Opening day was Saturday here. I was hunting solo. It was about 25 degrees with a heavy frost. The leaves were crunchy until about 8:30 then as the sun got up, they thawed and turned quiet. I was out at dawn looking for 3 does and a 4 point that have been bedding close to my parents’ barn for the last week or so. They weren’t there. So I worked my way to my usual stand and sat until 9 AM. I didn’t see a thing except red and gray squirrels, and a red fox.
I heard one shot to the north about 8, one shot to the south about 8:45 and at 9 AM someone emptied their gun off across the road about ¾ of a mile away. 4 rapid shots. I thought “sounds like a miss” I better look that direction.
I worked my way to a good vantage point looking downhill at a swamp and thicket that the bucks like. I stood behind a HUGE old stump at least 2 feet in diameter and 10 feet high with an oak grove behind me and swamp thicket below me.
I saw nothing but squirrels for half an hour and then a black mink worked his way toward the swamp. The leaves were so quiet with the melted frost by this time that I could only hear him when he jumped. When the mink walked on the leaves 75 yards away I couldn’t hear him. A few minutes after I lost sight of the mink I heard one crunch of leaves. I thought - that’s probably that mink. I'd been watching the swamp 100 yards away by peering around the right side of the tree and had not seen anything approach. But the sound came from where I could not see it unless I looked around the left side of my tree. I did so casually expecting to see the mink or a squirrel. What I saw was a deer 50 yards away coming right at me! I have no idea how it got there. My best guess is that it was bedded in that think brush and just stood up – maybe to take a look at the mink. I took a second look, sweeping the area to make sure that this fat doe was alone since I know at least two does are still travelling the area with fawns. There were no fawns in sight and I should be able to see everything within 100 yards. BANG. I put a shot between her shoulders at a sharp downward angle and I had to look carefully to see where the deer went. She hit the ground right where she stood. I eventually spotted a hoof sticking out from behind a large tree. She hadn’t taken a step. When I walked up, my “doe” turned out to have little spikes.
I used my antlerless deer tag, so I can still look for a buck when my son and I go out later this week. But it is good to have meat for the freezer. Thanksgiving dinner will be wild turkey and whitetail backstrap. I think that’s the way thanksgiving dinner ought to be