My increase in concern over how much time I’ll have to hunt this fall is inversely related to the decrease in time until Baby Biebel arrives. My concern hit an all-time high this past weekend when I made my first scouting trip of the season. It’s hard to adequately describe the feelings of anticipation that I feel when standing over a pile of deer poop in an acorn infested stand of oaks. Knowing Mr. Big roams through this area, even if at night, is enough to get my heart rate up. That, and the mile-long hike to get there.
I’ve often thought that, despite the hard work, hosting a hunting show would be fun. Obviously, the show would be immensely popular and leave a lasting, positive impact on viewers. It would combine the sexiness of a Mariah Carey music video to attract the shallow minded viewers, but also bring the intensity found in a Bob Ross “The Joy of Painting” episode for those who desire the many qualities Ms. Carey lacks. That big buck in the first episode won’t be standing behind a half dead tree, it’ll be behind a “scantily clad, happy little hemlock.” See what a mean? That’s television gold if I do say so myself.
Ending the season with unfilled tags is not a failure, but not learning from your mistakes is. As I reflect on the past season, I am still trying to determine what mistakes, if any, I made. I am not talking about lazy mistakes, such as not paying attention at a critical time. I made plenty of those. I’m referring to strategic mistakes like interpreting sign wrong, moving too often, and hunting the same areas over and over to name a few.
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.
Other than a rather intense encounter with a bear a mere twelve feet away from Sam and I on Friday night, the weekend was pretty slow in the woods. It was Sam’s first time out “deer hunting” with me and he mentioned afterward that he’d rather not bear hunt again until next year when he’s six. I think we’ll stick to squirrel hunting for the time being.
But that’s not what I want to talk about. You know what really gets me irritated? I can’t stand it when hunters saddle up their high horse and degrade others for shooting a deer they have deemed to be too small. It’s one thing to give someone a hard time for shooting a deer that is really small, maybe even a little good hearted public shaming is called for, but anything further than that is completely unnecessary.