Monday, November 10, 2008

Be Still My Heart!

I started bowhunting in 1979. I can't begin to guess how many days hunting I've had since then. One of the things that always made me sad was to come home to my family, tired, but exhilarated from a day in the woods, and have them ask, "Did you get anything?" And of course the answer was usually "No." I've told many people on many occasions that bowhunting is about the experience - if you HAVE to bring home some meat for the freezer, take a gun. Most people don't get it because most of life's endeavors involve some type of achievement before it has meaning. This morning illustrates my point.
It was a cold, but still, 27 degrees when I began walking to my stand. I could tell it was going to be a beautiful morning even though it was still dark. I did, however, make a big mistake by hiking with my heavy coat and coveralls on instead of carrying them to the stand and then putting them on. I was dripping with sweat by the time I climbed into my stand and that's a good way to insure getting cold real quick. Within thirty minutes, I was cool, but a little buck coming down the hill to my left got the blood pumping again and it never had a chance to slow down. He was a little 1x2 and he ate down the hill on my left, stopping for long minutes to look all around, circled below me, grazed off to my right, only to reappear a few minutes later and come up the hill on my right. Thirty minutes of close deer watching and I wasn't busted. Ten minutes later, a small spike came up the hill on my left - oh so slowly - and just stood ten yards away looking all around. Another fun watch w/o being seen. I was spoiled by then so when 45 minutes went by with no sightings, I decided to try some "hunting stuff". I used my doe bleat and grunt tube to simulate a buck chasing a doe in heat. I barely put it back into my back pack when the BIG BOY came trotting in. I mean big! Not a "nice buck" like you say about a good 8 or ten pointer. This guy was "nice" like Bill Gates "has some money". He was standing 45 yards away before I could react. I grabbed my bow, though I wanted desperately to use my binoculars, but I didn't dare. He stood tall and proud, looking all around for the noise makers, and when he didn't see them, he immediately turned and trotted away. That's how big bucks get to be big bucks. He knew that if he didn't see what he thought he heard, something was wrong.
BE STILL MY HEART! He was the kind of buck you dream about but never see live in your life time.
Two more little bucks entertained me for awhile after that. A really tiny spike and a little 7 pointer, both stood ten yards away eyeing all around - including my tree and - in 15 minutes - never saw me. I literally had my left hand up over my face to break up the white showing between my nose and hat. Later, when I hiked out, I found over a dozen fresh buck rubs. Ah - what works of art.
Before I got out of my car as I pulled into my garage, the IL landowner called me to tell me he saw a huge buck run through the field behind his house at 12:30 in the afternoon. In the house, there was a phone message from Danny Younger saying he had a huge 8 pointer standing in his driveway when he came home for lunch.
"Did you get anything?"
A day in God's outdoors and loads of memories? Yes, I got something.


donna said...

I love the way you tell a story. Makes me feel like I was there -- and I didn't have to endure the 27 degree weather! :) I'm glad you had a great morning.

Kathy said...

O.K. I confess...I began reading this blog and then scrolled down to look for pictures.

Anonymous said...

Hope the next time, "Bruno" is 15 yds. looking the other direction. Pluck the whacker!