Zach Bowhay

Missouri Deer Hunt- Day 1-4

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023
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This week, I am doing a semi-live blog about my Missouri hunt. This is day one through four, and I will do another few posts as the week progresses.

For several years, our friend Brian Clark from Missouri has invited my buddy Virgil and me out for a deer hunt. Virg and I have wanted to come out but hadn’t made it, so this year, we decided not to put it off any further. So, last Friday, on the 10th of November, we flew to St. Louis, where our buddy Brian picked us up, and we drove an hour and a half to his place to be ready for the firearm opener Saturday morning. We got to Brian’s place with enough time to look around and get our bearings for the morning hunt.

Day 1

Even though it was rifle season, we planned to carry our bows and try our luck. Opening morning, I went to a stand on a ridge above Brian’s house, and Virgil headed to another down below the house. We sat until around 11 a.m., and there were no deer sightings.

That evening I headed to another ridge to the west of Virgil, and he sat at the same stand. Just before dark, I had a doe and fawn enter the clearing behind me and started feeding. Shortly after, two bucks entered the same clearing: a small 6-point and a 130” or so 8-point. The larger buck was chasing the smaller buck around, and although the smaller buck kept coming by at 15 -20 yards, the bigger buck wouldn’t come closer. Finally, he stopped in an opening at 41 yards, and I drew for the shot. My arrow was flying true, but I watched my lighted nock take a hard right turn just before the buck. Unfortunately, I had hit an unseen branch and shot right of the buck. I made the walk of shame back to the rig and drove back to the house to tell the guys the bad news. Virgil had a buck and doe come by his stand that evening as well, but it was after shooting light, so he had to let them pass by before leaving his stand.

Day 2

The following morning, we drove half an hour to a large chunk of public land and hiked in to sit some points overlooking a valley with some harvested bean fields. Brian knows the area well, and he sat Virg on the first point, and then he and I headed on further to another point where I sat up, overlooking a big draw. Brian continued to do some still hunting and look for rutting sign.

A while later, Virgil had a small 6-point walk within 5 yards of him, but he decided to pass. Later, before he left, he also watched another hunter climb out of a treestand only 150 yards from him. That’s public land hunting for you. Brian came across a couple of does and found some scrapes and rubs. I didn’t see anything that morning.

That evening, Virgil and I switched stands from the evening prior. Both of us had does come by, but no bucks were spotted.

Day 3

We returned to the public ground the following day and hiked into a different portion. I sat in a draw above several old, unplanted food plots. I jumped a couple of deer walking in and found a dead buck from this spring, but that was the extent of my excitement. Virgil sat at another point and saw a couple does; Brian again did more hiking and scouting. He found more scrapes but minimal rut sign for the time frame.

That evening, Virgil and I sat in the two stands again. I had a doe and fawn come by at 10 yards around a half hour before dark and could hear several others walking behind me, but none showed before dusk. Virgil had several does feed out in the clearing before him, but again, no bucks.

Day 4

The fourth morning, we headed back to the public, and I headed toward the food plots on the conservation area below the ridge we sat on a few days prior. I planned to head to the back and sit in a small strip of timber along the river in hopes of catching a cruising buck. I saw several does and a nice buck on the way in, but my set proved uneventful other than the around 100 turkeys I saw.

Virgil and Brian worked another section across the road. They hiked, rattled, and sat some points but only saw a couple does.

On the evening hunt, Brian, Virgil, and I were all in the stands again. Besides Virg and Brian seeing a couple does on the way to the stand, we didn’t see any deer.

LACROSSE AeroHead Sport

For the past four days, I have been wearing the Lacrosse Aerohead Sport boots. They have been super comfortable hiking and kept my feet warm on early morning sits when temperatures have been down to 30 degrees. I like my uninsulated Lacrosse Alphaburly Pro boots, but I think that these are even more comfortable for hikes to the stand. They fit true with some wiggle room in the toe box, which is great for keeping feet warm. 


AeroHead Sport


AeroHead Sport

Big Game Treestands Striker XL

We have been using the Striker XL from Big Game Treestands this week. I am not a fan of heights, so it's all ladder stands for me. These stands are both sturdy and comfortable. Even sitting for 5 hours, my backside hasn't been hurting, and I feel safe and secure with my fear of heights. Compared to my old cheap ladder stands, these feel like a lazy boy in the sky. I will be getting more in the future. 

Big Game Treestands

Striker XL

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Big Game Treestands

Striker XL

Although most are saying the bucks are locked down on does, it seems like the rut hasn't begun where we are. Bucks aren't showing in daylight on trail cams, and they are still on a bed-to-feed pattern with no bucks chasing. Hopefully, I have a better report as the temps drop later this week. 

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