Not to insult my sister or my wife but the fretting and work of an archery deer hunter supersedes that of them getting the house ready for the up-coming holidays.
We're not talking about lugging down last year's tired displays of Santa Claus, Thomas Kincade's collectors' Christmas village buildings nor endless strings of LED lights and fake evergreen vines.
Nope. Many (Or most) archery deer hunters began their preparation way back in the summer when mosquitoes ruled the forest and last year's miss on a trophy buck is a sore – but fading memory.
Cranked up by mid-August was one of three electronic game feeders followed two weeks later by the second and two weeks after that by the third.
A check of necessary equipment was made, pop-up hub blinds installed in their proper positions, and crossbows examined for zero at the shooting range.
Good thing, too, since one of the two Horton crossbows was shooting one foot high and about the same to starboard at the paper target set at 15 yards.
Some dialing-in was necessary though the first crossbow – a Horton Vision – was fine-tuned by only the third shot.
Not to be forgotten was the placement of trail cameras at each of the three hunting venues; fairly represented by single sites in Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties.
Letting the trail cameras “soak” for several days at a time their respective SD cards would be removed and then installed into a digital camera and examined for any deer activity.
Alas, of the three cameras one recorded no deer on the first nor the second inspection while another camera repeatedly was being tripped by a pair of does but mostly after dark and never in the morning.
As for the third trail camera that one showed both good early morning and late afternoon activity at the feeder, the problem being the images appeared to show the same two does and the same two fawns. One of which still possessed the ever-so-slowly-fading fading spots of a young animal.
That fawn deer will be off limits until well into the season and likely its momma as well.
Along the way has been purchased numerous 50-pound sacks of corn with many, many more sacks yet to be bought before the season ends the first Sunday in February.
All of which is just the beginning, of course. Added to the blinds were the required chairs, water bottles, plastic urinals (yep, you read that correctly), the placement of thermometers at each location, second-grade apples added to supplement the corn, mineral blocks strategically placed, the double-checking of pre-sighted objects with a laser range-finder, the purchase of extra Thermacell insect repellent and butane fuel bottles, and a host of other chores intended to get the shooting centers primed and ready.
At home there's been the slow but steady work of fueling the hunting backpack designed to carry the required truck used by me during the archer deer-hunting season.
Stoked so far into the backpack has gone three (yes, three) field-dressing knives, a breast splitter, a must-carry copy of Ohio's current hunting law digest, the latest copy of the NRA's “American Hunter” magazine for reading material, a never-yet-used compass, and a back-up camouflaged face mask.
Yet to be added is that Thermacell mosquito-repelling device though I did toss in a different kind of bug-chasing tool that I bought for a song and a dance a few days back from Bass Pro Shops' Knoxville, Tenn. Store.
Oh, and I still have to rummage through my storage bins for my black-dyed sweatshirt, hat, gloves and what-not along with a signal whistle, an Earth Scent wafer, compact binoculars, one Zip-Lok bag containing a reasonably well-endowed wad of toilet paper, a back-up crossbow cocking rope, and another Zip-Lok bag containing the material required to complete the check-in procedure should I actually happen to kill a deer any time soon.
I'm sure I'll miss something. I always do including once or twice either a quiver of arrows or even the actual crossbow.
Likewise a time or two I've been forced to wear my street shoes or a pair of sneakers because my hunting boots were at home and I didn't have all that much time to hunt after work.
Then again, an archery hunter never can be too careful. There's always that one little piece of “must have” gear that has been gnawing away at your mind and wallet.
Which is why, come to think about it, I have this sudden urge to visit my local Gander Mountain store.
After all, an archery deer hunter can never, ever have enough stuff.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn