Way down the road, at maybe 400 yards, a big deer walked out of the timber and stopped in the road broadside. Thick and stocky – it had to be a buck. I snatched up my binoculars and focused. Yep, it was a buck – and a nice one.
I grabbed my rattling antlers and smashed them together – as loud as I could. The deer looked my way but stood tight. I banged those antlers together again, as loud as I could, and rattled them for a second or two. Then I dropped the horns and pulled out my grunt call. I gave a couple of loud grunts, then picked up my binoculars again.
The buck turned and started walking in my direction. I stayed quiet and watched. I would wait and let him come as close as possible. And he kept coming, walking slowly and deliberately down the logging road. He had walked about a hundred yards in my direction, then turned and walked into the woods on the left side. My heart sank. Would he leave or come around through the woods to check out the area?
I picked up my rifle and laid it across my lap. I was sitting in a box blind with some camouflage netting draped across the opening. I was well hidden, and the wind was blowing to my right rear. If the buck tried to circle me to get downwind, he would have to cross the road behind me. I was on full alert!
Just then, the buck walked out of the woods on the left and stopped in the middle of the road at about 70 yards. I eased the binos up and could see five points on the near side. A good buck and one that I would shoot. I put the binoculars down and put my rifle up. That deer was looking for the fight that he had heard a few minutes before.
At the shot, the buck jumped and ran straight ahead into the big piney woods. I thought I heard him crash just a little ways in but wasn’t sure. I waited a few minutes to calm my nerves somewhat, then climbed down.
Walking down the road slowly, watching the woods, I was surprised and elated to see the big buck down, about 20 yards from the road. A good nine-pointer. The hunt happened a couple of years ago.
I got that deer because of two main reasons. The rut was on and the bucks were out cruising, looking for does. And I had some gadgets with me that helped to attract him to a reasonable shooting range.
The binoculars helped identify the deer as a shooter buck, and the rattling horns and grunt call roused his curiosity enough to bring him in close. Gadgets don’t always work, but sometimes they make all the difference.
One of the most popular gadgets nowadays is the trail camera. They offer some insight into the deer’s secret world. The pictures of mostly nocturnal deer can drive some hunters crazy. I got one for my birthday recently, but I haven’t used it yet.
Gimmicks, on the other hand, rarely serve any good purpose. They offer results that just don’t happen much in the real world. I remember seeing plastic corn on the cob offered for sale in an outdoor magazine. The claim was that the fake corn would float and attract waterfowl. It didn’t stay on the market very long.
The first time that I saw Thermacell mosquito repellant devices at a sporting goods store, I thought “just another gimmick.” The salesman saw me looking and walked over. “Those things really do work,” he said matter of factly. He went on to say that he used one while fishing. He just turned it on and laid it on the seat of the boat, then concentrated on the fishing. “Nothing works on mosquitoes,” I told him. But I bought one anyhow. Now, I don’t know how I ever made it without one. Everybody has one of those gadgets, and yes they do work.
There are lots of attractants offered for deer hunters to use – scent wicks, sprays and various flavored powders and pellets. I have used mineral and salt blocks and planted acres of food plots. Cowpeas and soybeans are a good food plot attractant.
The very best attractant for deer is corn. Nothing beats corn, shelled or cob corn. Deer will eat corn year round. Our little hunting club goes through a lot of corn during the deer season. I buy the corn in bulk from a local farmer that refers to it as his “buck corn.”
The deer don’t depend on it to stay alive. There’s lots of natural food in the woods. The corn is just a good attractant. I don’t know about all the other hunters, but I need all the help I can get.
Reach Dan Geddings at email@example.com.