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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"In my experience, there's no such thing as luck" ~ Obi-Wan, Star Wars, 1977.

“At 4:30 a.m., we assembled at the barn, donning warm camouflage gear, loading our guns, before stealing into the woods, finding our deer stands in spite of the darkness. From our perches (Marsh’s was 15 feet above the ground) we wait, watch and listen. You wait for daylight to provide enough light for the hunter to actually see the deer to be able to shoot it…”

Marsh and Dad went 'deer hunting' again this past weekend. I think the only thing that died was the poultry sacrificed for their fried chicken platters. Thank goodness. Where a Drylie is concerned, ne’er has deer blood been shed. The first morning, still overstuffed with Thanksgiving Day turkey, Dad found Marsh had snuck down off the deer stand and tip-toed back to the truck where was sound asleep ‘waiting’ for Dad.

I have known your dad for over 23 years. Many times he has traveled to Georgia to sit in a deer stand and ‘hunt’ deer. Waking long before dawn, great-Grandma would rise early, cook him the big breakfast and off he’d go. I miss great-Grandma. In the early years, Dad went with Uncle Dan, the man who taught him how to hunt and fish. These are fond memories and Dad is recreating them with your brother. Male bonding Marsh calls it. Deer or no deer, it’s a rite of passage.

There are 34 known species of deer. Deer are found on all continents except for Antarctica so it would make sense someone would want to hunt some of those deer.

So who is this talented huntress and just who shot this deer? This is my ‘deer’ friend Dani's first deer, an 8 point, 153 lb. buck. Dani loves to go hunting with her dad, too. Last fall, she shot a gobbler with a 9 inch beard and 1 1/2 inch spurs. It weighed 23 lbs! Dani is in the sixth grade. I think this would make her twelve years old.

In order to salvage what is left of the Drylie family pride, I have found out what I think has caused this lack of deer luck. Dad and Marsh have been the victims of ‘sneaky deer’.

Deer Hunting Tips: (per the National Association of Deer Hunters)

To have a successful deer hunt, the following tips may be useful

There are Three Types of Deer Sounds. Perhaps you can mimic one of them to coax the deer into your range of fire.

Snort - A snort is typically used when a deer is alarmed. They will also use it to alert other animals of a possible intruder

Bleat - A bleat is generally used by does when they feel scared or are in danger. Using this type of call can be effective because it may attract the attention and curiosity of the bucks.

Grunt - Bucks typically grunt when they want another buck to leave their territory. Although using this type of call can be effective it does not always work because it may actually scare off the bucks if they think another buck is making the noise.

Look for Acorns

While you are on the lookout for a good hunting spot, look for an area that has a few large oak trees with large amounts of acorns on them. These areas will become favorite spots for the deer to feed as the acorns ripen and fall off.

Pre-Season Scouting

The first step for successful pre-season scouting is to determine what and where the deer eat. They will frequent this spot throughout the season so it is a good idea to find them early on and scout their movements to and from this area. You can start scouting as early as the summer, but be careful to keep quiet just as if you were actually hunting. You do not want to scare the deer off before the season even starts.

Beware of Sneaky Deer

Some hunters will find they have tried everything and still no deer. Some deer, especially the older and wiser ones may not run as soon as you spook them. Instead they may try to hang their head low and sneak by you. Other deer may just lay low and hide, hoping that you will just walk right by. It is widely believed by most hunters deer are smarter than human beings.

Well for goodness sakes, now we know! I asked Dad if there was something he would like to add to this list of deer hunting tips. He stated he was apparently 'insufficiently informed' regarding deer hunting tips, hence his lack of success. Dad’s gun has malfunctioned twice during his last two hunting trips. Twice he has gone out unprepared, once with his gun loaded with birdshot and not buckshot. Dad says you can’t kill a buck with birdshot, you’ll only piss him off.

We have respectfully asked Dani to accompany Marsh and Dad on their next hunting expedition.

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