Spent the holidays back home in Florida a little longer than usual… so decided to try to break away for a little deer hunting. In prepping for the trip I started trying to remember the last time I took a whitetail buck. Well… haven’t shot one since I moved out here 6 years ago…. Then didn’t get after them at all during college… holy cow it’s been 10 years! I’ve shot a few does during that time, but never anything with horns… decided it was time to remedy that, so threw the hunting gear and trail cams into the luggage.
First night out was supposed to be a scouting mission. Was able to break away last minute and had to make it to a family dinner a little after dark… so was not super prepared. Plan was to just hike into a spot I knew and place some trail cameras. The spot I was going to on public land, I had been to previously chasing wood ducks… it’s a narrow strip of elevated dry ground (probably 200 yards wide and a quarter mile long) that is the only dry ground in the middle of a swamp and connects two other patches of dry ground. I had walked this corridor many times before and knew it was loaded with oaks and was a natural funnel, but I had never deer hunted it. The spot’s about a mile in from the nearest hiking trail and requires hip waders to reach. Got there mid-afternoon and was pleasantly surprised to see a good amount of acorns on the ground and allot of deer sign. Placed the trail cameras, and then decided to clear a shooting lane/make a natural ground blind in the area that looked the most promising. It was about an hour before sunset at this time, so I decided to sit for the evening and see what moved through. Not 30 minutes later I was pleasantly surprised to see 3 does move through munching on acorns… not bad. About 20 min before LST I catch a flash of white through the woods… a little basket rack 7 point was browsing in my direction with 2 other does in tow! Nice! I was definitely not expecting to see deer on the first night… let alone a buck. I really wanted to take this buck… but I started thinking it through. I’m a mile in… with really only a dull pocket knife at my disposal… nothing to haul meat… driving an SUV I borrowed from a family member… with nothing to put the meat into to not wreck their car. I also need to be at a big family dinner in a little bit, which I will completely miss if I pull this trigger. Really don’t want to be in the doghouse this early into the vacation…. So decided to just let this buck mosy on through and I’d come back another night.