These cool evenings are reminding me that deer season approaches.
I can’t help but get excited as the deer are starting to eat the apples outside my window in the evening. That apple tree attracts them every evening and provides me with a free show. This reminds me of another story.
My late wife and I always enjoyed our frequent hunting trips to the mountains usually to a cabin we rented often. It lay in a great remote area for deer. The number of deer there were unbelievable that year. We had been there a few days and had brought the kids with us. The weather was nice with crisp cool fall nights and warm days. My wife Eileen and I had decided to take the kids out to a field on a surveillance mission. I wanted to look for a big buck we had seen once early on and not again. We were planning to take the kids out to sit in a corner of a big steep field. The edge of this field was mostly pine but out in the field were some apple trees. Eileen had gathered apples with the kids there the previous night when we had scouted out our spot for tonight. She had a great idea for masking those noisy kids.
Normally, we split up and she took Pat, and I took Kathy or vice versa but tonight we were teaming up. She cut those apples up and brought them along in a bag. When we arrived, we put one kid to the right and one to the left a little behind us. Next, we rubbed apples on them and dumped a pile of apples and peels on each one. Sheer genius, right? Now we had apple scented kids a little behind us in the cover and we were sitting right in the edge of a great corner looking right out at those apple trees.
The daylight was starting to fade and the night sounds just starting when the first fawn stepped out. This was that exciting plan coming to fulfillment and Eileen smiled my way. Now five fawns were playing around at the edge to the right of us. The kids could see them and were being very quiet. Two does stepped out right next to the fawns and we all held our breath. That’s when a branch crackled right behind us.
Suddenly, I realized the flaw in the plan. The deer where suddenly all around us. They smelled those apples and were coming in to eat them. Everybody sat tight as the first doe stepped behind us to reach out toward a kid. Suddenly, she froze and those kids froze too. She smelled or saw something she didn’t like. She snorted and stamped a hoof. We could hear them all around us then as they all crashed back through the woods. The fawns almost ran us over as they turned and sprinted toward us.
Afterwards Eileen got the giggles. Then the kids got the giggles. “Well,” I said, “It did work.” Then we all busted out laughing. After that, it was known as the great apple misadventure. For years, we would watch deer from this very spot, and I can still picture it in my mind but never again covered in apples.
My son-in-law Mike was hunting with me in Greene County at Monty’s last season. He was excited to get out and looking forward to this hunt. Monty and I left him at the barn next to the gate and we went to the shooting shanty to sit inside out of the cold. I’m just not able to handle the weather these days.
Monty and I started glassing deer across the field and looking for bucks. We wanted to see a buck we had scouted for earlier in the year. A deer crossed close to the shed and we tried to count points as he ran by. Monty said no he was only 2 up we let him pass by. Not five minutes later there was a shot. Now Monty is a happy, easy-going guy but he looked mad. He thought Mike had shot that big buck with the 2 up.
Out he stomped to give shot happy Mike a piece of his mind. Mike didn’t have the experience Monty had so we thought he had shot an illegal buck. When he got to Mike, it turned out that the buck he shot was a 3 up and a good shot. After we got that buck home, my great grandson Max was at the house, and he begged to go with grandpap Mike to the packers and take the buck. He was so proud of his grandpap and bragging to everyone there. He might be the next hunter in a few years. I think Mike liked this part of the hunt the best last year.
Both experiences were memorable and that’s the best part of any hunt.
George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter