Deer Hunting Tips

November 14, 2011 by  

By Nick Simonson

“Wait…what…how did she, where did she come from?!?  Aw crap…no wait, maybe she doesn’t see me, she’s looking…does she?
My heart never sinks so low as when I know the jig is up; when all the scent killer in the world isn’t enough to cover up a stupid mistake on stand or when I let my guard down amidst an inadvertent daydream.  But that was the case on Sunday, as I tried to buck the odds and fill my tag on the final day of gun season in my bow hunting stand.  Plus it was the first calm weekend morning in three weeks.
Deer Hunting TipsThe river bottom had been alive since 6:45 a.m., when the first rays of the sun began to light the wooded area around my stand.  The gentle clucking of a wild turkey some thirty yards off in the brush rose with the eastern sky, and soon others joined in on the cooing and calling.  At any one point, seven birds in a 200 yard radius of my old gray metal stand were carrying on a good morning conversation.  Smaller birds flitted and tweeted in the branches of the boxelders and elms around me, as the faintest trickle of the autumn-dried river murmured 50 yards to my west.

Suddenly the gurgling was broken by the splash of footsteps wading through the water. Startled, I grabbed my bow from the broken branch above me and stood up, rolling the right side of my stocking cap up over my ear to get a better bead on the sound.  I looked intently in the direction of where I had heard the water splashing, but I knew the area was obscured by a rise in the land and a number of trees which had been felled by a summer windstorm.  Occasionally, the forest chatter subsided long enough for me to catch another hoof cracking the dried leaves on the trail to my southwest.
Knowing my calendar for the next two weekends was booked with travel led me to the decision the night before to take a doe if the opportunity arose on Sunday, so I selected the river bottom which had produced a number of nice does since September.  I wouldn’t take one with a fawn, and I wouldn’t take a small one, but a mature doe would be a successful way to end my season – and it would be my first deer while bow hunting.
Sensing that very opportunity was hidden just 35 yards away, I began to feel the tremors of adrenaline – a rush I had been able to hold back most of the season as I waited for a monster and passed on a number of shootable does and young bucks.  I steadied myself on stand and strained my ears to pick up the sound of the moving deer.
Without warning, a squirrel which had been rummaging on the forest floor behind me bolted across the small clearing and up into a tree 22 yards in front of me and raced after his red-tailed friend. Round and round the tree they went, screeching and scratching after one another.  Every minute or so they’d pause, catch their breath and start all over again. When they stopped for about the twentieth time, I had forgotten about the footsteps.
And that’s when I got careless.  I lifted my rangefinder to my eye and got a reading on the tree where the squirrels had started racing once again.  I stretched my legs and lowered my bow.  I glanced behind me, glanced back at the squirrels, and glanced down the path to my southeast.
“Wait…what was that,” I thought as I swung my head back toward the squirrels, putting the brakes on my neck muscles just enough to leave the object in my peripheral vision.

It was as if I saw the sailboat in those Magic Eye posters for the first time.  The form of a huge whitetail doe – black eyes, black nose, gray face, white stomach – began to pop out from the browns, grays and greens of the woods around her at forty-five yards.  She was on the path toward me, hung up with her head held high, staring in my direction.

“Wait…what…how did she, where did she come from?!?  Aw crap…no wait, maybe she doesn’t see me, she’s lookin’ does she,” my mind frantically sputtered out orders to my body, “stand still, clip your release, don’t breathe – DON’T EVEN BLINK,” none of which it obeyed, but it didn’t matter – it was already too late.
“WHHHHHT!  WHHHHT!” The doe snorted loudly; she had seen enough of my motion from the opposite side of the clearing to know I meant no good.  She bounded off into the woods, cracking and snapping the twigs and branches as she frantically put distance and thick cover between us.
“Guhhh…” my adrenaline-wracked brain sighed out, almost audibly.
Sometimes, there are no words for how stupid the hunt can make me feel.  After the doe had hightailed it out of the area, I turned back to the squirrels, cursed them with rotten acorns, sat down in my stand and sulked; eventually cracking a smile.  No doubt about it – I was busted while goofing off and losing focus.  But I quickly realized the lesson I had just learned was part of becoming a better hunter.  On my mental scoreboard, I chalked a win up for the wise old doe (with the assistance of a couple of annoying squirrels) and I headed down the ladder for the walk of shame out of…our outdoors.


One Comment on "Deer Hunting Tips"

  1. ronald peterson on Fri, 18th Nov 2011 10:54 pm 

    i loved your story nick i had a surprise like your s but the best thing i used was the smellest scent it was it was a bottle of skunk scent i’ve always had good luck with that i had a doe try to wind me but she couldnt she tryed to see me she couldnt because i was paying attention to what moves threw the woods i sit motionless at all times unless im not seeing anything.

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.