Sunday, November 15, 2009
So close...and yet no shots fired.
Already well into hunting season and the weather is STILL incredibly mild! Fabulous for the oil tanks, not so great for hunting. Deer aren't moving as much as they would if it were cooler. However we do have a plus and that is hormones are raging (the deer I mean)! lol Thankfully for us hunters that have to get out hunting in their 'spare' time between work and family responsibilities we still stand a chance thanks to go ol' male seeks female hormones. I have several friends that have tagged out so far this season. Many of you, like me still have not.
The other day my dad, JJ and Butch Hanson went to a few spots to hunt. In the morning my dad sent me on a wild goose chase. Looked at the map and he said, 'You go down here and after about 3/10 of a mile you'll come to a bog (which was clearly marked on the map) and see what is going on down there.' Like the eager to please daughter than I am I was like some Looney Tune character going 'Yup, yup, yup, sure thing, you got it pa!' Now, after looking at the map for a moment, setting my compass off I go. The trail or what there was for a trail was thick with raspberry bushes so very difficult to stay quiet. I came to the edge of what seemed to be 'the bog.' However, no clearing as marked on the map. Hmmm...interesting so I keep on walking...now through a bog up and down over fallen trees, balancing my way through wet moss and rotten, hallowed out stumps. After about 40 minutes of this it dawned on me! 'How old is that friggin' map!?' I thought to myself. I'm searching for a bog in a clearing but maybe it's no longer a clearing! So now after letting every animal in the woods for about a 3 mile radius know of my presence from the lack in ability to stay quiet through the muck, raspberry bushes etc I turn around and head back. As I reach the end of the bog I see my dad standing there with a look of excitement! He had been calling back and forth to a buck but seemed as though it flanked him. While he stands there excited it soon diminishes as he see's me emerge from the 'clear bog' with a less than happy face. He says, 'Did you find it?' I'm like 'Yeah, you are looking at it, no clearing!' He has a somewhat perplexed look in his face. As we quietly (as possible that is) make our way back up to our meeting spot we arrive to find our other two hunting partners waiting for us. I immediately went over to the truck and grabbed the map. UHHAH! I said, 'Dad, do you have any idea how old this map is?' 'Nope' was his calm, what are you getting at reply. Ready for this? The map was 21 years old! So, 21 years ago there was probably a clearing...not anymore. Life's lesson #115,658 learned the hard way. Check the DATE of a map before you go looking for a clearing.
We had a little snack and packed up our gear and decided to try out another spot down the road. Upon arrival of our second location my spirits had lifted as I see the numerous old logging trails that I enjoy walking down. After making arrangements for a meeting time back at 'base' (the trucks) I head off on my own. This time a much easier walk and I actually feel like I'm hunting for an animal and not a location on a map. I'm seeing lots of deer sign which has me even more excited. I begin to approach a meadow and stick to the right had side of the woods. Stopping to see if I can see or hear anything. Bingo! I hear something walking around. At first I thought maybe it's birds or a mouse running around on the crisp fallen leaves...nope! It is definitely the sound of a four-legged creature! My heart is pounding and my breathing slowed to almost holding my breath. I wait and listen. I can hear what I'm positive was a deer probably standing about 10' from me! But the brush was so thick I could not actually SEE what exactly was breathing close to me. I do not have a doe permit but this is not what held me back from firing. Truth is I happen to be a very responsible hunter and my father drilled it my head from the first time I accompanied him in the woods, 'Do not shoot at something if you are not 100% of what you are shooting at.' So as luck would have it, after a few minutes the animal got a good whiff of me and took off in the opposite direction. As it took off of course I took a few giant steps into the meadow to see if I could see through a part of woods not as thick. No luck. Although somewhat disappointed I wasn't dragging my deer out to the meeting point I was happy to know I did come close.
Lunch time in my hunting world means tailgate party. We pulled out the Coleman stove and had coffee, hot chocolate, chili, homemade rolls, and chocolate chip cookies. We took a few minutes and swapped some hunting stories, where we think we should hunt next etc and packed down the food. After clean up we also drove to another location and hunted for a few more hours. We came out empty handed this time but certainly enjoyed the day. I always try to think of something positive out of every experience and this time it's the fact that hunting season is not over yet!