It has gotten so that our early KY Muzzleloader Season has become a dry run for Rifle Season here at camp. We do not have any Yutes at camp anymore, now that Angus is hunting on his own as an adult. So this past weekend was like a dress rehearsal, getting all the bugs worked out. I am sure that if a serious buck had walked out in front of us, he’d have been hanging on the pole, but normally early ML weekend has been a good time to get the gear in order, get our heads wrapped around the job at hand and straighten out stuff around camp.
Friday was a hectic mess. Over the past couple decade or so, I have gotten the whole Deer Camp thing down. I have the license situation all figured out. Everybody’s ammo is down at camp weeks before. All those things you might leave behind at home are pre-positioned. This time, however, Angus ran into some trouble getting his muzzleloader straightened out, and we went clear up to last weekend working on getting it sighted in. Murphy was watching. We got down to camp and could not find the ammo can with the possibles bags. I started to head back to town, and was walking KYHillChick through a thorough search of the basement, the garage — anywhere we might have left the box. I was almost back to Berlin before I decided the box had to be with us. I called back to camp, and another thorough search produced the box.
Saturday was an odd situation. I cannot say exactly when I have seen the weather reports, even the live radar, be so fouled up on predicting rain. When we left camp for our stands, there was no rain showing in the area, but rain popped up just north of us and moved in shortly after first light. We had rain all morning and between that and the wind our morning hunts were dismally poor. In the afternoon, the rain started shortly after we left for our stands and continued until dark.
It was overall remarkably quiet both Saturday and Sunday. On the Opener, I heard a shot about once every 7 minutes. On Sunday, I heard fewer than 10 shots all morning until about 0900, and then it sounded like everyone unloaded their barrels at once and went home in disgust.
Sunday was a bit better. It was about 8 degrees warmer than had been predicted. Even before first light, I was getting deer walking by. After the sun came up a half dozen deer came by the stand. They were all doe, nothing I wanted to shoot, but the good news was that they never fully busted me. I had a couple of them snort, but then they turned around and came by the stand anyway. It made me feel good– no stray stink on me.
SuperCore finally decided that he could not take any more, and busted a cap on a doe that was part of a small herd of 7 coming out of Skunk Hollow. The smoke cleared, the deer had fled. He and Angus searched Skunk Hollow for the deer and any blood sign to no avail. From his description, it sounded like the doe had turned into the shot and the bullet had gone either over her back or in front of her.
The really great news out of all this was that Angus got three hunts under his belt and managed to set up a ground blind and get in and out of a treestand without anyone else around to help.
The other really great news is that the deer are back. Some years our resident doe just leave. The food plots and bedding areas stop getting fresh sign and we just do not see anything until fall. This year, they stayed away longer than usual, but they seem to be back on our ridges, and are beginning to hoover up the acorns. Things are on track for a good year.