Sunday, January 05, 2003

Yesterday was a good time, too. As I drove in I saw 4 does crossing the road. Stopped in the middle of the road to let them go at their own pace. After about 5 minutes they all had moved on across the road. I went down another 150 yards and parked at a turn-out.

It has been cold here lately (much colder than last year) and with intermittent snows and freezing temperatures has made still hunting difficult due to the noise from ice, crusty snow and frozen leaves underfoot. I prefer to still hunt, it is much more interesting if not so productive.

So... I tried to put the sneak on these 4 does (they were legal yesterday). After picking my way through the mountain laurel and other obstacles I found myself about 50 yards downwind of them as they fed/moved down the side of the ridge. However, a shot did not present itself as they seemed to know enough to keep the laurel between us. We played cat and mouse for over 2 hours as we all worked our way down the side of this ridge (and it is steep in some places!) towards an old logging road that runs the length of the hollow. Every time I thought they would mis-step and put one of them sufficiently in the clear for a shot from my .54 TC New Englander, they would halt and wait me out. I'd work out a way to move quietly over 2 or 3 feet to get a shot and they'd take advantage to move another 10 feet or so downhill to behind another patch of laurel (some of which is 5 feet or more across and 8 feet tall). This is how we spent our 2 hours or so.

Finally the vegetation opens up towards the bottom but they took the opportunity to quickly move another 50 or so yards away with many intervening oaks. Unbeknownst to me there was a party of hunters strung along the logging road although none were directly below me. The deer moved another 25 or so yards away from me (I was unable to quietly keep up and the wind was changing direction relative to me) and the other party opened up. 5 shots and enough drifting powder smoke to simulate a Civil War skirmish! But, no deer down that I could see!

Very exciting and enjoyable despite the 28 degree temp and 25 MPH gusts.

No comments: