By Jason Reid
Rochester, New York (October 28,2016)- The planning for any weekend usually starts with looking at the extended forecast on Tuesday right after the morning meeting and the third cup of coffee. Taking into consideration the dates on the calendar and the incoming weather system which would douse most of the region in rain and wind it was not hard to lay off being in a tree.
These days are valuable to make adjustments to stands, cameras and to check on new areas to make the best of what time you do have in the woods.
The heart of the cold front was to make its way through on Friday night through early Saturday morning, leaving the majority of the places I could hunt soaked and blustery. Gambling, I talked a friend, Andrew, into driving to an area on the boarder of New York and Pensylvania where the weather was calling for three inches of snow.
Fingers crossed the snow would fall in the higher elevations and the wind wouldn’t be a factor we made our way to the little hunting cabin late Friday. It was a gamble of time and resources and the mast crop of acorns and beechnuts were heavy for this piece of ground which only produces a mast crop every three to five years since the soil is depleted of nutrients and full of shale. Mountain bucks are tough animals to hunt and have not treated either me or Andrew well in the many years we have hunted together.
Awaking to rain we opted to keep our gear dry and drink coffee until the weather broke. About two hours after daylight we were able to head to the stands in hopes of catching deer on their feet after a full 12 hours of precipitation. High blue skies followed the rainstorm and the barometric pressure began to rise.
No sooner had we stepped off the porch of the cabin we ran into a small buck mingling through the densely populated grove of hemlocks. There was no chance to make a play on this little deer, but our spirits rose. Andrew is pursing a career in law enforcement and is moving South several states to find opportunity. We have known each other since first grade and this was to be our last weekend to hunt together in what could be many years. Bitter sweet to say the least.
I didn’t show it, but the pressure I felt to get him in front of something on this weekend between bad weather and sparse deer movement was immense. Despite putting him my best stands, no deer walked by in the weather one could probably fly a sail boat.
(That evening I sat in the stand I had put him in for the morning and watched six deer. I almost felt guilty.)
As we sat in the camp on Sunday morning eating breakfast and reflecting on the fun we have had together in the past 20 years of friendship, we laughed at our misfortune of hunting together and identified the six stages of a deer hunt and their silver lined humor.
Expectation: Every time one walks to a stand there is fresh expectation which is hard to damper regardless of the conditions. If you are a technical deer hunting junkie, evidence from trail cameras can aid or hamper expectation. Regardless, first light of any new day brings fresh hope something will walk by the stand.
Optimism: You’ve been on stand for over an hour and begin to feel good about the chances of seeing deer. It might be the heart of the hunt at this point optimism soars as you believe your deer is going to walk by. It might be the golden hour of the hunt and you are on high alert.
Hallucination: This stage comes on after an hour or so on stand. Every hunter has experienced being fooled by squirrels by the way they scurry through the leaves or by oddly shaped sticks as your mind is willing the hunt to be successful. This stage can cause some anxiety and excitement for brief moments in time.
Defeat/Success: Either your plan worked or it didn’t and this stage comes shortly after optimism. This is fairly cut and dry. Defeat means an easy walk back to camp and a warm meal. Success means you might have some extra work on your hands. Literally.
Self Examination: Reflecting on the hunt and deciphering why it worked or didn’t is the self examination stage. Many times it becomes self loathing and you tell yourself you must just simply suck at hunting. This is where you can become a better hunter or stay stagnate as a hunter. Do you learn from each hunt or just chalk it up to being a terrible hunter? In many cases it could simply be the areas you are hunting. I know the areas I hunt are better for the Rut and late seasons as opposed to early in the fall. Hunting is hard and if you think about how large of a planet you much break down to just 30 yards, the chances are stacked against you. No sense in being mad.
About: Dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of hunting, Pushing The Wild Limits creator, Jason Reid, balances a day job with his passions for bowhunting, capturing the stories and sharing information through writing and photography. Follow Pushing The Wild Limits on Facebook for unique outdoor content.
This post The Working Hunter Journal and The Five Stages Of A Deer Hunt appeared first on AmmoLand.com Shooting Sports News .