Good, solid hunting mentors like I had growing up are in serious demand these days. Without them, kids are content to sit inside, warm and dry with their faces glued to electronic devices. I never had that opportunity because electronic devices didn’t exist yet. I was forced to play outside. The out of doors, as near as I can tell, was the modern-day parental version of screen time. “Go outside!” my mother would often say with a sweet and kind tone to her voice. An aging group of mentors and kids growing up with no desire to step foot in the woods is a bad combination!
Recently, my free time has been consumed with dreaming about baitfish, passing thoughts about the coming spring turkey hunt, and February. Thoughts of February are enough to freeze the fun out of anything warm that could be taking place. There is something about this month that I have grown to dislike with a passion. It could be the cold, but it could also be the snow. It could be both.
February is to blame for the lack of stories that have been on the blog as of late. Writer’s block is what some call it, but not me. I’ve never considered myself to be a writer (my bad grammar and typos are a testament to that), so it’s fair to say that the blame is squarely a result of a general apathy toward life brought on by the month of February. It was only made worse earlier today.
This morning, an old, formidable foe has reappeared in the driveway of my friend’s house. He was kind enough to send me some wonderful pictures he snapped from his back deck. The buck looked familiar, so I filed back through my trail camera photos from last fall and found him right where I last saw him. On my computer screen.
Time is running out on the 2016 Vermont Muzzleloader season. My doe tag is still unfilled, something that has me walking around looking like an angry emoticon all day and feeling like an Angry Bird that wants to topple my son’s Lego creations. A doe tag should not be this hard to fill.
It’s not like I haven’t had chances. I’ve already written about the opening day fiasco (read that here), but as the week has progressed my luck has only gotten worse. Let me be clear here, I am not complaining at all. I’m crying. There, I’m glad that’s out in the open. Now we can be honest with each other.
Well, well, well. I finally saw some deer on Saturday. Eight of them to be exact – little ones, big ones, and even a buck – but I didn’t fire a single shot. Why? Because that’s the way my season is going, that’s why!
The morning started out well enough. Dad and I had a sweet plan in place for me to fill my muzzleloader doe tag that would allow me to be back to my truck by 7:30 with fresh venison. There is a drive we like to do that has worked a million times in the past. If the deer are in this particular small patch of woods, they have to run through a certain spot if they are pushed. Everything was perfect. There was a gentle breeze that was blowing from Dad to me, which would allow him to walk slowly in my direction and let the wind do the work for us.
Someday, I am going to devote an entire article on the most important ingredient required for a successful hunt. The ingredient? Time.
I can’t remember a year when I have hunted over such an active scrape line, complete with fresh rubs and extending over 650 yards. It felt like I was finding fresh sign each time I hunted it. As near as I can tell, the scrape line leads to his bedding area and he checks them during the night. This works out well for him but not for me. Big bucks can be very frustrating.