There's hunting for every season
rom the end of spring turkey season in May to the beginning of squirrel season in September, there is a large blank space of several months when no hunting is allowed. Fishing helps some, but it does not take the place of going after the game that lives in field and forest.
About a month ago, I saw the deer I want to hunt this bow season. The thought of waiting until October to go after him was almost too much to bear.
I finally came up with a plan. I could hunt him with my camera until the time I could go after him with my bow. We take a few pictures of kids, dogs, and wildlife, so I am not entirely a novice with a camera but this would be different. I was going to get a great photo of him on his turf but on my terms. It would be just like getting the big one but not having my wife tell me I could not hang a mount in the living room. She would probably be more receptive to having a nice deer picture hanging there.
A strategy session was set up. My son, Damon had also seen this deer and knew approximately where he moved during the day. I had seen him during the late afternoon and early evening so was fairly certain where he went to feed.
We did not want to spook the deer by tromping through his bedroom while he was still there so we waited about a half mile away with a spotting scope. The big buck moved into a corn field as darkness settled in. We drove around to the other side of the farm, each grabbed a motion detector camera, and headed into the timber. Damon had a good guess as to where the old buck spends his daylight hours.
A hike through several ditches led him to a hilltop covered with thick brush. He placed the camera four feet up on the side of a tree near a well-used deer trail. From where the big deer and his friends appeared at the edge of the corn field, I felt fairly confident I knew where he crossed the fence.
It was getting fairly dark by the time I made it to the deer trail I hoped he used as an exit. The trail came down a steep hill, crossed the fence and continued into the ditch. I secured the camera about six feet up on a hickory tree, hoping to get a head shot the moment he jumped the fence returning from a night's feeding.
Turning to head back to the truck, I fell down the hill into the creek below. This part of photography is very similar to hunting with a bow or a gun. I spend a lot of time falling in and out of ditches. Damon was much hotter from a longer walk but cleaner when we regrouped for the journey home.
The next step was to get enough lenses and adapters to capture a photo through the spotting scope as the buck and his comrades graze on the edge of the cornfield and the adjacent pasture. My wife has been searching web sights and catalogs buying up everything we could possibly need. This part is also a lot like regular hunting. It takes a lot of stuff to go on a camera safari. There is no limit to the amount of money a person can spend hunting with a camera, gun or bow.
Just as in our normal hunting, the anticipation of what might be is the same. The thrill of drawing down and getting a good focus can give a person that familiar adrenalin rush. I think we may be onto something here with four season hunting.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.