Outdoor Column: Too Much Fun

Shotgun season for deer started Saturday. This is the day we fill the freezers with venison for the winter. There is usually very little challenge to it but is a fun time for my son, grandson, and me to spend the day together hunting. When we got together to begin our hunt, it was raining, one of those bone chilling cold rains. Even with rain gear, we were going to get wet. There is really no other option, we have to go hunting.


The first drive started with Damon walking through the paintball timber, Zane at the corner of the hayfield, and me in the middle of the hayfield with no cover and the rain hitting me in the back. On a normal year, twenty-five or thirty deer will be driven out by Damon. Zane and I can pick out the two or three we want as they run toward us and the hunt is done. This year, six deer came out of the cedar trees, turned away from me over two hundred yards away. Nothing came out by Zane. The deer were bedded down tight, not wanting to get out in the rain. The rest of the day went pretty much the same way. The only thing that could be worse would be sleet and freezing rain. That was to be Sunday.


When we got together bright and early on Sunday morning, sleet was coming down briskly. By the time we started out on the first drive, it was neither bright nor early. I started as blocker at the bottom of Strawberry Hill while Damon and Zane walked the South place. The deer were no more anxious to move in the sleet than they were to move in the cold rain the day before. I saw a few deer moving in the timber, but nothing where I could get a shot. They seemed to be circling around the guys that were supposed to be pushing them out. Large wet snowflakes were smacking me in the face by the time Damon and Zane showed up.


The Ten Acres was the next drive. Damon went down by the willows to block while Zane walked the bottom edge and I walked on the top side. Not far into the drive, a big buck jumped up from under a cedar tree and ran ahead of me. It looked like he went up a draw into the Long Hayfield. He was not acting scared, so I thought he might bed down again. I circled out into the field and approached the draw from the top. There was no sign of him, so I thought he must have run out ahead of me. Relaxing just a bit, I started back on my appointed path. It was then the big old buck jumped up just a few feet from me and ran over the hill before I could react. During shotgun season, we normally only shoot does. After a day and a half of getting soaked, freezing, and not getting a shot, I knew Zane would shoot the first deer he saw. I waited for a shot from his direction thinking the buck would run right into him. Nothing happened. The buck turned somewhere going down the hill. If he turned left, he would come out to Damon in a few minutes. If he turned right, the next time we would see him is when he passed in front of one of the cameras. Damon never saw him.


We ran the Paintball Woods again before lunch. I got one deer. At lunch, cold, and tired, we decided to call it a season. One deer is better than none, and we could not stand any more fun.