At The Hunt Blog our mission statement is to share stories about hunting and fishing with our readers as we believe that this story telling process is what keeps our tradition alive. The journey so far has been great and we have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people in the outdoors community and collaborate with some terrific writes. This post comes from Lydia Keen an outdoor enthusiast and prolific writer. She has a wonderful blog you can reach at http://www.luckofthebuck.com and has graciously agreed to doing a fantastic guest post for us. So give it a read you wont be disappointed and check out her blog. Keep your stories rolling in!
Something that I absolutely love about hunting is the ongoing ability to always discover something new about the sport. I still consider myself somewhat of a novice in the hunting world but I make an ongoing effort to learn what I can along the way. Last year, during my first white tail hunting season, I had a lot to learn and a lot to experience. When it came to where I would be hunting on the hunting camp property the more seasoned hunters put me in a “desirable” location hoping for me to have a great first white tail hunting experience.
I didn’t know why the location was desirable; all I knew was I needed to sit up in the tree stand and wait to hopefully see something. There we sat, my boyfriend and I; bundled up in the middle of winter in Alabama, 20 feet high in a double tree stand overlooking a somewhat dry oversized field. I had a great view if nothing else.
I had no clue that over the next few hours I would see some signs from nature, subtly telling me I did in fact have a prime hunting location in my hands. It all started with the coyote howls. Although it didn’t seem to be coming from close quarters I could still identify the animal as being within a few miles from me. I knew enough to know that coyotes are no friends of deer (although they coexist) but it also crossed my mind that if coyotes are around then the possibility of food for the coyotes, such as white tail deer, may be in the vicinity as well. When hunting on a large amount of unfenced property in the wild some people go for weeks without seeing any hunt-able game. I decided to take the sound of the coyote as a positive. I knew there had to be deer around.
The next sign that nature gave me was my intimate bobcat encounter. I was relieved to know I was camouflaged well enough when a bobcat crept directly under my tree stand totally unaware I was sitting a few feet above him. In Alabama it is legal to kill a bobcat by gun in gun season but I opted out. Knowing that the bobcat is an occasional threat to deer I was tempted to shoot but nature told me not to. Really, she did. I again took the run in with the bobcat as a positive sign that animal life was around me and a shot to the bobcat may jeopardize me seeing, let alone killing, anything on my first deer hunting trip.
I let the bobcat continue on its way and I sat believing that my decision was the right one. It wasn’t even 30 minutes later when I was anxiously straining my eyes through the scope of the Browning .270 to see what sign from nature was coming my way next. From about 70 yards away I could see a twelve point buck standing in the middle of the scenic field. I shot once, my partner shot once. From 70 yards away I was certain the stud had gotten hit but his disappearance into the woods would make it hard to prove.
Tracking the buck and any blood seemed to be impossible. I was starting to wonder if I had misunderstood what the woods had been telling me that afternoon. I went back to hunting camp that night confused. I was certain that the buck was supposed to go home with us that night. I was certain I had been reading the signs nature had been sending me correctly. It wasn’t until a day later that nature’s final sign to us read clearly. I was at my office back home while my boyfriend sat in the same tree stand we both had sat in the day earlier. There came the final sign, vultures. The vultures swarmed the area of brush near where we lost our 12 point the afternoon earlier. Minutes later I received the phone call that our buck had been recovered.
Nature hadn’t led us in the wrong direction, our gut instincts were right. The buck now hangs proudly on my wall and I have a great hunting partner, good aim, and nature to thank for that. The biggest lesson I learned last hunting season was to listen to nature; to be observant, patient, and one with the woods. It was nature that led me to believe there were potential deer around me and it was nature that led us to our season’s trophy and my first kill. Now having more experience in hunting, I know there are numerous ways to select hunting spots but when all else fails you always have nature to listen to. When you keep your eyes and ears open to nature you might get lucky enough to show off your listening skills by hanging your newly harvested trophy on your living room wall. Happy Hunting and don’t forget to let nature be your guide.