Nothing quite hurts your pride like running a hunting blog and not filling your tags, but that is exactly what happened to me this year. I still had a fantastic season despite the fact that I had already written it off as a “maybe Ill go hunting this year” kind of a season. That was the result of me going back to school this fall, meaning that my free time would be weekends only and it would be a delicate balance of employment, homework, and hunting. As it turns out, luck was on my side and I was able to go out hunting every weekend this season. I put on a lot of mileage this season, averaging about 15,000 steps, or about 12km a day. My typical hunting day was get up at 615, walk out to my spot and wait for a deer to come on out, once I got tired of sitting I would walk around my parents farm and slowly make my way back to the house for breakfast, then in the evening I would go to “The Lease Land” and hike in to an old trappers cabin, long since collapsed in, and wait until dark there. This season I didn’t see much for whitetail deer, which is all I had a tag for. But, as you could imagine, with that much time and mileage outside I managed to see some pretty neat things. So maybe let me run down a little list here:
A rabbit – You just dont see lots of those in that area
A few grouse – not rare but they still manage to get your heart rate up when they seem to thunder out from under your boots
an impression in the snow from where a bird of pray picked up a small rodent
4 Coyotes – the first was in an open field in a snow storm about 60 yards from me I stood up and moved to try and get a better look at it, it had no idea I was there despite all my noise making. Another was the biggest coyote I had ever seen, it was easily the size of a golden retriever. Someone said it may have been a wolf but it looked too thin featured for that to be correct. I also saw what I thought to be a cougar but turned out to be a coyote. I was just coming through a fence and in the distance I saw something tan coloured that ducked down and slinked away in a very fluid cat-like fashion. I also could have sworn I saw a long thin tail waiving behind it. I walked up to where I had seen it and found only coyote tracks… maybe theres something to those old native stories of coyotes being tricksters and shapeshifters after-all.
a herd of 17 mule deer- I was walking across the eastern portion of my parents farm and spotted a small group of mule deer so I had a seat in the snow and pulled out my binoculars to watch, they were about 500 yards away. At first it was a large buck with seven does. As I was watching, a coyote snuck out of the bushes near the group and was immediately run off by three of the does. I continued to watch the group and slowly more and more mule deer started to show up. At first it was a much smaller buck and a single doe. This was all mind blowing to me, then even more showed up. By the end there were at least 3 very large bucks and two or three spikers and forkers. All mingling together, I would have though with mating season so close they would have all been fighting each other but no, they just moseyed and ate. I would have never believe that mule deer would herd up in that large of a group.
3 white tailed deer- I saw all three on the last two days of hunting. The first was in the morning when Erin and I were sitting watching a spot that had a lot of tracks and rubs, way off to my right was a rather portly whitetail doe. I wasnt in a position to take that shot and I wouldn’t have wanted to anyway, for a few reasons; first it was on a ridge meaning a miss would send that errant bullet miles away, the second was she was standing in brush which can deflect or slow a bullet causing a wound instead of a kill, lastly she was quartering away meaning a proper placed shot at her would almost certainly result in the loss of one of her shoulders minimum. The next day after my morning sit I went for a walk and stumbled into a buck and doe pair again shrouded by bushes, in hind sight I may have had enough fire power to cut through the branches and hit that buck, but he wasn’t very big and my freezer isn’t very empty so there was no real purpose in risking it beyond giving me something to write about, but if the day comes where I fall into the hole of taking an unethical shot just to give me content for my blog I think it will be time I shut this website down.
I dont know if I would call this season successful or not. I learned a lot, saw some amazing things, and spent a great deal of time outside. Its hard for me to call that a failure but at the same time I’ve still got my tags tucked into my binocular case… there is always next year I guess.
I hope your season was as fun as mine and maybe even a little more fruitful and if not, just remember, next year will come and there will be deer then too…. and they will be bigger. We’ve just gotta find them.
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