Monday, December 01, 2008

One lowly doe

I'm back from my three-week deer hunting hiatus and sadly can report only scoring on one lowly doe.

But don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to have at least loaded her into the back of the truck.

I was determined to NOT come back from West Virginia without some meat and did what I had to do to make it happen.

Hit an almost certain automatic gold mine on private land I have had the privilege to hunt for the past 15 years.

This great couple sold me my longtime bird-hunting ace in 1993 -- Henry the springer spaniel -- and have let me hunt their beautiful Marion County, W.Va., property ever since.

On Wednesday, Nov. 26, when I first attempted to hunt the holler on this year's deer hunt I ran into another family -- a father and two sons -- who were already hunting it so I had to return on Friday, Nov. 28.

While walking to the back field, I noticed several deer had already beaten me to the spot. I stalked along the edge of the wooded ridge to a sniper's position overlooking the meadow about 200 yards away.

The strategy was simple: glass the area until a half hour before sunset to see if a buck would join the grazing does, and if not, take a doe.

And that's how the deal went down.

I was confident I would have an opportunity such as that one because on Wednesday, while talking to one of the brothers about to make a push, I noted there was a doe in the field in front of us several yards away and right in front of where his dad and sibling were located behind a barn.

"Oh, it's just a doe," he said matter-of-factly.

But I knew the land owner was set on hunters taking does as well as bucks, which appeared these headhunters weren't on track to do.

Emil will be happy to know I didn't let him down.

* * *

As I've been saying for sometime this season, it has the making of a two-doe year, accept it and be happy, so I am.

Made some wicked sausage today, which seemed to please the wife when I told her that that would be dinner for work. She is someone who can appreciate frugalness.

What I can report on my recent travels around Michigan and West Virginia, is I saw no antlered younglings, let alone beasts. Nothing but does and at times, nothing at all. Late into the gun season on public land can yield long dull sits is what I encountered.

Over the years, I have found I usually get two opportunities on bucks, usually during bow, and how I handle those chances determines whether I get horns. And this year, I missed on the six I wasn't originally planning on shooting, and at Shiawassee I just couldn't focus well enough in the waning light to take a shot on what I was sure was a buck, so I passed.

But I should add, I'm not done just yet.

The muzzleloader season awaits, and 2007 produced a giant.

The 8-point of my life so far, one I even dreamt about before the season started. In the dream he came trotting toward me from inside a canopy of tree limbs. So true to life it was I was almost caught off guard when it happened according to script.

Haven't had such a dream this year.

There's still time. Guess I'm going to get off of here and sleep my way into a 10-pointer.

(Watch for pictures of Mac's successful fall turkey hunt at


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