Archive for January 2nd, 2005

On hunting deer

The weather was unseasonably warm Saturday, 52F in Johnstown on Jan 1st certainly isn't typical. It did not necessarily make hunting any more comfortable. I was lightly dressed and still sweating on Monday when it was 10F. It was a lot easier to move with stealth, but this seemed to be offset by a much more mobile and wary deer herd. On Monday I could creep into shooting distance as the deer seemed loathe to leave their beds. On Friday I saw lots of deer, but they kept me well out of range.

Archery hunting is primarily done from a tree stand, or occassionally a blind. Stalking is tough going, as mother nature has given a considerable advantage to deer with their keen sense of smell and hearing. The difficult terrain, brush, and my less than ninja-like stealth add to this advantage. I guessed that another day of stalking would yield similar results to Friday. My ankles weren't keen on another few hours of that hillside either.

I lucked out on Saturday. Something had spooked the deer in my direction. At first I thought they had seen me and were moving out of range… but as I watched they got closer. They had no idea I was there. So I nocked an arrow and waited. Minutes later deer were streaming past me on both sides. I only had a narrow shooting window through the brush, and they were really moving. Thanks to a vertiable deer traffic jam, one paused in the open. I took a shot and… nothing.

My arrow just seemed to disappear, and the deer took a few steps forward and passed out of view behind the brush. I started to doubt myself, and prepared to take a shot at the next deer. I soon realized that the deer I shot at wasn't moving ahead with the rest of the herd, and a few seconds later it crashed through the brush and landed in a heap. I got a deer.

I gave my wife & mother a call (mobile phones are pretty nifty in the woods) and they quickly joined me in the woods. They retreated to a safe distance as I prepared to do the gutting. It was a job I wasn't really looking forward to, but it wasn't as unpleasant as I feared.

Dragging the deer out wasn't going to be easy. We tried going up, but that was a heart attack waiting to happen. The long way… 1/2mi down to an access road turned out to be much easier. For part of the way we tied the deer to a pole, and my mother (yes, my mom is pretty cool) and I carried it out like a couple of natives.

Can't wait till next season.

A great way to start the new year

Details to follow tomorrow. It's been a long day.

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