Monday, November 21, 2005

Today's deer hunt started off dry but soon gave way to excellent infantry sunshine aka rain. I went to my mother's place and had an easy approach because I've prepped my ingress route. I did so by "mowing" i.e. blowing all the leaves off the route. Add that to the rain noise, pine straw remaining, etc, and it was a very quiet movement. However, it was soon clear that there were no deer in the immediate area. So, I followed a deer trail that passes near my stand down into the bottom (called Doe Hollow by locals) and up the side of the next ridge to the flat on the top of that ridge. About 100 acres was clearcut by Mom's neighbor for the timber to pay some bills. It has grown back in greenbriar and various other thorny vegetation. Except for the logging trails, it is nearly impenetrable to men on foot. There are a couple of these trails though that allow me to come in from the side and exit at the other end. I took my time in the rain and eased up the side of the ridge at a pace slow enough that I wouldn't be out of breath (and that is PLENTY slow!). I then moved back an forth a bit looking for more sign but nothing much had changed and I moved back along the ridge to a saddle where 4 ridges meet that we called Grand Central Station for the deer traffic that moved through there. I was heartened to find several fresh, very fresh, rubs along my route. Moving slowly and scanning before every other footfall (so my left foot was always leading at the stop for better off-hand shooting), I had to stop. I could have sworn I heard something.

Now most folks know that what you hear in the rain can fool you because as you change position dripping water on a variety of surfaces can sound as though it is something else, moving, etc. Still, I had this feeling. Suddenly, a deer crossed from right to left walking very slowly and stopped. Try as I might I could see no antler, a requirement today. Then she turned to face me. I'm sure she knew something was there. I did my best not to move at all and to avert my gaze at least a bit. I'm convinced that they can "feel" your stare. This doe was healthy, fat and had more gray on her muzzle than I have on my head. She soon was satisfied that I was no threat and moved slowly on down the hollow that meets 2 of the ridges meeting and GCS. I was hoping that she wasn't alone but after an hour of standing stock still in the rain it was apparent that she was.

By this time I was soaked and had not a lot of options to hunt in this area. Because of recent construction, there are limitations as to where I can hunt and how I can hunt the area so that rifle shots will have a safe impact area. I decided to call it a day. Now if I had a partner I might have kept hunting but by myself there is NO pressure to keep going and no REASON to keep going due to tactical limitations on the single hunter. I may have been an infantryman for many years but that doesn't mean I like to be cold and wet. My clothes are now in the dryer and I'm going to spray my rifle down with WD-40 and get ready for tomorrow.

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