I arrived at camp at about 4am and proceeded to wake him up, he had fallen asleep on the couch with the tv on! I made a make shift bed on the other couch and managed to grab an hour of sleep. 5:30am rolled around way too early after that late night trip, but it was time to get up and hit the woods!
I was eager to make my way back to my stand to see what I could see. It was a beautiful predawn morning. It was warm and very little breeze blowing. We drove back down the two track to a parking spot and both of us grabbed our gear and wished each other good luck. It was time to get serious! I slipped through the woods and trails back to the field I was going to hunt.
As I walked down the trail through the swamp I could see the field opening ahead. I was in my sanctuary! This is my peace, my solitude, my metal medicine, and soul cleansing place to spend
two days! I made my way to the 13 ft. high raised shooting enclosure. I climbed the stairs and opened the door. It was just as I had remembered it. Cluttered with last years hunting supplies, a swivil chair and my dad's buck grunt call laying on the shelve and a propane heater over in the corner. I quickly turned the flashlight off and put my day pack on the floor and my bow in a another nearby corner. I fumbled in the darkness to find the hasp that kept the folding wall panels in place. Once I found them, I opened the hasp and lowered the panel down and out of the way to provide a nice 2 ft. by 3 ft. opening to shoot through. I then made my way to the opposite wall to do the same. I could see day starting to break over the southeastern horizon. It was time! I settled into my truck seat, yes I said truck seat. We took some old soft cloth truck seats with folding arm rests on them and attatched them to an office chair swivil base! They are awesome. They even have the little lever that allows them to fold back to snooze in! Once settled in I grabbed my new Bowtech Genreal bow and took the quiver off of it to drop some weight off the bow. I snapped one of the carbon arrows off of it and nocked it to the bow string. Now it is time to turn the senses on high alert! It was time to HUNT!This is the connection to our past and to our inner selves to see what we are truly made of. Hunting tests men's souls, their patience, and their stamina. Can you sit still long enough to allow a whitetail buck to travel close enough that you can hear him breathing, close enough to see the grass he is munching on work down his throat when he swallows, close enough to see the fly buzzing his ear as he flicks his ears to drive it away. Now that he is that close can you move slowly enough to get into a position to take a shot without being detected? Now that your in that position, do you have what it takes to pull the trigger release to take the life of that animal? That is the real question! Can you do it, can you take the life of an animal to sustain your own life? It isn't the taking of a life that makes you a man, what makes you a man is do you have what it takes to survive? I think that is one of the reasons we hunt. We want to know about our connection to our past. Our fore fathers had to do this to survive, we do it maybe to try to connect to that past, to see if we have what it takes to survive given the chance we had to.
Now I realize your going to say, our fore fathers didn't have enclosed tower blinds and truck seat swivil chairs to use when they were hunting or trying to survive. Well I do like a little comfort when I hunt and this is the only place I hunt that I use comfort like this. Most of the time I do sit out in the elements or stalk hunt, so for this hunting trip I'm just trying to connect back to nature and clear my head. Now back to the story!
Day light is starting to break over the trees on the horizon. The light blue glow of morning light is illuminating the dark skies and the stars are starting to fade away as the blue light washes the darkness away. On the other side of the swamp behind me I hear a pack of coyotes sound off! This is always an adrenaline rush that makes your whole body tingle with excitement, it has been a while since I've heard a pack go off like that. It immediately brings the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention! A few minutes later I can hear a nearby flock of turkeys coming off roost. This sounds like a truck crashing through the tree tops! Where are these birds during the spring turkey season? This goes on for about 5 minutes and I'm thinking to myself, so much for my quiet morning, but eventually they settle down. By now the skies are brightening up nicely and I can start to see things off in the distance. As I look to my left I can see something white flickering in the field! Is that a deer's tail? I slowly lift my binoculars to my eyes and try to focus in the early morning light. What I thought was a deer's tail is a skunk! Yikes, I will be keeping my eye on this little guy! He eventually saunters out of the field to never be seen again. I look back down in the field near my stand and I see a deer has come in close to me without me detecting him. It is a little four point buck! I watch him munch on clover for a few minutes and then he picks his head up and looks intently in the opposite direction. I glance that way to see what has caught his eye. It is another deer walking our way. I glass in his direction and see that it is a small spike horn buck. He never breaks stride as he walks towards the four point. The little fork horn near me is still has his eyes glued to the spike horn. Then he takes a couple of steps in his direction and his ears go flat to his neck and the hair on his back begins to bristle! Oh man here we go, I'm thinking! I'm going to see them go at it! Meanwhile the spike horn has never broke stride and is still walking directly towards the four point. As he approaches he drops his head and lunges towards the fork horn. Once ready for a fight with ears pinned back and hair standing on end, the little fork horn tucks tail and runs! What a chicken I'm thinking as I'm laughing to myself! With victory secured the spike horn takes over the spot in the field where the four point once stood, almost like a bully on the block!
I then turn to look back into the opposite side of the field and I see something in the middle of it. I can't quite make out what it is, it looks like a coyote! I glass the field and to my amazement I see a bobcat! This is only the second one I have ever seen! I'm watching him through the binoculars while he is tending to his business at hand, he eventually makes his way across the field and out of sight.
I spend the next two hours in stand watching while three other small bucks make their way past me while they are on their morning routine. One of which is another four point and the other two are small spike horns. I'm thinking to myself, this is a nice way to start the hunt off! I'm seeing deer and they are all bucks, not to mention all the other game I'm seeing. All is well in my sanctuary this morning.
I make my way out of the blind and head back to the parking spot where my dad and I left the vehicle. As I arrive I can see my dad has beaten me back to the parking area. I have to give him the morning debriefing as to what I had seen. I had much more to report than he did. He only saw a few does feeding through the field he was hunting. We made our way back to camp and headed up to the corner store to buy some sandwiches for lunch that day, after a quick trip out of camp and back again, I ate lunch and proceeded to catch up on the sleep I missed out on that morning as I drove up to camp.
After a couple more hours of sleep it was time to hit the woods again for the afternoon hunt. My dad decided to make his way to the opposite end of the property to try his luck at another spot. After dropping him off I made my way back to my morning stand to see if I could maintain my luck at seeing deer. As I walked in, I had to make sure I had my Mossy Oak camo suit loosely fitted to me, it was starting to get hot! The last thing I wanted to do is break a sweat while walking in. I took my time and managed to make it without stinking up the joint, glad I was wearing my Scent-Lok suit.
It didn't take long for the deer to start filtering into the field for the evening dinner rush! I watched deer from one end of the field to the other for almost three straight hours. The five small bucks I saw earlier in the day made their way back to the field once again along with several does and their young. As I watched them it didn't take long for time to pass quickly. I started to notice that the sun was setting fast on the horizon and there were still 12 deer in the field from one end to the other. I didn't want to get down and spook them, since it would give away my location. I figured that I would wait it out and walk out after dark. Then I saw three other deer enter the far end of the field. Before I could get the binoculars on them, I heard it! Grunt, Grunt, Grunt!!!!! This was the big boy! He was over 200 yards away and I could hear him grunting at those two other deer. He was chasing them towards me and as I looked through the field glasses all I could see was a huge body and a huge rack on his head! This was it, but light was dropping fast! I got into shooting position in hope that he would come my way before there was no light. He cut the distance down to about 60 yards and he stopped right in front of me along with the two deer he was chasing. It was then I could see they were two smaller bucks that he was challenging. He dropped his head and grunted again at them, as if to say OK who wants a piece of me? I'm thinking to myself, I do! One of the other bucks circled him and walked right towards me, which made the big boy turn! Here is my chance, I'm thinking to myself. He stopped broad side at 2o yards and all I can see now is a silouette of him! I pull back and look through the peep sight and see NOTHING! The light has faded away and I can't see a thing! This is the buck of a lifetime and I can't do a thing about it! As I sit and wait it out I'm thinking why does this have to happen, then I realize that is how big bucks get to be big bucks, they come out when the light is low.
I couldn't ask for more for my first day out! I see all kinds of game and not to mention the buck of a lifetime. This is all good food for the spirit, my mind is starting to sweep out the clutter and I can start to focus on the connection that binds all mens souls, this is what truly makes us men. Nature is calling and it is calling you and me and I have just answered the call for the first time since I got back from Colorado! Man does it feel good to be back out in nature!