“You shot my deer!” I heard a voice exclaim as I sat in my tree stand, watching the steam rising from the nostrils of my freshly downed buck.
I looked to my left and saw a moose of a man in camouflage heading my way. He crossed from “his” corn field behind me into “mine,” heading toward the magnificent buck I had shot only a few minutes earlier.
I’d heard stories of hunters squabbling in the field over disputed kills, though I had never been witness to such an incident. Of course, as with all other things in life, there is a first time for everything. For an instant I contemplated the probable outcome of my engaging in a physical altercation with a man half again my size.
Fortunately, my story has a happy ending. And perhaps semi-fortunately for you, gentle reader, you get to hear it. So gather ’round, children!
When Tim walked up to his buck in the tilled corn field, he was in shock. He’d just broken the state record by more than 50 inches.
Nov. 17 was the first day of Indiana’s 2012 gun season. The location I hunt in Huntington County is somewhat centrally located in an area of farmland and small woods. I consider my spot inferior, because other hunters on adjacent properties theoretically have “first crack” at any deer moving through the area. From my stand I can sometimes see two, three, sometimes up to 12 other hunters at any given time. On the 2012 opener, I believe there were at least eight of us in the vicinity.
For almost 20 years now my plan of attack has been to take two weeks’ vacation from work to hunt deer. Indiana’s gun season generally is 16 days in November: two full weeks encompassing three weekends.
I try to hunt all day from dawn until dark, maximizing my time in the stand. My thinking is, “You can’t shoot if you ain’t there!” And if another hunter leaving at midday or entering before dusk kicks a deer my way, so much the better.
There are downsides to my plan of attack, however. It takes incredible mental stamina to look at the same soybean stubble or corn stalks 10 hours a day for up to 16 days straight and not go mad from the monotony. Happily, the occasional crow, cardinal, squirrel, barn cat, lost dog, low-flying airplane or whatever else shows up to provide welcome diversion and respite.
Hunger also must be considered. Before I began deer hunting, I could take or leave a bologna sandwich—usually leave. Alas, during deer season bologna sandwiches now are my staple. I always have a few in my pack to help ward off hunger on my day-long vigils. Unhappily, no filet mignons occasionally appear in my pack to provide relief, so by about Day 8 I’m sick and tired of bologna. Consequently, I’ve found that I can eat no cold cuts at all the rest of the year. But during deer season it’s a trade-off I’ve been willing to make over the years.