Well, Alyssa isn’t just any 15 year old girl when it comes to deer hunting experience, she is my oldest granddaughter and has been tagging along with us ever since she could walk. In fact, her dad Greg and I often referred to her as “The human sponge”, in reference to her desire to learn everything we knew about deer hunting, and she learned well. Last year I wrote an article in the Woods-N-Waters News about a compromise I made with my three grandchildren who had a desire to deer hunt, two of them wanted us to allow them to carry their smart phones on the hunt. Truth is, there were a few big problems that Greg and I had to overcome. For instance, none had the strength yet to pull a bow with the poundage needed for an ethical kill, plus they claimed that they could sit still in a tree stand, even with their smart phones, we rather doubted that.. The solution ? We bought each one of them a 5’x5′ Shadow Hunter Crossbow blind, and put crossbows in each of their hands. This would give them the safety we worried about, while giving them the independence all teenagers believe they should have. Now they could text, play their games, and hunt, all without missing a beat. In time, as they grow older and acquire more experience and skill they then can choose the style of hunting that best suits them. All three had shot deer that year from their Shadow Hunter blinds, a proud moment for all of us. We hunt in three Southern Michigan counties, and on several different leases. Last May we took delivery of two more Shadow hunter blinds for the farms that didn’t have any blinds on them (and will be taking delivery of two more this year). We asked each of our young hunters if they were happy with their blind’s location, or if any of them wanted to change blind locations, or even to hunt on a different farm. Two of the younger ones elected to hunt their same blinds. Alyssa, with three beautiful racked bucks under her belt elected to try a different farm. We all felt that the deer were starting to change their travel patterns in her area and that it would be beneficial in the long run to let things cool down. This will be a smart move because things like that will happen occasionly when deer no longer feel secure traveling in certain areas, for whatever reasons. We all studied the plat maps, aerial photographs and Topographical maps of the new lease that didn’t have any blinds on it.. With the plat maps we wanted to see the exact farm’s boundary lines, the aerial photographs will show us probable bedding areas, food plots , and funnels. The topographical maps will show changes in elevations and the structure of the land, and how the big bucks are most apt to utilize these structures to their advantage in their travels. After the three of us discussed different options and suggestions, it would ultimately be Alyssa’s final decision to chose the blind’s location. As it turned out her choice was outstanding. The blind would be situated where a beautiful highly active funnel plays out to disperse the deer in many directions, thus giving the deer freedom of choice without fear of ambush.Further, behind her chosen blind’s location is a ridge with several high producing White Oak trees and above the ridge is a 2 acre food plot planted with the Whitetail Institute’s Chicory Plus. Alyssa had actually chosen the absolutely most productive spot on the whole farm. Here’s why, not only did this spot allow the deer unobstructive travels to their nearby bedding areas, it gave them freedom of unobstructive movement to a variety of constant food sources as well, but wisely and most importantly Alyssa, weather knowlingly or not used the funnel to it’s fullest potential. The vast majority of experienced deer hunters, and I mean professional hunters as well, would mistakenly have chosen a pinch point somewhere in the funnel to hunt. That may work for a year or two on big bucks, but at some point the word will get out. I asked Alyssa why she had chosen this particular spot? Her response was spot on, “because they have everything they need here”, meaning what drew the deer to this particular area will continue to do so for many years to come. We placed her new Shadow Hunter blind exactly where she wanted it. The rut was nearing and the chase phase was in full swing. Greg and Alyssa had sprayed “She Heat” on several deer runs and mock scrapes to hopefully stop a buck in shooting range. A lone doe walked up to one of the scrapes,seemingly mesmerized by it, her tail twitching rapidly back and forth. Of course that got Greg and Alyssa’s full attention when all of a sudden Alyssa spotted the big buck comming out of the funnel, and he was making a beeline straight for the doe. But before anyone could react the buck chased the doe completly out of sight. Crestfallen, Alyssa turning to her Dad could only say, “wow”, when miraculously the doe having made a full circle was returning to the spot and the buck wasn’t too far behind her. This time Alyssa had her crossbow out the window and was ready. As soon as the buck came into range Greg grunted to stop him, and the rest is history.
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