I grew up in a small town in New Jersey and moved to Utah 6 years ago. Ever since moving to Utah I’ve made a point to travel back to New Jersey each November to sit my hometown tree stands and hunt the rut with my bow. This is one of my favorite hunts because its all about putting meat in the freezer and helping those in need. I typically donate an entire deer to a local family that love deer meat and are past the age of being able to actively hunt and fill their own freezer. Because of this I feel really relaxed about hunting and go for one purpose: food. That is the true reason why I hunt and New Jersey is a good reminder of what hunting is all about.
This November I traveled back for a quick 6 day trip to hunt with my bow. Upon arrival the deer activity was a lot less abundant than usual. After seeing two bears from my stand in two days I realized that they were likely the problem. New Jersey changed their bear hunting laws to almost non-existent and I can visibly see that the population is increasing fast. The deer do not like the bears and because of this they will likely stay away. Throughout the entire trip I hunted every morning and evening. I saw only small bucks, mostly spikes and four points, until the last three days. During days 4 and 5 I saw a nice 6 point buck that I would have happily harvested. Every time that I saw him he was in the distance, lurking in the shadows as his doe ate some corn. He was tailing a doe each time and just too smart to leave the woods and be within bow distance for me.
On the third day I shot a beautiful, mature doe at 20 yards. She and two other does fed in front of me for over an hour. This stand that I hunt is fairly new and is low to the ground, and in the wide open. This is the only way I can set one up in the area because of the tree selection, and it works, but it is very hard to get a shot off. I was extremely patient and watched all 3 does the entire time waiting for a shot opportunity on the largest, most mature one. They gave me a 2 second window where none of them were looking in my direction so I drew back and got the perfect double lung shot on my doe. She ran less than 30 yards and expired without suffering.
I have never stayed as warm as I did in my tree stand as I did this year thanks to my new Azyre Gear. I wore the vision base layers, achieve hiking pants, Believe hybrid insulated hoodie, and believe packable down jacket. My last layer were the conquer waterproof insulated pants. Staying warm while sitting in a cold tree stand during the early hours of the morning can be a very difficult task. Having warm gear makes the experience so much more enjoyable!