I had put my camera up at Skyview the weekend before so I fired up the 4-wheeler to run back and collect the camera and download pictures.
Arlene decided that it might be our last weekend warm enough to grill out so she made grilled pork chops, fried potatoes and boiled baby carrots for dinner. Cindy and Dave came for dinner and afterward I downloaded the camera photos. Mary waited impatiently for the photos to download while we cleaned up and did dishes. Excitedly she announced "There's a buck". Once the pictures were all downloaded, I transfered them into Corel so that we could all look at them and sure enough, there was a buck.
He is the biggest buck I've seen on our property since we started coming up here 10 years ago and certainly the largest one captured on camera. He actually has a piece of rotton wood sticking out of his mouth. The wood is saturated with "Buck Jam" a gooey apple-flavored jam that has minerals in it that deer really like. We had used it three years ago but discontinued it when we thought it was attracting bears. When so few deer were visiting the stations, Arlene remembered how much the deer loved Buck Jam and started using it again and within two days we started seeing lots of activity at the stations again.
Saturday morning was very cold, about 25 degrees but I went out for a few hours to hunt in the Taj Mahal. Didn't see a thing. After the girls and I had coffee and donuts for breakfast we went to work. Mary and Tiny helped Arlene drain the water out of the trailer and put away our swing and lounge furniture while I used the 4-wheeler to bait all of our spots. Mary and Arlene built a nice fire so that when we took a break we would be warm.
Mary and Tiny had to leave early Saturday so R and I continued our chores until Mom came about 2:00 PM. She brought treats and we had a nice visit. At 3:30 I got dressed and Arlene and I went back to the Cube. She sat in the Cube and used the doe bleat call and rattled while I set myself up in ambush spot but no love-sick buck visited us.
Afterwards, we went to Hessel casino for dinner and to play a little while.
Sunday morning was as cold or colder than Saturday and I was out in the Taj Mahal about 40 minutes earlier than usual. I hadn't been in there 10 minutes when I could hear footsteps on the frozen leaves and then the sound of the crunching of sugar beets. It was too dark to see more than shadows so I used my binoculars and picked up a deer eating at the beets. It was quite large but I couldn't make out it's head so don't know if it was a buck or not. It left before it was light enough to see.
After breakfast, we went out to check the camera and found that we had it too far from the bait pile for the flash to take good pictures. So we moved it to the tree that I used with my camera and set it up again.
Afterwards, I cut up a nice dead maple limb and R built a fire while we worked at packing up stuff to take home that we don't use in deer season. Space in the trailer is at a premium during hunting season so any unnecessary items are taken home.
I don't know which I enjoy more actually. Hunting season is great fun but I enjoy the month before when you are keeping the feeding stations stocked at each shack and out walking the woods looking for tracks, rubs and scrapes. Arlene carefully checks around each feeding station, looking for tracks or signs of bucks and to see what direction they may have come from and where they went when they left. Of course, the trail cameras make it much easier. You can see exactly what time the deer came in and how long they stayed. Some of the newer camera models even have the moon phase info on them. It's all high-tech hunting now. But even with all of that, the deer are pretty good at outsmarting us humans. Bless 'em.