Some Thoughts on the Difficulty of Taking a Second Deer

Posted on November 24, 2011


One of my more aggressive goals on my return from Oregon was to take a second deer this year. Taking a deer is one thing with a guide who knows a piece of property so well that the deer practically fall into your lap. Having a deer venture into range while sitting dead silent in a thick forest, now that’s special.

The trip upstate two weeks ago I considered a VERY low probability scenario. Let’s count the factors working against us:

  1. The tracts our team had previously scouted were unavailable so we were setting up a blind in virgin (to us) territory
  2. We were late getting silent into our stand, potentially spooking any of the bucks who may have intended to pass through at the crack of dawn
  3. New York State public lands are relatively pressured by human hunters, especially half way through the season
  4. Bow is an entirely new tool for me. With the right rifle and position, I’d feel very comfortable taking a 450 yard shot on a whitetail-sized game animal. With a Bow, I’d feel comfortable with a 25 yard shot. Luring a deer within 25 yards requires many factors to “come together” nicely
  5. Three hunters equals three times the humanstink, an important factor when hunting a beast whose nose is its primary line of defense against predators.

Given all those factors, why even bother? Well, as modified adage goes, “A bad day in the woods beats a good day in the city.” Also, learning what things don’t work, is an important of learning what does work.

Last weekend, a great opportunity presented itself. One of my good friends in the city owns a small homestead in the foothills of the Catskill mountains.

On this map, deer can be seen as green dots...

His wife extended me a personal invitation to come hunt the deer practically infesting their property. Since he and his family don’t go up every weekend, I more or less had to find a weekend in which our schedules overlapped. This was important as it meant that ample scouting wasn’t really possible. Still though, I figured I had a great chance at taking a deer. Why?

  1. Deer overpopulation in the area has become such a problem that farmers are practically begging hunts to come cull the deer from their land.
  2. The rifle and cartridge I was using (Tikka T3 shooting 7mm Rem Mag), could very easily drop a deer from one corner of the property to the other, assuming I had a good position and clear line of sight.
  3. Saturday was the first day of rifle big game season, meaning that the cacophony of rifles had yet to spook all the deer into changing their key behaviors (places and times of movement)
  4. The fact that I was on private land meant there would be no other hunters to walk past my hide or otherwise “blow” my chances.
  5. This last factor I’m less confident of, but my perusal of hunting websites suggests that the rut should have been “on” implying considerably wider movement range for bucks still chasing does.


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Posted in: Hunting