For the first time of this early whitetail bow season, I was able to spend both morning and night sitting in the woods Sunday, awaiting that monster buck I’ve dreamt about since the end of last year’s season.
Even though the mosquitoes made it uncomfortable at times, my mind is now totally consumed with sitting in the timber and sticking him.
For October, it has been relatively warm this year. The high temperature of the day Sunday was 79 degrees F. According to the weather almanac, maximum temperatures for October 12 in 2007 and 2006 were 64.9 and 53.6, respectively. It’s been a warm, and wet, October.
That means two things. First of all, deer are still moving at night like they do in the summer. They bed down all day, moving only to feed once the sun is down. So your best chance at catching deer on the move is right before sundown. Secondly, mosquitoes are still in full effect.
I sat for about three and a half hours, Sunday morning. I was in the tree at about 6:05, plenty of time before the sun came up. I climbed down around 9:30, glad to have had the chance to get out and sit even though I didn’t see anything.
It was the first time I’d been out in the morning this year, and I felt grateful just to be sitting out in the timber while the sun came up.
However, all those pleasant feelings were tested once the sun was up in the morning, and were tested to the maximum that evening. On the positive side, walking in at around 4 p.m., I noticed a scrape on the ground, roughly a 2-yard circle (which bucks pee in pre-rut, and does add their scent to when heat arrives, allowing the buck to track her), that wasn’t there in the morning. It was about 50 yards from the tree I sit in, so I’m convinced there is a dominant buck right around me.
I knew before going out that the mosquitoes would be bad, so I donned a Wal-Mart bug suit, of the netted sort, and thought that would prevent my major mastication at the hands of those blood suckers.
They ate right through it. Monday morning, I counted 16 bites on the top of my right hand, which was ungloved for all of 30 minutes. Even though I tried to keep the netting fluffed up off the skin, I watched as skeeter after skeeter landed on the netting of my arms, stuck a proboscis through, and moved along until it found a point where the netting was directly on skin. And, after walking to my stand and making my way up the climber I use, I had a pretty good sweat going so the netting naturally clung to my body. The tops of my ears were another sweet spot, because the mask hangs off the hat and rests on the tops of the ears.
It was frustrating at times, but I came to the point about an hour before sundown, when I thought, I’m not going to let this ruin my hunt. Find a spot and enjoy the feast, bloodsuckers.
At that point, I used it as motivation and justification for my resiliency. My rationale for remaining out in the woods, which to some would border on stupidity, was that I was paying my dues, earning the right to kill a nice deer and the admiration of lady luck. Really, I know all that doesn’t matter, but it was more time I was logging in the woods, and I see that as an increase in chances of killing.
My hunting buddy, Bobby, also wore a bug suit and paid the same price. So, my suggestion after this experience is to not go cheap with your bug suit. You pay for what you get, and Cabela’s has a nice-looking, 100 percent polyester suit on their Web site that claims 26 out of 29 customers (90 percent) would recommend the product to a friend, a pretty high approval rating.
There’s no way around it, if you’re going to hunt that early in the season and don’t want to get eaten alive, spend the money to buy a bug suit mosquitoes can’t eat through. That way, come evening time, you’re not fidgeting in your stand and spooking that bruiser that’s out there.
If anyone has had good experience with any specific bug suits, I'm all ears. Also, does anyone know if there are any odorless sprays out there that would help?
On a side note, a couple of weeks ago I was able to make it back home and get some dove hunting done. It was especially nice for me because I was able to hunt on my family’s ground.
With bird hunting, you can coat down in insect repellent and remain comfortable.
On our crop fields, there’s a roost right by one of the fence lines which usually provides for steady shooting and everyone’s limit of birds. Although things didn’t go our way this time – my brother Andy and I took a few moon blasts to no avail – it was still introspectively rewarding to hunt my grandfather’s ground.
In these photos you can see a couple of the crop fields, the brush pile where dove roost and an old building that used to house a family farm restaurant. We still call this land the Chicken Shack today, and the business was sold long ago but still operates in Bronson, Kansas.
No animals were harmed in the creation of this blog – for the time being...
Tight lines and straight shooting,
Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on Google+.