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Buck Fever, or Bitter Cold

Old 12-15-2010, 08:17 AM
  #1  
Fork Horn
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Default Buck Fever, or Bitter Cold

Got out Monday afternoon in the bitter cold (teens to low 20s) and driving wind (steady 10 mph breeze with gusts up to 40-50 mph) we've been hit with here in the DC area:

For the first 90 minutes, I heard nothing – not even squirrels in an area chock full of them. I assume that’s a factor of the sudden onset of the extreme cold and wind. About 3:40 or so, I started hearing squirrels barking, but couldn’t see them – and while I heard movement in the woods, was unable to differentiate the sounds of deer moving from those of branches falling and squirrels rustling.

With the sudden onset of a gorgeous sunset, I pulled my iPhone out to check the time at 4:40 (sunset was 4:47 and we can hunt for 30 minutes afterward) and quickly looked up. A squirrel barked. I looked down, and he was looking right at the big ten pointer I missed a few weeks ago, standing 20 yards in front of my stand, who in turn was staring right at me.

I paused, and held still for an eternity (or perhaps 60 seconds, it felt like forever). Where did this deer come from? How did he appear from nowhere right in front of my stand? Why did a squirrel suddenly show up at the same time? Why did I look up when I did?

Eventually, he put his head back down and resumed browsing, slowly working his way further into the forest. I picked up my rifle – slowly – and leaned down.

Clicked the safety off.

Peered through the scope.

And started shaking like crazy. Was this buck fever? Or simply hypothermia from sitting exposed in the wind and cold for nearly 3 hours??

I tried to calm my self down and stop my teeth from chattering.

He stepped behind a tree.

I repositioned the gun and he reappeared, but then I couldn’t get a good line on him. And like that, I blinked and he was gone – like a ghost disappearing 35 yards in front of me, into the rapidly enveloping stillness of the forest at dusk.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:27 AM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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I don't think it was hypothermia, just a mixture of buck fever and being damned cold! Sorry man...hope you see him again! Remember to breathe!
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:43 AM
  #3  
Spike
 
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I can be sitting in my blind, shivering my azz off uncontrolably. As soon as a deer comes out.....calm as can be. Just as if the shiver switch was turn off. I forget that I'm cold. But, as soon as I raise my rifle or ML, the heart rate increases along with the shakes. Doesn't matter if it's a doe, yearling, or buck. I do some breathing exercises, calm my heart rate and breathing and .........squeeze. Bang. Happens to me every year for almost 20 years. You'd think after all these years and 5 to 10 deer a year I'd be over it.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:42 PM
  #4  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Here's a sniper trick to slow heart rate. Take a breath and inhale slowly while counting to 3, hold breath for 3 seconds, exhale slowly while counting to 3, repeat. You would be amazed how quickly you can slow your heart rate.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:05 AM
  #5  
Fork Horn
 
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Man I love that feeling. Its Why I hunt. I enjoy the meat, am proud of the bones but love the rush when you hear that deer crash down.
I ran up one one by accident while bow hunting this year. I was on the way to the stand, rounded a lane and there he stood. Massive buck Ive been chasing for a while.
I was shaking so bad that I couldnt get my release locked onto the string. The whole time hes got me in a dead stare at 40 yards. I finally locked in and tried to pull but spooked him during the pull. I usually dont get the shakes like that. Maybee it was a combination of buck fever and anxiety knowing he had me locked in.
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