Saturday, July 7, 2007

Great White Hunter 2: Interrupted Deer

In the days of bait piles, it was a warm October afternoon early in bow season. You never know what’s going to come into the apple pile, and this day was no different. I’d been watching squirrel after squirrel, red and gray go by. I used to bring pebbles out so I could mess with them, when they have their back turned their tail shields their eyes. I’d flick a pebble at it, usually I’d miss, but today I ricocheted one off a tree and it landed in front of two red squirrels. They hopped into trees in front of me, and began barking up a racket. The commotion caused a red fox to venture down the field edge to my left.

So into the mix I licked my lips and began to make little mousy chirp sounds, then a few chickadee songs. The fox came right in and walked all over. Under my treestand, around the bait pile, and paused under the tree where the squirrels were. It kind of seemed to shake its head, and then the seemingly confused fox turned back to the field. Instead of heading back the way it came, it proceeded on across the field to a pasture.

I thought great, he just spread his scent everywhere, and the deer aren’t going to smell me one bit. A few minutes later some blue jays came by, and then the squirrels were back at work. The sun was getting lower in the sky now, about an hour until dark. That was when I heard it. First a rustle of leaves 50 yards in front of me, then another shortly after. My heart was pounding, something was coming in slow, and cautious.

Closer the rustling came, with a very steady pause between each. I looked to where the noise was coming from, but couldn’t see anything. Closer, closer it came. Finally the noise was right in front of me, but I still couldn’t make out anything. All of a sudden the fattest little cottontail rabbit hopped out onto the bait pile in front of me. So fat had it not been fear of spoiling because it was so warm out, I’d have arrowed it for certain. I grinned to myself thinking what’ve happened had the fox been late or the rabbit early. As I turned right to look around, that’s when I first saw it.

I’d been so pre-occupied and intent on the rabbit, I hadn’t seen the little yearling deer sneak in on my right. It was the flick of the tail that alerted me to its presence, as it sauntered around some evergreen trees encircling the baitpile. Following about another hundred yards behind came another yearling, and a doe. Pretty soon all three were feeding on the apples. I was surprised that after only a few minutes they picked up their heads as if thinking about heading out. I thought about arrowing the doe, but I had noticed she had this habit of looking behind her every so often.

The sun was beginning to set, leaving about a half hour left to the hunting day. That’s when I heard a step, and then another, in the direction from which the doe and yearlings had come. My luck held as my scent was being pushed the opposite direction out over the field. I just stayed very still and tried not to let the deer hear the pounding in my chest when I saw the four points. It was a buck!

It was an educated deer though, because it kept the brush between me and him. I couldn’t get a shot, and then he paused on the backside of my baitpile behind a tree. All of a sudden I hear a car driving down the road laying on its horn. For a long distance before and after my tree stand the horn blew, but as it rounded the bend by where my truck was, I was shocked. I could distinctly hear a female voice yelling “you big bad hunters, why don’t you go pick on someone your own f***ing size” as the car continued down the road.

Needless to say the deer was on edge from the horn, but the yelling was too much. Hell, I just about jumped out of the tree when I heard the yelling, sounded like she was right there in the tree with me. I never even really saw or heard the buck take off. I only caught a flicker of white off in the distance.

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