CacheCrazy.Com: The Perfect Hunt

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Perfect Hunt

Much preparation goes into a deer hunt. We read field reports. We compare stories and deer sightings with fellow hunters. We study maps. We get out in the woods to scout for sign and perhaps catch a glimpse of a trophy buck. We locate a suitable watch and pick out lanes where we hope deer travel. We get up before the sun rises and spend a considerable amount of time and energy getting to our location early on the first morning of the season. It only seems fair that with all of this hard work, we should be entitled an opportunity to harvest a deer. More often than not, such is not the case. The deer often make us look foolish. They don’t go where we think they’ll go or, many times, they don’t show up at all. This leaves us second-guessing ourselves throughout the long winter and rethinking plans for the following season. It can seem like a time without end until we get another opportunity, and then the same ritual starts again. It may take many attempts, but eventually the hard work will pay off. There will be reward. It will be “The Perfect Hunt”.

The two weeks had gone quickly. It was already Saturday, the last day of the Pennsylvania deer season. The cumulative effect of days afield had taken its toll – I was tired and sore from what had been a difficult season so far. Still, I wouldn’t miss a deer hunting opportunity in Penn’s Woods – especially the last – and I crawled out of bed and descended the stairs. Fighting off the evening's sleep, I kindled the few remaining sparks from the last night's banking of the fire and brewed a fresh pot of coffee.

I gathered my gear and with coffee cup in-hand, walked on to the front porch. My nose was filled with the strong cold air and the sweet smell of wood smoke. I stood looking at the starry early morning sky. Cassiopeia was already beginning to fade, and I as gazed northward a bright streaking blaze caught my eye.

A shooting star.

It was to be a good day…

The ground had a nice cover of snow, and the sky, thanks to a slight but steady north wind, remained clear and sunny throughout the crisp morning. I stayed on high alert under the meager protection of a few hemlock trees while scanning the funnel between two swamps where I stood. It didn’t take long for me to find out that I had indeed chosen a fine location on this particular day – three deer were silently crossing the flat and coming my way. The snow, sky, wind, and cold were no longer on my thoughts. My senses shifted. The focus was now on the approaching whitetails.

I watched the deer coming through some scrubby oak trees. I didn’t know for sure, but it appeared that the lead whitetail was a buck. As the trio continued, the leader materialized out of the oak stand. I got this lead deer in my rifle scope and clearly identified him as a young spike. I followed him for a moment with my rifle and was pleased to see him enter a clearing 50 yards out from where I stood. When I chose this location, that clearing was where I hoped deer would go. At this distance, it offered an open, safe shot. I held my scope on the clearing and let the spike buck cross. As he left my view, the second deer entered. Immediately I saw that this one was a nice size doe. The third deer was still approaching but was a bit farther back from the clearing. I lowered the rifle and spotted the third deer still coming from the oak stand. With my eye, I could see that he was a racked buck. I very carefully and silently took two steps back so that I could lean against a large hemlock tree. Again, I shouldered the rifle. Through the scope I could easily see that the buck was at least a large four point. Here in this part of Pennsylvania, a legal buck must have at least three points on one side. Did he have that third point? I couldn’t immediately tell. For what seemed like an eternity, but was in fact only seconds, I studied the antlers. On the antler farthest from me, I finally saw another point. This deer was indeed a legal buck and one of substantial size. I slowly turned my body and the rifle with it, clicked off the safety, and focused on the clearing where the first two deer crossed. As I often tell myself when hunting – wait for it… wait for it…

The rifle’s report echoed across the Pocono Plateau.

I picked up the spent cartridge, gained my composure, and approached the deer. He was a large five-point buck and I silently knelt to pay homage to this fine animal. As has become a personal tradition upon harvesting a deer, I silently read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and then began preparing the deer for the long journey home.

After tagging and field dressing the deer, I took a moment to reflect on what had transpired – the pre-season scouting, the location, the approach of the deer, the shot, and then the perseverance to continue hunting right through the season’s last day. While not a wall hanger, bagging this deer had been a great success for me, and it struck me that trophies aren’t always measured in points and spreads. I was pleased and thankful to take this deer, a source of venison for the long winter ahead.

It had been a perfect hunt.



NO ONE describes the detail of an adventure quite like you do Dodger! You really had me right there with you, waiting, wondering and feeling your triumph. Nicely done my friend!
You to me, are a true sportsman and I greatly respect your approach to the hunt! When hunting deer or geocaches, you always have the sports best interest in mind. Congratulations!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

A perfect hunt and an excellent re-telling of the experience. Thats a nice deer!

smithie23 said...

Wow, what an awesome read! I've never hunted in my life, but after reading this, I feel like I know what goes through the mind of a hunter before, during and after the hunt. Thanks for sharing!

BigAl said...

Nicely done Dodger. Both the telling of the story and the actual taking of the deer. I appreciate being able to read about the success of others, especially when I couldn't hunt this year. More on that later. Thanks again.

Steve said...

Nice story. Glad you had a successful hunt, however my deer season stunk more than a nano micro in a Walmart parking lot!

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