Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bow Season 2011: A Soggy Opening Day

For anyone that hunts, you know one of the most exciting days is opening morning. Yesterday morning started bow season here in West Virginia. All the excitement, anticipation, traditions, and hopes. The only part that we weren't looking forward to was the forecast, well only half of it. There was a cold front moving through that would be putting the lows into the upper 30s. With the cold front moved in some rain and possibility of snow was also in the forecast. I'd prefer snow, but it's so wet out now the snow won't matter much.

This past week was a blur with the anticipation of this weekend, many calls were placed between Jay and I making sure all our plans were set. Not to mention a few runs to the store to pick up those last minute items. After everything was double and triple checked, all we needed to do was sleep. The anticipation made it hard to sleep, we just wanted to sit in our tree stands.

Jay and I are always eager to get to our tree-stands, this year was no different. The only thing that was different this year was the fact that we decided to take the ATV instead of our usual vehicle. This didn't matter much in the morning as there wasn't much in the rain department, but it was a little chillier for sure. This gave us the chance to be a more quite getting into our stands, and boy was that a mistake.

 As we both turned down the trail that leads to my tree-stand, we noticed a few sets of eyes around and under my stand, normally this wouldn't have meant much, but one set of eyes didn't match. They had a greenish tint, a little lower to the ground, and the width/distance between the eyes were a lot larger than the rest. At this point we looked at each other and knew it wasn't a deer, but continued to slowly walk towards my tree-stand in the pitch dark at 5:45 AM. We made it to my stand and and continued to discuss what it was. As  it left it made a good bit of noise and took off in the opposite direction of the deer.

After a moment of discussion and deciding that Jay shouldn't walk the same way as the animal, what we would later agree on being a bear, we were trying to listen to see where it went to.
Now this is the interesting part, as everything started to calm down we heard it, we both looked at each other and headed for my tree-stand to try and see what made the noise. The noise, it was a horrific, blood curdling scream that sounded like a young child being beaten. Quickly running through my mind was what it could be, it wasn't a coyote, bear, bobcat or fox, at this point we were clueless as to what it was.  Now, we might have over reacted, but at the time we had no clue what to think or what it was. After whatever it was left, we decided to head back towards the ATV for a little while to let it leave the area, not to mention everything that ran off ran towards Jay's stand, so we decided to be cautious and give it a few.

We took a short break and decided to head back into our stands, this paid of immediately as I already had a deer at mine, and Jay had some come in shortly there after. The first deer I had come in was a small 5-point, but he'd wouldn't leave the thick cover. A little over an hour later, I had a doe and fawn come in, these two stayed there for what seems like forever, but even with a 11-yard broadside shot I couldn't bring myself to shot a doe at 8:30 AM opening morning. It slowed down greatly after that, I had a group of three does bed down roughly 150 yards away from in the some laurel and not until we started to walk out at noon did I see any more deer. It was a small, barely there 3-point and then a spike. By noon the rain had picked up to a heavy drizzle, Jay decided to head back to Bruceton to hunt the afternoon with his dad and it was time for a hot drink and some dry clothes.

The rain only continued once I got home and the temperature continue to drop. This was a hard decision to make, it was opening day but was terrible conditions to bow hunt in. At this point I knew what I needed to do, but decided to take to twitter for some opinions. After a short discussion with Tommy at Following Ghost and @firstlightgearI knew I was making the right choice and not going back out to hunt. Even after that I went against my better judgement and headed back out, although I did take my bow, my main weapon was going to be my camera, but I didn't even need that. Yet again the only two deer I saw that afternoon were on the way out, another set of bucks, but this time it was a 4-point and a spike. Despite it being soggy and not seeing a decent buck it was still a great day, I was able to sit in my tree-stand, what else could I ask for.

Oh and for that noise, after some research and asking a few more seasoned outdoors man than myself we came to the conclusion that this unholy noise was a Fisher. Yes, a fisher, I had no clue those little vicious animals could make such an awful noise. Now to leave you with a little view of what I spent most of my day looking at.

Panoramic view from my tree-stand. Click on picture to enlarge it. 


  1. Love to photo! Great stand location!

    It is hard to have one in range and pass it up, but I think you made the right call. Best of luck on your next outing.


  2. I have had the water scared out of me by things that go bump in the night. Beautiful set there. Good luck and glad I don't have fishers here.


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