Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold weather deer

Last Friday was ending up cold and snowy so I figured it might be my last opportunity to archery hunt for deer.

The property owner where I hunt plows the main driveway but the access road to where I normally park isn't cleared, and the way the snow was forecasted to build up I figured it was now or never.

The thing was, the deer had not been visiting my bait stand during regular business hours.

Rather, they were making their withdrawls of corn at night or during the day when I wasn't hunting.

Not this night as a nice-size button buck strolled in right at sunset with 30 minutes of legal shooting light still left.

My view was horizontal and seen through a slit zipped open in the doorway of the fabric ground blind. The animal had glanced over in my direction once before beginning to feed.

An arrow launched from my Horton crossbow passed through the animal, almost always a fatal shot with quick results.

But the snow was falling so fast that i was afraid I'd lose the trail if I waited too long.

In fact, even after just 15 minutes the trail was being filled in by the falling snow. I figured I needed toget a jump on tracking the deer and couldn't wait too long before taking up the search.

Fortunately the button buck hadn't gone more than 20 yards.

After field dressing the animal I had less than a 100-yard drag back to my small SUV.

The point of the story says that late season archery hunting can be very productive if one is dressed properly and is patient. Deer can get accustomed to a ground blind (it took about one month in my case) and will settle back in to a routine after the various gun seasons have ended.

Ground blinds are a whole lot more comfortable than sitting 15 feet up in a tree ladder.

Now my freezer is filled with venison from three small deer and I've helped reduce the deer herd in an Urban Deer Zone.

Hopefully I'll still be able to get out and see if that 10-point buck will make an appearance since I have left my one either-sex tag.

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