Quick after action report from the exotic hunt Oct 29-31.
Left home at 4:45am and arrived in town just before the 10:30am reporting deadline as planned. Had a quick orientation and drew blinds. There were 8 hunters drawn by the state and the hunt organizers put all 8 blinds down by the river where most of the axis and whitetail are.
I drew hunting blind 6 just past the Acorn bird observation blind, which is the 2nd furthest east blind, one of the two over near the campground. The blind faces north and there are 3 primary shooting lanes cut out from the blind to the north, north west, and west-northwest. Although none of the shots i took were in the lanes it did help to acquire targets. I made it into the blind around 11:00 briefly walked the lanes to sprinkle a bit under a gallon of corn across 200yard or so down two lanes then set up in the blind. Blind 6 is in a clearing about 300/400 yards south of the river and just west of a stand of woods, which i would learn is where almost all of the deer traffic would come from.
The wind on Tuesday was consistently out of the north and wasn't bad sitting since temps had not yet dropped. Rained on and off most of the day. I saw a couple of whitetail not too long after getting set up, then around 2:30 i saw an axis doe heading east to west out of the forest. As i started setting up for a shot i saw antlers above the brush line following her. They both reached an area with good site lines about 140 yards out and i was able to take the buck, made it about 20 yards and i saw it drop. I let it set for about 40 minutes though i was comfortable that it was dead (150grain .308 does the job). I walked out, to locate it and fortunately he was right were i expected. I walked back to the truck, unloaded my bike and cart, then went back, field dressed him, loaded him up and rode back to the check station. Ended up being a very big male, close to 200lbs field dressed. I called it a day at that point, around 5pm.
Day 2 was uneventful, got in the blind about 6:30 and stayed till sundown. Rained on and off the first half of the day and was very cold due to wind blowing out of the north. Saw at least 30 whitetail but no axis. Only one big buck but some others saw a few. At one point i count 11 whitetail within 50 yards, a couple came as close as 5 yards.
Day 3 hunt ends at noon. Was in the blind again round 6:30, 29 degrees out but thankfully no wind so was actually more comfortable than the previous afternoon. Saw a couple of whitetail right before sunrise, then around 8am scan to my left and see an axis buck approaching the edge of the first shooting lane. As i grab my rifle and start to set up for a shot i see he is chasing a doe thats moving pretty quickly left to right. I decide to take her first if she gives me a shot. They both bound past the second shooting lane and the doe crosses the third then slows down to a walk through small trees. I take the shot on her not too far from where i hit the first buck on Tuesday. Seemed like a good hit, i looked so see where she would go and saw the buck take a couple steps and stop in confusion so i re-acquired him and got a good shot in about 10 yards beyond were the doe was. On the second shot i saw them both bound another 10 yards to the right and head north into the trees towards the river. I knew i hit the doe but wasn't sure on the buck and the way he bounded off i was hoping this wasn't going to turn into an ordeal. I waited in the blind till about 9:30 and only sited more whitetail. Hunt rules are that if you need to blood trail out of site of the blind you have to go to the check station and wait till hunters are cleared from the area. I went to the impact site and there was good blood but it quickly went out of site of the blind. Fortunately since it was the last day the other 2 blinds in the area were already empty, so a couple of the park employees came out to help with the trailing. we found the buck in 20 minutes about 100 yards from the impact site or so and the doe was another 30 yards beyond that.
I field dressed them both, and as we were loading them into the bike cart one of the caretakers showed up with a side-by-side so we tossed the carcasses on there and met back up at the check station. I ended up removing the buck heads for easier transport, rinsed them all off, loaded them up and headed out.
All in all a very successful hunt, great experience and i cant speak highly enough of the park staff. And with that i'm done for the season all in 1 week. 2 whitetail from an MLD hunt last weekend and 3 axis, freezer is officially full.
Pics are below. I forgot to take pics of the buck and doe from yesterday after tracking them, just wanted to get things buttoned up before it was too late.
Good luck on your seasons everyone.