I just returned from a successful Ohio deer hunting trip! The first week that I was there, the weather was terrible. I’m talking highs near 80 in the first week of November! Definitely not conducive to deer movement and while I was seeing some deer early in the morning, almost all rutting activity was occurring at night.
And then it happened… Any of you that know me, you have heard me state time after time, that the absolute best time to be deer hunting is immediately after a cold front. Specifically, a drop in temperature of 10 or more degrees!
Focus Your Ohio Deer Hunting on Cold Fronts
Thursday November 7th was 77 degrees and virtually no daytime deer movement. A front moved in on Friday November 8th and brought rain all day with a high of 65.
I was in my tree stand in full rain gear daydreaming when I turned around to see an Ohio giant staring at me from 40 yards away! He had snuck right up on me in the rain. He stared at me for about a second and a half, having caught me moving when I turned around. He blew once and took off through the saddle I was watching over. I looked at my watch after he was gone. The time was 11:38! Here is a trail cam pic of the giant that busted me.
A good friend of mine came out to Ohio to join me on Friday night. His first hunt was Saturday morning and it was a beautiful crisp morning in the 30s with a high of only 55 expected! This guy is not a trophy hunter, so when a young eight point gave him a broadside shot at 25 yards, it was lights out! I posted his pic at the end of the article.
I had just rattled and grunted this guy in when I got the text from my buddy. I passed on harvesting him as I knew there were some absolute giants on this property.
The deer movement on this day was unbelievable! We were seeing bucks chasing does everywhere! In the woods, in fields on the side of the road, everywhere! The Ohio rut was going full throttle and we could attribute the amazing daytime chasing to a 20 degree temperature drop in less than 48 hours!
I hunted the rest of the week, passing up numerous bucks while waiting for one of the bucks that were on my hit list. The first one was the one at the beginning of this article that busted me in the saddle stand the others are below.
It all came down to the last hour of the last day as it usually does. The woods were very loud on this day as the blanket of freshly fallen leaves were dry and crunchy. I had not seen any of the giants in the last couple of days and decided to change tactics a bit. I moved onto a previously unhunted ridge where I thought the giants might be hanging out.
The only problem was, I didn’t have a tree stand on this ridge and I didn’t have time to hang one. I did however, know that there was a big old oak tree that had blown down and I figured that I could seek cover in the middle of the blowdown.
I got into the blow down and cleared the ground of leaves and sticks so that I didn’t make any unnecessary noise. After getting settled I decided to rattle. I spent about 30 seconds simulating two bucks sparring pretty aggressively and immediately heard deer footsteps heading my way from a ridge about 200 yds away.
The ridge that I was on was separated from the ridge the buck was on by a very deep drainage and I could tell the buck was reluctant to go down into the drainage and back up onto my ridge without further proof that there were deer over there, so I got on the grunt call and made a series of grunts. It worked like a charm as the buck made a bee line down the hill and started up my side. If he continued on the path he was headed, he would crest the hill within 15 yards of me.
As he began to crest the hill 15 yards away, I saw his antlers first… And he was a giant! He came over the hill and he was focused right on me in that blowdown. It is amazing how a mature buck can hone in on the exact spot that a grunt came from.
The giant buck never stopped moving. At 12 yards he was looking right at me. He let out one blow that shook me to my core and took off up the ridge. I was physically shaken, and even though I didn’t harvest that buck, it was an awesome encounter! One that I will never forget. Here he is on trail cam.
I sat there for a while regaining my composure and going through the encounter in my mind. After about 15 minutes, I heard the familiar sound of a buck’s steady gait in the leaves on the opposite ridge again. As he got almost to the spot where the other buck had hung up, I got on the grunt call and again, another buck started coming across the drainage on a string!
He was on the exact same trail the last buck had come on. If he continued, he would crest the hill in the exact same place! This time I was ready.
I saw his antlers cresting the hill first 15 yards away. I drew my bow before his eyes had crested the hill. He came over the hill looking for the buck that had done the grunting. He never looked at me and was actually stretching and craning his neck trying to see around the blowdown that I was in. I let out a very soft mouth bleat and stopped him broadside at 12 yards. I released the arrow and watched it disappear behind his shoulder!
While he is not one of the giants that I was after, I am thrilled with the awesome encounter and very proud to have called this buck in and killed him at 12 yards on the ground, in the last hour, on my last day Ohio deer hunting.
Just another great example of hunting those cold fronts!
Here’s the pic of my buddy’s young eight point.