Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
As you probably know, it’s deer season again. It’s hard to miss, even if you don’t hunt, what with the sea of orange vests and camouflage coveralls lining up at the gas pumps in the morning. (Bowhunters, please bear with us, we know you’ve already been out in the woods for months.)
I got out into the woods for modern rifle season a little bit this weekend. On Sunday, as I sat under the branches of a big beech tree, within spitting distance of two large scrapes, watching the sun come up, I remembered back to gun season last year – my first on our new property – and the light skiff of snow that covered the ground. Thankful for the unseasonably warm weather, my mood turned with the weather as a light rain began to fall. At first I thought I’d wait it out. It wasn’t raining hard. But as two big drops hit my glasses, I decide to give it up.
On the hike back off the hill it seemed like it was going to pass, but as I started for another stretch of woods to do some still hunting the rain came back and I decided to walk on home and make coffee.
Every hunter has experienced something like this. You’ll see deer in your fields all year, but sit out in the cold and wind waiting to see one and nothing happens. In deer season we’ll see nothing but squirrel. Go squirrel hunting, and it’s turkey everywhere. Take off in turkey season and jump rabbits out of the bush. Take the dogs out to rabbit hunt, and have a young pup take off after deer. It’s almost like mother nature revels in taunting us sometimes.
Sometimes, though, fate smiles on you.
A couple of years back, during a brutally cold muzzle loading season, I sat out in the snow until my nose was red and my fingers were numb. It was so cold the little bit of coffee left in my insulated mug had started to freeze. I decided to call it quits. I took the cap off my muzzleloader, slid the gun into the backseat, and drove into Sandy Hook for more hot coffee and a plate of biscuits and gravy from the Penny Mart.
After filling my belly, and thawing my nose and toes, I headed for home. As I pulled into our driveway, though, three does (or two large does and one yearling button buck, it was hard to tell for certain) ran directly across the drive in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, threw the car into park, jumped out, put a cap on my rifle and – as the biggest doe paused in the trees on the hillside above our barn to glance back at me – fired.
The shot was good, and well placed just behind the left shoulder and through the heart. The doe ran parallel to our yard until she was directly above our backyard. Then she fell down, dead. After all that waiting and freezing and shivering, I filled our freezer with meat from a deer I almost hit with my car, in my own driveway.
It was easily the least labor intensive deer I’ve ever harvested. I field dressed her on the hillside, then dragged her maybe 15 yards downhill before hoisting her up on the back porch to hang.
I probably won’t get that lucky again this year, or ever, but a man can always dream.
Jeremy D Wells can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.