An End to Muzzleloader and the 2021 Season
If you read my post from last week entitled, “So This Is What the Deer Look Like,” or saw it on CNN, my own two eyes saw a deer on December 4. Actually, it was five deer. In the woods. While I was hunting deer. If you recall in my post, I was in quite a state of shock.
Well, after a short, four-day workweek, I headed to the great outdoors again this past Friday. Hoping to capture lightning in a bottle, I headed right back to where I saw the five does the previous weekend. Maybe, just maybe a buck would accompany them this time.
It was a windy day on Friday, a cold, biting, punch you in the face wind that was relentless. This was not a day conducive to sitting all day in a stand. Determined to spend some time in the area I know funnel deer from their bedding to the acorns below, I split the day into thirds. I sat for a couple of hours and when I couldn’t take it any longer, I got up and went for a walk to warm up. It allowed me to grab a trail camera that was set up a couple of hundred yards away and proved to me that the recent deer sign was right where I was sitting.
The final sit of the day would be the longest one; from 2PM to dark, which is about 4:45 PM. This would also be the most important part of the outing, seeing as deer are known to bed during the day and come out in the final hour of legal shooting light. I have been blessed with seeing a lot of deer from 4 o’clock on, including the nice 7-pointer I got in 2013 (See the post “Last Minute Buck”).
At about 4:15 PM, I caught movement out in front of me about a hundred yards. It was a deer trotting from the left and toward the acorns over the bank off to my right. I pulled up my muzzleloader and checked in the scope. A doe. She was followed by a young fawn. A couple of minutes later, a third deer, another doe, stepped into view about 70 yards out in front. I heard a snap and looked to my immediate left. A fourth doe was closing in, coming down the slight bank to me. She stopped at about 30 feet and finally realized something wasn’t quite right. She took off around a brush pile and circled to where she was standing about 15 yards broadside in front of me, checking me out with her nose. I could tell she wasn’t sure what I was, as she wasn’t looking directly at me, however, she stomped in my direction several times, trying to get me to flinch. She also attempted to put her head down and immediately lift it back up to call my bluff. A veteran of these games, I didn’t budge. After a few minutes of watching this amazing performance, she lifted her fluffy white tail, whirled around, and beat feet out of there. A fifth doe came into view at this time, oblivious to my presence.
I’m positive these were the same five deer I encountered on December 4. Alas, there was not a buck with them. I’m not surprised, as it being this late in the season, the rut is most likely winding down and these deer have probably already been bred. I didn’t care though. It is always a treat to see this amazing animal up close and the skills they utilize to survive each day.
It wasn’t a great season regarding shooting a deer, or seeing many, for that matter. I’ve learned over the years not to measure success by these two categories, however. In a world that is fast becoming unmanageable, and with stress levels through the roof many days, I was able to spend countless hours in the woods with my dad and on my own. I feel my batteries have recharged as the calendar flips to 2022. Plus, the next deer season is only eleven months away.