Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Waiting out whitetails, part 2

In a post before the opening of the firearms deer season, I wrote this year would be my last in the stand from which I’ve hunted for years if I didn’t shoot a deer.

I vowed to give the stand two more days. Ah, if only I’d actually done that.

On opening day of the firearms season, I sat in my regular stand. I pretty much was in it from the time the sun came up until the time it went down, hoping all the while to see a buck go by (I didn’t have an antlerless tag). As the father of a 3- and 5-year-old, it was nice to be in the stand all day, just enjoying a little peace and quiet. But I saw nary a deer.

I kept thinking about all those reports I’d read before the season began. They all indicated the rut would be going full-bore on opening day. So even though I’d promised myself two days in that stand, I changed my mind when I got back to the hunting cabin that night.

Sunday morning, I settled into a stand several hundred yards behind my regular stand. There was an inch or two of new snow on the ground, and a northwest wind made it tough to sit for long.

So just before 10 that morning, I climbed out of the stand and began the hike to my regular stand. (I had to leave early that day, given it was my daughter’s birthday.)

When I got close to my stand, my heart sort of dropped. There was deer sign everywhere. Lots of tracks in the snow on every side of my stand. There was even a fresh pile of droppings.

Those animals probably were moving at night. But maybe not. Maybe I shouldn’t have sought the greener grass I figured another stand would provide. I should have followed my gut, which told me to spend the weekend at my regular stand. But I didn’t, and the season passed without me pulling up on a deer, much less pulling the trigger.

Luckily, there’s always next year to make amends.

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