Recalling joys of past deer hunting seasons
The weather did not cooperate for the last weekend of the last deer season. In Iowa, we have some sort of deer season from October through January. One would think, we would have had our fill of deer hunting from bow, shotgun, muzzleloader and fi...
The weather did not cooperate for the last weekend of the last deer season.
In Iowa, we have some sort of deer season from October through January. One would think, we would have had our fill of deer hunting from bow, shotgun, muzzleloader and finally rifle season.
I find this not to be the case. I enjoy the hunt more than getting a deer and am almost always ready to go on another hunt.
Saturday morning, rain was pouring down. At the end of January in Iowa, most anything can be falling out of the sky. This day, it was a cold and blowing rain. I have hunted in driving snowstorms, heavy fog and on hot sunny days, just this year alone. I filled a buck and a doe tag, but have three doe tags left. My freezer is full, but I know a couple of people that still want a deer.
I carefully weighed the options, to hunt or not to hunt. The thought of standing around in the rain or slogging through the mud, just seemed too much work to get one more deer. The lazies were rapidly setting in. My son, Damon, and I went back to the cabin, built a fire and watched it rain on the lake.
Looking across the rolling hills brought back memories of each and every hunt. We have had a successful deer hunting year. Other than the minor incident of hitting some ice and rolling my pick-up during first shotgun season, the hunts were pleasantly uneventful. Nobody sustained injuries bad enough to prevent hunting the next day.
Bow season in early November was wild. Bucks could be called and came either rushing through the dry autumn leaves, or sneaking in cautiously. Everyone I know passed up numerous deer that could hang on a wall, always waiting for a bigger one. Some people got the trophy, others are still waiting. We saw more deer during the first two weeks of November than all of the rest of the seasons combined.
Shotgun season is when we get together with friends and family to fill our freezers. For over 20 years, there is an annual gathering at my place to hunt deer, tell lies and catch up on happenings with friends we only see once or twice each year. Nobody went home hungry, but we were all a bit tired from fighting snow, dragging deer and reminiscing until all hours of the morning.
Organization falls apart after the regular shotgun season. It is difficult to find two or three people that want to or can go hunting at the same time. Up until this time, most of us have spent every free moment deer hunting for close to two months. There is a limit. Chores at home that have been neglected need to be done. Wives want to be taken Christmas shopping. There is an almost endless list of things that prevent organizing a regular deer hunt. Most hunting is done one person at a time when that one person can get away for a few hours.
Damon and I sat in the warmth of the cabin, telling each other of these solitary hunts. It is nice to be alone in the woods, standing quietly, waiting for a deer to pass and watching the animals in their natural habitat. I also enjoy stalking silently to see how close I can get to an animal before it realizes I am there. In the fresh snow, it is easy to see, but also to be seen. Hunting skill is matched against the instinct of the prey.
As the sun set over the lake, the rain slowed to a drizzle. What could have been a soggy hunt turned out to be a pleasant time of reliving past experiences. Some days, a bad case of the lazies and a warm fire are better than a wet deer hunt.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.