Since opening day it's been slow. The weather's been a bitch, warm, calm. The rut's over. Everything's ground to a halt. Even on the weekend, with the Italians and Serbs and Russians running around in bright orange camo, I've barely heard a shot. The last good buck sighting I had was the day it rained last week. I set up my pop up high on GNJohn's mountain and waited out the downpours, dry and comfortable. When it let up around noon, I backed out and got in the truck. I figured on going home and grabbing a bite. As I looked behind Gilkey's barn I spotted a large deer, head down, munching the grass. He raised his head. Nice buck.
I continued to the writer's cabin turn off and opened the truck door. Big mistake. He had a direct line of sight. I closed the door and the buck spun into the swamp. I quickly backed the truck up and parked in the mush by Deniston Hill House. I had an old ladder against a big cherry tree on the roadside edge of the swamp. The wind was in my face, right off the river. I crept up on the ladder and waited. If he had a hot doe in the swamp, I was sure he would run her by me at some point. I waited. A doe skirted the field and went in the thick stuff. The afternoon passed...... At dark I went back to the truck, now sunk up to the hubs in mud. Thankfully a good soul stopped with a 4X4 and a chain and pulled me out. But before I could head back up the hill, another car pulled over. It was two women passing out posters of a lost pitbull. I told them I had their dog outside my house that morning, with his front paws on my french doors. My suggestion was for them to go up to the church and call. I went home to straighten my legs.
Within the hour, one of the women was at my door trying to stuff a twenty in my palm. They'd found "Diesel" the pitbull. I wouldn't take the money. Getting that dog out of my woods was payment enough. The only other story worth telling is getting 12 year old Church Cardinal Tristen Epic up at 6:00 am and out in the woods. We walked straight up his mountain in the pre-dawn. Within 5 mins. he had informed me "We aren't going to see anything." I told him to think positive. In another 5 mins. he told me that again. I heard leaves crunching and told him "Heads up." Then I saw it was a squirrel. Fuck. I really wanted to get a deer in front of him. I had him out in the Spring for turkey and all we saw was a deer. "Fucking squirrel." The Cardinal informed me. I made a couple of soft grunts on my call, explaining "It may get a buck's interest." Then as if he was planning it all along, the Cardinal farted, looked at me and in a whispered voice said "Butt grunt." He was right. We didn't see anything.