The 2012 firearm deer season is behind us. From what I have heard and experienced, it was a good year for deer hunting; with a strong rut coinciding with rifle season and relatively fair weather. There are still opportunities for a successful hunt this year with the muzzleloader and archery season still ongoing.
My season is over and I am reluctant to say I did not get a deer. But, for those of you not familiar with deer hunting and for hunters that like to hear stories from other hunters, I will share the story of my first day out during rifle season.
I was up early for my first day out in the woods. With gear packed and a full belly, I was on my way to my favorite hunting grounds. I arrived about an hour before daylight. The sky was mostly clear and the temperature was in the 20's. There was only a slight wind to contend with. With it being cold, and a slight dusting of snow on the ground, it was crunchy walking. About a quarter-mile from where I parked, I took up my spot on a bend in the logging road I typically hunt. I got myself situated on the berm, took a seat and waited for the daylight to come.
At the start the only view I had was the snow-covered logging road. As the sky began to illuminate, I was slowly but surely able to see farther off into the bush. The first activity I noticed was the howl of a coyote off in the distance. The second was the rustling of something moving through the brush across the logging road. I wasn't sure what it was, since it was barely light, but it was definitely something scurrying off deeper into the bush. After that it was the occasional blue jay, chickadee, squirrel, or raven that passed by.
It was about 9:30 when I started to get a chill and uncomfortable from sitting so long. It was still too early for me to want to move so; I tried to deal with it. Eventually I was too impatient and uncomfortable, so I decided to stand up.
When I did, my feet made the slightest rustling in the frosty leaves covering the ground. It was mere seconds before I heard something else moving behind me.
I slowly turned to peer into the woods, looking for a squirrel or bunch or leaves shaking in the wind. That's when I saw the deer. It was coming straight toward me.
As soon as I could make it out clearly, I realized it was a buck. It had obviously heard my crunching and rustling and was coming to investigate. Once he was in plain view, he stopped and looked directly at me. I was standing as still as possible but he knew that I was something that didn't belong in the woods. He then proceeded to march even closer in; never taking is eyes off me. He stopped and stomped the ground trying to get a reaction from me. I felt pinned and unable to move without spooking him.
As he started to get ready to bolt, I tried my best to get the rifle up but he was quicker than I, and disappeared into the thick brush he had emerged from. That is the only buck I saw during the season and as any hunter knows, I'll be playing that experience through my head 'til next year.