Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Quest for Venison

The legends were in place:

If you want [it], you'll have to get up before day.
"Well then I'll get up before day." - Old Jack Beechum, paraphrased

View from the stand - looking down the draw (I sat in this stand and did not exit once from 0600 to 1500 on Saturday, and again from 0615 to 1100 on Sunday):

Didn't see a single deer to shoot at, so I got up and stalked around on top of the ridge. Ten minutes into that, I kicked up two does - they had been bedded down just ~50 yards east of me on the ridgetop. Needed a buck though, and I only saw their flags waving at me anyway. I'll tell you this: the landscape is unsurpassed. Big River could be seen from the stand looking east. To the south, the mouth of the Whitewater River snaked through the last of its valley. To the north I could see across to the next ridge over. To sit up there, deer or no, was truly a privilege and I'm thankful to the folks who granted me passage. Here are a couple shots looking out from the top:

On the second day, three more does were jumped up to me at the top of the draw. Never did see a buck (lottery area, and I wasn't a winning ticket). As Sunday wore down, I took to sitting in a few different places and watching and listening for a while at a time. I saw three different woodpeckers (pileated, downy, red-bellied), brown creepers (first time I've ever been able to watch that bird), chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches and bald eagles. As a final salute I captured this portrait of a somewhat-forlorn but very-at-peace hunter staring out at The Driftless.


Blogger amanda said...

Just two days is tough. MW has spent the better part of 3 months, incuding much longer daylight hours during those, patiently watching & using every tactic he knows... and still has only arrowed one deer this year.
He's put in more consecutive time than ever before, and yet harvested the least venison.

Sorry to hear you didn't come away with any venison, but it sounds like you still found some good things to take away from the experience.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Good persepctive there - thanks. It's hard to say that you feel like you "failed" when you walk away from a stand like that. While no deer was taken, it seems like more of a "it didn't come together situation."

Maybe I should have tried rattling or grunting.

Regardless, I'm disappointed to have no meat in the freezer.

12:16 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

Know what you mean. Just one deer her does little to feed a family of seven for a year. We're feeling it too.

Mitch will probably be giving it a final attempt or two before New Year's Eve.
I hate to say of desperation, but it does seem he's a little frustrated about the hunt this year.

Deer are smart. Especially those mature bucks. They have ridiculously better sense of hearing and smell than we do, they know when something isn't right in their woods. We have to respect them.

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