I'd love to be posting how I went out this morning and I took the 130 class buck we have been after since this summer. I'd love to have an amazing story to tell you how the majestic buck walk in right at day like and proceeded to chase does all morning before before I could get a shot off at him, but that's not the case, I'm going to tell you the story of a how sometimes a big, bad trophy hunter needs to take a deer to fill the freezer. Haha.
It has been unseasonable warm here for this time of year, opening day of rifle season highs were to be in the mid 60's, this is something unheard of in north central West Virgina. This time of year, highs in the mid 40's are considered blistering, so you can imagine the difficulty of trying to harvest, gut, drag, and process a deer with highs in the 60's. With this weighing on my mind I thought to myself, I only have today, Thanksgiving, Friday, and Saturday to hunt this week due to work and my freezer was nearly empty form last year. Not to mention, my dragging buddy, Jay, wasn't hunting with me to week due to his work schedule, so any deer I took this week was all on me to drag out this week.
Now that you know the frame of mind I was in and the envirmontal issues I was dealing with, but now onto how the day went. It was another opening morning, not as much excitement as there is normally for bow season, not sure why, I love rifle season, but there's still not the same excitement, maybe due to the fact I was heading out alone this morning. I got to my stand just before day light and jumped into stand and just hoped that to day turn out a little better than my dismal bow season had done. As I sat there and watched the sun start to peek over mountain ridge behind me, I started to hear the first shots of the morning. It did start slow, but I knew it was from the lack of shots ringing through the woods that it wasn't only myself that wasn't seeing a lot of deer that morning. It wasn't to long into the morning till I started to see some deer, little did I know, this would be the only group I'd see.
Rifle season actually has me watching behind me in the treestand more so that the traditional way I should be, but I use the same to bow hunt out of so I figured I'd saw more deer crossing behind me this morning that I had any year previously. I kept my eyes peeled for deer leaving the feild top behind me and coming down the ridge line behind me to creek that ran 45 yards behind my stand. It only took till 8:15AM to have the deer start trickling down the hillside looking for a drink in the unseasonable warm morning. I first spotted a doe with two fawns, one still having a faint sign of spots on it. You can call me a sucker but typically I don't try to shot a doe with fawns, then seeing that the does had her tail in the half cocked position I knew she was in heat, and proceeded to steady my rifle on the spot they came from, because it was only a matter of time till a buck was going to be trailing her. To my surprise, very soon after I not only had one but two deer in my scope, both were does though, also with their tails cocked. At this point I was sure a buck was on his way, and boy was I right. It was only a matter of a few minutes until I had a buck in my sights, it as a tall, heavy antlered spike, that right, the deer I had been waiting on, was a spike; Knowing that a larger buck could come a long at any moment I decided to pass on him. I then proceeded to watch these deer play games with each other all down the hillside, with a few times still putting my crossharis on the buck questioning if I should have just then the spike to get some meat in the freeze and get it processed before the day got hot, but the idea of what he would grow into next year got the best of me and I let him finish walking out of sight.
After letting those six deer walk in and out without even firing a shot at them, I proceeded to kick myself for letting them walk because I knew those does would taste just as well as something with antlers on it. As the mid day rolled around I decided to stay on stand for all day and just eat lunch there, I'm glad I did. I wasn't even two bites into my pepperoni roll (it's a West Virginia specialty that I'm sure not many other people will know what I'm talking about, but I plan to post a recipe for them sometime) when I saw a decent sized does start walking off the hillside. I slowly put away my food and got my rifle of the hanger. Still not sure if I was going to take it I thought what was the harm in being ready. As I watched this doe for what seemed to be a half an hour, it was actually 15 minutes, all the thoughts of being that it was now in the mid 50's, I didn't have anyone to help me drag it out of the valley, and there could be a buck trailing it. Then I finally thought I need meat and I have the rest of the day to process it, but only if it would get in a place that I wouldn't have to drag it out of the valley. So I left shooting this deer up to where it wanted to walk, funny and lazy I know, but honestly I thought if it walked away without getting a shot on it I'd get to see more deer that day, if not I finally had my first deer of the season in the freezer. Needless to say the deer choose wrong, it not only walked in the towards me, and then just a few yards above a side road that ran next to the creek. After seeing this and knowing everything I was lining up perfect for me I let a shot ring, the doe dropped right in the middle of the road for an easy job of gutting and dragging it out, now as I right this I have it quarted out and half of it deboned. I apologize for not having any pictures, but it was a hot day and I was by myself so my first thought was to get it processed and put into the fridge. I promise if I take anymore deer, even a doe I will get you guys a picture.