First Bow Hunt of 2009

Today was the opening day of the Early Antlerless season in southern Michigan. I made it out to the woods for an evening sit that was quite eventful.

I reached the hunting area and survey the land. Nothing has changed, not really anyway, since I started hunting here about 20 years ago. That’s good, change is bad. Would likely mean the land was sold and I couldn’t hunt there anymore. The front field is still standing corn.

I have always thought it would be cool to hunt standing corn, stalking on the deer that live in it while it stands. The corn appeared tall enough. It was still nice and green so it would not sound like walking on crisp tater chips. So it was on. Name of the game was Cornfield Stalking for Deer.

I took about three slow, cautious steps into the corn. Each step got louder and louder. I slowed down but it still sounded like I was rubbing a tater chip bag against my body. Turns out the lower half of every stalk was dried out already. Game over. Deer 1, Nimrod 0.

I slowly worked my way back to the wood line. Not sure why I was going slow. The noise was the same whether or not I took my time. I might as well had been singing a tune at the top of my lungs. I finally made it to the wood line after the noisy walk and busting countless spider webs with my face.

Since I have been hunting and roaming this small wood lot since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I have no idea how the deer act on it. They seem to wander around aimlessly, sometimes coming in front of my while I am hunting. During this time of year I do know that they use the lot to go between the cornfields. And I know there is a creek they must cross to get to one of the fields. I found no less than four nice paths they have been using to cross.

While deciding which trail the deer wouldn’t take tonight, I somehow flushed a turkey from a nearby thicket. I guess he thought I was figuring out a way to make him dinner. To bad I didn’t see him and the season open isn’t open yet. I choose a trail that I could sit on and watch most of the other crossings, giving me a chance to learn for next time, unless I forget before next time.

Not an hour after I sat down, a doe deer crossed the trail the furthest from me. I had chosen right. Then a little bit later a tree rat started playing around, jumping from tree to tree. Might have been more than one, but the understory I was under was too thick to get a good look. Still wonder how an animal that size can sound like an elephant knocking trees over.

I was taking in the nice cool, beautiful evening when I caught some motion out of the corner of the eye. It was close and was moving. I slowly glanced over to see a black critter crawling on the other bank of the creek. I was about ten feet from the beast and boy was it mean looking. Stood about 4 inches at the shoulder, about 20 inches long, jet black body and a brown tail. First I thought it was a black tree rat, but then realized I was dealing with an elusive beast. I watched and my mink friend hung out for a lil bit and then left off on a hunt of his own. I wished him luck, knowing I had pizza waiting for me at home, and he would go hungry if he failed on his hunt.

The night moved on and the tree rats, song birds and crows kept the wood from being quiet. Actually the darn things were so loud I couldn’t hear if a deer had walked up behind me making moose antlers with its hooves.

I tried ever trick I could think of. I stood up to stretch, leaving my bow, I took drinks of pop, I sat is positions I could not have shot my bow from. Everything short of eating a candy bar to get the deer to come out. They had worked in the past, but nothing worked tonight. I am really starting to doubt that you can lure deer in like some claim. But like most things, nothing works all the time.

Slowly the darkness took over and I got up to leave. I slowly worked out to the field line, thinking maybe a deer would be doing the same toward me. Turns out there was a deer nearby doing the same as me. We meet up and the darn thing turned and ran like I had bad breath. I stood still for a few seconds, and it sounded like she had decided I wasn’t as bad ans she first thought so she would come back out. After a few seconds I realized I was hearing the noise of her walking further away, not coming back to me. Figures. Like women, deer make a split second decision based on the smell of someone and never come back.

No worries. It was the first hunt of many for the 2009 season and I had seen more deer than most of last season combined! I think ole Nimrod just may be getting the hang of deer hunting.

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