Hunters are a helpful lot. They volunteer during youth hunter education courses. They join in during community service projects and even help out stranded motorists on their way home after a hunt. They also occasionally help other hunters without even knowing it.
That’s what happened recently on a weekend hunt with my son and we couldn’t be more thankful of the helpful hand a group of unknown hunters lent us.
Before sunrise I dumped my son, Cole, off in the dark to sit a stand for pre-rut whitetails. My job was to snoop around some of our favorite mule deer honey-holes and see if I could find a testosterone-charged buck roaming around.
I lucked out and found a group of three bucks, including one worthy of a second look. They drifted onto another property and out of sight, so I marked the location and came back later to pick up Cole. We then had to conduct a massive amount of research to locate new landowners, ask permission and finally sneak into the new location. It was after lunch when we finally made our move, only to have it end in disappointment. The bucks had moved to yet another property and joined up with a group of does.
Scratching my head, I surmised the group would eventually move across a parcel we had permission to hunt as they traveled back to a green alfalfa field. But would they do it before shooting light ended?
Just then, where the deer holed up, we noticed a group of other hunters arriving on the property; they exhibited less-than-stealthy behavior. First, they drove their truck on the skyline, alerting the deer. Next, they skylined themselves as they looked around, and when they finally noticed the bedded deer it was too late. They deer were already on DEFCON 1 and ready to bolt.
Seeing the opportunity at hand, Cole and I made a swift move to intercept the deer on the neighboring property we had permission to hunt. We ran until our lungs hurt to swing around wide and we were still not fast enough. As we crawled to the lip of a basin where I suspected the deer to arrive, they were already spilling into the bowl. Fortunately, they slowed as they surveyed their new surroundings, giving me time to set up the video camera and Cole ample time to get a good rest.
We both ranged the group and, using Nikon’s Spot-On ballistic computation charts, Cole was ready for the shot. Hornady ammo helped to finish the hunt rather quickly after Cole made a surgical strike to take the largest buck from the center of the group.
I don’t know who the hunters were, but they were a key component to our weekend success, so keep your eyes open for ways other hunters might help you on an upcoming hunt.