Having pursued deer of one subspecies or another for nearly a half century, you get to be the old guy at deer camp just for being alive!
What a small consolation for all that valuable field time one supposes, but much better than the alternative. That being said, my clothing, gear and methods of operation make me out to be a deer hunting dinosaur. That is, an endangered sort of hunter that employs all kinds of primitive methods, at least by today’s standards. Let me explain and maybe you can relate or place yourself somewhere on the scale of today’s modern gear and gadget driven setups and seasons in the quest for deer.
To get right to the point, I don’t utilize: bait, ATV’s, two-way radios, semi-automatic rifles, tree stands, condos, blinds or whatever they’re called in your neck of the woods. My rifle stock is made of American walnut, the long underwear is silk, not armored and the outer stuff is wool from a sheep. And to top all, I still walk around quite a bit, “still-hunting” the deer woods. How it ever got that name I never figured out ‘til now in that darn few people like me “still” do it.
I do however sit down or “post-out” with my back to a tree mostly when I need some rest from all that walking. And I know full well over all those years of experience that the best way to actually get a deer is to post-out or go on stand as it’s called here; i.e., by not walking around so much and pushing the deer to other hunters. But I can’t help it.
I can’t resist looking for stuff like a banshee while deer hunting. I am most easily distracted by grouse, turkeys, bear tracks, looking for brook trout in tiny little streams, bald eagles, furbearers, wild fruits, nuts, berries or just about anything out there that intrigues me, which obviously doesn’t take much. To further decrease my chances at success, I hunt the highest elevation country that has the fewest deer.
To add further insult to my senior status, a younger group of hunters has labeled me as the old guy in the plaid (as in wool) shirt. I could have chastised them for disrespecting their elders, but didn’t knowing full well I might need the youthful brawn of their backs in the event I actually got a deer and needed help in getting it out of the woods.
But at just this side of social security, dragging a big buck might be just enough to kill me and in effect, prevent me from actually getting that first check. This could be why some older hunters never load their guns or will only shoot a buck if it’s a fifty point or some other fictitious order of antlers. I’m not beating up on these folks, I’m fixing to join them and already have to some extent. But before getting out of this, I have to make one major confession about these modern gadgets.
I was encouraged to at least take a smartphone along at my age. Wow, another hunter distracting and deer saving device. We could text and possibly call each other for help with me hunting alone, walking around and all that. I obliged and actually slung some texts the likes of, “u seein anything” or other such phonetic snippets.
But this turned out to be problematic. I sat down for a rest on this nice sunny ridge, did some texting and must have taken a snooze with the gadget on my lap. A mile away and an hour later, I realized that I left the tiny thing back at that last sunny setup. The thought entered my mind that I could hike back to the general vicinity, call someone on my smartphone, have them call me back and I could listen for the ring tone to find the confounded thing. Except for one thing, I no longer had the smartphone to do just that. Oops….
NOTE: Bob Fala’s new book Ramblin’ Outdoors is available at the Logan Banner Office or online through Woodland Press.