Yes, we are winding down. One more year is just about in the books. Winter is bearing down. Harvest season is nearly over. Venison is all that is left. The holiday season is upon us. I do not get too excited about Thanksgiving. It is always Thanksgiving; here.
I am sorry; but when I think about deer hunting the first thing that pops into my mind is cold. Boring and cold may describe it better. I have spent too many hours staring at a desolate hillside; hoping to just see some sign of life. Bleak and desolate seems to be the norm. A lone woodpecker can be the excitement of the day. Stare at your feet for a while; pull the wool up over your face for a while. Stare, stare, and stare. Hope for a glimpse of brown or white. Stare some more, doze off, wake up and stare. Shiver a little, eat something frozen from your backpack, and drink a little ice crystal water and stare.
You hear a few shots in the distance; nothing very close. Maybe they will stir something up. Probably not. Cold; will the sun ever reach this side of the hill? Your mind wanders and you stare some more. Silence, nothing is stirring not even a shrew. A goshawk lights in a tree; it stares. Nothing here. It flies away; headed towards the sun. Finally; it is late morning and sunlight reaches you. It feels so good, the shivers go away. You know in your rational mind that the temperature has only risen 2 degrees. You don’t care; there is light. Something rustles in the leaves; a vole. Birds begin to tweet, Squirrels begin to stir. There is life.
You hear something moving up the hollow. Ten minutes of eternity elapse before you can see what it is. Three gobblers glisten in the sunbeams as they slowly feed up the hill. They disappear from sight. A stick breaks and you are on high alert; then you see orange on the next ridge over. Two hunters are moving towards the top. You know what will happen; soon. The orange dots disappear over the ridgeline. You have been there before. Tick-Tock The anticipation level rises.
A speck of brown trots around the hillside; bad angle and you can see that it is a spike. You hold your ground and stare. The spike slows down and begins to feed in some grapes a hundred yards away. You wait. You know what will happen, soon. That comes from experience. High Noon, soon. Here they come, straight towards the saddle you have been standing in for the past 5 hours. Eight; no nine. Two decent bucks are amongst them. Two hundred yards, one-fifty, one hundred; they stop when they hit the low gap. Fifty yards; bang, It is over.
Field dress and drag straight down the ridge. Back the truck up into the ditch and drag the deer right into the truck bed. Experience once again. Drink your other quart of water that you left in the truck, eat your bag of almonds that you forgot you had. Happy ride home. Tick tock. It is coming soon.
This is my article for the November 2015 issue of Two-Lane Livin