In case nobody's noticed, my driving goal this fall has been to learn crossbow hunting, and take my first deer.
No, don't get excited - I'm still waiting.
I've only ever been rifle hunting for deer before, and only about 4 seasons, and unsuccessfully at that. You can read about my last attempt about 2 years ago, here.
I just wanted to give an update since I haven't had much to write about lately except politics, and too much of that puts me in a bad mood.
After about three times this Autumn, being "guided" by a local archery friend on private property, I struck out on my own yesterday morning on public land. So I've kicked over another personal boundary - I went deer hunting by myself.
That doesn't mean that I knew what I was doing, but I got up at 4:30 of my own accord, and struck out into pitch dark state Wildlife Management Area - alone. It was rather intimidating. I'm not a fan of the dark, and I didn't want to use a flashlight for fear of advertising my presence. But I overcame my apprehension, and DID it. That in and of itself is an accomplishment for me (I know it's small, but I'm all about baby steps)
I haven't taken my deer yet, but I've at least learned a few things. Here are a few observations from my first four experiences crossbow hunting.
-Squirrels live to fake me out - I think it's in the Squirrel Union Contract. I bet they have meeting halls up the big oaks where they drink acorn beer and laugh at me.
-Chipmunks make an awful lot of leaf noise for being so small. I think they would have unions like squirrels, except they're too high on bath salts to have a meeting.
-Woodpeckers are weird - they chase each other around tree trunks, and then batter their heads into the wood for entertainment. Maybe they borrowed the bath salts from the chipmunks.
-Camo can have a downside if a deer at a dead run doesn't see you. Let's just say I nearly added a real-life verse to "Grandma got run over by a (rein)deer"!
-The funnel-like device designed to help women answer the call of nature is not helpful if it makes you "scent mark" more of your own self than the leaves on the ground. I'll stick with the tried and true that has worked for me for 50-plus years, thanks anyway.
-Your designated "spot" doesn't look the same at O-dark-thirty AM. How many times can you walk past a place before you recognize it? HELLO, Everybody in the area - I'M HERE! D'oh.
And okay, so it wasn't really a "blind" I was using yesterday either, so much as a semi-concealed spot on a stool. I'm not very good at this and I'm still learning. But the deer I was expecting to show up for this solo "date" never did appear. It reminded me of being stood up for a blind date. ("Blind" date - get it? Okay, never mind) How many hours does one wait before giving up? After 3 hours I started bargaining with myself. Give it another hour, and then you can go have bacon and eggs, I told my rumbly tumbly. I might as well have just left at that point, because the 40 more minutes I stuck it out were wiggly, and fidgety, and therefore, I'm sure, useless to my cause. Ah well.
During the 40 minute fidget-phase, my mind started to wander and I started thinking about the old TV show "The Waltons". It occurred to me that I was pretty much Miss Emily Baldwin - pitifully waiting - but ever hopeful - for her long lost beau Ashley Longworth. Except this was a "beau" I wanted to kill and eat. Kinda puts a bit of a Black Widow/ Hannibal Lecter twist on the Waltons' theme, doesn't it LOL!
So, I gave up waiting for my first deer yesterday, but I'll be back out again in a few days. (And without the funnel device - that went in the garbage) I admit that I'm getting a little discouraged. Taking one's first deer is a milestone that 12-yr olds easily achieve, yet this 52-year old hasn't managed it yet. And to top it off, when I got home, Facebook announced that a former classmate's 7-yr old had taken a Bear, of all things. *sigh* This being a LateBloomer can be a bit hard on the ego, LOL.
But all in all, it was still a pleasant little sit in the woods, and was probably healthier for me than a similar sit on the couch on a Saturday morning. So there's that - LOL. I choose to believe that my deer is out there somewhere.
Just call me Miss Emily.
And now I'm going to go have a slug of "The Recipe" :-)