First I have to say what a great job the biologist (Randall), lead forester (Ben) and the rest of the staff at E.O. Siecke State Forest do putting on a hunt for the youth.
Check-in / Orientation at 11:00 am Saturday, venision sausage was cooking, snacks and drinks waiting on the kids. 8 Pre-set pop-up blinds in strategic locations along roads/fire-breaks throughout the 1,722 acres. The staff had been corning the areas around the blinds for the past month and even had a few gamecam pics of some of the bucks they hoped to have harvested. After the orientation and lunch, the staff drive us out to the blinds in their UTV's and then pick you up either after the hunt or whenever you call them and say your ready.
Zach drew blind #3, once there I corn the road with another couple bags of corn. We are in the blind and quiet about 12:00 and 12:15 the first young doe comes out. Stays a while then leaves. Young 6 comes in about 2:30. Two yearling bucks about 4:00. 5:30 a big mature doe comes in and Zach decides to fill one of his two tags. 140 yard heart shot and she drops in her tracks. We get out, drag her back to the blind and decide to keep hunting that last 90 minutes before dark.
6:40 I see horns coming our way, but about 220 yards out and behind a lot of tall grass in hardwood new growth area. He is with a doe and following her close. They make the turn from behind the grass and head our way. Definetly a mature buck. But he won't stop, he is on his girlfriend and pushing her hard. She finally walks into the tall grass to our right about 190 yards our now and doesn't stop, he goes with her. What a downer, biggest buck Zach has had a chance at and he shows for maybe 30 seconds and leaves.
About 6:50, the doe steps back out at 175 yards. No way to see them in the heavy cover and know that she hadn't left completely. I tell Zach to get ready, the buck will step back out. 6:52 he comes out (7 minutes legal shooting time left). He's still on the doe, won't stop, won't give Zach the shot. Finally a broadside stop. Zach drops him at 170 yards. What an afternoon hunt !
Pics of the young 6 through bino's with cell phone, to give some idea of what our shooting area looked like. The buck in the field and then a better photo back at the park HQ. Biologist aged the buck and the doe at
7.5 each. We didn't hunt Sunday, but the total for the 8 youth hunters was 4 doe, 2 spikes and Zach being the only hunter fortunate enough to get a mature buck.
If you have youth, you need to get their names into the drawing for this hunt next year as Randall, Ben and the rest of the guys work their tails off to put on a great hunt !