15 Yards from a Deer, still no Venison…

Posted on December 15, 2011


Last Weekend I spent two days in the woods, in Dutchess and Greene counties.

I’ve been lax in posting an update for two reasons, one, I lost my Canon S95 with all my photos from the weekend, and two, once again, I came home empty-handed.

I don’t regret heading out, as it was the most successful weekend I’ve had since I started hunting in New York.

On Saturday, I drove to my friend’s land in Dutchess County. He has an incredible homestead with a corn field, woods, water, and permanent tree stands, in short, it’s a deer hunter’s paradise. He knows the land well. So, after gauging the wind, I went up in a stand at around 2pm overlooking a corn field and he took a second stand about a quarter mile away.

A nice MS Paint Map describing the land:
Lots of Deer

Since this was Dutchess, I was armed with my Z7, and he with his Hoyt Carbon Element.

After climbing into the 20′ high stand I was reminded of the old adage, “If you think it’s cold now, wait until you’re in a tree stand for a few hours.” I knew that going in, so I had hand and toe warmers ready. Luckily, the wind was blowing fairly steadily (rapidly reversing winds blew me out in Greene county weeks earlier

After getting settled in, I brought out my kindle. I think the e-book is one of the greatest additions to hunting since the GPS unit. I’m the sort of person that is always doing “Something.” I don’t meditate, I don’t daydream, even when I’m walking down the street, I’m generally doing something (mostly listening to music).

Of course, reading while hunting is different from reading on the couch. You can’t really get “engrossed” in a book to the same extent, as every crushed leaf or stepped on branch warrants a pretty serious “scan” of the environment. On another funny note, I realized that I do about 70% of my reading while hunting these days.

Anyway, at about 3:15pm, I put the book away, grabbed my bow from the tree hook, and lifted the seat (it was a double stand). Then I waited for the sun to set.

At about 4:20 pm, the sun was basically gone and I was ready to pack it up, when I heard a noise in the woods that was definitely too large to be a squirrel.

As the stand was looking outward towards the corn field, I had to peer around the tree to see the source of the noise. I saw it almost immediately… a yearling doe, maybe 50 yards away and moving directly towards my stand.

I stood there, as silently as possible. She kept coming. She stopped about 15 yards away, mere feet shy of a potential shooting lane. It was as if her “spider sense” began tingling and she knew there was a plot afoot. She began to sniff the air and her white tail started whipping.
Since this was regular season and I didn’t have a DMP, she was “off-limits”. At this point, I was hoping she’d pass without noticing me and a buck would soon follow. After a few moments of this tension, I made the most slight of sounds and my cover was totally blown. Interestingly, she stopped about 45 yards away, and turned around, presenting an excellent “texas heart shot”. My friend warned me about the difficulty of drawing a bow in a stand and he was right. When your pulse is pounding, trying to silently draw a serious bow is very hard.

After hanging out for about five seconds, she moved entirely out of range.

It was definitely the most excitement and adrenalin filled experience since returning from Oregon.

I really appreciate the difficulty bowhunters experience when they are trying to silently draw on an animal close enough to hear a whisper.


With any luck, I will be able to head back there this weekend during the late season as my tag will be valid for a doe.


Posted in: Hunting