Monday, November 16, 2009

If Woodpeckers Were Deer. . .

As I sat in my deer stand opening morning listening to shot after shot, I felt as if I were the only person in Ozark county not having any luck. Following three hours of listening to what sounded like a Fourth of July fireworks show, all I had to show for it was a distant doe sighting, and a sore rump. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful time watching squirrels, mice, chipmunks, lizards, vultures and lots and lots of woodpeckers. If woodpeckers were deer I would have to get another freezer. I wonder if I went woodpecker watching if all I would see would be deer, might be worth a try. Saturday evening my hunt went much better. While I didn't shoot anything I had opportunities to harvest a forkhorn, a nice young 8 point, and a doe. I didn't take the doe as she was being pursued by the 8 point and also by a larger buck that I was never able to get a good look at. All in all a magnificent hunt that culminated in the doe being chased directly under my stand by the 8 point buck, neither of which had any idea I was there. My good friend Reid joined me for the opening weekend hunt, and he too drew a blank on opening day, although he saw several does, and passed on a spike which he brought in with his grunt call. Day two would prove to be a different story. Rising once again at 5:00 a.m., Reid and I enjoyed some coffee as we dressed for what would be a deadly morning. After careful strategizing we decided on which stands would give us the best opportunities and proceeded to them with the caution of a young Cherokee Indian on his first buffalo hunt. Slipping silently into my stand I eventually found a comfortable position and sat watching and listening for any sign of deer activity. A heavy fog greeted us Sunday morning and seemed to slow the deer's movement until it lifted. It was well after 8:00 before I saw my first deer, and nearly 9:00 before I had two does within range. I was hunting on the edge of some thick woods and the deer were staying back about 40 yards from my location with trees and shrubs blocking my view. After watching the deer for 30 minutes they disappeared only to return a short time later. As before, I watched the larger doe through my scope waiting for a clear shot through the woods. Eventually the doe stopped in a narrow opening between two trees and with my heart pounding I was able to take a shot that found its mark putting the second deer of the morning on the ground. As Reid drove by my stand I flagged him down and told him I had taken a shot but wasn't sure if I had hit it. As I approached his truck I noticed a big doe in the back and congratulated him on the first deer of the year. We went to the house, put on some cooler clothes and Reid, Amy and I went to see if we could find my deer. I thought the deer was about 60 yards from my stand when I shot so we started looking in that location but found no sign. We continued crossing back and forth further from the stand and I soon spotted the deer down on the forest floor. Relieved to have found my deer, we discovered that she had only gone about 30 yards from where she was shot, and I had misjudged the distance from the stand considerably. Now that the deer were recovered we field dressed the deer down by the river, and have enjoyed watching eagles swarming the offal yesterday evening and today. Today as I fed cattle and took care of the third coon I have trapped in the barn in three days, I saw deer everywhere. I guess there are plenty left, and like always they know they are safe in the campground and along the driveway.

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