Today is Halloween, and like every day out in the blind it started out and ended hopefully. You know; until the sun went down and I couldn’t see, and still no deer had presented. Yet, I was blessed to watch a beautiful unfolding of morning in my upper blind, and a delightful closing of the day in my lower blind.
Before hunting this afternoon, I made a cardboard sign that read, “Forget the trick. I want the treat (with a hand-drawn deer head).” It was a nice thought, but I was given the trick instead. After about 30 minutes in the blind I looked in the direction of some scratching noise, hoping for a deer that perhaps I had not seen due to the sun shining directly in my eyes. Instead it was the flock of turkey gals scratching around for food. I watched them for quite some time, fascinated; especially when one turkey reprimanded another by taking her down and pinning her head and neck. At first I wasn’t sure if the dominant turkey was scolding the other or killing her, but they eventually moved on and I watched the scolded turkey running for her life along the bank of the pond while the dominant turkey chased her the whole way!
I carry a small pocket notebook in my cargo pocket to track my hours and times hunting, and anything particularly interesting. At almost 1800 (6:00 PM) I wrote, “It smells wonderful out here as the sun begins to set and the air cools; like Kansas sweet grass occasionally punctuated by wafts of doe estrus which I have strategically placed around the clearing. It almost reminds me of the earthen smell in Magalia (California), when I would visit Grandma Pearl as a child.”
My second trick came as I was preparing to end the hunt. It was almost so dark I could no longer see through my crossbow scope, but I heard something walking toward me and I jumped in anticipation of a deer; hoping to be able to strain my eyes enough to sight in on the target and harvest a deer. Alas, two raccoons tottered on by the front of my blind, as if playing follow-the-leader in the almost-dark.
In Kansas we are able to officially begin the hunt 30 minutes prior to sunrise and 30 minutes past sunset. It seems last year I stayed those 30 extra minutes in the evenings. This year I’m lucky if I actually reach the official time for sunset before having to pack it in because of the onset of darkness. I suppose there could be a strange aura about this year, with darkness falling prematurely (like the hastening collapse of freedom in this country – but that’s for another essay) yet I suspect it’s due to my vision. Last year my eyes received a clean bill of health. This summer my eye doctor stated she found the early stages of cataracts in my eyes, which she seemed to believe were unusually speedy. I was told I will likely need cataract surgery next year, whereas most folks can go 10 years or so (according to my doc) before requiring corrective surgery. I’m not sure how I “lucked out” with some expeditious-type of cataract, especially with dark brown eyes and a penchant for sunglasses, but it seems to me that my eyesight is already being affected. I’ve heard the sun and light colored eyes make a winning combination for developing cataracts. Perhaps my 100% increase in outdoor activities since moving to Kansas four years ago is to blame.
In Florida I stayed in-doors most of the summer, and really much of the year because of my distaste for heat, humidity, and mosquitoes. In Nevada I stayed inside much of the time because of my distaste for excessive dry heat. Once I moved to Kansas, however, I rediscovered fishing, and then was blessed last year to finally begin hunting. Although deer season just began in September and it is not quite November yet (Central time); I have already hunted 56.5 hours in search of just my first deer…. As I plan on beginning the Paleo Diet in January, I have great aspirations of bagging three deer this hunting season. Of course, I’ve yet to harvest one….
Be that as it may; I will return to the hunt next weekend with the hope of finally getting my first deer. My first-ever deer, last year, was harvested on November 08, which happens to be the birthday of a veteran friend of mine in Las Vegas. He has assured me that I need wait only eight more days to get my first deer of the season. We shall see… at least as long as the sun is up!