November 17, 2013
It was a dry, crisp day. I was hunkered down in my favorite ground blind. I was sitting on top of a bank, with a great view through the hardwoods in front of me. Oh, the hours I have spent there, left to only the solitude of my thoughts. Sure, I have seen plenty of deer in this spot, and pulled the trigger on a few, but when you spend daylight to dark in one location day after day, season after season, there’s a significant amount of time for one to be all alone.
It was a little past noon. I hadn’t seen a deer all day. The only excitement to that point was the mouse that insisted we share the blind together. I heard a few crunches in the leaves and turned around to see my dad heading my way. He hadn’t seen anything either and had decided he was going to head to another spot that parallels a power line down by where we park.
Dad did give me a handy piece of information, however. He walked along an active scrape line that began approximately 150 yards from my stand. Fresh rubs dotted the landscape, rubs that were not there five days prior when Dad was on a late scouting trip. These rubs had been made since then. His words to me were, “You need to stay put.”
A shot rang out from the direction of the power lines, some 750 yards below. Understanding that jumped deer tend to make their way to our piece of the woods, Dad decided to head back to his morning stand. I settled in for the afternoon. My mouse friend reappeared, and we shared the peace and serenity that only the deep wilderness can provide.
As the 4 PM hour arrived, I had yet to lay my eyes on anything exciting. 4:30 came and I began to resign myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen on this day. I began to prepare a mental checklist of where in my backpack my headlamp was, as well as my orange hat. On days like today when there isn’t a lot of action, it seems that last half hour of shooting light lasts forever.
At about 4:35 PM, I heard the succinct sound of walking in the leaves. I turned my head to the left and saw him. A deer with a nice rack was unsuspectingly walking my way, on top of the same bank I was sitting on. He turned slightly to the right and was now directly over my left shoulder. The buck closed the gap to about 15 yards and stepped behind a tree. It was at that moment I knew it was a done deal. He took two steps and I fired, dropping him where he stood. After injecting another shell into my 35 Remington and putting the safety on, I walked up to my 7-pointer.
Dad heard the shot and came up to admire the deer. It was dark by the time he got there. We had a long, but enjoyable 3-hour drag through the darkness, reaching the truck by 8:25 PM. An unassuming and quiet day in the woods paid off in the last few minutes of legal shooting light. Patience and perseverance had won the day.