Bow season finally arrived. There was plenty of deer on the cameras, but they all were coming into the area just before sunset. After a long road trip during the week and a late night, I decided I would get up about 3:30am and assess how I felt before heading out.
The alarm went off on time and I turned over to shut it off. As I rolled back over I noticed my youngest laying between my wife and I. Again, it had been a long week in which I was gone from the family and it felt good there in the bed. Knowing the deer were not usually out in the early morning, I slept in.
I loaded up everything and headed to the stand in the early afternoon. There was fresh sign of where deer were there the night before. Per the camera shots, they should be there about 30 minutes before sunset. The weather was good with only a slight breeze and it was blowing away from where the deer should be entering. It was going to be a very good day.
For a couple of hours (yes, I get in early in case any deer were to notice me coming in) I sat there checking and double checking my yardages to various spots. The big leaf, 23 yards. The bright green lump of grass to the left, 17 yards. The trampled area just in front of me where the deer should head toward, 10 yards exactly.
I checked the football scores on the cell phone, reading the updates on my beloved Wolfpack as they struggled early and then marched to a resounding victory.I saw that the Yankees were getting swept in a crucial double header with the division leading Blue Jays. I read social media posts from other hunters in the field.
Until it was time for the deer to start showing.
The cell phone went in my pocket. The arrow was nocked. I was at the ready. Still another 15 minutes before a deer should sneak her way out below me.
“Blam. Blam. BlamBlamBlam.”
I jumped on the first blast. Gun fire. Not shotgun fire, no there was no one shooting dove. This was the distinct sound of rifles. They were not hunting. They were simply shooting. Maybe they were sighting their rifles in getting ready for a few weeks later when gun season comes in. Maybe they were just shooting for fun. It didn’t matter, immediately after that first round of shots a doe screamed from about 50 yards away from me. I knew then my hunt was over that evening.
They continued to shoot for 20 minutes or so. At the end they were firing something like an AK rifle based on how they were shooting.
Another hunter I met when I was teaching bowhunter education several years ago sent me a message later that evening wanting to know how I did. I told him what happened. He went on to say he was in his stand after watching day after day of deer coming out only to be foiled because the farmer started taking in tobacco that day while he was hunting.
Neither of us were upset at the shooters or the farmer. You see, they have a right to do those things. It is their land to manage, to play on, to live on, whatever they may want to do. Just as it was our right to hunt the lands we were hunting. We were down a little because of the possibilities of the hunt. But that is why the season is longer than just opening day. We get to enjoy our activities as long as we can. No matter what they are.