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Ya won't believe this one...

Old 12-22-2004, 09:15 PM
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Default Ya won't believe this one...

I’m on my way to Carrroll County on this last Saturday of gun season, hoping to fill my remaining anterless tag. I’ve decided to hunt at Stallman’s, avoiding what might be a crowded woods at McNutt’s. I’ve decided to go to the patch of woods at the back of the farm, hoping to catch a deer coming in to bed down for the day. It’s one of those small patches where treelines dividing fields intersect. The surrounding fields are wide open, and I figure it’s a good hideout. Little do I know, my choice of this little woodlot is going to provide for an absolutely incredible hunt.

I’m just getting settled in the tree when I hear movement at my 5 o’clock. It’s 0644 and still dark, but I know there’s a deer there. I search the darkness intently, trying to make out the deer. I see a dim form moving slowly across from right to left, about 20 yards out, but can’t even tell if it’s a buck or doe. I lose my fix on the deer. The noises are intermittent and growing fainter. I continue to scan the woodlot as the light improves. A noise catches my attention, and I spot a heavy deer at seven o’clock, just about to enter the woods from the field. It’s a ways out, further away than the deer I saw earlier. I draw the Smith & Wesson and look at my watch, it’s just about 0700. I put the glasses on the deer and see that it’s a doe. She walks slowly into the treeline, over to something laying on the ground. What is that? It looks like it has frost on it. She puts her nose to the ground near the form, then beds down. I estimate the distance to be about 40 yards; it later proves to be 50.

I reholster the pistol and keep looking at the form next to the doe. It appears as if it could be a deer, but it hasn’t moved. I wonder whether that’s really frost or not. Could it be a deer that was hit and laid down here and died? No movement at all. I finally decide it’s a log. I continue watching, while taking a moment to scan around occasionally. Now the ‘log’ has raised its head and become a deer. I watch and wait. It’s been nearly two hours when the log gets up slowly. I pull the pistol, but she turns and moves very slowly away, into some thick stuff beyond the bed. After a minute or two the big doe does the same. The pistol is reholstered as I relax a bit and take a good look around. Within five minutes I look back at the bed and see that one of the does has returned and is standing around. I once again pull the pistol, only to watch her settle back into the bed. Reholster the pistol.

The doe lays around while I see what I can get away with. I drink coffee, shift positions, eat a bit. After a while she stands up, looks around, and shakes herself off. Ah, now we’re getting ready to move. The pistol comes back out. She takes a few steps and stands there. The sun is bright and white clouds of vapor come from her mouth and nose. Turn. Turn. Look around. Back onto the bed. The pistol is put away. After a few minutes she gets up again. This time I don’t even bother pulling the Smith. She takes another step or two and starts nibbling at some leaves. She browses for several minutes, then turns and lays down once again. She’s chewing, and her saliva glistens in the sunlight.

Time passes. I have to pee. The wind has been blowing fairly steady all morning, and it will cover the noise. In any case, I don’t have a choice. I get into a position where I can pee over the side of the stand while keeping an eye on her to see whether she notices. Without looking at my target, I watch her and begin going in brief squirts. I’m not hearing the slap of the liquid hitting leaves on the ground, so I look over the side and see I’m hitting the sapling next to my tree. It takes several minutes to finish, but she never notices. Time passes slowly. I’m standing a lot, alternating with leaning sitting on the rail. I won’t sit in the seat, as I’d be facing back to my 12 o’clock, and wouldn’t see her if she moved.

After a long while, she stands up once again, and begins slowly browsing through a briar patch between six and nine o’clock. The .357 comes out again. She’s not moving much, but when she does it’s in a clockwise semi-circle around my tree. She’s getting closer, but it takes her something on the order of 15 minutes to move 10 yards or so. I watch as she beds down once again, there in the middle of the briars. The pistol is put away for the umpteenth time. I try to register her position, but apparently fail: I look away, and when I look back I can’t find her. I look and look, using the glasses. Wasn’t she by a tree? Which tree was it? I can’t find her! Time again moves ever-so-slowly. It’s been maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and I see her up again. I wrap my hand around the butt of the pistol, only to see her take a few steps and bed down yet again. She is now at about 7 o’clock, behind a tree with two trunks. The base of the tree rises about a foot out of the ground before splitting into a V. The trunk on the right is quite wide, probably over 2 feet in diameter. The trunk on the left is clearly smaller, but still good-sized. She’s framed in the V.

I continue watching her, looking at my watch periodically. I have to pee again, and wonder if she’ll see or hear me this time, as she’s now much closer than the original 50 yards. I figure she’s outside of my self-imposed 25 yard range. I later pace it off as approximately 30 yards. I think of the Christmas party Andi and I are to attend tonight, and look at my watch. It’s a party that her employer has for the staff, apparently a rather elegant affair held at a country club. We missed it last year and I assured her we would make it this year. We had decided that we would need to leave the house no later than 1730 in order to be on time. My original plan was to hunt here in the morning, then head home and hunt out back until 1700. Now I’m wondering how this is going to play out. As is my habit, I begin counting backwards from 1730 to determine when I’ll need to leave. I need to be home by about 1645, which means pulling out of here at 1615. I’ll need at least 15 minutes to get from the field back to the truck. As I lay out the time table in my mind, I decide that the latest I’ll be able to take a shot at anything, allowing an hour from the time I shoot until the deer is in the truck, is 1500. I look at my watch and see that it’s going on 1200.

The doe has now been in this new bed for quite some time. I wonder if she’ll be staying until dusk. I don’t want to think about having to pull out with her laying there, giving her an education. A thought passes through my head: what if I could stalk her? I chuckle to myself. Yeah…right. I look at the range again and wonder if I should chance a shot. No, it doesn’t look good. Don’t want another chase on my hands, like the last time I shot a deer with the .357.

Several minutes pass, and I think of the stalk again. Sixteen or so feet down a tree without being seen or heard and then over to the doe. How long would that take? An hour? Two? Once again I laugh inwardly. There’s no way. On the other hand, what have I got to lose? Come barging out of the tree and send her running, or try to stalk her and…send her running. The wind is still blowing fairly steady, with strong gusts periodically. It would provide good cover for any noise I would make. The direction is steady out of my 9 o’clock, so she’d never wind me. I look at my watch again. It’s nearly 1200. If I allow two hours for stalking, I begin at 1300. I decide to stalk and I decide to do it now.

I pee again, then begin getting ready. Her head is behind the larger trunk on the right. I look at the trees between us, and plan a route that is fairly direct, which would keep the large trunk between us. I put on my war belt, get my feet in the stirrups, and disconnect the tie-down strap from the climber. Everything is done in slow motion, and with a maximum effort to avoid any ‘clanks.’ Instead of opening the velcro flap on the strapping pouch, I fold the tie-down strap and put it in my pocket. Now I look down my tree and plan my descent. The tree is one I’ve been in several times. It’s crooked, such that I rotated around it as I climbed. To complicate matters, there’s a sapling very close on, that splits into a V. I’d like to go straight down, as this would keep the trunk mostly between me and the doe. But being on the side of the tree that I am, I can’t descend straight down, as the stand wouldn’t clear the sapling, but wedge in the V.

I don’t want to rotate around the tree on the way down, as I did on the way up, as I wouldn’t have the trunk for cover. I decide to start down, and cross the bridges as I get to themt. I begin my descent at about 1215, taking great care to avoid scraping on the tree. I move slowly, with maximum muscle control, looking at the doe every so often. Foot platform down, climber seat down, lower the safety strap. I continue the repetition, approaching the V of the sapling. I’m now at the V, and begin trying to work the foot platform around it. It’s difficult to do quietly, and I’m not getting a good lock on the tree, as I’m forced to put the platform at an angle in order to get around the obstacle. I wait for a bit of wind, and push the sapling back to finally get the platform around it. I continue to work slowly, doing the same for the seat platform. I’m not as far behind the trunk as I’d like to be, but the doe’s head remains behind her tree. I look every few seconds to make sure she hasn’t gotten up again.

Once I’m past the sapling, I rotate back behind the tree. I reach the ground and very quietly remove the safety belt. This is the noisiest piece of gear that goes with the stand, as the buckle clinks quite easily. I hold it still while winding it up, silencing the buckle, and tuck it into a pocket. I pick a place to put my feet, and get out of the stand. I can’t believe I’ve gotten all the way down the tree without alarming the doe.

I look over my route again and wonder how this will be possible. The next step is to clear a place for each of my footsteps as I move forward. Leaves, every twig that might snap, every briar that might zip noisily across my clothing. I’ve gone just a couple of steps from my tree, crouched low, when I take the binoculars from around my neck and leave them. Won’t need them now, and it’s just one more thing to snag or bump on something. Progress is painstakingly slow, but it is progress, and I do have the wind to cover for me. I continually look up at the doe’s tree, checking to see if she’s up. I’m about a fourth of the way there when I decide to abandon my war belt. As with the binoculars, I’m not going to need it between here and there. I unhook it and lay it gently aside.

I can’t believe this is happening, even as I’m experiencing it. I thing about getting to the tree and finding the doe gone. Is that possible? I guess it is, but am not sure how. Periodically I evaluate my course, choosing the next leg carefully. There are some major obstacles that won’t be moved: thick clumps of briars, a large log, dead limbs extending from the large log. I look at my watch; it’s been an hour. At times the wind gusts and I clear the path more aggressively. I move forward, mostly on one foot and one knee.

I take a good look at my remaining route and consider the possibility of charging the tree. I decide there’s too much stuff in the way, the doe would be up, and I would hurry the shot. I’ve now worked my way to a dead log that points at me from the doe’s tree. There are several large limbs sticking out from it. I plan on shinnying under the closest one that curves up and over, slightly towards my left, then crossing the log to keep the doe’s tree between us. I examine the rest of the route on that side of the log. Two large branches project from that side of the log, up and over my path. I’ll have to go under them on my hands and knees. That’s OK, I’m nearly on my hands and knees now.

I again wonder if I should just get up and charge the tree, but again decide against it. I get under the first branch and look to the other side of the log. There are some pretty major sticks that need moved. The longer sticks are the hardest ones, because they have the most stuff on top of them. Each layer of leaves and twigs must come off. Simply moving the bottom stick would cause a racket as all of the top layers would rustle around and perhaps ‘crash’ to the ground. I’m now so close to the doe’s tree that I wonder how much noise I’ll be able to get away with, even given the cover of the wind. I carefully clear a spot on the other side of the log, then move slowly and soundlessly over the log, a major move.

Once again I examine the remaining ground that I must crawl over. It’s probably about ten feet or so. I look up at the tree and see one large ear projecting from behind the trunk, on the left. The doe is up! My hand goes quickly to the butt of the revolver and I move to the right. The ear moves to my left, and I move right again to keep the tree between us. I quickly realize that this won’t last, and make a quick decision: step into the V and shoot. I’m on my feet with the gun out front, and move quickly to my left. The doe’s eyes get big as she turns and moves to my right instantly. Now she’s the one keeping the tree between us. I get two quick shots off, which I believe to be too fast and too sloppy. I later learn that one of these shots connects just behind the right shoulder.

She bounds up the rise into the hay field, turns left and stops broadside, looking back. I squeeze two more shots off. She runs to my left and dives into the briars. Again she stops and looks. She’s some distance away and there’s a lot of stuff between us, but I see the target and shoot again. Then she’s gone.

I holster the gun and run over to where she’d been, then walk towards the fence line. I look through the remaining trees and brush into the next field, which is only yards away. The field dips rather sharply down to a creek before rising on the other side. The creek runs down to my right, under the fence and onto Stallman’s land. I’ve walked this part of the creek, off to my right. It’s quite open, and I wonder if she headed down that way. I consider running back, cutting the corner of the field, and hitting the creek further downstream, where I might see her.

Then I shift my position and see her laying in the field. Ironically, the top rail of the fence had concealed her from view. I move quickly to the fence, climb over, trot down to her, and find her dead. It is now 1353. There is one good hit behind the shoulder. I kneel down and thank God for this deer and the experience I’ve just had, then take a good look at her. The doe is, in reality, a button buck, but a good-sized one.

I’m driving home, replaying the hunt over and over in my mind. I had descended 16-18’ or so from a tree and stalked 24 yards over a period of an hour and thirty five minutes before the buck got up. Although I had broken two twigs that I wished I hadn’t during the stalk, neither aroused the buck. He certainly didn’t smell me, and I don’t think he saw me. I conclude that he either heard something he didn’t like, which may or may not have been me, or he was standing up anyway, and saw me when he got on his feet.

I wonder who will believe this story. Andi will…won’t she?
beebecl is offline  
Old 12-22-2004, 11:03 PM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

wow thats a great sorty!! and a eventful one to lol
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Old 12-22-2004, 11:23 PM
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Fork Horn
 
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

thats so cool i got excited when she darted behind the tree man you should write books
tofer is offline  
Old 12-22-2004, 11:27 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

Yeah great story! Good memory you have too..
sGun is offline  
Old 12-23-2004, 06:54 AM
  #5  
Boone & Crockett
 
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Location: Ponce de Leon Florida USA
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

Looks like you have a good gift of gab, you may wind up being able to sell stories to magazines. A little long winded, but War and Peace made it.(G)
timbercruiser is offline  
Old 12-23-2004, 07:25 AM
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

Awesome story!
ir655 is offline  
Old 12-23-2004, 07:44 AM
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

Very nice story, when can we expect the video release?
SKIDMARK is offline  
Old 12-23-2004, 08:36 AM
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

good story, I felt like i was standing next to you, looking around the tree
charlie (ky) is offline  
Old 12-23-2004, 09:07 AM
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Typical Buck
 
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

Nice Story, Thanks, How about some more stories.
Striper Phil is offline  
Old 12-23-2004, 09:26 AM
  #10  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Ya won't believe this one...

Very good story! Awesome.
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