Editor’s Note: ‘Along the Trail’ is a weekly column written by David Hewitt of Switzerland County; and covers all things dealing with the outdoors, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.
In typical Ohio River Valley fashion, the weather has turned again on a dime…Our brief flirtation with early fall, cool mornings and crisp evening air was short lived. Back to highs in the 80’s and mugginess that seems more at home in late July than late September. But, there’s no denying that autumn is on the breeze and with it, bowhunting for whitetails!
The poplars, cottonwoods and black locust are already raining down leaves while the maples and other hardwoods are getting hints of their finest fall colors. Corn fields are beginning to turn and the beans are beginning to dry and brown. My itching eyes and runny nose tells me that the ragweed is in the air, but despite the sneezing and allergies, I know that I’ll soon be planted in a treestand patiently waiting for a buck to sneak by.
My stands and hiding spots have been checked and shooting lanes cleared. I make a pass through my favorite grove of red oaks and the branches are heavy with acorns. A handful of white oaks are loaded down as well, nuts falling to the ground with a thud. The leaf litter and moist soil are rooted up like a hog lot…The deer, turkeys and other wildlife have been feasting on the dropped acorns, gobbling them up like candy. I peek over my shoulder at the treestand less than 20 yards away and cross my fingers that this will be the spot!
Arrows have been shot and I run my broadheads across the file a time or two for good measure. I slip the edge of the honed point along the top of my forearm and the hair cuts cleanly away. “Plenty sharp enough for a deer’s rib cage and a pass through”, I think to myself. I coat my bow string with a fresh wax and keen up my hunting knife…Now, It’s time to wait. My elk hunting trip has most of my gear prepped and ready for work and it’s left me mostly idle for the next couple weeks.
In the mean time, I’ll try to pass the days by sending a few arrows down range and checking photos on my trail camera and doing some scouting here and there. The long range forecast looks promising with cooler weather by the first of October. But for now, I’ll bide my time and anxiously wait for my time in the woods and wish for autumn.
– David Hewitt