Sunday, December 16, 2012

Still deerless with a gun; even after 31 hours

Thirty-one hours and three counties.

And still zero deer. None seen, none shot.

Can’t get much more disappointing, more discouraging for sure.

Certainly it wasn’t for a lack of trying today, Day One of Ohio’s Two-Day so-called bonus firearms deer-hunting season.

Well before sunrise and a good 30 minutes before legal shooting time, the game feeder spun, flinging kernels of corn in an arc around the tool.

Over the past three months a well-positioned trail camera had repeatedly taken shots of several visiting deer. Including just after when the game feeder’s timer is set to go off.

Yet no deer appeared, magically or otherwise. Nor at the several other times the camera’s digital eye had winked an a.m. sighting.

It was cold, though. Enough so that a few times I wished Channel Five’s chief meteorologist Mark Johnson was here. That is, tied to the hunting blind’s chair and him wearing nothing more than a pair of boxers or briefs, his choice.

During Johnson’s 6 p.m. night-before weather forecast he chirped the day would see a high in the mid-40s. He was off by about 20 degrees, and in my misplaced trust I had foresworn heavier/warmer footwear.

It was not all unpleasant, this stump sitting for a deer, but without the stump.

Always remarkable to watch, a Cooper’s hawk used the oak-studded woodlot for its hunting grounds.
A marvel of flight adaptation for woodland hunting, a Cooper’s hawk glides no less effortlessly than it does silently.

Maybe the only better bird of prey at this game is the great-horned owl, which also claims dibs on the woodlot.

The Cooper’s by day and the great-horned by night, come to think about it; a perfect predator duo arrangement if there ever was one.

I’m detouring, for which I apologize. Back to the deer hunt, or what was left of it.

Morning turned to noon and noon bowed to the afternoon which then passed the baton onto evening. 
Or as close to evening as the law allows, which in the case of Ohio’s various firearms deer-hunting seasons officially is tucked in at sunset.

Stubbornly determined to hold out to the end, I held a death-watch for the bonus two-day gun hunt. I promised myself I’d quit two minutes before the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s hunting law digest time table said I was required to unload the shotgun and stop the hunt.

Fair enough. Not fair, however, was having punched 31 hours on the combination gun seasons without so much as catching the flick of a deer’s vanishing tail.

Maybe there’s a dozen reasons for all of this, I thought.

Perhaps EDH had struck the locale’s deer herd this past dry summer. Or it is possible the state has oversold its kill-deer mantra regarding the taking of does in Northeast Ohio.

Then again, one cannot rule out just plain bad luck. It happens. Sometimes to the best of the better deer hunters, not that I consider myself in that class, mind you.

All I know is that my muzzle-loading rifle is primed and ready for the up-coming statewide primitive weapons deer-hunting season.

Even after a 31-hour dry stretch it’s always best to play the optimist. After all, the longer you go without shooting a deer the closer you are to, well, killing one, I’ve always said.

Only next I hope I’m right.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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