Hunting never the same thing twice

Hunting never the same thing twice

This past weekend we saw so many posts on Facebook, both locally and across the country, of first-time hunters and their trophies taken during youth season. Their smiles say it all. It brings back the memory of the sponsored youth hunt we held a few weeks ago.

Many of these pics, of course, were does and small bucks, which doesn’t make the hunters (and the parents) any less proud. I say it’s not the size of the trophy that matters, but the size of the heart inside the hunter. I look forward to taking my grandchildren to the outdoors when they get a little older, as I did my daughters.

Some of these youths took big bucks that would make even the seasoned hunter envious. While I’m not critical of this by any means, I jokingly say the poor, little hunter is ruined for life, trying to top that one each year after.

We talked last time about the things that make hunting fun, even if we don’t bring home anything but memories. We talked about the anticipation and excitement of getting ready for the big day. But also one aspect of hunting that makes it so appealing to the sportsman is that each hunt is different. Even if you go to the same spot each time, go with the same friends or use the same clothes and weapon, it’s the variables that make it fun and demand your attention.

Of course the weather (especially Ohio) changes constantly, which requires different plans for each hunt. The animals themselves can change the outcome of each hunt. Even though we try to pattern them with our food plots and our trail cameras and spend countless hours studying them, they are still wild animals. It is a given that animals, like humans (supposedly), get smarter as they age and become less predictable.

The Hannas have been out and about and managed to take a couple deer for the freezer this week. In both cases different variables created different challenges for us. Last week as I came home from work, which this time of year is right at dusk, and pulled in the driveway of our house, I noticed deer in our field (as we do most nights), but at the opposite end from Taryn’s tower blind. I no more than got out of the car when she called to tell me she had just shot a deer. She said the rest of the deer had run in my direction.

Of course the first thought (especially with bow hunting) is allowing the deer time to expire and then tracking it. Many of you know that feeling: finding the first blood and meticulously following each sign to the deer. Unfortunately sometimes the sign fades or no blood is found, and it is disheartening to lose a deer.

I asked Taryn if she found blood yet, and happily she said, “Don’t need to. She ran under my tower and is laying here behind it.” That’s what I like.

She explained two deer had come into her corn pile at about 18 yards from the stand, and she really wanted to take the bigger one, but she only was allowing her a frontal shot. She sensed the deer were not going to stay long, and the other deer presented a perfect broadside shot. She made a perfect behind-the-shoulder shot.

When we went to retrieve the deer, we saw it was actually a large button buck. While we try to allow the younger deer to grow to maturity, sometimes we get in a hurry or just can’t tell right away.

So last Saturday, after the Buckeyes beat Penn State, I told Taryn I was going to “borrow” her blind, as it was a rainy afternoon. Likewise, but from a different direction, a doe came in late, offering a nice broadside shot. The arrow went in under the spine, and she dropped in her tracks. But I could tell she still hadn’t expired yet, so I shot another arrow (at 15 yards) and missed (duh). This is a subject for a future article, complacency (look it up): too easy of a shot, no pressure, lack of concentration.

I only had taken two arrows, like normal, so I called Taryn to bring the truck, and we allowed her time to expire.

Variables, lessons learned, each situation different. Even for a veteran hunter, that is what hunting is.

We thank God for his provision and blessings. We thank him for allowing us to be caretakers of his creation.

God bless.

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