Two weeks ago I hunted Boerne looking to score a big boy axis I've been after. It was miserable weather, with steady rain - from a slight drizzle to heavy downpours - all weekend. I saw deer out the wazoo! All the regular whitetails, including those that have targets on them for season - plus a fair number of axis, but no big boy axis.
This weekend, I thought I make a quick trip and get my whitetail out of the way before my daughter and BF come on our annual thanksgiving weekend hunt (I usually just play guide to the kids and not hunt). Maybe score one of the numerous turkey we have this year - a real bumper crop.
Well, arrived mid afternoon on Friday, and turkey were already at the feeder. Chatted with the landowner a bit, then off to popup. Was secretly hoping the #1 buck didn't show, cuz I didn't real feel like cleaning deer that night - and I didn't want the hunt to be over too quick.
I needed have worried. It was DISMAL. Perfect weather, cool and calm, really felt like hunting weather. I was all set for whitetail, turkey, or axis bucks. I was covered up with axis does - with 2-3 coming through every 30 minutes or so - BUT NOT A SINGLE WHITETAIL, buck or doe. The landowner warned me that he hadn't been seeing many deer in the evening, but they were hitting the feeder hard in the mornings.
OK, so next morning - I am out early - IN THE POPUP by 4:15, thermal in hand. Other than seeing a couple axis bedded down just about 30 yards from where I parked, I didn't see squat. Normally I see 2-3 dozen deer in the pre-dawn hours with the thermal - from my vantage point I can see several pastures over and the surrounding hills, so I have fun just watching critters move around.
But this morning, I only had one mystery deer cross the pasture I was hunting about 5am, that walked straight up to the house and almost on the back porch. Nothing at daybreak, and the corn was piling up. After several hours, the only whitetail where a spike and a 3pt that showed up briefly, ate about 3 kernels of corn, put their nose in the air - and scampered off across the pasture.
Again, I had groups of axis does coming and going - including some fresh-dropped fawns - but not a single axis buck. And no turkey.
Sometimes the turkey show up mid-morning until 1pm, so I basically hunted all morning - and the only thing I saw was 3 axis does that almost ran into me as I was putting out some "doe-in-estrus" scent (thinking the rut must be on).
Took a quick nap, and came back to sit at 3pm - and pretty much nothing - one WT doe running across the next pasture over, and the same 3pt for a quick bite. Did have a big herd of axis, the lead animal being a nice buck (which is strange too, because normally they are the trailing animal), come across the pasture right at dusk - I was all ready to pop that buck, but he took such a long time coming across that I lost the light by the time he got in range - watched him walk off in the brush on thermal.
Next morning, last chance - again arrived early at 4am only to find the entire axis herd bedded down right off the back porch - blocking my path to the popup. LOL - had to walk around the entire pasture and come into the popup from the opposite direction. Watched those axis for 2 hours, waiting for shooting light and hoping they would clear the house for the shot. Honest to god, I briefly considered staying back at the landowners porch and peeking over the garden wall and taking a shot on the animals 30 feet away - but figured he wouldn't appreciate me squeezing off a .308 round right next to his bedroom window. LOL
Just when it got light, the axis walked off around the corner of the house RIGHT NEXT to my Jeep. I swear that one of them peed on my tires. Just mocking me now.
Anyway, again no whitetails showed. Then, right about 7:30a, a ragged-looking small, broke-up 8pt came trotting across the field at a brisk pace - ran up to the popup, sniffed, and trotted over to the feeder - ate about 2 mouthfuls of corn, put his nose in the air and trotted off the opposite direction.
That was it.
I know they must be rutting - but danged if I know where they ran off to. Usually I can see bunches of deer driving around the area - but whereever they are, there must be a butt-load of them. Cam pics showed tons of axis, but very few whitetails in the past two weeks since i was there.
Hopefully the rut will be over by the time my daughter gets down next week.