As I have stated previously, one of the biggest reasons that I bought my compound bow is because we gunnies only get a few weeks that we can shoot deer in Oklahoma, versus the three and a half months that those nasty archers get. Obviously the only way to play the system is to disguise myself as an archer. And yet, here we are, half-way through the monolithic deer archery season, which does envelope all other deer seasons, by the way, and my bow still has yet to taste blood. I’ve been out with it plenty, but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t happened.
Thursday was insane, as Thanksgiving tends to be. That morning, one of my close friends from high school come by for breakfast. She’s one of the few people that Jennifer and I each knew before we knew each other, and she’s the only one of those that we still maintain contact with. We drank several varieties of coffee brewed in the French press, sampled a little tequila, and some nice English tobacco, as well as some Nat Sherman Classics. I know, I know. I never said that I wouldn’t have an occasional smoke. It really is just an occasional thing now. Breakfast consisted of blueberry bagels with cream cheese and lox. From there, we buzzed off to my grandparents’ house where my parents had prepared the full Thanksgiving spread, including pumpkin pie. I’m usually good for about one slice of pumpkin pie per year. My grandpa was lucid enough. He knew who everyone was, and both of my grandparents were quite pleased to see everyone. That evening we went to Jennifer’s parents’ house. By the end of the evening, we were tired, stuffed, and weary of the stress of family. Time to go home. It was a good holiday.
That evening, I called my brother on the phone. “Do you know what I want to get tomorrow for Black Friday?” I asked my brother, “A deer!” We made plans to head out to the family property and see what we could do. In cameras and in-person observation, I haven’t seen much in the way of morning activity. It seems that we have night-owl, party deer instead of sensible, morning deer. Therefore, we didn’t bother getting up super early. We settled into the blind in the early afternoon. My brother absently gulped water out of his Camelbak, and I hoped that wouldn’t lead to him blowing our cover. Sure enough, after we’d been in the blind for an hour, he had to slip out to answer the call of nature. And, then again, an hour later. As we sat, the wind got harder and harder, to the point that we’d hear a gust coming and each of us would grab the side supports of the blind without even looking up from our smart phones. We called it off and decided to get out of the wind.
On Saturday, Jennifer and I went back out. The bait that I had spread out the previous day was still on the ground. Looks like it was a good call to quit when we did! Although it was a lot less windy than Friday, it was probably still a little too breezy for wildlife. We saw no deer. We saw no bobcat. We didn’t even see any Oklahoma monkeys. Each of us nuked at least two phone batteries on Bejeweled and IRC. We were diligent and sat silently until 30-minutes after sunset. We decided to leave the blind and chairs and come back in the morning.
When the alarm went off at o’dark-thirty on Sunday morning, it was painful. I told Jennifer I didn’t think I had it in me, and she agreed. So, we fell back asleep. When we finally awoke, we met up with my parents for our Sunday lunch and hung around all afternoon. It looked like we weren’t going to get in another day of hunting after all. Even so, we still needed to go and collect our blind, as weren’t simply going to leave it out all week. So, at around 17:00, we hopped in the car and ran out to the farm to retrieve our blind and chairs. The property is twenty to thirty minutes out, depending on traffic and where we decide to park. We have been parking pretty far up the trail and hiking in, so as to maintain invisibility. Since we weren’t worried about stealth, I pulled on down to the hollow. As I turned into the hollow, there were four white tails. This was the first time I’d ever seen four of them at once in the hollow. Jennifer said she could make the shot. The sun set at 17:19, it was 17:40, and that left nine minutes of legal shooting. Jennifer did everything she could to grab her rifle and a pair of ear muffs and I sat in the car, trying my best to look non-nonchalant and non-threatening to the ungulates. They stirred nervously, but not freaked out, and hesitantly started filing off into the woods. Just about the time Jennifer got to the point of setting up for the shot, the last tail disappeared between the trees.
Once I heard FarmDad comment something to the effect of, the best way to hunt antelope is to act like you aren’t hunting antelope. I have to wonder if this philosophy holds true to other types of game. This is not by any means the first time we’ve driven into the hollow to be greeted by deer. Every time, they loiter around for a few minutes before retreating. It flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s tempting to try something new and brash this last week of deer gun season. When Jennifer gets home from work, we could throw guns and supplies in the car and drive out. We’d pull up to the hollow with the intention of Jennifer getting out with her ears on, grab her gun from the back, and take care of business. I’d probably want to park just out of sight and trek the last few paces into the hollow. This shouldn’t take but a few minutes. Jennifer knows her way around her rifle and should be able to make a good shot before the deer have much of a chance to decide what they want to do next. After months of picture collection, hours of silent sitting in the blind, ammunition research and testing, supplies purchased, regulation reading, and everything else, this could come down to a five-minute strike. From everything I’ve read, there shouldn’t be anything amiss on any laws or regulations about this. We would very specifically not be hunting from the car, we’d safely and legally transport guns, and use all appropriate safety gear. I don’t want to do anything illegal or unsporting. Does this sound okay? Not that I’m honestly asking for legal advice on the internet, but I would be interested in hearing disinterested thoughts and opinions.
Having two unfilled archery tags still, I did not purchase a deer gun tag and have not been participating in deer gun season. Well, not behind a trigger, anyway. This has been a combined effort. If Jennifer puts 150-lbs of doe meat in our freezer in the next week, I’m going to feel personally accomplished. Similarly, if I manage to take a deer or two with my bow in the next sevenish weeks, I will expect for Jennifer to share in the credit. One way or another, there hasn’t been nearly enough venison on my grill recently, and I hope to remedy that!