Since my 1999 hunt where I killed my largest whitetail to date (249 5/8), on October 31, hunting whitetail around Halloween has always been special to me. I have also taken huge bucks on the dates of October 18 and October 28. So, I have learned this can be an important time of the year to be in the woods.
For this years late October hunt I had planned to be in Pennsylvania with my friend and hunting partner, Richie Bland. We were hunting the South central part of the state in very hilly terrain. When we arrived, it was raining heavily, but by the following morning the weather had improved and conditions were good.
Not being familiar with the property our guides escorted us to the tree stands they had located for us prior to our arrival. It was cool and still, with a layer of fog hugging the ground as my cameraman, Jason Huntsman, and I climbed into position.
As the morning light began to build I could see our stand was located at a bend in an old logging road. In front of us was a large cutover area grown thick with a variety of young trees, bushes and shrubs ranging between 4 and 12 feet.
Below our stand was a flowing stream lined with larger hardwoods behind us was more cutover followed by mature timber.
It wasn't long before we spotted several deer, does and fawns, at a distance and moving uphill through the cutover they were feeding as they went, undoubtedly heading for some morning bedding location, but in no real hurry to get there.
We had a slight breeze from the East blowing down hill. It made me wonder what would happen if a deer chose to work up the longing road. It wasn't long until I found out a young buck appeared out of the fog about 80 yards downhill. He approached steadily until he was about 40 yards. His nose came up as he tested the breeze. I held my breath waiting for his reaction after a minute or so he continued up the road then, once again, caught a whiff of scent. With his suspicions confirmed he turned around and retraced his steps, crossing the creek about 70 yards below us.
Soon after he was out of sight a much larger buck was seen moving up the logging road. As he cleared the trees obscuring my view I could see he was a shooter. With dark, massive antlers there was no question I would try for him, so I lifted my bow off its holder. At almost the same spot as the smaller buck, the big deer became suspicious and also lifted his nose into the air. With very little hesitation he turned around and circled well below our stand site that was enough for me. It was obvious this was a good location: too good to stay in with this wind direction. Jason and I climbed down and spent the best of the morning scouting for new stand locations. We found several potential sites before going back to camp.
Over the coarse of the afternoon hunt we spotted four different bucks moving toward the Greenfield, the best of which was an incredible not typical with multiple brow points erupting from his bases. Above that was a magnificent 5 X 6 mainframe with a variety of extras. This buck, even larger than the one seen in the morning, came close but offered no shot as he made his way to his chosen feeding location as darkness fell we made our way back to the vehicle with great anticipation for the mornings hunt.