Hunting includes learning from our own experiences

Hunting includes learning from our own experiences

Opening morning, first day of Ohio deer gun season 2019.

I remember crawling out of the truck in the predawn light thinking, “Why am I doing this? It’s cold. It’s windy. I’m cold. It’s a long walk to my tree stand. It’s beginning to snow for goodness’ sake. Taryn is, at least, in a covered blind. (Yes, I did manage to get her out of bed.) We have two deer in the freezer already.”

I did manage to make it to my stand — that’s a long way up there — and I tied my backpack to my drawstring, slung my 45-70 over my shoulder and started up the climbing sticks. Yes, I know it should have been the other way around.

In the stand the first (and most important thing) was to attach my hunter safety vest to the tree belt. I leaned over to pull the backpack up to the stand, and the string came loose. I had a nasty thought and decided it was best just to leave it down there.

Getting older (and out of shape) makes the hunt more of a challenge. The years have been good, and I’ve had the opportunity to harvest many animals. So why am I doing this? The answer comes when I hear the first gunshot. The excitement kicks back in, and I’m “back in the game.”

We didn’t shoot any deer that first day but saw some. Taryn did have a conversation with a small doe explaining to her that she was too small. On my way home I found where the deer were hiding: in a cemetery of all places. Think about it: close to the road, fresh grass, wind breaks, sanctuary. Smart deer.

By Saturday I had heard enough stories and seen enough pictures to get me back out there. I had planned to intercept those deer along their path before they got to the cemetery.
I crawled up into the woods overlooking a field the deer use to get there. Scouting and knowing your deer trails help. As I got settled in, I turned around only to see deer already coming through. I got busted.

Patiently, I stayed put. I thought their stomach might override their caution, and I was right. A while later the whole herd (maybe eight) started to file past me. But they hugged the edge of the woods, which brought them to within about 15 feet of where I was standing.

Then the first three (small ones) slammed on the brakes and looked me right in the eye, and I knew I had but seconds to get a shot at one of the larger does behind them. Hey batter, batter, a swing and a miss. Strike one.

The next evening I figured to hide farther up in the woods, hoping they would return, which they did. After all, this is a 45-70 rifle, and I do have a decent range. Same scenario, same timing, the whole herd started to file into the field but farther out than before. I think they were also being cautious. As I said, deer also learn from their experiences.

You could tell they were looking for me as they cautiously kept trying to see if I was there. Finally the lead doe picked me out and gave a snort to alert the rest. I decided to take out that lead doe, and I forgot to compensate for the downhill trajectory and shot over her, and she bailed out. Strike two.

Luckily the back of the herd wasn’t quite sure what was happening and stood still long enough for me to draw a bead on the largest doe, and I dropped her in her tracks with a high-shoulder shot. Home run!

To you younger hunters, I still recommend a behind-the-shoulder shot to the vitals, but a high-shoulder shot will usually drop them in their tracks. It does mess up the lower neck and forward back strap meat, but I didn’t have to track her.

I hope all of you hunters remember safety first, and even though we don’t get an animal every time and we might miss once in a while, we’re there to learn from our experiences and celebrate God’s creations.

Christmas is but a few days away, and I hope you will allow the Christ child to be a major part of your celebration. He came to die so we could have life.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load