave that for another story.
My next thoughts were to start a small fire about 30 yards up wind from the blind with just a couple handfuls of leaves and a few sticks and watch them burn out and just the small amount of the smoke blew in my direction. That worked for some of the small yearlings but not for the big does and the few rare nice bucks in the area.
While sitting I came up with another plan. I think I’m a genius; my wife’s threatened to have me committed. The long hours in a blind with no one to talk to is very dangerous for me. I went to the big home improvement store and purchased 2 lengths of 5 inch plastic drain pipe (without the side slits) and a t-pipe for a cap. I took some heavy string and tied a weight to it a threw it way up over a limb and then tied the string to some 1/8 inch cable and around the t-pipe that was connected to the drain pipe and pulled it high enough to be able to place the open end of the pipe into a hole I cut into the very top of the blind and duck taped it into position. Now I had a chimney. To see if it worked I lit a leaf on fire in the blind and put it out fast so it would smoke.
It didn’t work great. Next plan, I had had the blind too close to the ground and even put dirt around to keep out the smell. So I raised the blind a half inch or less to be able to let in enough air for the chimney to work and have a nice draft. I left it alone for a few days and threw a few handfuls of corn out each day. On the fourth day I climbed in and guess what? It worked! Over the last few years the big does and even the occasional Big Buck have been inches from me and even looking in through the mesh windows. It’s been a blast not just hunting, but to go out there in the spring or dead of winter and interact with the deer. They are so close that you can not even use your camera because they would hear the click.
And one last thing to get the deer used to coming to YOUR blind. Go out and buy a small pond liner and bury it and keep it filled with clean water. Sit back and enjoy.
Success? You be the judge…
ElDondo, the worlds 2nd greatest.