11/23 - Started the MO Muzzle Loader season out hunting with Ralph in Central MO at The Hill. We decided to sleep in a bit and get to our stands around 7:30 am. The temp was in the low 20s with a NW wind of 8-12mph. While walking up the Hill I spotted a deer feeding just S of the Y in the road. I stalked to 11 yards undetected and prepared for the shot. The deer was behind the bank in the Y, so I could only see the top of its back. It turned N and started feeding back, which was going to bring it about 4 yards in front of me. As it cleared the bank I noticed 2 spikes about 1 inch long each. He finally realized something wasn't right and walked to the West up the road. "Why couldn't it have been a doe?". I hunted the rest of the morning in "Old Faithful with no movement other than squirrels and turkeys.
11/23 (2pm - Sunset) I hunted The Ladder stand set and Ralph hunted in The Middle stand set. Around 2:15 I heard a deer blow on the S side of the road and then heard deer running. A total of 5 does ran down the road and cut S in to Van Dyke's cedar thicket, there was no shot opportunity. Around 3:40 I was taking a beating on Yahtzee when I started hearing hearing turkeys yelp behind me in the cedars thicket. They continued moving S and the noise became more and more intense. I could hear yelping, clucking, purring, and turkeys walking everywhere behind me. As they started to filter out in front and around my stand, I was amazed the number of birds. They kept coming and coming in waves of 5-15. In total I counted 97 different birds "I think". There were birds everywhere fighting, scratching, and carrying on all around me, it was impossible to hear anything. Around 4pm I noticed movement to the E amongst all of the birds, there were 2 deer running up the E draw. The first deer was a young doe she came into 30 yards and finally stopped in the cedars. I looked back at the second deer and noticed she was a considerably larger doe, so I focused on getting a shot at her. All the turkey co motion was making them very nervous. The bigger doe slowed her run and began slowly walking W right into the shooting lane. I grunted at her and she stopped perfectly broadside at 32 yards. I settled the scope and let the smoke pole bark. "All hell broke loose" turkeys starting flying everywhere, the smoke just hoovered in front of me and both deer took off running tho the SE. I let everything settle down and waited 40 minutes before getting down. I couldn't locate any fur or blood at the spot she was standing. I looked all over our side of the road and over into Van Dyke's thicket, with no sign of the blood or a good hit. I knew there was no way I could have missed and started replying the scene over in my head. With no sign to speak of and searching both sides of the road for an hour, I decided to leave and continue looking the AM. The temp was going to be in the upper 20s during the evening.
11/24 (Sun Rise - 11 am) I hunted The Ladder stand again, so I could continue my search after the morning sit. At 7:10am I picked up movement the W and could barley make out 3 deer heading S into the cedars, they all looked like does. While watching them I picked up more movement coming back N on the same trail. It was a good 2 yr. old 8 point and a shooter 3-4 yr. old 8pointer walking right behind each other. I looked everywhere for a shooting lane, but they moved into the cedars and kept heading N. Ralph shot around 8:15 and ended up harvesting a nice doe out of the Bedframe set. Around 10am I had small yearling doe walk right up the stand and mill around for 3-4 minutes before moving off. Me and Ralph continued the search for my doe around 11 and at 11:10 I found her piled up in a dead fall about 80 yards S of the stand on Van Dyke's side. My shot was perfectly placed right behind the shoulder, but she only bled about 10 yards before she expired. Think her shoulder blade prevented her from bleeding out. Upon inspecting her, the coyotes got to her back quarters.
11/24 (2pm - Sunset) Hunted the Ladder stand again, with NW light breeze and temps in the 40s. No movement except for squirrels and turkeys.
11/25 (Sunrise - 10am) Hunted the NW set with winds out of the NNW at 10-15mph and temps around 30. It started sleeting and raining before 7am. There was no activity except for a woodpecker. I packed it in for the day around 10am and Ralph and I ate some breakfast and cut up our deer.
In all it was a solid weekend with good deer activity. 2 more does for the feezer and a shooter still moving during daylight hours. Eddie said that Ralph's monster 8 was spotted by the Double Decker set, which is a good sign. I'm heading to New Cambria on Friday, to finish up the MO 07 muzzle loader season.