The 2020-2021 Kentucky deer season is winding down; today is the final day for the December Muzzle-loader season. After today there is about a month of bow and crossbow season left. This year, about 135,000 deer have been harvested in Kentucky, and there should be another 2000 to 3000 more animals harvested before the Martin Luther King holiday when the season closes. Here is my reflection on this year’s season.
Overall this year, I saw fewer deer than in previous years. However, I have had some incredible encounters with several bucks this year. One that made the greatest impression on me this year was a hunt back in late September. I had five bucks come rushing into my location in the woods, where I was ready to let my crossbow do the talking. Two of the deer were (what I call) shooters; they supported some fine headgear – ten-pointers or better. All of the deer were within range to take a shot, but I didn’t have a clear shot on the two bigger bucks. The only deer that I could shoot was a smaller eight-pointer at nine yards, so I put the crosshairs on him and waited for something to change. I was hoping maybe one would move closer or move from behind a tree to give me a clear shot. The minutes seemed like hours before any of them moved, and I didn’t move either because there were so many eyes looking for danger. I never was able to get a clear shot of the two shooter bucks; my heart was still pumping hard as they slowly moved away from me. That is what I call a close encounter.
I hunted this area of my farm several more times this year, hoping to get a second chance at the big bucks. I saw the two shooter bucks a few days later right at dark and farther away. Oh, well – that’s why they call it hunting and not killing! I did harvest an eight-point buck this year with my crossbow, but he was not nearly as big as the bucks I encountered that late September evening. I also harvested a bearded hen turkey on the first day of bow season with my trusty Hoyt compound bow, and during the KY spring turkey season, I harvested two nice longbeards. When I look back over the year, it was a good year, after all. What was your best encounter while hunting this year?