Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Gift of Venison

On the afternoon of Christmas Day, I was practicing a few shots with the crossbow in the backyard. To that point it had been a interesting combined archery and rifle season.  I had missed out on a buck in the early archery season, but had seen plenty of deer. Rifle was enjoyable as always, and I had a chance to take a small doe on the second to last day, but let her walk in hopes that a big buck would be following her, but the scenario for which I had hoped never materialized.  The following day I hunted in heavy snow with no luck. 

And so it was, two weeks later on the first day of the late season, I was filled with hope once more.

It was interesting how the day worked out. I moved my stand to the other side of the game lands I hunt near my home. Probably moved it about 5 miles all told. I knew the tree was decent for late season, as the spot overlooks a pretty good thicket that has significantly increased visibility in December as opposed to leafy October.

I set up my stand around 10 a.m. after bumping into a muzzleloader hunter on the way in who gabbed on and on about a coyote he saw.  The whole time he talked loudly I couldn't help but think there were probably deer out there on the landscape twitching their ears while picking up his booming voice as it echoed through the woods. I figured I'd better let some peace and quiet settle in before doing any hunting.

I went home and spent the day with the boys shoveling snow and sledding. I had them tired out by 2:30, so they went down for naps under their mommy's watchful eye and old dad sneaked out and climbed into the stand by 3 p.m.

Forty minutes later, I noticed some movement behind me and spotted a deer feeding, and then another one. Both looked like does, and both were actually gimpy.  I could tell something was up with the way they were walking, and I figured they had been wounded in rifle season.  Yet, they were both getting along pretty well.

I waited on the doe that was in a decent shooting lane, and when she finally stepped free of blocking debris, I took a shot from about 35 yards. I put the 30 yard pin on her, and fortunately, the shot had just enough distance to catch the deer right in the heart. It was a clean pass, and initially, I thought I missed, but then I saw the deer go down after it ran about 30 yards.

I made quick work of her and hauled her out in the ease of the snow as darkness set in around me. It was a rewarding moment. It's funny how it all works out sometimes. It was one of the easiest hunts I've ever experienced. Almost like all the work paid quick dividends and now I had some nice tender venison for the winter. And, like always, the steaks would disappear all too quickly.

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