The Garden Buck

This year 2011 is looking strangely like the past years on the ranch, but this year, especially, we are encountering extremely high winds, it will blow hard from the southeast, then come roaring back with a strong wind from the northwest.  Deer are skittish with high winds and curtail their movement, however I’m hearing that for the past few days over the County, buck sightings, chasing doe are increasing.  Maybe this year will be like most of them past, when the best hunting for bucks will be later in the season.

This leads me to remember some past late season hunts and the first to mind is about a buck that depredated my peach trees!  The day before I had spooked a nice buck, 8 or 10 points, out of my freshly, plowed garden.  As I rushed inside for a rifle, I peeped around the corner and saw the buck disappear into the tall grass, this being one of our periods of ample rainfall, then he was long gone before I could get the scope on him.

Sitting in a blind the next week, on December 7, 2007, before the sun came up, I was thinking, will I ever get a good buck this season?  A good chance had been last week when I flushed a shooter buck out of my garden, then as I checked my watch (again), it was 7:45 AM, when I heard a soft grunt come out of the thick stuff.  Pleased that my game ears really worked as advertised, I got ready because I knew this was a buck announcing his presence in the area.

Within 20 minutes, a doe walked out and began to sniff around the fence of the feeder, slowly circling it, she acted real nervous, then jumped over the fence and began nibbling at the corn. She looked up, stared intently into the thick cover, then nibbled some more, stared some more and I tensed up anticipating that a buck would show soon.

Sure enough, out walked a nice one, either an 8 or 10, horns well outside the ears, a nice looking deer. For several seconds, more like minutes, he was masked by a cedar tree, so I set up on the opening where he should cross, out he walked and bam! He hopped, but didn’t fall, staggered off as the doe jumped out of the feeder pen.

The buck was done for, so I unloaded my rifle, climbed out of the stand, and looked up, here came the doe. She stood 50 feet away from me, looked at me as if to say, “Where’d the buck go?” She circled the area once more then walked off, tail down, in frustration I’m sure, to begin her search for a new buck.

Walking over, I saw the buck down, a close look showed 10 points, then nudging him with no response, I went to get Spike, our wonder daschund, for a little tracking practice.  Layla and I loaded up Spike and drove to the feeder, put him out, he made one cross wind trot, swing around, smelled the buck and headed straight toward it. He now took over the buck, guarded and nuzzled it and to get him away from the deer, I had to put on gloves to pick him up so we could load the buck.

Looking more closely at the fine buck, it struck me that this was probably the same one I’d seen exiting my garden, the stand is about 600 yards from it. Bucks range for miles, but this one may have stayed too close to home. Anyway, finding a hot doe was his down fall!