I am happy to be able to get back in the Fall deer woods during archery season. I have not been able to bowhunt for over 3 years. I got a crossbow permit from my doctor after two surgeries failed to correct my injured shoulder. By the time I saved up enough $$$ to get the crossbow I wanted, the State of North Carolina made them legal for anyone to hunt with. I love archery season, where the deer are on fairly regular travel patterns and the bucks move more readily in daylight hours. As of yesterday, it is now muzzleloader season in this part of the state for the next two weeks, then on to firearms season until January 1st.
I set up on a place at the lease that never gets much hunting traffic. I found it last year while doing some work around the lease and scouting a new place to hunt turkeys from. I noticed there were fresh deer tracks from the same few trails and checked back on the place throughout the year to find the same thing. The tree I picked to hunt out of had to have a few limbs removed to be able to use my climbing stand on it. I also cut a few shooting lanes in winter and a path to the stand tree, so the deer would get used to them. I checked back on the place in summer to trim back any new growth and confirm that the deer were still using the place regularly. All looked good to go.
I waited to hunt the area until it was closer to the rut when I stood the best chance of seeing better bucks. It worked. Attached is a picture of the first deer I took with my crossbow. He was following a doe and grunting as he walked. They had come out of the thicket on different trails and the buck walked toward the doe, which put him broadside past my stand @ 20 yards when I shot. I heard him crash quickly after the shot.
The Doe I shot 8 days later from the same stand. She came out of the thicket before good light where I could barely seer her. She went behind some thick cover and I thought she'd gone back into the thicket. About that time, another doe was coming up a trail to my left on the other side of the ridge. Just as she went into the thicket, the original doe stepped back out in front of me (now clearly able to see) @ 18 yards. She ran to the thicket and I heard her crash quickly after the shot.
If you look in the background of the buck picture just over the left limb of the crossbow, there is a leaning tree. That is the same tree behind me & the doe in the other picture. That's how close these deer fell to each other.
The best part is that there is an active scrape line along the edge of the thicket that wasn't there when I shot the buck last week. Any size buck can make a scrape, but it means that there are probably a lot of does that use that thicket. I'll give it a few more days to rest and see if my luck continues. I intend to keep hunting with the crossbow.