On the opening day of whitetail season this year, a 2 or 3 year old buck with 4 good points on one side spent 20 minutes prancing with the does in a small field ajacent to my stand. The other side of his rack was partially broken off but there was a drop tine, a trait that seems to be in the gene pool around here. He certainly wasn't the biggest deer I've seen and since I was looking to fill the nearly empty freezer in the basement, he got a pass. Haven't seen another deer since then. That reminds me, I'm gonna have to buy a few more cans of beans soon if the trend continues.
Anyhow, in the few afternoons I was able to spend in the stand since then, I learned I have a pair of red foxes and at least one gray in the woods behind the house. Last Saturday a small black bear passed through as did a fischer (sp). I've never seen a fischer before and if I hadn't been looking in that direction, I still wouldn't have seen one; they move that fast and quiet. They're probably looking to den for the winter in a rocky area to the south west.
The coyotes passed through but didn't present a clear shot. Coyotes and porcupines are the only things that will get my attention every time because each has cost me a bunch this year at the vet. One of my Labs got torn up last spring by a coyote. She's ok except she won't go to the back of the property anymore. And in August, both Labs came back from the woods with a snoot full of quills. Another trip to the vet that evening; on my aniversary no less. That went over well.
I've thought similarly to what WildRose mentioned a few posts back, "Sometimes nature is just [a] comic book." There is a definite satisfaction to getting out in the woods. I didn't draw the bow or squeeze the trigger. The freezer is still nearly empty. Bean and Marilyn, my Labs, still carry on like I've been gone for months when I return home after an hour or two. My wife still yells at me to take my boots off before entering the house yet still makes dinner for me. This time out, and for me, it is a 'time out,' lets me know everything doesn't have to get done as quick as I think of it. Often, the best things go slow, take time, require another ounce of patience, are fleeting, and usually right in front of you. While one will usually recognize the good things in life, I am still learning to take the time to appreciate them.
This by itself has been a good 'time out." There's still a few days of late bow season here and my tags are still not filled. Maybe I can get something done about that freezer.
Augustus: sooner or later, we all have an experience like that, and as we go along, they become more and more frequent.. A couple of years ago, my partner and I drew doe tags for southeast WA. My partner punched his tag within an hour, and I was sitting a mile away above the breaks of the Snake river watching a group of does below me , some lying down and some feeding, and I was relaxing in the unseasonably warm weather in just a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. A couple of fawns were hopping around playing with each other, and I was tremendously enjoying just watching them. They were about 150 yards away, but almost straight down towards the river. I watched them through my scope, picked out a big doe, but never took off the safety. My partner returned with his deer and was befuddled that I had not shot one of the does. Shooting one of those deer would have meant three hours of hard work just getting her up from the canyon where she was feeding, and I don't particularly like venison anyway (except the backstrap and the liver), and I just didn't, on that day anyway, feel like killing something just to kill something. A true hunter is just that, a hunter who enjoys the out-of-doors and the hunt itself, and you do not have to kill something every time you go out to enjoy yourself. If you do, you are not a hunter, you are just a killer. I got far more enjoyment spending an hour in the sun watching those deer do what deer do than I would have gotten out of killing one just to punch my ticket. There was no doubt in my mind that I could have shot any one of those deer, and on that day, that was good enough, and I went home empty handed, but heart-full. Your decision not to shoot that coyote was the morally correct decision. He was just out trying to make a living and doing nothing to bother you, and having watched a number of coyotes, they are interesting animals to watch hunt. Your reward was that enjoyment and your decision to let him go his way is a feather in a true hunter's cap.
I look at the price of the tag as my ticket to the hunt. I'll still shoot one now and then but tag soup is only an issue if you desire it to be. Just glad to get out there and be a part of it all now but in days gone by the story is quite a bit different....
Enjoy it in your own way.
Some great thoughts above. Fortunately none of us here apparently are forced into a subsistence hunting situation, at least not often.
I must admit I still have a desire to go out and kill things with frequency but usually I just take it out on the vermin, predators, etc which we have to control anyhow.
I was actually thinking of this thread this afternoon as I was driving out to finish chores when a very young, extremely ratty looking coyote ran across the road. Poor thing obviously sick as hell, almost hairless with bloody scabs from scratching himself and being as it was the middle of the day the odds he has rabies are very high since we are having a massive rabies outbreak in the state right now.
He got out to about 500yes and just stopped below a terrace apparently thinking he'd "made it".
Dispatching him with the .220sw was a kindness and a public service. For the most part the coyotes and skunks more than take care of whatever desire I have to just go out and kill something.
Without the First and Second Amendments the rest of The Constitution is Meaningless.