"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Monster Buck Strolls Away
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

This is a column about many things. It is about the opening of the deer season for firearms (last Saturday, November 17), about a Noblesville veteran-novice hunter, a brand spanking new muzzle-loading rifle, and a 17-point buck.
You see, this exciting scenario got rolling last spring (this is a subplot) when Davis Aerne (pronounced Ernie) was graduated from Noblesville High School. We should point out at this juncture that the youthful Aerne had started hunting deer with is father, Dave, a Hamilton County farmer-hunter (without a gun) at the age of six. Also, that since he has used both bow and guns he has taken some nine or ten deer. This one, of course, would be his best rack.
To further complicate the story, Davis, home for the weekend from Vincennes University, where he studies conservation and law enforcement, to hunt with Jake McGraw, a young farmer/friend. Jake, it seems, spots many deer and deer sign as he goes about his Fountain County chores, so it was not unusual that Davis would place his climbing stand on a large white oak tree in the edge of a woods (he and I seem to have a memory lapse when we try to pin down the location of the woods). Eight fencerows merge nearby. The big boy was not there to eat acorns--just out for a stroll.
Well, to get on with it (the story, not the stroll), Davis is sitting in his stand Saturday morning when this 17-point buck (a typical 14-pointer with three stickers on the right side) strolled up within Davis’ estimate of 12 yards.
Here the plot thickens. When Davis tried to “cock” his new front-ender to give the monster buck a new home (he planned a head-and-shoulder mount as he counted the points through his scope). But the gun would not fire. Furthermore, with a leftover cap from his father’s guns, he couldn’t even get the gun cocked.
In a very frustrating four or five minutes, the big fellow continued his stroll, and Davis was left to ponder the problem. Simply put, Davis was to realize that this type of cap would not fit his gun.
Incidentally, Davis has pleasant dreams about becoming a conservation officer in Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota or Ohio. And he may not be able to return to the scene right soon. 

CONSERVATION DAY--The Indiana Conservation Alliance, a state organization embracing some 30 of the state’s leading groups, will stage its fourth Conservation Day at the Statehouse January 10, 2008 for lunch (and ear bending) on issues for the legislature members. 
This affair has gained much clout in the last three or four years. This year it will focus on the priority issue of the Great Lakes Compact that potentially creates a water management system for all state streams and ground water of the Great Lakes Drainage Basin.
Generally, this is an issue that has been touted  by this reporter since the Izaak Walton League of Indiana staged a conference on stream and river management more than 50 years ago. And now, if you place credence in the drought reports from across the country, it is sleeping at the foot of our beds. It begs attention.
Every legislator, and every citizen who drinks water, should be there. Of course, they won’t.
The idea that the government (local and federal) should encourage good ground water practices on private lands with subsidies that would enhance the water table has been pooh-pooed roundly over the years.
“Water tables are just fine and dandy,” I used to be told when I broached the subject. But none of the naysayers ever told me why the water level of rivers and streams was 10 feet lower than it had been a few years before when I sat with my back against maple trees on the banks and dangled bare tootsies in cool water . 

FOR THE RECORD--The all-seasons number of 125,381 deer harvest of 2006 was a few shy of the 2005 record of 125,526.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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