One of the great mysteries that crops up while deer hunting occurs when
hunters have been sitting for long periods of time without seeing anything,
and suddenly there is this humongous buck standing there just out of range.
The mystery creeps out of the fact that the most-observant hunter did
not see the buck walk into the picture and he will not see him leave.
It appears to be a magic act of nature, but in some cases there is an
explanation . . . a baring of the facts.
Take, for example, a golden, late-October day a few years back when
I sat atop my ladder stand which was propped (and securely chained) to
a little wild (black) cherry tree along a wooded hillside in Boone County.
Pre-season scouting had told me that that there was a big buck and several
smaller deer in the area, but I had not seen Mr. Big.
I had skirted the bottom side of the hill to creep into my stand without
disturbing the area I would be watching, which included a field of short
weeds between my position and a brush-infested fencerow 200 yards to the
east. Deer had been running the fence row and coming to the wooded hillside
(where I waited). With a little luck, I figured it might happen again on
this afternoon which was not shirt-sleeve weather, but which required only
a light jacket.
I was very comfortable as the afternoon unfolded, but the lack of movement
combined with the absence of deer to make it necessary (as late afternoon
approached) for me to ease down to ground level to flex muscles and get
my blood circulating again. I wanted to be at my very best as dusk, the
best hunting time of the day, approached.
I hadn't been back in my stand long when this huge buck filled the field
in my little binoculars as I scanned the fencerow.
Mr. Big had not been there minutes before, but there he was--stretching
and moving around a bit--just as I had done half an hour earlier.
He wasn't there long, either. On one sweep of the fencerow he was there,
and on the next sweep he was gone . . . a disappearing act that would
have rivaled the work of any magician.
I didn't dare move--not even when darkness had covered my panorama--
for fear of spooking this huge buck. But well after dark I slipped down
out of the stand and walked quietly back to my car.
For several days I pondered this strange set of hunting circumstances,
not knowing what had happened until I went to the stand for a morning hunt
a few days later.
This time, when the hunt was over about noon, I marked the spot where
I had seen Mr. Big, and checked out the area before leaving.
Ten feet to the left of the dead elm snag, I found precisely what I
thought I would find--a neat, oval-shaped deer bed in the weeds at the
edge of the woven-wire fence, and on a slight rise that would offer a good
view of any impending menace.
Mr. Big had been resting in his well-concealed bed when I had arrived
at my deer stand that day. I had not disturbed him when I arrived at mid-afternoon,
nor when I took my ground-level break. But a little later, he took his
Like the hunter, he had stretched a bit, got his blood circulating again,
and continued his respite from the day.