As every hunter in Virginia knows, the first weekend of October is the beginning of archery season. For someone like myself that only hunts with archery tackle, this is my favorite time.
It is my chance to get into the wood before most of the other hunters. Archery season is not that big of a deal in where I live, so my friends and I don t have a lot of competition. Although less competition doesn't always mean better results. On October 5th of this year i was amped to hit the woods. In the off season and leading up to opening day, I had gotten some new gear that I was excited to use.
Usually, James and I will spend opening weekend at my family farm. It seems that no one Bow hunts in that area, so we take full advantage of this. As soon as Rifle season opens in that area it is a bit more hectic with the hunters using dogs to hunt. But this year work schedules did not allow for that, I spent opening day in the local national forest. This allowed me to hunt and be within 30 minutes from home if I was needed. (My wife had just recently had an outpatient surgery and was a little concerned about me being 3 hours from home for 4 days.)
I got to the woods around 6:30 am and waited for the sun to rise enough to see as i waled through the woods. I allowed my mind to wonder and think of some of my previous years in this same spot. I have seen quite a few deer there, buy for one reason or another I have never harvested one. Out of range, behind trees, no clear shot, too small, or my personal favorite, the time I had two does less then 10 yards from me, but it was rifle season and it was unlawful to shoot does at this point. In my mind today would be a different story. so as the sky began to lighten I got out of my truck and began to load out.
I reached my spot and began to set up my little blind and seat. I start ranging out tree markers and I settle into my seat and start to listen. I can hear the birds start top wake up in the forest. Shortly after, the squirrels begin to scurry around in hunt for breakfast. This is the time of the morning that becomes a bit more challenging.
When you hear the leaves crunching and moving you first think it might be your big deer walking straight toward you for the perfect shot. To walk into work the next Monday with photographs and the story of your harvest. That perfect shot. You know this is you deer and you franticly search for any movement to indicate your deers location. Instead all you find are a few squirrels scurrying around and making too much noise.
This continues through out the morning, and as it approaches lunch time, my phone vibrates to notify me of a message from home. My house has begun to awaken with activity, and due to my wife recent surgery she is unable to keep up so she inquires when I might be home. I check the time before I respond. It is just before noon and other then the squirrels, there has been no activity where I’m sitting. So i decide it is time to pack it in for the day and get home to the family. As I pack my gear to head back to my truck, I stand to move out from behind my blind. As I do so I hear a noise off to my left behind the overgrowth. I turn to follow the noise and see a large deer running up the ridge on my left hand side. There was no time to react as it was over the ridge before I could even reach my crossbow. I started laughing at myself as I reached the truck and started my way home.
A successful day in the woods is not always determined by the amount of animals I harvest, but instead the amount of joy I receive in sharing my story with others.
SIDE NOTE: I was unable to hunt that spot this past weekend and was informed by my friends that they saw 11 deer passing through the area I hunt. I guess they heard I was taking the day off.