Friday, November 20, 2009

Deer scouting venture (Looking ahead to opening day)

With time running out the need to do some pre-scouting of the gun club property was in order today.

There won't be sufficient time next week for such necessary work with all of the holiday fuss and bother and family obligations that Thanksgiving brings.

So I spent the better part of an hour early this afternoon at the club in Ashtabula County. There, I walked a flats situated between a winter wheat field and a low, undulating ridge line with several deeply cut ravines. Perfect habitat and escape cover for deer.

The flats appeared ideal but twice I pulled up to great-looking locations only to discover that someone else had beat me to the punch and saddled a tree with a metal tree stand.

The ridge appears promising, having a view of the flats below and the top of the knob. The only drawback is the somewhat constricting brush and saplings that dresses the hillside. The view would spy a deer out to well beyond 50 yards but the shotgun sabot would likely have to do a lot of brush busting. That never works, either.

Back down on the flat I continued walking north, close to the end of the property and where it curls around the Grand River. Maybe, just maybe, I reckoned, this could be the place to sit come opening day of Ohio's general deer firearms hunting season on Nov. 30.

(This stand will, though, require a heck of a long drag should I shoot a deer back that far from the car).

Not that going out is mandatory since I've collected two deer thus far. But I would like to add another animal to the freezer. That would greatly help out my daughter and her family who feast on much of the venison that I provide.

So if the weather is kind enough on the opener and I have a little elbow room on the stand, I guess I'll hunt the club.

Otherwise (or if the weather is particularly unpleasant) I'll return to my archery stand and its fabric tent-like blind. The only problem here is that the landowner requires any hunting to be archery only. I could be pretty frustrated if I were to archery hunt and see that none of the deer comes to within the 20-yard window I've declared to be my shooting venue.

Still, the scouting was a nice way to spend an hour afield, especially since I hadn't visited the flats, ridge and adjacent woods in more than 20 years.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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