Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Deer Hunting 2014 Ends with Lesson Learned

Yes, that's four different camo patterns.  I'm extra invisible this way.

Deer season for rifles rolled around again this year and I went during the first part of the season near Fall River, Ks.  I arrived on a Friday evening and spent the night on the land.  I woke up early the following morning and crawled up into the stand.  The waiting game began.

I spent all day Saturday with a break for lunch and Sunday morning in the stand.  Unfortunately, I did not see any deer at all.  My wife's uncles only saw three in total in that same amount of time.  I still had a great time though.  I had a squirrel crawl up into my stand and look at me like, "What the hell are you doing here!?"  I also worked on identifying the different songbirds including black capped chickadees and tufted titmouses.  I even saw a few blue birds and blue jays.  And one of the little guys took a crap on me.  Solid weekend.

I was disappointed, but undeterred for the January anterless-only season.  I went back to the land on a Friday night the second weekend of the anterless season and spent the night.  This time, I worked on controlling my scent a bit better than the last time by showering with unscented body wash and shampoo.  I also washed all my hunting clothes and undergarments in de-scenter laundry detergent and placed those garments in a plastic tub to keep them from picking up any odors until I got to the land.  I woke up, put on my clothes and made my way to the stand in the early morning hours.

My tools for the job.

It was much colder than the December hunt.  The temperature plus windchill made it feel like it was in the single digits that morning.  I had anticipated this and used chemical warmers for my body, hands and feet.  I also had three layers on my bottom and five layers on the top.

A gunshot rang out around 0930.  I immediately texted my wife's uncle to see if it was him.  It was!  Unfortunately, the shot missed and the doe did not present another shot for him as she ran around briefly before zipping out of sight.  1045 rolled around and it was time for a lunch break.

I climbed back into the stand around 1200 and kept watch until 1415.  We both came back down for a quick snack and then back into the stand at 1500.  Legal time was to end at 1756.  I kept watch, but still did not see anything as the hours passed.  I started to grow a bit frustrated.  The sun set.   I could not see very well as the light began to fail,  I decided to call it quits at 1748.  I quietly stood up and laid my rifle on the floor of the stand.  I was two steps down when I realized my mistake.  My head whipped around as I heard the snort and I saw a flash of white tail rear end disappear into the trees not 20 yards from me.  The deer had been behind a clump of four trees that had blocked my line of sight.  I kicked myself all the way home that evening:

"What if I had just sat till the end of legal time?"

"Would I have had a shot eventually?"

"Maybe it was a buck and I could not have shot it anyways."

"Would I have even seen it if it was in front of me?"

I would have answers to these questions if I had just followed a simple rule:  Stay in the stand to the end!  Thus, the lesson was learned.

Still, I did have a good time.  Being in the outdoors is a change of pace from my desk job and usual grind.  I also learned that I still need to adjust my hunting wardrobe when it comes to very cold weather.  I needed a better outer bottom layer.  Something with a bit more loft to trap the warm air generated by my body would have been perfect.  I was also lent a pair of boots with Thinsulate from one of my wife's uncles.  They worked great and plan on getting a pair for myself.

Have you missed an opportunity the way I did?  What other tips or lessons have you learned over the years?  I would love to hear them.  Please comment below and "Share" this post with others so they don't make the mistake I made!   Thanks for reading.


  1. Our freezer shall be venisonless this year too. :-( We spooked them the morning we went out and then didn't see anything that eve. Then didn't get to hunt the next few days because of the flu.

    1. Disappointing :( I was really hoping to bag one this year. I've had terrible luck the past three years. First year I saw nothing, second year the shot wasn't there, and now this year.

      Hope everyone is feeling better!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I had a similar experience a few years ago. It was my oldest son's first hunting trip. Saw lots of sign, but no deer. Anyway, one afternoon, we took up a position on a mountainside overlooking a large meadow and old logging road running left-to-right in front of us. We had a good view of the meadow and up and down the logging road except for about 20 or 30 feet that was blocked by brush. There was a trickle of water that ran down the middle of the road, and a clump of brush that we could tell the deer had been feeding on. As it started to get dark, we decided it was time to start heading back to camp, and decided to follow the logging road a bit. About 30 yards from where we were sitting, I found fresh deer prints. Sure enough, turning to look back at where we had been sitting, it was that one area that had been blocked from view.

    1. I think they know! It's amazing how quiet they can be.