By Adam Parr
Do you want to have the most exhilarating adrenaline rush of your life? Do you dream of close encounters with big, mature deer at eye level? If you answered yes to either of these questions, spot and stalk deer hunting with a Heads Up Decoy should be part of your future hunting plans. Recently, I had the chance to experience an adrenaline rush like no other while archery hunting the eastern plains of Colorado and it was a day that I won’t soon forget.
After spending the majority of my morning hunting out of the back of an old grain truck overlooking a CRP field, I packed up my gear headed back into town to grab some breakfast at the local diner. A week prior I met the owner of the restaurant and he graciously gave me permission to hunt his property for whitetails. The tough part (as I soon found out) is that the 1,200 acre farm is entirely comprised of CRP grass with no funnels, pinch points, or trees to hang a stand in. Spot and stalk on foot would be the one and only option.
I utilize the grain truck for a few reasons. One being that it offers a much-needed height advantage overlooking a flat field of tall grass and the other advantage is that it provides cover for morning hunts when stalking conditions are not ideal. Typically during the early hours of the day, unless it is windy enough to cover my movement, I like to sit in a stationary position in hopes of a shot opportunity or locating a deer on its way back to bed. In an environment of flat, open terrain, I treat a morning hunt much like a scouting mission and when the winds pick up, I make a move if an opportunity presents itself.
Glassing From The Truck
To start out any spot and stalk hunt, if I haven’t already located a deer during the morning, I like to sit in the truck and glass from the road. This allows me to dissect the area from behind the binoculars to try to catch a rutting buck locked down or cruising an area in search of another hot doe. The truck also allows me to be mobile when needed. Deer can cover a large amount of ground in a very short amount of time so a vehicle comes in handy to intercept a deer or getting into position quickly with the wind in my favor.
At high noon on November 19th, I spot movement in the thick grass approximately 300 yards out and I pull up the binoculars to reveal a wide 8-point frame in search of a hot doe. He’s no giant but I determine he’s a deer I want to pursue and after watching him for a few minutes, I throw the truck in drive and race to the other side of the section to get the wind in my favor. I grab my bow, set up my Heads Up Decoy and begin working my way through the jungle of grass.
It’s hard to describe and I know it’s a bad analogy but as soon as I enter the CRP, I feel as if I’m an army sniper on a secret mission to take out a high profile enemy target. My movements are quick and controlled as I try not to alert the other deer of my presence but within minutes of walking, I am surrounded by deer. Small bucks are cruising, does are running and it’s utter chaos in my mind, but I love it.
Closing The Distance
After over two hours of slow movements, I finally catch a glimpse of a bigger bodied deer in the distance and to my disbelief, it’s the wide 8 cruising alone. This is the ideal scenario that any whitetail hunter can hope for when utilizing a decoy. It’s the November rut and if he’s the dominant buck in the area, he will likely run off any intruders who step foot on his home turf. With this in mind, I literally begin a fast walk, almost jogging in the direction I think he will be to try to cut him off, all while hiding behind the Heads Up Decoy.
I can’t even begin to describe how difficult it is to maintain a line of sight on this buck but he is extremely tough to follow in the thick CRP so I trust my gut and travel steady in the direction of where I think he will be. Five minutes goes by and I still have no sight of him when all of a sudden I look to the left and he is already past me by about 200 yards. Damn! At this point, I beeline right at him and after 50 yards of travel, he stops and looks in my direction. For what feels like an eternity, he eyes me up and down as I huddle behind the decoy in the wide open grass. After a 30-second staring contest, he drops his head and begins walking towards me.
“Oh my god, he’s coming” I mumble to myself as the wide 8 continues to close the distance between us. I know I don’t have a lot of time to get setup so I move to the left in an attempt to conceal myself in heavy cover but this turned out to be my fatal mistake. He gets to 20-yards, I draw my bow and I stop him with a mouth grunt. I let the arrow fly and to my disappointment, I watch it bury into the tall grass right in front of me. In the heat of the moment, I didn’t take into consideration the obstacles below my field of vision and the arrow clipped the tops of the grass and crash landed short of its mark.
Win or lose, it was one of the most exciting hunts of my entire life. There is nothing quite like a big deer closing the distance to kick your butt, all while hunting from the ground at eye level. This encounter would have never happened if it weren’t for my Heads Up Decoy and I highly recommend it as the most versatile, mobile, packable decoy in the industry. Check out their realistic decoys pick one up for your next hunt and I guarantee you will have some of the most exciting encounters yet.