On the eve of the longstanding state-wide holiday forever known as deer hunting, it’s time to make sure you have everything on your checklist.
You know, blaze orange coat, bibs, hat and gloves, along with your rifle, ammunition, knife, flashlight, hand warmers, cell phone, food and beverages. And, of course, a valid gun-deer license.
I know you won’t forget this: Your ability to spin a tall tale when it comes to Deer Camp 2013. Some say I have an overabundance of this.
And in my case, they are not always called stories. I won’t use the abbreviation for it either, but it’s the second and 19th letters of the alphabet, in case you’re wondering.
The story that sticks out in my mind, however, has nothing to do with past deer hunts or the big-time bucks that I have perhaps missed. Or, in some cases, never even saw as others in my hunting party have reminded me year after year.
It happened a week ago while bow hunting.
No, it has nothing to do with a 12-point buck with a 23-inch spread that has freakish mass to it. It has everything to do with the reason why many of us hunt.
Believe it or not, it’s not for the kill. Never has been.
It has everything to do with putting the brakes on the world for a few hours, a few days, while absorbing everything nature has to offer. That’s why I am still thinking about a playful fawn and its mother that walked to the edge of a woods, about 20 yards from my treestand.
A small pond was their destination and what happened at that pond has me chuckling to this day. The fawn crept to the edge of the water, not really liking that its front hooves were sinking several inches into the mud. What really got its heart beating, however, was when it saw its reflection in the water.
In almost “Bambi” like fashion, it jumped back, not sure of where that other fawn was or how it got in the water. Then as curiosity overcame it, it stepped back into the water several times, each time wading into deeper water.
Once in a foot of water, it decided to lunge at that mysterious deer in the water. All it received, of course, was a face full of chilly water. The shock of the cold water caused this playful little thing to splash around in the water even more, all the time while its mother — always standing guard, of course — watched in amusement.
It would then circle the pond like a kid on a merry-go-around.
This went on for 30 minutes or more as I watched from the tree stand. The mother would stroll around and even directly underneath me, not knowing I was there.
I never once thought of grabbing my bow, instead choosing to enjoy nature’s little show. Would I have loved to see a large buck strut out of the woods? Sure, but you know what? This playful display was equally, if not more, rewarding.
This was just one more reason why deer hunting is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s a chance to get outside, watch squirrels dance, hear the geese cut the crisp air as they fly overhead, and watch everything from woodchucks to badgers scurry about.
My family thinks I’m nuts. I say it keeps me from going there.