Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hunting Deer, Unsuccessfully

Yesterday, Ravenwood had a post about this story on the proliferation of deer. In a nutshell, deer are reproducing like crazy. Our environment has become more forested, animals have more food and shelter, there are fewer predators, and there is less pollution. I remember the dire warnings from Paul Ehrlich and Rachel Carson. Both posited a silent world of starving humans with a few wild animals competing for the limited resources. Boy were they wrong.

The article mentions that in some areas there are 30-35 deer per square mile. You could not prove it by Bill and me. We went deer hunting this year and brought back bupkis.

We were out on the first day of muzzle loading season and had a perfect set up. We knew we had controlled out scent and sound because a coyote went loping across the clearing not 30 yards in front of us. I had it in my scope, but didn’t shoot it. After a long time, still no deer. Not one sight of one.

We took an extended hunting trip in the White Mountain National Forest while it was covered in a late November frost. We found a buck rubbed tree with antler scars a good foot over our heads. Bill sat on a spit of land overlooking a pond criss-crossed with deer trails. I found another place well away from his that was near the juncture of several deer trails. Neither of us saw one deer. Leaving the forest, a flock of turkeys strutted in front of us. Of course, not being turkey season they got off scot free and I could swear they knew it.

Other days led to other nothings. Still, we got out into the woods. Hunting is not just a long walk in the woods. While hunting you extend your senses, you watch for sign, you try to outsmart one of the now plentiful deer. It is frustrating to leave the woods empty-handed imaging the deer laughing as you take off your vest, unload and case the guns, and drive off.

The saddest thing: no venison in the freezer. Always next year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RE: No result deer hunting. Been there, done that. When I lived in Virginia I bagged more deer with my Ford than with my '06. Still had fun tramping through the woods, though.