Deer and duck seasons are still open in various parts of our region. If you have any doubts about a season or an area, check with the appropriate state conservation department.
As I write this article in the third week of January, we have been through a couple of cool snaps with another on its way.
The week before Christmas, our deer were herded up and moving. Boy meets girl: you know what I mean, Vern? We were seeing deer on every outing. As a matter of fact, on or about the early morning of Dec. 21, things picked up for me.
That Friday morning was rather chilly and foggy. Hunting by myself, I got in the “Empire” stand, so named because of its height. Even with the big Steiners, my vision was less than 100 yards or so. Along about 7 a.m., though, the fog seemed to move around, opening up in places.
To my north I saw what I first thought were two coyotes running. The Steiners revealed two deer — a big deer running ahead of a smaller deer. A doe and a yearling I thought. The deer were running from my left to my right, from an old slough to the area we refer to as the beaver dam on a bayou.
Then, as if on cue, the bigger deer started a slow turn toward me. I could see horns. A bunch of horns. Then this deer was running. From the first sighting at probably 400+ yards, he was closing the distance between me and him.
I started developing a shooting solution. Initial data shows a 150+ shot out the east window of my stand. Hey, I can handle it. I had three bullets and a big field to commence this exercise.
Looking out the window to the north, I got my little .257 Short Magnum out the east window. A quick look to the east to get things oriented and a final look to the north. Everything was going as planned.
Back to the rifle and my window of opportunity. But no deer. Be mindful of my “blind spot” between the window to the north and the east window. What had happened? A sneak look through the north window and no deer.
Now back to the east window and a hard look to the north. There he was, slowing to a walk. I was by then physically contorted, trying to stay in my chair and get some kinda sight picture in the Leupold scope.
For a moment I thought I would shoot from the north window. Deleting all previous data, I went into the “manual” mode. At probably 100 yards, the Model 70 blecked its 120 grain baby warhead down range. And just like that, it was over.
Yeah, you believe that don't you? I then had to get that huge (248-pound 10-point) deer in the Toyota. Oh, I drove right up to him OK. I had a piece of four-wheeler ramp in the truck, but I couldn't pull that deer up the ramp.
Finally, using two ratchet straps, I got him up far enough to pick the end on the ground up and slide, metal to metal, deer and ramp into the bed of the truck. (I found out you can't wash your hands with a Diet Coke.)
It's .22 Hornet time now. One rifle, one shot, one kill.
Please be mindful of our safety requirements. We've been at this now seems like all winter and might become complacent with what we are doing.
For those of you still interested in shooting, be reminded that many areas across the South might have an extended goose season. This hunting will require some planning and lots of effort, but it can be lots of fun.
Always check with the local conservation department for the exact Ps and Qs of this possible extended season.
If you get a chance, take a kid fishing or hunting. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy our outdoors. Some of the best meals and friends are made “at the camp.”