Bow Season is Here

In years past the first weekend of October brought daytime highs from low 60s to low 70s. Overnight frosts were very atypical. Saturday the 5th was a chilly affair at the outset with temps just below freezing. A light film of frost coated the grass, not enough to make it crispy or blot out the still-green of the blades. The predicted high was low 50s. Autumn seems to have come early this year.

I put in two and half hours in the morning, bundled up in my stand as if it were opening weekend of regular season. I watched a doe and fawn walk by 50 yards away. Ten minutes later they walked back the same way and ten minutes after that they made the rounds again. That was it for stand activity that morning.

I settled into my evening stand location around 2:30 for long sit. It was a bit breezy with a few robust gusts but not the sort of wind that puts you at the precipice of sea sickness. Fifteen yards away a dilapidated platform stand, built among a tight cluster of large maples, creaked and yawed, shedding rotted fragments of two by four. About an hour and a half before sunset a healthy looking spike horn walked within range. If I really wanted to shoot I probably could have. But I don’t have much interest in shooting a spike. I’d much rather let them go and see what may become.

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The old, weathered platform stand. It’s been there as long as we’ve been hunting the property. Good deer stand locations can endure for a surprisingly long time. 

Sunday morning, my last sit of the trip, was more active. I was back in the tree by the old platform stand, the wind worse than the night before. The platform was making plenty of noise in the wind. I’ve never worried that one of those loud, stiff creaks would spook a deer. Long as that stand has been there, the deer must be used to it. The continuity of tree stands always amazes me. That stand had been built there no doubt because it was an active deer location. We’ve always had a stand there for the same reason.

I watched a doe and fawn creep through the edge of the brush behind me, then hook down to my right and turn to walk toward me. Just when they were on course to pass less than 20 yards in front of the stand they turned and walked away. 15 minutes later a buck with medium to small antlers and a good-sized body eased along in the brush following the same track as the doe and fawn. I lost sight of him behind a pair of large beeches and never laid eyes on him again. I called it quits at ten. At least the weather had improved. And I saw deer. Not the worst hunting trip I’ve had.


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