By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Deer season came in this past weekend, and while I’d have liked to have been in the woods, circumstances just wouldn’t allow it. It’s been like that the last couple of years. Between the toddler, the newspaper, and general household needs, it’s hard to find the time to get away.
As much as I love sitting in the woods at daybreak – and venison steaks – I can’t say the sacrifice hasn’t been worth it. And I know there will be plenty of time for hunting, and butter-basted tenderloin, in the future.
I just wish the deer wouldn’t taunt me.
Every hunter knows the age-old issue of never seeing what you are hunting when it’s in season, and seeing a lot of it otherwise. But it seems my deer take it a step further. Not only do they show up in turkey and squirrel season to taunt me, they show up during season, right in the open field below the house, but only when I don’t have the time to be there where the trees meet the hayfield and creek.
On Monday, as I left for school board, the two fat does who stood there grazing didn’t even do their perfunctory run into the tree line as my car crunched down the gravel drive. Instead they continued their eating, only glancing briefly in my direction, one looking up to stare as I slowed to a brief stop, and otherwise ignoring me as I kept on down the road.
The sun wasn’t quite down yet, but it was the waning of the day. There was still more than enough light left to shoot. There they stood completely exposed. But there wasn’t a thing I could do.
We all know that, once I have an evening free and can go sit there in the woods, they won’t come out like that. Not until the sun is completely down and I can’t see to shoot.
Usually during modern-gun season I won’t see one at all during daylight hours. They’ll stay holed up somewhere from sunup to sundown, then they’ll gather in masses down in the bottoms once they know they’re safe for the day.
But give me a busy day, and they’ll be sure to cavort along the creek banks, cross the road in front of me as I’m out delivering newspapers, pose silhouetted against the horizon, and otherwise gambol about.
I have lots and lots of photos of plump does and bucks well-appointed with an impressive rack of antlers to back this theory up. But even though I care more about meat than antlers, my freezer will probably stay empty again this year too.
I swear I think they’re doing it on purpose. Somewhere, back in the trees, they gather around the salt lick I left up the holler and laugh at my scheduling issues. I just know it.
Jeremy D. Wells can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org