Outdoor column by Dan Geddings: Captain Crook


It's an understatement to say I was surprised to see daytime pictures of two big bucks at my corn pile. And I mean in the middle of the afternoon daytime. Daytime pictures in good light, several days in a row, and of course nighttime pictures, too. Both bucks were what I would consider "shooters." One was a big, wide, clean, typical eight with a slight crab claw on his left side. The other was a heavy nine with a crooked double brow tine and a couple of sticker points.

There have been trail camera pictures of other smaller bucks, and a bunch of does, but I had a feeling something big would show up. And I was right.

Just for my own benefit I've assigned names for the two big bucks. I'm calling the more typical eight point the "Clean Eight" and the heavy nine "Captain Crook." So far they are still traveling together, but I expect them to separate soon.

Even though I've said that I consider these bucks big enough for me to shoot, I've decided that I won't shoot the clean eight. Not yet anyhow. I'm going to hold out as long as I can for Captain Crook. Now, of course I'm assuming that I'll have an encounter with these deer. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. But the odds are good that they will continue making daytime appearances at my corn.

I have not hunted that stand since the big deer have been coming to the corn and the reason is simple. The wind. I need a north wind. Human scent will carry a surprising distance on the wind, and deer have an unbelievable sense of smell. My approach to the stand is from the south, and the corn is north of the stand. The tracks and trails at the corn show me that the deer are coming from the north and northeast.

If those bucks detect my scent, they will probably stop coming to the corn, at least during the day.

The prevailing winds have been out of the south lately, and they have been somewhat erratic, meaning that they will swirl and change direction. Not good. So, I've been waiting for a northern wind. The north wind will probably be stronger and more constant.

Of course, there are products on the market that claim to eliminate or reduce human odors. There are cover scents, but nothing beats a correct wind. I'll wait for the wind. If those bucks aren't disturbed, they will be around a little longer. I'm going to hunt those bucks, and I mean hunt them hard when the conditions are right. And maybe I can be there when they make another daytime appearance.

I have a trail camera at the corn pile, and I check it when I put out more corn, which is about every three or four days. I check the corn during the middle of the day from my truck. I don't get out unless I need to add more corn. So far, my presence at the corn pile in the middle of the day hasn't bothered the big deer. They can tell by the intensity of the scent how long it's been since I was there. Studies by wildlife professionals have shed light on the scenting abilities of deer.

There's cooler weather coming, and that will help. It's easier to sit in a stand when it's not so hot, and the deer tend to be more active in cooler weather also. At least I hope so. I have other stands to hunt, and I'll get on them soon, but right now all I can think about is Captain Crook. I'm hoping we'll have an encounter. Soon.

Email Dan Geddings at cdgeddings@gmail.com