My deer seasons had settled into a routine. Constraints from the day job allowed for a week off each year. Family commitments and extracurriculars consistently put pressure on the time available for hunting and seemed to erode actual time in the woods.
Despite this alarming trend, this year would be different. I had accumulated 2 extra weeks of vacation and the plan was to hunt the full two weeks, preferably in multiple spots.
My regular group had recently made a decision to split up the hunt across both weeks, starting with the first three days and ending with the last 3 days. The hope was to disturb the woods less, give the dogs a break, and take advantage of all the groups around us pushing deer around.
The fist three days passed by in a blurr, with one buck down on the first day. Taken by a new hunter in our group with a .30-30. Coincidentally enough it was taken in the same location where I took my first buck. Quite the coincidence. No other deer were seen though and most in our group were glad for a bit of a break.
After the last hunt of the day on the Wednesday I moved on to my next leg of my two week journey. The hunt continued with my Uncle near Peterborough. I swapped out my rifles and the bawl of the hounds for a .50 cal muzzle-loader, a tree stand, and the peaceful serenity of some freshly fallen snow. Some of my first hunting experiences were here in Bethany, in the very same tree stand. With that in mind I pondered the difference between then and now. Life had changed dramatically, my approach to hunting had changed, as had my mentality. I can recall my first trips where I hadn’t seen anything, and couldn’t but help internalizing it. I felt like i was moving too much, had too strong a scent, or had done something wrong to scare away the deer. The reality was that I was merely impatient and didn’t understand that Deer hunting is often a game of chance encounters, especially when sitting in a tree stand.
The quiet provided a much need opportunity for some introspection and thought, and the setting provided the stimulation. It was pretty easy to get lost in this scenario, and as the snow built up on my camo and fire arm, I felt like I had become part of the woods.
On day three in the morning, my trip through this winter wonderland was abruptly halted by movement on the ridge in front of me. It seemed as though a buck had materialized out of nowhere and decided to meander towards our setup. He was in no hurry, and surprisingly, neither was I. Another change from my first years hunting.
After a time I levelled the muzzleloader, placed the reticle on the body and made the commitment. 200 Yards later and the second buck of the group was down.
You can talk in terms of points when referring to a deer. If that is the measure than this was a 10 point atypical with and extra 2 brow tines on one side. However, my preferred terms are those of lbs taken and freezer space occupied. In those terms it was a solid 190 and my portion filled my small stand-up freezer.
Well worth the two weeks.