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Walter Scott: A measure of success

Thursday morning was cold, the wind was blowing, and rain was coming down in sheets. It makes me glad, some days I have to go to work. If I were not working, I would feel obligated to go hunting. The deer rut is in full swing and it is only a matter of time before the deer of one's liking passes by. The deer are running around like crazy and will come when called with rattled antlers. A person can't waste these few precious days of the rut. As hard as it is to admit, with weather like that, work in a nice warm office is better than freezing high up in a tree that is swaying in the breeze while cold rain runs down one's back.

By early afternoon, the rain quit so I left work. My pop-up blind, that I have been sure was in a perfect location, was still in place. I changed clothes, grabbed my gear, and headed for the timber to hunt for the last couple hours of the day. When I approached the area my blind was supposed to be, I saw my chair, but no blind. The tent was still being held by one stake but was flipped upside down and over the edge of the ditch. The canvas folding chair was still in place after the raging rain storm, only because the seat will hold about a gallon of water, enough to weigh it down. I dumped the water out of my chair, flipped my tent back into position and nocked an arrow in preparation for the deer that would surely pass by. I sat quietly for a half hour or so, waiting for everything to quiet down. If anything happened to see me wrestling a tent uphill, they should be miles away by then. This waiting period gives a person ample time to measure distances to surrounding trees and check the contents of the blind left from the last hunt. I discovered foil lined cardboard peanut containers get soft and limp in the rain but the peanuts left inside are only minimally damp. A person always gets hungry while waiting and damp peanuts are almost as good as fresh.

When I finished off the container of only moderately soggy peanuts, I used my rattling antlers to test the area. Smacking the two shed antlers together sounds like two bucks fighting. During the rut, deer will come from near and far to watch the fight. Before long, I could see something moving in the thick brush across the creek. I clashed them together again. A young ten point buck came toward me and stopped within range just off to my right. The only deer I was going to take was a doe for meat or a really big buck to hang on the wall. Medium sized deer would have to wait a year or two if they wanted to make my freezer. I still could not resist playing with him. When he turned to walk up the creek bank, I rattled again. This time he came back, standing directly in front of me in the creek bottom, and stared at the blind. After a few minutes, something spooked him and he bounded off into the timber. I rattled again and again he came back to investigate. By the time he lost interest in the fight he could not find, it was getting dark. No more deer came in and I did not get meat for the freezer, but I consider it a successful hunt when a person can call in deer and watch them up close.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.