Monday, October 27, 2008

The Height of the Hunt

It's 6:30am. It's still dark, but I can make out the shape of the tree stand. It looks higher than I thought it would.

I tell Steve, "You know, I have this thing with heights. If I can't get into the stand, I'll go back to the car."

He replies, "NOW YOU TELL ME?!?!"

It seems as though my desire to hunt overrode my fear of heights. And, although the blind is only 14 feet high, it was enough to make getting into it very difficult. Once I was there, the terror lasted about a half hour, once I was convinced it wasn't going to fall.

Unfortunately, the three hours I sat in it on Saturday morning were for nothing. I saw no game.

This weekend was a youth only deer hunt. I was in the stand for hogs. Dylan was with Steve in another stand, and Steve's son Trent was in a third. We sat from 6:30am to 9:30am, and no one saw anything.

We took a break, got some breakfast, fished, and then went to celebrate Angie's uncle's 73rd birthday. By 4:30pm, we were back in our blinds. It was a little easier getting into it this time.

First, I hear something going on in the woods to my left. Never saw anything.

Second, I got accosted by a crazy squirrel who couldn't see me when I was still. He got close enough to make me afraid he was going to bite me. I scared him away.

Third, I heard a turkey below me. It was making hen yelps and I heard it walking in the brush, but I never got a view of it.

Then, what we were all there for...three deer started crossing the field in front of me. I remained still - although I couldn't shoot them, I wanted them to feel comfortable around the feeder. They continued to cross in front of me from right to left. I got my binoculars and saw that they were all does. Can't shoot the ladies...I just watched in awe. They were beautiful. They found the feeder and at for about 40 minutes. I raised my rifle to sight them in and even though I knew I couldn't pull the trigger, adrenalin was making my heart pump hard, and that seemed to attract the mosquitoes. I was covered as I kept my cross hairs on the deer's vitals, but I dared not move.

The deer ate, then walked off from where they came. As they left, so did the mosquitoes.

As they disappeared into the trees to my right, several duck flew by.

It was a perfect ending to an amazing day.

The next morning, Dylan and I shared the blind that he was in with Steve the day before. They saw five deer and several turkey the day before. As we walked to the stand, we saw a lone deer in the tilled wheat field. We weren't ready. I didn't have my binoculars out yet, so we dropped down. I whispered to Dylan to hand me the gun so I could look at it through the scope to see if it was a shooter. It was definitely a buck, but it's antlers need to be big enough to be a shooter.

He either didn't hear me, or wanted to look for himself, but it was the fatal move. I couldn't verify if it was a shooter, so he couldn't shoot. I tried to get my binoculars out, but the deer spied us. It was over. He stuck around and I got a little glimpse through the lenses (I think he was legal, but not sure - and if you aren't sure you don't shoot). He ran off before we ever got sure.

We continued to the stand and sat for several hours. Other than six bearded hen turkeys, we never saw any other game. It was fun watching those turkeys though. They ate a lot of the corn that the feeder leaves for the deer.

We had an awesome weekend. I can't wait until the regular season starts next weekend.

It just goes to show you - whether you make the kill or not, it is just AWESOME to be out there.


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