The second week of rifle season just did not work out the way I had planned. By Tuesday morning I had developed a cough that originated deep in my chest. By Friday morning, this cough had now taken over my voice, and left me chilled at times and sweaty at others.
Still, I hunted mornings and evenings by sitting and watching a flat choked by thick cover that is often a good passageway for sneaking deer.
It was Thursday afternoon that provided the best chance to tag one. At about 2:30 four deer broke into sight from the mountainside below. They were moving quickly, most certainly spooked from below.
The first was a buck with good-sized Y’s, but with only a few seconds to determine if he had the required brow tines, he passed me by before I could make that recognition. The second was a small antlerless, which stopped in open woods. I left it pass.
The other two were big does, but they swung to the right and quickly out of sight.
At 4 p.m. a small deer came walking toward me, also from my right. While it nibbled on small saplings that pushed through the ground-covering snow, I saw a bunch of deer lopping through the woods behind the small deer.
As this group swung in my direction, a big eight pointer stood out. He paused for only a second, and then broke downhill and stopped again with three big females. I could see him well, but he stood on property I cannot hunt. There was simply nothing to do.
In the meantime, a spike buck and three other small deer joined the first small one. If I truly felt the need, I could have dropped one of the smaller deer, but I did not.
As darkness came, I watched all the deer move away.
Friday afternoon I also saw deer, all antlerless, and all far below on the property I cannot trespass.
I’ve shot a lot of deer in my lifetime, and I did not harvest the first one till I was 20, a Potter County doe. So in truth, the years of prosperity make it easier to not fill a tag, and just enjoy deer escaping through my little corner of the mountain where they live.
Besides, I’ll have more chances when flintlock season opens. Ever since the first year the smoke poles had a special season, I’ve purchased a license. Put some venison in the freezer with those guns, too, and had even more great times and stories with my friends during the hunts with those primitive arms.
I expect no less come a couple of weeks from now.