October 3, 2011

Opening day of deer season, 2011...

Oh yeah, it's that time of year again. Time to get out the bow, the arrows, the scent killer, sunscreen, candy bars, bottled water and make sure the I phone has all the latest games and apps loaded. It's deer season.

It's been many years since I've been able to get out there on opening weekend. But this weekend, I was going to get out there no matter what. I had a vacation day that had to be burned by this past Friday or I would lose it, so I took the opportunity and me and my lifetime hunting partner and wife, Terri, hit the road on Thursday night.

We pulled into the Days Inn in Decatur full of excitement and pre-hunt jitters. We unloaded the van and went inside got the room set up and headed out to supper. A side note...if you're ever in Decatur, go to Casa Torres..AMAZING mexican food. I had the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas and they were awesome.

On Friday morning we headed out to the lease and cleaned up our hunting areas, got our stands and blinds put up and started "scounting" around to see if anything interesting had happened over the last year. Lots of fresh deer "sign", so it looks pretty promising.

Before I go on, let me define a few things. In my mind, you have your three levels or categories of hunters...1. The Part-Time Hunters, 2. the Highly Interested and 3. the all-out Maniacal, Blood Thirsty Savage, Caveman inspired hunter. I happen to fall somewhere in between # 2 and #3, ok so I'm closer to #2. But my wife, she's the poster child and all in for #3. I've never seen a hunter, male or female like her. She wants to get in the stand by midnight and not leave until the dew starts falling after sundown. There are a few exceptions to that rule though..coyotes yelping and wildcats screaming. But that's fodder for another story.

So, opening morning, we're up by 4:30, dressed and out the door by 5:15. We're only 11 miles from the lease, so we've got plenty of time before sunrise. It's still very dark by the time we get to the stand and since it's the first day of the hunt, my wife asks if I will help her carry her stuff to the stand. I agree, knowing that it's not the stuff she needs help with, but more the safety of her reaching her blind without hearing the aforementioned "coyote and wild cats" yelping and screaming.

I get her set in the blind and I'm off to my tree. Well, I'm sort of off to my tree. I get in the van and drive 1/8 mile down the road so I don't have to walk an extra 1/4 mile into my tree. I get parked, turn off the car and send up a small prayer to keep me and my partner safe this weekend. Well, for some reason my eyes don't cooperate when I urge them to "open".

The next thing I know, I've taken a little cat nap and the sun is up. So I jump out of the van, grab my backpack, my PSE bow and my quiver of arrows. Don't be too impressed fellas at the name of the bow, it's super heavy, has a counter weight on the front about a foot long and was made probably right after the turn of the century. But it's accurate and has a cool camo paint job.

By the time I get to the tree, every deer in Wise County was alerted probably because of the manner in which I entered the woods. I know there isn't a tree, branch or shrub that goes in a straight line from the parking spot to my tree that didn't get snapped, broken or tripped over. By the time I get to the tree the sun is hot, the birds are chirping and the deer that WERE close are somewhere near San Antonio by now.

So I get in the tree and begin waiting out The Mighty White Tail deer. 9:00... nothing...9:30 ... I've now seen a dozen small, yellow butterflies... 10:00...I catch a glimpse of a lizard running up a tree 10:30...a squirrel entertains me for about 15 minutes.

Well, I'm a growing boy, so by 10:45, my stomach is making more noise than my cumbersome entrance into the woods several hours earlier. So I climb down out of the tree and head back to the van for a little food to quieten down my rioting gastric devices...and another quick cat nap.

I get back into the tree at about 11:40 and begin my sit in again. Nothing for six, count 'em, six hours. Except the blazing Texas sun. Of course, my tree faces south and the sun is beating down on my left side. I now look like I went on vacation to some sunny destination but only half of me showed up.

Finally at around 6:50 p.m., I'm about to call it a day and head back to the van. But...what is that? Do I hear Mr. or Ms. White Tail making an entrance? I hear the slow, methodical steps of something moving very slowly to my left and behind me, crunching the brittle leaves in the woods. I S-L-O-W-L-Y turn my head to my left and there she is, Ms White Tail, cautiously making her way into the clearing to hunt for fallen acorns or some other forage.

I slowly clip my bow trigger onto the string of the bow and S-L-O-W-L-Y stand up and turn to the left. I have to do this in partial movements because Ms. White Tail is watching this strange shape twenty feet up in a tree changing shapes with each time she glances up. She finally gets to 15 yards and a good broadside shot with her head down. I pull the string back ever-so-slowly and settle the 15 yard pin at the top of her back. Suddenly a jolt rocks my entire body and I almost lose control of all bodily functions. WHAT THE H&11 WAS THAT????? I had left my cell phone in my front shirt pocket, ON VIBRATE, and my hunting and life partner chose THAT moment to text me saying her crossbow was jammed.

Well, it' all over at that point. My arms are shaking, my legs are shaking and I'm fighting off the almost impossible urge to evacuate from every opening. But I steady myself, put the pin back on her shoulder and release the arrow...THUDDDDD! Two feet below her...Oh great, she zips off into the woods..but wait!!!! SHE STOPS 30 FEET AWAY, WAITS TWO MINUTES AND COMES BACK EVEN CLOSER!!! Ok, i get to redeem myself for a horrible shot. She walks in this time at 10 yards. I again, raise the bow, settle the pin on her and release again...THUDDDD!!! I missed under her by two feet...AGAIN!!!!

Now, this is the same bow that I put five arrows into a 2" group at 20 yards just the day before. What happened I ask myself furiously? I immediately realized that even though it was ten yards, it's also 20' up into a tree and you have to compensate for the radius change of the shot..and I didn't do that. So I had two elementary shots thud between her legs.

So, dejected and defeated by Ms. White Tail, I crawl out of the stand and head to the van. I'm sitting in campe and making small talking with Robert, a long-time family friend and quite honestly a young man that is like one of my own sons, when I hear "AHHH OOOOOOOOOHHH, OOOH , OOOH, OOOOHHHHHHH!!!!!!...A coyote screamed out across the woods, very, very close to my wife's blind. I made and offhanded comment to Robert, that Terri would be calling inside a minute...wait for it, wait for it...and right on time not thirty seconds later, the all-out Maniacal, Blood Thirsty Savage, Caveman inspired hunter, my wife, sends me a frantic text saying "COME AND GET ME NOW!!!"

More to come during the season, so happy hunting in 2011, Texas...

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

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