COLUMN: My deer hunting quest

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

   One of the things I decided this bow season is to one, lower my expectations as it concerns how big of a buck I must shoot; two, enjoy my surroundings more; and three, see if I can self-film a successful hunt.

     Number one is probably going to be my biggest adjustment. My goal each year is to shoot one bigger than my biggest. I haven’t had much luck with that philosophy for several years.

     Some guys that hunt in my area also tend to let the small ones get big. Others don’t really care about size. I’ve felt a sense of relief knowing that if a nice buck comes by, I’m going to try to harvest it.

     Of course, now that I’ve lowered my expectations all I’ve seen are small bucks. I’m also sitting on a doe tag so that will accomplish what I need for meat for the freezer. There are several big fat does lurking around so it’s just a matter of time.

     Goal number two, enjoy my surroundings more. So much happens when you sit in a tree in the middle of farm country. You hear tractors, combines and manure spreaders. You smell manure spreaders. You may even walk through a freshly combined field that is now a freshly combined field with manure in it.

     Seeing other animals is also fun. Last week I went to move a camera and came upon three kittens. I played with them for a few minutes and carried on. Seventeen turkeys walked under my stand, not knowing of my presence. I’ve had squirrels just about jump into my lap, scarring the bejesus out of both of us. Multiple times flocks of geese have been heading out to a field to eat at dusk. It is an entertaining and noisy event.

     Most fun of all, a couple of weeks ago, I took my 6-year-old grandson, Sullivan, out to sit with me for a couple of hours. It was his first-time hunting. I specifically set up a blind not too far from where I park. Grandma packed him some snacks.

     We went out later than I usually do knowing his attention span would be challenged. This is a kid that hasn’t stopped running since his mother brought him into the world. You know what? He did pretty darn good.

     His snacks lasted about a grand total of 20 minutes. He moved around quite a bit but no more than a 6-year-old kid would. He remained fairly quiet too. I also took the time to teach him some stuff. He figured out how to work my binoculars, used my rattling bag twice to help lure in a deer, to no avail. I taught him about how and why hunting scrapes are made like the one we were hunting over.

     He learned the importance of whispering, which I see he has been imitating at home. Unfortunately, we never saw a deer. And he walked out of the timber with his grandpa at dark, not scared or intimidated at all. He got to hear those geese fly over but that really was it.

     His mom has sent videos and photos of him “hunting” at home. He did tell his grandma that he didn’t have any fun. And a few sentences later he was talking about the next time we go what he hopes happens.

     Those memories are much better than shooting a monster buck. Since we’ve gone out, his Uncle Dillon also put together his production of his self-filmed hunt. We’ve all enjoyed the great job Dillon did on his video. Sullivan and his little brother, Sonder, got to see it on the big screen TV at home.

     From what I’ve been told, they can’t stop watching it and Dillon’s other videos. Maybe I’ll get both of these two to follow in Grandpa’s footsteps!



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