Labels: pHOTO:mARIANA rOTHEN
Let me get it out right off the bat. I either totally missed or gut shot a buck this morning. Go ahead, I'll wait while you laugh.......
This season it's long cold days in the woods. Back at the shack, I stoke the wood stove, turn on the TV, eat something, crack a cold one and fall asleep on the couch with Ray and Spooky on my belly. Many times I'll watch "Huntin' and Killin'" on the PURSUIT CHANNEL. Many of these shows have either a Christian slant or a bring home the troops and take them huntin' and killin' (with a Christian slant). I admit it. It's like hunter porn. I watch just for the bucks. I could give a shit what they think about God.
Once the shooting started the deer have predictably become scarce. So around 2pm the other day I decided to hunt the orchard stand. All of bow season I had to just sit and watch as deer munched the grass 200 yards out in Gilkey's field. The lack of apples had kept the deer from coming within bow range. I hoped that now that the rut was winding down I'd be lucky enough to have a doe in lock down in the swamp and a buck near by. All I needed was for him to cross onto GNJohn's property.
Where was I? That's right- lucky 13. Turned out the 13th was a bust. Neither Savage nor I saw much of anything. But on the morning of the 14th things heated up again. I had a bunch of does out in the brushy field. Then I heard a grunt. This was the spot where I had seen the big one a few days before. I pulled up the binocs and got on the dark body slinking through the field, nose in the air, as does scattered. To my disappointment it wasn't the buck I was hoping for. He crossed the field a few times, then gave up and headed for my woods. I stood up and clipped my release. It was an automatic response. I'd already decided I wasn't going to shoot this deer. He came within 30 yards. He was a nice 8, not a giant, but if I hadn't seen the big boy I'd try to drop him in a heartbeat. Then he was gone.
After putting the poor traffic accident doe out of her misery and driving home I realized my car was looking a bit Dexter. The large blue boning knife, the blood splattered plastic in the trunk. Not to mention the driver packing the 9mm. "I swear officer. It's all legal. I'm an artist."
I've only felt the need to protect myself from fellow humans with a firearm twice in my life. The first time was in the early 90's. I lived on E.7th and Ave. C in NY's East Village. This was the height of the crack epidemic and my slum lords had seen fit to rent out any empty apartments to the city, who in their infinite wisdom moved lowlifes into the building. My next door neighbors were a lovely threesome consisting of two local debutantes and a gentleman friend. The debs were identical twins. One was sweet as pie, while the other would slit your throat for a vial. I never knew which I would pass on the stairs. I'd mumble "Hi." and either receive an icy stare or a "Hello good looking." The guy was pure drug addict/pimp. I knocked on their apt. one time to ask them not to slam the heavy metal door so much. "Gofuckyerself." I got in return. The guy had a nasty little .38 Det. Special in his pajama bottoms. The next time I went upstate I borrowed an old 12 ga. double barrel and two shells from my brother, which i kept loaded at the door at all times. I just hoped I hit the mean twin with the second shot.
Savage told me to wait an hour and see if I could pick up the trail. Surprisingly I had a flashlight. I found the blood, and step by step, followed the track into a big tangle of spruce blowdowns. There was no snow but the leaves had frozen into a nice matt. With a little effort you could pick up the rips and tears the leaping buck made with his hooves. Blood- not much, bright red, seemed to either be right in the left front track, or sprayed slightly behind. 52 was to my left, so I knew I couldn't get too lost. But if I did get turned around I faced a big wet swamp. An hour later and about 200 yards into the blow down tangle, not finding a white belly, I gave up and went back to the house. The night would be a long one.
I spent Sunday afternoon in a stand at WSSP II. Resisting the urge to hunt the apple tree, I hung it down in the swamp, close to Rt. 52. The constant traffic was annoying, but with the binocs I had a great view of the apple tree action. Around 4pm a couple of does wandered out of the woods and scratched under the tree. The last of the apples were holding on, even in the high winds, tauntingly just out of reach. All of the sudden the deer scattered and down the hill came a larger dark body. Even without the glasses I could tell it was a buck. He pawed at the ground under the far tree, working a muddy scrape. I took in the show.
This is the first time I've had the time and the internet to sit down and give you the HWS update. Here's the skinny.