Well, I spent my last morning on stand in the deer woods pursuing a big buck today (pictures are from my cell phone this morning). The primary bow season ends tomorrow. I will get out a couple times in January for a special doe season, but for all intents and purposes, my 2009 pursuit of a big buck will end without a new head to add to my wall.
This season was tough as far as mature buck sightings go. I hunted many mornings and a few evenings and only saw 2 deer I would classify as 4.5 years or older. I absolutely blew it not shooting at the first one (a very old 7 pointer). I didn't have an ethical shot at the second one (a heavy beamed 8 pointer). I saw about ten 3.5 year old 8-pt bucks in various locations with most being inside 20 yards at one point or another, but I have shot quite a few of those and decided to hold out for something older this year. I must have seen twenty 2.5 year old bucks, many in range also. As far as deer sightings and encounters, this may have been my best season in 9 years of bow hunting. I just didn't get a shot at "Mr. Big" this year. I assure you (and my wife will confirm) it wasn't for lack of trying.
I really enjoyed this season despite not getting a big buck. I did harvest two fat does and witnessed my son shoot his second buck. I also learned a new method of stand hunting where I can basically go to a spot with little pre-hunt intrusion or contamination, put a stand up in the dark and hunt it that morning. I'm really looking forward to using this method next year throughout. I also hunted in all conditions of weather - 95 degree September days in a hot ground blind with ticks a'crawling, windy October evening vigils, cold and rainy November all- day sits (and a bad case of poison ivy to endure), ending with sub-zero December mornings like these past several weeks. I have some great memories and several pounds of ground venison and summer sausage to show for it all.
So, my bow will soon go to the shop for new strings and a tune up. I'll get out my .223 and try to smack a few coyotes in January and February- All the while I will be plotting my moves for the Fall of 2010 and my overdue appointment with a monster buck.