Some hunters set up multiple trail cameras and also spend hours spotlighting and scouring the countryside in an attempt to locate the best possible deer hunting spot. Other hunters return to the same hollow or even the same treestand each fall, regardless of the deer sign.
While it would be easy to argue that the "alpha hunters," those who do all of the scouting, are the "real" deer hunters, there is something to be said for those of us who hold to tradition and usually return to the same spot year after year.
If you are like me, your favorite deer-hunting location is likely a special place where you have watched the dark of night slowly transform into the light of morning many times. There, the hunter knows every tree, rock and log – easily recognizing something new as out-of-place. I often hunt from one of those tried and true locations.
The fresh light of opening day of deer season is always charged with deer-hunting anticipation. I cannot think of a better place to soak up that excitement than from my special stand.
My treestand does not always produce a deer, but it has twice been responsible for yielding two bucks during one season. Last December was one of those extraordinary years. I shot an 8-point buck from it on the second day of the season and just four days later my son in-law John Carter harvested a 6-point.
December 7, 2013 was one of those "Christmas card" days. Mother Nature had coated the forest floor with a fresh blanket of white. There was no wind, so the snow clung to all of the rhododendron leaves and hemlock boughs.
It had been a beautiful but quiet morning for John, with just a few squirrels scampering about. Two does moved past him at 10:10. A short while later, he heard a noise over his left shoulder, strained his neck to look, and was rewarded with the sight of polished antlers moving through the snow-covered rhododendron. Not one, but three bucks, materialized in the winter wonderland. He waited until their heads were all hidden, shifted his body and fired at the largest one.
John made a perfect shot – the buck ran 65 yards and dropped in the snow. The high-racked 6-point was his largest buck to date and another "trophy" for my treestand.
Typically, my stand does not produce during years of large acorn crops – the bucks seem to be elsewhere. Nonetheless – snow, rain, cold or warm – on opening day this year, I will be out there as excited as ever when the first light of morning breaks.