I won’t lie – I like being outdoors most the time. However, right now I am looking even harder for excuses to escape my responsibilities and to be outside. And with the kind of fall weather we have been blessed with a deer stand is where I find myself spending that time – and I have been rewarded.
The deer in my area seem to be in the lull prior to the rut beginning, so sightings have dropped some, but they have been replaced by the subtle fall explosion of colors & other treats that can be more auditory – such as turkeys. One of my latest evening adventures seemed to be filled with them from the moment I ascended my tree that guards a small sliver of woods between two crop fields. The group of this year’s males – numbering 10 – was quite talkative. They came within 30 yards and then carried on a conversation about the odd-lump 15 feet up a certain hackberry. They moved off, but I was able to keep track of them by their continued yelps, clucks and the occasional gobble.
Then there was the close encounter with a large and healthy coyote. He popped out of the woods in front of me barely 50 yards and began trotting across the cornfield increasing the distance between the two of us. My improvised mouse-squeaks seemed to have little impact – until a few moments later when he came slinking back in a half-hunt posture. He got within 25 yards before he decided something wasn’t quite right and trotted off into the cornfield again. It wasn’t to be the last I heard from him, though.
As the sun sank lower, I was enjoying the cackling of a few rooster pheasants in the grassy field to my east, when a pair of wood ducks zipped past, barely clearing the tree I was in. They didn’t announce their arrival with a squeal as woodies are know to do, but it was the sound of of their wings slicing the air that caught my attention. A reminder of the waterfowl migration yet to come.
As the flock of turkeys flew to roost – between me and the truck – I decided it was time for my departure. I enjoyed the serenade of several coyotes as I made the trek back. The hunt was short but I was feeling much more alive than when I had arrived. I was relishing the idea of hunts yet to come when I spotted the deer crossing the gravel about a quarter mile to the east. It was then I realized it was the first I had seen that evening. It was followed by another – then a couple more. Oh well, maybe next time.