By Mark Kenyon
A lot has happened since my last entry, I’m slacking, sorry about that. But I have a good excuse – I’ve been hunting my tail off! Since my last journal on October 26th, I’ve hunted 10 of the past 12 days, and the action has been some of the best I’ve ever enjoyed in Michigan.
When we left off on the 26th, I’d just seen Holyfield two nights in a row. Well, since then I’ve seen him another five times.
On October 27th I watched him chasing does back in the neighbors cover, on the 30th I saw him back in there again, and then on November 3rd I had a closer encounter. I had him at 60 yards, but on the other side of the property line and back in brush. He eventually walked off, not responding to my calls, and I watched for quite awhile as he made scrapes, chased does and cruised around a couple hundred yards away.
The next night I figured I’d try in there one more time, and of course, I saw him several hundred yards back on the neighbors.
Now, I know what some of you might be thinking. Why do I keep hunting the same spot over and over, even though I’m seeing Holyfield out of range every time? The issue is property lines and available spots to set up. 99% of all of the activity I’ve been seeing from Holyfield in the last two weeks has been in the neighbors cover, and I simply don’t have any way to get close to him unless I hunt this food plot stand OR sit on the edge of a wide open bean field with only one available tree to choose from. Because of the lack of options and wind directions that wouldn’t work – I opted to play it safe in the food plot, where I knew I wouldn’t risk spooking him (and that I’d been super careful entering/exiting), and hope that maybe he’d make a mistake and follow a doe into range. That hasn’t happened yet. But he’s still been very daylight active nearby
So, tonight I finally made the move, snuck in to the far NE corner of this bean field, and hung a new stand right up next to the bedding area that Holyfield spends so much time in. Long story short – I saw him again tonight. But he decided to head out to the field edge just around the corner from me, and then got spooked by a farmer’s combine that arrived just as soon as he did.
Nonetheless, I do like my new set-up, and a whole bunch of does came out within range. I’ve got the right wind for it, the rare SE, again tomorrow – so I’ll be giving it another shot in the evening. Hopefully he follows one of these does.
All that said – I did have two other exciting days of hunts not involving Holyfield too. On November 1st, I swung up to a different farm I’m hunting, and ended up watching a great buck locked on a doe for four hours, about 100 yards away. It led to an impromptu all-day sit, and finally around 1:30 in the afternoon the doe got up to walk and started coming my way. She came through my shooting lane at 50 yards, my bow was in hand just waiting for him to follow, but as big old bucks do – he hung back and passed through at 77. And that was that.
Then yesterday, November 5th, I was back on my main Michigan farm – but hunting an area I haven’t hunted in several years. It’s a stand that I discussed on our last episode of the podcast, as a perfect rut spot I was excited to hit, and that anticipation was spot on. I saw well over 30 does, and nearly 10 different bucks. Most exciting though were close encounters that I had with two of the bucks that I believe are probably 3.5 year olds on this farm, that I had been considering shooting – Frazier and Foreman.
I ended up having both of them within 20 yards, with great shot opportunities, and decided to let them both go. They’re great Michigan bucks, and in past years I would have been happy taking either – but this year I’m just getting a little more picky. Hopefully they’ll make it to 2017.
So that’s where things stand today. I’ve been pushing my Ohio trip farther and farther back, hoping to get a crack at Holyfield, but I’m going to have to go down there eventually. So that said, I’ve decided that I’ll hunt here through Tuesday night, and if I haven’t gotten it done by then, I’ll head to Ohio. So that means two more days.