pexels-photo-724923

My eyes popped open as the yearling’s bleat made its way through my sleep-deprived brain.  He let out another mewing cry as I slowly lifted my rifle from the arms of my camouflaged sling chair.  I was glad I no longer had to worry that I would fall asleep in my tree stand and wake up swinging to and fro from my harness strap.  Since joining the hunting club in Greene County Georgia, I had enjoyed the comfort of being cradled safely in my camouflaged chair in the large treestands.  Although not reflecting the best of hunting techniques, around 10:00 a.m. I would invariably drop off to sleep for 30 minutes or so.  This was the second time, on this particular stand, that a yearling’s bleat had startled me awake.  This time, however, I was hunting during “either sex” season.  The yearling was 15 yards in front of my stand, walking slowly in my direction.  While he continued to call, I slowly rotated my head to look behind me.  There she was.  A mature doe was standing 10 yards behind the tree, waiting for the yearling to catch up.  I must have been snoring quietly while she walked directly under me.  This was indeed poor hunting technique.

As I slowly raised my rifle and placed the crosshairs on the doe, the yearling complained again to his (presumed) Mom.  I hesitated.  This couldn’t be happening.  I know I was raised on Bambi, but surely I could look past that and take some venison home.  In the midst of my misgivings I had a more important thought.  I really wanted a buck.  However, not just any buck would do.  I was hunting a QDM (Quality Deer Management Area).  The rule was that we could only take one buck a year (except for a limited number of spikes), and then only a buck worthy of mounting.  I slowly lowered my rifle again and thought about the Tink’s hot doe urine that I had carefully smeared on the three trees in front of my stand.  If I didn’t fire at the doe, maybe I still had a chance of seeing a big buck.  Then I thought about the time.  It was 11 a.m. and I had rarely seen a deer wander in at this time of day.  Since I also had never shot a buck larger than a forkhorn, and that taken when I was 10 years old in Texas, I did not hold out much hope that my buck drought would be broken this morning.  Maybe if I went ahead and dropped the doe and pulled her out, I would still have time to get back to the stand for the afternoon hunt.  I raised my rifle again, but now the doe had gone behind a screen of brush.  I held the crosshairs where she was standing and willed her to take a step forward into an open area.  Instead, I watched her partially-hidden legs fold underneath her as she bedded down.  Although somewhat disappointed on being foiled in my halfhearted attempt to take the doe, I was also delighted to have fooled these wary creatures into feeling safe not more than 20 yards from my stand.

I was still turned halfway around in my chair, watching the flicker of the white hairs on the now dozing female, when a loud snort erupted from somewhere to the doe’s left.  She levitated to an almost standing posture, but then slowly lowered her body back down as the hidden yearling continued to sneeze, but more quietly.  I wondered if the doe was thinking, “You dumb kid! You scared me half to death.”  As I settled comfortably into my chair, I recognized another dilemma.  I was going to need to start removing clothes since the sun was now shining on me and I was beginning to roast.  I thought about this for a moment and worried about accomplishing my partial striptease without being seen by the bedded deer.  I slowly stood up, all the while watching the doe’s ears.  She did not appear nervous while I slowly pulled off my orange vest, camouflaged shirt and the down vest underneath.  I kept looking at her as I replaced my shirt and orange vest.  I pulled out the Tink’s cover scent and once again misted myself.  Through this whole exercise, the doe nibbled unconcernedly on some tasty plant material near her bed…

 

Leave a Reply