Freezing sometimes has bigger benefits
The long awaited gun season has finally arrived. It is not that I do not enjoy bow season, I really do, but the odds of success are much greater during gun season. Chances of getting a deer during bow season, especially if a person is a bit choos...
The long awaited gun season has finally arrived.
It is not that I do not enjoy bow season, I really do, but the odds of success are much greater during gun season. Chances of getting a deer during bow season, especially if a person is a bit choosy, are around 50 percent. With the added range of a gun, those odds get close to a 100 percent success rate. It then comes down to which ones and how many.
Early Saturday morning, I went out to care for the livestock before heading out for a long day's hunt. I noticed it was quite cold, but did not seem too bad. I dressed appropriately for what I thought the temperature would be. A person needs to have enough clothes on to keep warm while on stand, but not too many to cause one to overheat while walking.
When we got to the farm, I realized I may have underestimated the number of layers that would keep me from getting cold, while either blocking or driving. Over the next hour, the usual crew trickled in while we ate our typical deer camp breakfast of pickled eggs, herring and deer sausage.
The biggest topic of discussion was not the deer population or how many big bucks were in the area. The most important thing seemed to be who had on the most clothes and would still be mobile enough to shoot if left on stand for an hour or two. Walking the hills and ditches at my place is a lot of work on a good day. Usually the preferred job is blocking, which only entails standing behind a tree and shooting deer as everyone else struggles through the woods. Since rank has its privileges, not to mention I own the farm, I usually am one of the blockers.
Saturday, we had to beg and cajole to get anyone to block. I discovered rank does not have all the privileges, as I got to block when I would have preferred to walk.
On the first drive of the morning, I stood on top of a hill facing into a strong, north wind. Shooting started as soon as the drivers entered the woods. In a few minutes, the blocker to my left shot. I was not shooting. I was not seeing any deer. I was slowly freezing to death. Nobody came out of the timber in my direction.
Eventually, I could take it no longer. If they ever came out of the woods, it would be better to find their blocker gone than frozen in place. I briskly made my way toward the cabin and discovered the whole group merrily working at field dressing several deer just over the first hill. At the cabin, I found nobody had turned down the wood stove before we left. The temperature inside was around 140 degrees; just about right. I was warmed all the way through by the time the next drive started.
This time, my blocking position was facing south next to a nice warm cedar tree. The wind at my back and the sun in my face, how could it get any better? It did get much better when the deer started streaming out ahead of my drivers. It was then I was able to determine why people stand out in the freezing cold to shoot a deer. This is really fun. I could pick and choose, taking a big buck or a mature doe at my leisure. The only limiting factor was the number of tags the party had.
By the end of the weekend, we were dangerously close to filling our limit, but had a great time doing it. Several of us came close to freezing to death, but our children will not go hungry this winter. We were more than willing to make the sacrifice for the cause.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.