On Saturday, October 19th, the low temperature was forecasted to be right around 30° F. As I drove to my morning hunting location in western Pennsylvania, the car read 29° F. When I stepped out, it sure felt like it. This was the first frost of the year and the entire forest was shining in the moonlight.
For my morning sit, I put warmer layers on, which included the Wasatch Bottom and Top, Hardscrabble Pant and Jacket, and the Kanati 300 Hoodie for extra insulation. Deer were hard to come by. Maybe I was in the wrong stand location for the morning, but this was a new piece of property. I was so cozy that I dozed off for a half hour. This didn’t make mad at all because I was in the woods and more comfortable than ever.
I planned on getting out of the stand around 10:00 AM, but just before that, I saw my first deer of the morning. It was a small button buck that was looking for a mid-morning snack. When I got out of the tree, the temperature rose to 45 or 50° F. As I hiked back to the car, I did get a little warm. That system seemed perfect for the morning sit.
Conditions changed, so I, coincidentally, changed my base layers for the afternoon sit and ditched the Hardscrabble Jacket. I replaced the Wasatch series with the Kaibab Merino Top and Bottom because the temperature was supposed to sit right around 50° F with minimal wind.
I got in the stand just before 5:00 PM, which is late by most standards. We just put the stand up at noon, so I wasn’t expecting to see much. I was more curious to learn what deer do when they encounter something brand new on the property.
I didn’t see much at first, except for a dozen or so turkeys and a few woodchucks. Then, just before 6:00 PM, I head a distinct “crunch, crunch, crunch” that was much different than the squirrels and chipmunks that have been running rampant all afternoon. I stared out of the corner of my eye for what felt like a half hour. Finally, I caught a glimpse of the suspect.
When it looked clear, I slowly turned my head to take a better look. Much to my surprise, it was a racked buck! He had 3 up on one side and I never did get a good look at the other side. He was legal and got me excited and slowly worked his way towards the field edge. Right when I thought he would enter the field, he turned back around to eat more acorns and browse.
When he did finally enter the field, he turned right instead of left. He turned right to work a well established scrape line that we discovered earlier that day. I caught glimpses of him as he worked up and down the field edge, but he never came into range. All-in-all, it was a wonderful day of bowhunting in western Pennsylvania.
Lastly, I did learn one important thing on Saturday. I learned that it is very important to own multiple pieces of gear for different situations. I have spent many days freezing and also sweating in the stand because I was not geared up properly.