WELL, ANOTHER DEER hunting season has come and gone, and I can only hope that you had more luck than I.
This year, I decided I would shoot a big buck, only. It was just a personal choice. I planned on taking the first adult doe I would see and then hunt for the monster in my area.
It has been years since I was able to actually take my time and hunt the entire season. Normally, my touring schedule would take me overseas right during the bow season. That limited my time in the woods. I was forced to try my luck at the first adult deer I saw that offered a clean, humane shot.
I checked my trail cameras and saw there were plenty of huge bucks in my area. A few had split brow tines and one in particular had a huge rack. His G2s were so long that they almost touched each other.
When I showed that picture to a friend of mine, he asked me where it was. I quickly told him “In the woods!” He laughed hard knowing it’s a hunter’s standard answer.
As I sit here and write this, I still have about a week to score on a nice whitetail. All is not lost…not yet!
I really have put my time in this season and did everything right. I just have not seen the deer I am looking for. One cold morning, I heard some promising, familiar sounding footsteps slowly creeping up behind my stand. It was a buck, and he stood there standing broadside to me feeding on acorns.
However, he was a young four-pointer and not what I was going to fill my tag with. As I watched that little buck, he kept looking at something else. I thought that maybe he was checking out the big boy of the woods.
He was watching another young whitetail. As I surveyed the immediate area near my stand, I saw no less than seven deer all at the same time. All were small year-and-a half old bucks. This was the first time anything like this has ever happened to me.
Oh dark thirty in the morning seems to arrive earlier every day. Or maybe I’m just over exhausted from dragging my sorry butt out of a warm bed, loading my backpack with way too many things, hiking almost a mile in the woods every day, then out again. Yes, EVERYDAY!
As I sat in my stand this morning, I thought about how heavy my backpack is and how I can leave some of the gear at home. I know that 40 years ago, when I first started this sport, I had my tags, camo, a knife, and arrows in a quiver that was attached to my recurve bow.
That was it!—and I still was successful at taking a whitetail.
I have to admit that my wife was right when she told me I have too many gadgets for hunting a deer, but it’s not my fault!
After all, Bass Pro decided to build less than a mile from my house. I tried to tell my wife it’s their fault for putting a store so close to me. I’m not sure she agrees.
I took an inventory of what I usually bring in my backpack. Are you ready for this?
I had a release, gloves, hand warmers, a three-piece hook for my bow/rifle, knife, flashlight, some deer scent, scent eliminator spray from Wild Life Research Center, an Ozonics machine, rope for my safety vest, a haul line, radio, deer calls, a bag with some first aid essentials, deer drag.
Oh! I almost forgot my thermos. I have to have my coffee. I should stop by Bass Pro to see whether they sell a darn pack mule to carry all my gear.
I know non-hunters would agree with my wife, but I am sure that actual hunters would understand my point of view…. Right? Hello?
Okay. I guess now that deer season is over; I can go through all of my gear and see what I can do without. It is also a great time for me to gather my stands in. When I do, I’ll make sure there are no loose parts or missing bolts.
Just doing the maintenance to keep things in tiptop shape is a great idea. If you are one of those who can leave stands up on your lease year-round, then you should make the effort to check them at the end of the season.
Also, don’t forget to loosen the straps around the tree. Remember, trees grow. If you don’t loosen the strap, it could get so tight that it could break when you put your weight on your stand.
I should remind you that when you check your deer stands, you should always bring and WEAR your safety vest. Harness yourself around that tree.
It doesn’t take much for an accident to happen. Bad things can happen in a heartbeat. At best, such an injury could keep you from hunting for a few seasons. I heard about a hunter who fell from his stand and is now a paraplegic.
He’s one hunter who will find it difficult to continue to hunt—all because of a safety issue.
Don’t let something like that happen to you. Have fun and hunt safe.
Email Lou Marullo at [email protected]