This old doe was the most difficult whitetail deer that I have ever pursued. No buck was in her league. I had encountered her several times, over the prior (3) or (4) seasons. One time, during the late ML week in the snow, I had managed to get a shot at her with my ML, but she was saved by an unseen branch that must have deflected my bullet.
She did not tolerate other deer in “her” area, which was comprised of 300 or so acres behind my in-laws lake house. She always seemed to know when I was after her (especially after that first shot and miss) and seemed to anticipate my every move.
Just a two days prior to our final meeting, she had winded me and high-tailed it to safe cover with her (2) fawns about 1/2 hour before sunrise, just after I left the house.
Every morning she would arrive behind my in-laws house before sunrise, and wait there until I came out. On her last day, I fooled her by getting out earlier.
I made my way in the dark up to the north end of the east ridge, where I knew that she always went after checking up on me at the house. I had the proper sw wind to pull this off. The year before I had tried it, but was seated too close to her preferred nut-feeding spot up there, and she winded me in the dark.
This time, I backed off about 50 yards downwind and attached my comfortable tree hammock seat there.
As the sun began to light up the hardwoods, I saw her far off to my left. She was moving steadily my way, just a few yards at a time. She always scanned her surroundings, prior to advancing a few more yards, and she seemed to be signaling other deer with her tail. I saw only her.
I had picked my spot just right this time. She was staying about 50 yards downwind of the main deer trail, and I was about a further 50 yards downwind of that.
She reached her closest point, about 15 minutes after sunrise. She stood there broadside about 40 yards upwind of my seat. Her time on this earth was nearly over, as I settled the crosshairs of my old Redfield scope behind her shoulder.
I did not see her go down thru the smoke, but I did see (for the first time), the tails of her two fawns as they bounded away up and over the ridge. Somehow, she had managed to keep them completely hidden from me as they had approached. She was a very good mother.
She’s gone on to “deer heaven” (mankind’s food supply) now and the “deer dynamics” have changed big-time since her passing. Instead of just “OBD” and her fawns, there is now a large group of deer in the area, maybe a dozen more.
They hang loosely together during the early ML week, making it tough to get into position to take out just one. I did not manage to get one of them last year, but I did get into position for a 25 yard shot at a “straggler” spike buck on opening day of rifle season. I’d have let him have it, if he was just a smidge bigger or if he had a couple more points.
Maybe he will get to meet up again with his momma (or great aunt) this year.