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Archive for the ‘hunting’ Category

Opening Day

Posted by jackboottapdance on September 15, 2009

Opening day. A great day every year. I couldn’t seem to get to sleep last night, as expected. I bounced right out of bed when the alarm went off at 0345 though.

It is hard to explain this time to someone who doesn’t love being outdoors. There is an owl hooting in the distance, and frogs and crickets chirping in the trees. I saw a meteorite while we were at the sign in board. There is just enough light to see the logging road this stand is on, and I can make out the clearing in front of me. It is too dark to know what the various sounds are that I hear around me, and that makes it perfect. The hour, in a deer stand waiting for daylight, is probably my favorite hour.

Daylight comes slowly, revealing the area.

At about 7:40 am a group of wild turkey makes their way through feeding.

They returned again around 10:30 am, and spent about 45 minutes feeding and dusting. It was a really neat experience to watch them.

I didn’t see any deer in the morning, and about 11:30 we went and grabbed some lunch. We took a ride to the back section of the lease where ther is some logging going on, and it was amazing to see how steep some of the areas are.

At 1:30 pm, we got in the stands for the evening hunt. Here is La Cincuenta in the trees stand and ready for action.

It was very hot and quiet until about 6pm, when Sean radioed me to tell me he could see 3 does in the road between our stands. I never saw them, but at about 6:30 I heard footsteps in the woods off to my left up the logging road. At 6:45 I looked through the trees to my left and saw a doe coming around the stand of trees I had my stand in. I got ‘La Cincuenta’ into position and shot when she stepped into a lane in the trees, about 17 yards away. She ran at the shot, and I found her about 65 yards down the hill. A very nice 2 1/2 year old doe in very good health.

This was my first opening day deer, in my fourth full season deer hunting. In fact, this is the first deer I have taken in September, and the second with the muzzle loader.

It was another wonderful day in the woods.


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Deer Season Eve

Posted by jackboottapdance on September 14, 2009

Tomorrow is opening day of deer season where I hunt. Today and tonight are when I remember what Christmas eve felt like as a child. The feelings of anticipation and excitement are palpable.

I know that many people don’t understand the allure of hunting, and feel it to be barbaric in these modern and ‘civilized’ times. That’s okay, I didn’t really understand it until about 4 years ago, when I decided to try deer hunting for the first time. Until that point, I had lived my life without hunting. I had fished, and hiked, but I had never taken to the woods in pursuit of food.

There is something primal about hunting for food. Yes, I can go to the grocery store and buy food. Yes that food can be tasty, and is nourishing physically. But there is something intrinsically different about hunting for food. Regardless of success or failure, hunting is nourishing in and of itself. Being in the woods at sunrise, senses heightened in hope of seeing or hearing a deer, is a magical experience. In our modern, connected and online world, it can be hard to understand just how wondrous a sunrise or sunset can be. No modern, technological wonder can come close to replicating that feeling you get when you hear steps in the leaves, and try to determine where and what it is.

Contrary to common belief, I am not a blood thirsty maniac, hell bent on killing something. In fact, there is always a certain sense of sadness after killing. Jose Ortega y Gasset captured it perfectly in his ‘Meditations on Hunting’:

“One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted…If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job.”

Back to Deer Season eve. I don’t get really excited about Christmas morning any more, at least in the commercial sense. I have no problem sleeping in on Christmas morning, and I have no problem getting to sleep Christmas eve. But, I’ll be bouncing out of bed at 4am tomorrow, and I’ll be lucky if I get to sleep before midnight. Preparation and organization of gear are complete, plans are laid, and expectations are high (as always). All that remains is the passage of time. At first light tomorrow morning, my favorite part of the year will be here, and it will remain so until the season ends. Regardless of the outcome, it will be another wonderful deer season, and I will miss it when it is gone.

At least, until next Deer Season eve.

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La Cincuenta de muerte

Posted by jackboottapdance on September 11, 2009

Well, this year I will be hunting exclusively with my muzzle loader. With the unfortunate passing of ‘el treinta treinta’ (my Winchester Model 94 .30-30), I had to make a change in primary hunting arm.

However, a word of tribute is due:

‘El treinta treinta’ was originally purchased as a carrot to encourage my step-son. That plan didn’t work out, so I hunted with it. I took my first deer with the old Winchester, experienced the pain of my first lost deer with her, and shared some great times afield with her. I took a beautiful Grey Fox with ‘el treinta treinta’ as well. Our last hunt, last year, took place in a torrential down pour. I cleaned the rifle afterward, but apparently didn’t get the chamber completely dry. Inspecting the rifle in anticipation of deer season revealed the dreadful news. El treinta treinta had passed*. She will be missed, and the deer stand will not be quite the same without her.

La Cincuenta joined the family a couple years ago. I was a member of a hunting club at the time, and wanted to hunt during ‘primitive weapons’ season. So I ordered a CVA Wolf muzzle loader in .50 caliber. I took a large doe with her during that first season, on the opening day of ML season in fact. But then I returned to hunting with ‘el treinta treinta’ again, taking my deer last season with the old Winchester, and La Cincuenta took a long break.

Well, after going to the range last night to check zero on the CVA, a new and exotic moniker** was in order. First shot was dead on at 25 yards, and a ‘what the heck’ shot at 100 yards was well within ‘minute of deer’, hitting just right of center on the target. Not too shabby with 40+ year old eyes and iron sights. So the reign of ‘La Cincuenta de muerte’ begins.

* ‘el trienta trienta’ may rise again, if I decide to have her rebarreled. As the rifle I took my first deer with, I’d really like to keep her around, perhaps one day to be passed on to a grandson (or granddaughter) who wants to hunt with “Papa’s” rifle.

** okay, new and exotic for me.

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Deer season is upon us!

Posted by jackboottapdance on September 11, 2009

Tuesday, Sept 15th is the opening day of deer season here. I made a trip to the range with my buddy Sean last night to check the zero on my deer rifle, finding all to be in order. Now, all that is left is the long weekend of waiting. I’ll spend some of it organizing my gear, probably watch some hunting shows, and just look forward.
Hunting for me is a big deal. Not just the actual hunting, but being in the woods, away from work and all it’s trappings. I can’t wait.

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