Three hours after midnight is awfully early to rise from the bed. It feels even earlier when you achieved little sleep in anticipation of this day.
A quick shower and brushing of the teeth offered a little refreshment, but in all honesty, it was very little. The clothes were already pulled out. Long pants and long sleeves were the go-to choice of clothing. It wasn’t because it was cold, or even chilly for that matter, but because of the other purpose they were serving.
The camouflage pattern gives away the purpose. Lightweight and designed not much different than a form of netting, the purpose was to keep the body hidden while still allowing air to breathe through for warmer climates. Carbon was embedded to help trap bodily odors that were going to occur whether the person in the clothing could tell or not. Of course, the odors were not being trapped so people couldn’t smell them.
Deer have a heightened sense of smell. It has often been said if a deer had a turkey’s sense of sight, people would hardly ever spot deer in the wild due to the combined senses.
For several months, the trail cameras were taking pictures of a batchelor group of five bucks. Two were on the smallish size, likely year and half old each. Two were sporting typical eight point racks, with nicely curved main beams and a spread just to the ears. The other, well, he was what really drew interest.
The last remaining buck had some age. Along with the age, he had acquired wisdom. He always came into the field a little later than the other four. He always left a little earlier. Even though the trail cameras that were set up around the property were infrared, he knew they were there.
You could see him look at the camera in at least half the images that had him framed. But only a few showed his full body. He tended to stay just to the edge of what the camera could pick up in the dark of night. His eyes were bright, and occasionally you could see part of his crown of bone. The antlers grew throughout the summer and even in the early stages even a novice hunter could tell this was going to be a trophy.
He now sported eleven points. Five on one side and six on the other, with the extra point splitting just at the end of the main beam. The other side had a lump that was symmetrical with the other antler beam and its extra point.
The brow tines, the points that advanced straight up from the main beam right at the skull were long. One had a curl and the other remained straight.
In one of the few clear images, the buck could be seen with a sagging belly and a back that was beginning to sway. His age was telling on him well before the antlers began their new growth. He was consistent in coming to the field and feeding, but again, he knew when to come to the field.
The goal was to be in the stand by 4 a.m. This was a time when the batchelor group was on the other side of the field for the last few weeks. If the pattern held steady, they would be coming near the stand around 6 a.m. It would be a long dark sit, but in order to have a chance, this is what it would take.
Two days prior I poured some corn 20 yards from the stand. This was not so they would necessarily graze there. It was mainly to try and give them pause before entering the woods before daybreak.
This scenario will play out for a multitude of bowhunters on opening day. And the anxiety and excitement of the hunt just from typing this is nearly overwhelming. Are you ready?