When things go wrong

Mike RaykoviczOne of the things I remember vividly when I was growing up is my mother admonishing me to “Never count your chickens before they’re hatched.” We’ve all heard it said but when it comes to deer hunting nothing could prove to be truer than that caveat.

As reported here last week, early in the season I was extremely encouraged about the number of bucks recorded by my trail cam near my stand. As I figured things, after I started hunting it would only a short while before I would fill my deer tag and happily report the kill. However, deer are deer and for some inexplicable reason they seemed to suddenly disappear. Yes, I know food sources change and weather can have an impact on the number of deer seen, but no one I knew was seeing deer either.

On the farm I hunt there are acres of picked corn fields. When field corn is picked rather than cut and chopped for silage, there is a lot of corn left on the ground, resulting in easy pickings for the deer and turkeys. In addition, fields of alfalfa wave in the breeze, yet for the past two weeks neither me nor my friend, who hunts a different part of the farm, have seen a deer. And I mean nowhere. Standard wisdom says we should at least see eyeballs driving in or on the drive out at night but neither of us can report a deer sighting. There is plenty of cover, food and water available and it’s enough to keep a herd of deer happy.

So, what happened? Darned if I know. I’m blaming it on a full moon, temperatures much warmer than normal – it was 72 degrees here in the middle of October – and packs of coyotes that start howling every evening just as I’m about to get out of my stand.

I expected things to pick up this first week of November and I wasn’t disappointed. Last night I had the buck of a lifetime approach my stand and I was ready. He came up the old logging road as expected but didn’t head to the pond as the deer usually do. Instead, he walked straight for the tree in which I was perched and rubbed his forehead in the pine bough beneath me. Then he walked under the tree behind me and stood about 10 yards away. I was at full draw but didn’t shoot. I’d rather talk about not getting the shot than risk losing a deer this size. As a friend of mine always says, “It keeps you coming back.” 

Categories: New York – Mike Raykovicz

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