In this series, whitetail expert Craig and Neil Dougherty of North Country Whitetails  will share journal entries from their lives as 365 day a year whitetail hunters and managers. There isn’t a day that goes by that the Dougherty’s aren’t living and breathing whitetails, and this series will follow their observations from the field, their successes in the woods, a few off topic interludes, and everything in between. A true deer hunting diary. Enjoy! – MK

By Craig Dougherty

I watched a mature buck work a doe last night from my treestand. He was a definite shooter and one of the 3 bucks in the area I had been hunting. On my feet and release at the ready I waited for the distance to close. At one point, I considered “taking him” as he stopped broadside and posed for a memory pic. Luckily, reality got the better of me and I was reminded myself I hadn’t shot that bottom pin in years; 38, 40,45, hell if I knew.

As I waited for him to close, I was struck by his calmness and composure. He was shadowing her, staying tight, careful not to crowd her. He kept a respectful 10-15 yard distance between them and never pressed for more. She left the plot 3-4 times in the course of the evening, each time returning with him in attendance. She’d eat and he’d drift over to the side and do some branch licking or tree raking. He never rushed her, or pressed her or anything else to send her drive her away. He wasn’t about to ruin his chances by over playing his hand. And, he was playing into mine; or so I hoped.

They hung out on the plot for an hour or so before drifting off for the evening; my hopes of hanging him on the cabin wall them. I suspect the old boy delivered the mail sometime in the next 24-36 hrs. or maybe he just left his card and moved on up the trail. We’ll never know, but one thing for sure, he’d been up that trail before and knew every twist and turn. He obviously subscribed to the “drink no whine before its time” theory. I’d seen other old timers run the same drill and remember them well. I always remember the old timers.

My bow back on its hook, I couldn’t help but smile. I always smile when I watch a “smoother operator” operate.

I had been watching out of control amped up yearlings for the past week or so. They were marching all over the place, rushing does and bullying fawns. With behavior like that it’s no wonder they are relegated to sitting in the bleachers and watching the big boys get all the action.

The old boy and his lady eventually moved off together and with that my hopes of hanging him on the wall. I may get a poke at him before the season ends; maybe not. I’ll remember him though as one “smooth operator” and

I hope we meet again, but until we do, a respectful tip of the hat.

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