Small Parcel Success
Three years ago I purchased a small hunting parcel up the road from my house. I had hunted the property for eight years before buying the 12-acre piece and I knew it was a great spot for whitetail deer and turkey. Since buying the property I have invested a great deal of time, energy, and sweat hoping to make it a whitetail paradise.
In 2019, both of my children harvested bucks on that property. Samuel shot his buck early in the PA archery season. The buck came into a mock scrape I made and doctored with Smokey's Deer Lures. Later in the archery season, my daughter, Abby killed a large six-point hitting the same mock scrape. It was a successful first year on the property.
Abby with her archery 6 point.
During the summer of 2020, I decided to put in a 110-gallon water hole and a food plot. Right away I noticed the deer were drawn to the water hole. As the food plot grew the deer visited the area more frequently. Both of my children passed up multiple bucks during the archery season. On the second day of the PA Rifle season, Samuel shot a 120 inch non-typical 10 point. I knew the buck was a resident on the 12-acres as my SpyPoint cameras captured numerous photos of him eating out of the plot. Harvesting a 120 inch deer on the property in the second year was an amazing feeling.
Samuel with his buck we called, Funky!
After harvesting three bucks in two years on the small tract of land I was hoping it would be my turn to kill a buck. In the spring of 2021, I started making mock scrapes in different travel corridors on my property. The deer visited them regularly and I was able to watch antlers begin to grow. No matter where I hung my Vertical Vines the deer would stop and deposit their unique scent. With all the activity at my Vertical Vines, I was getting excited about the fall archery season.
In early June, Samuel and I worked one weekend to plant a food plot in the woods. Like the prior year, we planted Deep Woods by Killer Food Plots near the 110-gallon water tank. Within days the plot was growing fast and the deer were stopping to eat. Just as the plot was starting to grow really well, we got six inches of rain in a day and a half. Our plot was ruined and we had to wait until the ground was dry to replant the plot.
The rest of our summer was wet! Samuel and I were finally able to replant the plot at the beginning of August. This time we planted Resurrection clover and chicory. By the end of August, the plot was growing strong and the deer loved the new mix of greens. With the arcery season only months away I was confident the green plot would be a favorite place for the deer to gather and feed.
For my family, the fall was extremely busy. Both of my children play high school soccer and I am the head coach of the boys' high school soccer team. By the time soccer season ended the archery season was almost over. I didn't have many days to hunt, but I was determined to get in the stand. Looking at the local forecast, I convinced myself to take a personal day on Friday, November 5th, and sit in my stand all day. The forecast called for a heavy frost and temperatures in the low 30s the entire day. I needed to get out of my funk and climb back into the stand.
On the morning of November 5th, I woke up at 4:30 am. I wanted to make sure everything was perfect for my hunt, and I needed time to put my plan into action. Before sunrise, I wanted to arrive at my property to freshen two mock scrapes, make a third mock scrape and set up my secret weapon, Boudica, the doe decoy.
Walking into the frigid morning air, I looked up and saw a million stars. I grabbed Boudica and headed to my stand. The leaves were noisy due to the heavy layer of frost, so I took my time getting to my treestand. Once I arrived at the stand, I placed Boudica in an opening where I knew bucks would see her. Next, I freshened two mock scrapes on both sides of my stand. After freshening the scrapes, I made a new scrape directly in front of my stand. Before leaving this scrape, I put some Smokey's doe interdigital plus on my boots and walked back to Boudica before climbing into my treestand.
I was excited about using a doe decoy for the first time as I watched the sun come up. My trail cameras had been working overtime gathering pictures of cruising bucks on my twelve acres. I watched the woods come alive and listened to geese take flight from the swamp behind me. The heavy frost glistened on the trees, making it a sight to behold.
The first few hours passed without any deer sightings, but I was entertained by a few black squirrels and a group of longbeards. Scanning the woods, I saw movement on the breast of the pond eighty yards away. Using my binoculars, I could see the deer had antlers. I reached for my grunt tube and gave a long, drawn-out grunt.
Immediately, the buck turned and started walking in my direction. I grabbed my Darton Spectra E and attached my release. The buck walked to the new mock scrape I made earlier that morning and worked the licking branch. Putting his nose to the ground, he found the trail of doe interdigital plus I put on my boots. Picking his head up from the scent trail, he saw Boudica where I had placed her in the open.
The buck pinned his ears back and slowly walked towards the decoy. He passed through a thick patch of briars and appeared on the other side 20 yards away from my stand. Circling downwind of Boudica, he approached her from behind. When the buck stopped behind a tree, I came to full draw.
Standing only a few yards away from my decoy, the buck lip curled. I steadied my pin on the deer's vitals and watched the red GloryNock hit its mark. The Grim Reaper broadhead passed through the buck's shoulder, and his front legs buckled. Fighting to stand up and run, he went 40 yards before crashing to the ground.
Shaking from the adrenaline, I sat quietly and reflected on the hunt I had experienced. Silently, I gave thanks to God for the successful hunt. After the shaking stopped, I climbed down my ladder stand and followed the red carpet of blood to my trophy.
Harvesting a buck on my new property after putting in a lot of work is extremely rewarding. I am thankful that a well-thought-out plan came together for a memorable hunt with my doe decoy. I am already planning on clearing a few trees out of another area to make a bigger plot to hunt. Looks like my kids will be helping me with summer chores.