Firearms deer season ended today and I was lucky enough to harvest a doe this afternoon. We slipped into town mid-morning and there were multiple hunters’ vehicles parked in every pull off along the way. To say the woods were full of hunters would be an understatement. This has been the case for the last four days with people having time off because of Thanksgiving.
I got up extra early Wednesday morning as they say you have to be in your deer stand way before daybreak. It was probably a good thing I did as the snow was coming down like it did back in South Dakota. I usually sit in my tree stand down by the garden but Abram, a retired car salesman from Woodbridge and part-timer up here, has been walking into the woods right behind my stand and has spooked everything in the opposite direction. I knew I would have to find a tree that had a good branch or crotch where I could sit and watch a different trail. I slipped into my hunting gear, minus my safety harness, put on my heavier jacket and left the house. I later wished I had put on my safety harness as I darn neared fell out of a tree.
I found such a tree next to a wet run (that’s a creek to you mid-westerners) between the house and the river where it curves back to the north. I’ve been cutting wood in that general direction so had a decent path to follow for a ways. The rest was through raspberry and blackberry brambles and was really hard going. The little flashlight I take with me is not much use but I don’t want to alert the deer to my presence. The brambles snagged my camo and pulled my blaze orange cap off a couple of times. My five buckles helped keep some of the snow off my pants but they were getting caked up with the wet snow. The trip in wasn’t a pleasant stroll in the woods.
Anyway, I got up in the tree at least an hour early and was wishing I hadn’t had that third cup of coffee before I left the house. I knew what the gallon jug is for that I see tied to other guy’s tree stands. I had forgotten to bring something to sit on as I have a cushion fastened to my tree stand and never had to remember to bring one along. I knew that the seat of my pants (and parts beyond) were in for a soaking as the snow melted and seeped in. But I was determined to stick things out and hunkered down.
I was staring into the darkness listening to the wild turkeys starting to stir all the time knowing that turkey season opened the next day (Thanksgiving Day) for a one day run and that they would be no where around come tomorrow. I shook the gathering snow off my cap, pulled the hood of my coat over my head, and propped the cap on top. I snugged up the zipper of my jacket trying to keep the chill that was sitting in at bay and wished I had that cushion to sit on.
About that time I heard a branch break about 50 yards off. It was still too dark to see anything even if I could have through the blinding snow. I was wishing I had skipped the last episode of Finding Bigfoot on TV the night before. I had gotten a picture of a 350 pound black bear on one of my trail cameras last week and was sure hoping that it wasn’t that bear. I had myself convinced that it was a raccoon coming to the water in the run, so just sat there not being able to see what it was and wishing I had a jug.
I could hear it coming closer and closer and could finely make out a faint outline against the deepening snow. It looked like a human figure and was now convinced that it was Bigfoot. When it was about 20 yards off I blinked my little flashlight in the general direction hoping that it would pierce the blinding snow. No response. It kept moving in my direction. When it was about 10 yards out I turned the light back on and started waving it in a circle. That’s when he turned on his flashlight and signaled back to me. It was another hunter.
I said half under my breath and half out loud, “Dang, he was getting close”. I just about fell out of the tree when a voice about 10 feet above my head said, “Any closer and he would have been in this tree with us!” I didn’t need that jug anymore and was glad I hadn’t brought that cushion with me. That’s how thick the hunters are around here.
Keep your fork