Monday, December 24, 2012

My Iowa Shotgun Season Two

Saturday morning, December 8th, the first day of shotgun season two,I was rousted out of bed by my dog Sadie, around 5:00 AM. She was ready for a trip outside and eat her breakfast to get her day in motion.

Our 8 year old granddaughter who had come with her brother to participate in the morning deer hunt, took the air mattress in the living room last night. So, it wasn't hard to wake her up since the front door wasn't far from where she lay. Sadie couldn't resist the temptation of showing affection to a little person, so she pounced as we passed, even though the little person wasn't ready to give the attention back.

Granddaughter, didn't climb out of bed right away, but we talked awhile before it was time to get the guys up so they could get ready before the sun got up too far. All three of them wrapped up,the guys donned their hunter orange even though they would be sitting in the blind. Time passed, the deer passed. The morning hunt ended without bringing home a deer. My  hunters came inside to defrost since the temps were in the mid 20's and they had been sitting about 45 minutes in wait.

I didn't participate in the hunt - instead  I remained inside to prepare breakfast. We ate some freshly made deer sausage from my deer I had gotten on Monday of that week, and a few pancakes served with Maple Syrup.

The guys finished up and went on to do other things. I was still working on frying up the leftover batter when granddaughter and I talked about what I saw for my future whitetail deer hunting experiences. I referred to a post You're Never Too Old to Hunt on a friend's blog of an 85 year old woman who still enjoyed being apart of the  hunting activites in her neighborhood. I smiled at granddaughter's reaction as our conversation continued.

 Granddaughter, still sitting at the table eating her sausage and pancakes, the topic moved  to her desire to learn to use the bow. We touched briefly on how we would go about getting her started in that direction due to her age and stature.

Subsequent hunts didn't happen for me until Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.

Thursday - December 13th

I went out at  3:30  to get situated about an hour and a half  before what has been considered the normal  evening deer movement out of the timber lately. Getting all my hunting garb on and heading for the blind I kept running through my mind where it would be good to go...Sitting there for a few minutes, and second guessing my choice, considering another location, planning an ambush on an east/west transition ; I hurriedly unzipped the door and took off for a spot closer to the drive-way/soybean field.

The family tractor, which sits outside in the same place most of the time allowed for a good place to camouflage my position right by the front tire, eventually becoming my gun rest.

About an hour and ten minutes later I got restless and I couldn't see any deer, so I went into the house for a few minutes after taking a brief survey of the area to check for activity. After my momentary absence,I decided to get back out there a second time.

Returning to the same spot I waited another ten minutes, came around the back of the tractor and was busted by deer standing watching me from the garden. A buck was in this group tonight, one that has been hanging close by the whole season. My buck tag already filled all I could do was watch him. I tried to smooth things over by hugging the big burr oak tree next to me and pretend I didn't move. I braced the shotgun  against the tree in case I should be so lucky as to have a doe continue in my direction, which by the way didn't happen.

Knowing my opportunity for further chances was slim to none before legal hunting hours were over, I  walked the short distance back to the house to put my gun away for the day.

I wasn't unhappy and even amused by the turn of events. The weather has been a plus, just to be able to be outside in almost 50 degree temps in December is unheard of in Central Iowa.

Friday - December 14th

Late Friday afternoon I used the same spot I had picked yesterday. I stood for probably a half an hour before seeing a deer sprint from the south to the north across the field, well out of range of my shotgun.

Hearing the deer conversing with one another behind my present location, I turned around to go look. My immediate reaction was an internal chuckle as they stood watching me from the tree line in the ravine. You guessed it! Today they didn't tarry long with all the gunshots that had recently been sent in their direction.

The weather was cloudy and the wind was out of the south.

Saturday - December 15th

 Late afternoon rolled around and I got all my hunting garb put on. Heading down the drive by foot I took a cut-off to the ravine on the outside of the fence. I didn't want to leave a scent trail in the area where I had witnessed the deer congregating yesterday. Weather conditions were reminiscent of yesterday so that is why I moved in this direction at the start of the hunt.

While I stood in a spot outside the fence on a trail in the vicinity of where I took my buck, the shotguns were sounding all around. I kept watch, because that usually meant the deer would be immediately on the run. Well, in this situation it didn't happen, it was longer for the deer to reach my location than I expected, and they didn't seem hurried by what was happening elsewhere.

I was standing at a north/south fence looking eastward, when I saw a doe hop the east/west fence to get on the northside and continue on her westward movement. Another deer was following, lagging a little further behind, still on the southside of the fence not in a hurry to move forward.

The first doe moved closer to the north/south fence, but stopped to assess the wind before reaching it. She moved forward a bit then retreated to a point where I am sure she was zoning in on my presence. I didn't move a muscle...However, the slight breeze most definitely wafted around me and carried my essence in her direction. That was the first time ever I saw first hand how important it is to have the wind straight in your face. This doe wasn't sticking around for a future show down and took the other deer with her back southeast from whence they had come.

I am no match for running deer so I headed home.

Reaching the homestead via the drive I froze in my steps. Does and fawns were scattered across my yard. There was one young doe who challenged me with her stomping and head swinging before she took off, taking all the others with her.

Time to go relay my hunting experience to my Hubby as he worked ...then to put the gun away until the last hunt tomorrow evening.

Sunday - December 16th

Sitting at the computer at 7:30 AM, working on a post, I turned around to look out the sliding glass door. It was time for the deer to be moving through the backyard on most days, but we haven't had a normal schedule since the end of  Bow Season. Today seemed back to normal because they were eating the dead flower foliage and grazing on the green grass.

Again, I had to chuckle. The smaller one had been closer to the edge of the flower bed chewing the grass, a sibling had been to the right...and the camera didn't want to focus in the low light. Mom Doe stood her ground until my activity, going back and forth , raising my arms with camera  in hand made her extremely nervous. I was glad to get this image to remember the morning of the last day of Iowa Shotgun Season II 2012.

One last late afternoon rolled around and I got all my hunting garb put on. My choice for hunting today would be in the timber north of the garden where the deer disappear beyond my view on a regular basis.

I was standing  inside the limbs of a fallen tree when Miss Kitty came sauntering up to get petted. This was not what I had hoped for at this point. She wouldn't leave me alone as long as I was  there, or anywhere I would try to hide. Sadie wasn't around,I was front and center to try to fill her attention meter.

My concentration on deer hunting wasn't what it needed to be. So, I came into the house to watch what would move passed.

Eventually, the deer arrived from the southeast. Three of them,a doe and two fawns, went charging beyond the house in expectation of being made targets...stopping to look back from a safe distance. Two more young does took their time, standing by one of the paths I had just returned back to the house on.

Standing at the window watching, a comic moment erupted in the animal kingdom. The two does became skittish as they stared down the path of my return. I wondered what had them intrigued? It was Miss Kitty running towards them full bore with tail high in the air doing her best Mountain Lion impersonation as she charged forward. The deer took two separate directions to try to avoid the little cat with a big  presence. Their shock didn't last long,they weren't sticking around, and took off back to the comfort of the timber,far away from this situation.

The day and shotgun season II came to a close here at Timber Life, as the light was waning on December 16, 2012 .

Pleased with this year's buck and looking forward to Bow Season next October 2013....