By Mark Kenyon

As I’m sure you all could tell, over the past few weeks I’ve been pretty amped for the opening weekend of Michigan’s archery season. With all of the trail camera analysis and the five daylight sightings I had of Holyfield in the days leading up to the opener, I was feeling pretty darn good about my chances. But it was not meant to be.

As mentioned in my last journal entry, my plan was to hunt Saturday and Sunday evening in Holyfield’s core area and I did just that. Unfortunately, I didn’t see him on either one of those hunts. Why was that? I don’t have a good answer.

It could be just the fact that mature bucks do mature buck things, ie. they’re not always consistent in their behavior.

Or maybe he reacted negatively to hunting pressure from my neighbors.

Or maybe I spooked him on my way in or out of my locations on either of those nights,

Or maybe my wind swirled at an inconvenient time and gave my position away. I just don’t know.

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But what I do know is that I played those two hunts just about as smart as I possibly could, so I feel pretty good about that. I was very careful with my entry/exit and went far above and beyond what I normally do when entering these areas. On Day 1 that meant I was in my waders, walking thigh deep in a creek and then crawling through tall grass to get into a ground blind. On Day 2 that meant taking a much longer than usual route, going way around where I think Holyfield sometimes beds. And in both of those instances I creeped, ever so slowly and as quietly as I possibly could. But, who knows, I may still have not gotten it all right.

But that’s hunting, right? You can only plan and do so much, the rest of it comes down to luck.

Now as to these hunts, while I didn’t see Holyfield, I did see a decent number of does. And on Sunday night I actually watched a very nice nine pointer hanging out in my other food plot, right in front of another treestand of mine about 400 yards away. During any other year, he’d be a definite shooter, but this year I may give him the pass and focus 100% on Holyfield. I might need to get a better look at him, because if he’s 4+ years old, that’s really hard to say no to around here, but I just don’t know yet.

So with that said, after the uneventful weekend I decided to give the property a rest and now I’m left with a decision to make. My original plan for this spot was to hunt it early and then leave it alone until late October, but we have a pretty serious cold front rolling through this weekend that has got me questioning that strategy. Maybe, if I didn’t spook Holyfield, this big temp drop could be enough to get one more chance at him. The jury’s still out on this one …