Along The Trail 1-24-13

12

Done.

Over.

Finished.

The Kentucky deer season is a wrap. If I based the success of my first, extended out-of-state deer season on the quantity or quality of animals taken, then I’d have to judge it a complete failure. I didn’t launch an arrow.

But, I don’t judge my hunts that way. Of course, my goal was to take a nice Bluegrass buck with my bow, but that wasn’t the end all of be all for me. Over the past couple months worth of forays into Owen County, I was blessed with so much more than a set of antlers and meat for the winter.

I re-connected with a teacher friend from my high school days. I was given the opportunity to see some beautiful country that I’d never seen before. A deep, secluded valley with a picture perfect, gurgling stream flowing through it. A steep, hardwood, covered hillside alive with squirrels and songbirds of every color and hue. A gorgeous view of late autumn colors and snow covered cedars. I witnessed sunsets that rivaled any master’s painting, as my mind found shapes and images in the passing clouds. I heard barred owls hoot and coyotes yelp a lonely call.

I was treated to ‘coons keeping me company and hawks soaring on the wind during my evening hunts. I had turkeys march by like single file soldiers, just feet from my hiding place. I even had some close encounters with a few deer.

I became familiar with a small buck that made a visit nearly every time I was there. A typical year and a half old buck, not too bright, but thinking he was king of the hill. More bravado than brains! He had a slate gray coat and spindly little antlers atop his blonde forehead. He could have come home in the back of my SUV many times, but I was content to watch the youngster and hopefully we’ll meet again in a couple years at the end of my arrow.

A cautious old doe made herself known many times. She had seen several seasons by the looks of her. A long, horse head and roman nosed with gaunt hips. She would make her appearance just before night fall. Always careful, always testing the wind before stepping into the opening of the logging road. The old gal carried a tumor or goiter of some sort that hung off her brisket and I wondered how it came to be. Was she injured? Was it an infection or the result of a disease?

Regardless, it didn’t seem to have an adverse affect on her as she fed on the remaining acorns around my spot. She offered herself up several times and I was tempted to loose a cedar arrow her direction, but something in me decided to let her have another season in her woods.

Hopefully she’ll make it through the winter to enjoy the bounty of spring.

Yeah, my Kentucky deer season didn’t provide many meals or a trophy for my living room wall, but the memories it gave me add up to success for this bowhunter.