I had to get out this morning. I know the mule deer rut is a solid month away, but the morning air was finally going to feel like fall. A crisp north wind was going to blow, and, for the first time this season, a frost would cover the ground. Plus, with the corn going out, I knew I could easily catch one of my target bucks on his feet.

The air was everything I hoped for. Even the morning sky was alive with the sounds of fall. The wingbeats of migrating widgeon filled my ears, and flocks of low-flying geese made their presence known with deep honks.

I slipped along the edge of a cut cornfield, using the cattails of an adjacent slew for cover. I’d only made it a couple hundred yards when my eyes caught a hint of movement. Raising my Maven binos, I was able to make out the form of deer, but that was it. I slowly lowered my body, melting into the cattails. I could hear them walking, their teeth grinding the kernels of left-by-the-combine corn.

I had 15 minutes until legal shooting light, but my optics could now make out a total of seven deer. Two were sporting headgear, but I couldn’t make out the size. Minutes later my optics gathered enough light to confirm the lesser of the two bucks was a small fork horn, and his partner was a solid 3×5. I knew the buck. I have loads of trail camera photos of him. Neither were shooters, so I let them wander through the cut cornfield and back toward the distant creek.

After the five does and two bucks disappeared into the tamaracks, I continued my quest up the slew toward a high hill where I could glass more cut corn, and, specifically, a shallow draw where my target bucks have been hanging from time to time. Both the cornfields and the draw were empty, but I did manage to glass up another pair of mature does.

That ended my morning, but I was glad to see all the ladies in the area. As long as the girls stay, the big boys will emerge. If I stay patient and dedicated, I should eventually get a crack at one of my target bucks. My problem is staying patient. I’m not going to lie, I thought about deflating the lungs of that 3×5 this morning, but I restrained myself.