Friday, December 19, 2008

Revised: Deer Hunt With Rick

This is the deer that son-in-law Rick Durham killed today at about 2:00pm, EST on land leased from Bowaters in Rhea County, just North by Northwest out of Dayton, Tennessee. Rick and I left home at 5:30am, and drove to the hunting sight by daylight. In fact, it was still dark enough that it was difficult to orient oneself with the surroundings without the aid of my trusty compass. You can see the compass I used today, pinned to the hat I'm wearing.[Photo]Rick's grandaughter (my great-grandaughter) Hailey Huff wanted to see the deer but was afraid of it at the same time.[Photo] This is Rick Durham, Big Game Hunter! This is an Eight Point, healthy, hefty buck. We were hunting an area where the timber cutters had "clear-cut" and my thoughts actually were something like - "Aww...we'll never see anything here because we are too exposed. Any deer (if there are any) will see us long before we see them because there is not enough "cover". ("Cover" means trees, brush, bushes to hide behind) Boy! Was I wrong!?! We had not walked 75 yards from the truck until we spotted four deer moving out of a valley - headed towards a hill with a clump of trees. Rick suggested that I sit close to the edge of the hill so that I could see the valley and the other side of the hill. He would go back toward the truck and walk down the road toward the area the deer had disappeared into. This seemed the right thing to me, for the chances were the deer would hear and see him and turn back the way they had come from, thus bringing them back into my gun sights. But alas -- the deer chose to continue their direction -- and this buck walked out into the road right in front of Rick. When I heard him shoot, I heard and saw the deer run back towards me. At first I thought maybe he had missed the deer and now was going to be my chance. However, the deer was favoring his left front leg. Altho it seemed to have plenty of stamina, it ran down hill about 100 yards, turned to go back up the hill, and collapsed between two fallen trees. That was around two pm. We made it home at dusky dark (about 5:30p) and then took the deer to the CDE meat processors where a young man skinned the dear and prepared it for cutting, giving the skin and the head to Rick to have mounted. We should have deer meat in about one week.It was a GREAT day of hunting for me. This morning I was totally new to the area so moved into the woods just about 200 yards away from the road. I saw a massive rub on a tree in the middle of the trail, so decided to sit down and listen. I heard crows, pileated woodpeckers, english sparrows, and what I believed to be turkeys. Then I heard what sounded like cows bawling in the field blending in with the tromping of animal feet. I eased up from my seat and walked another 50 yards closer to the noise I was hearing when I caught a fleeting glimpse of a doe. I quickly and as quietly as possible sat down again, eyes straining, ears alert. After about 30 minutes the doe came closer to me to examine my presence. When she was about 30 steps from me she finally decided she did not like what she saw and bolted off in the direction from which she had come. I sat another 30 to 45 minutes until something caught my attention out of my left eye, just 90 degrees to my left. Upon looking I saw one of the largest buck deer I've ever seen in the woods. When I finally got him into focus on my scope (which took only fleeting seconds) the buck lifted that magnificent head (I believe he was an 11-pointer) before with one lightning quick bound he was behind the thick pine trees beside the trail. I waited, and waited, but never saw nor heard this deer again. Whew! My heart was pounding for several minutes after seeing that buck. My conclusion is that I'm not a killer. I'm just a hunter who enjoys the hunt. Now don't mis-understand......if I had the opportunity - - - - -