STRAIGHT ARROW: Another trip to Land Between the Lakes

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Straight Arrow

By Gene Culver

At 5:15 a.m. Jan. 1, I was up and ready to go to the Land Between the Lakes for another bowhunt before the season ended Jan. 18.

This hunt would be different for me, because in 1980 Bonnie and I started hunting at LBL together. Then, Eric got old enough to go with us, and now Eric and I usually go together. This would be the first time since 1980 that I have gone to LBL with someone other than Bonnie or Eric.

At 5:45 a.m., Joe Bob Bryan picked me up, and in Elizabethtown we met another friend, Bill Bowling, and we were on our way. We arrived at LBL at 10 a.m., checked the area we planned to hunt, then went to Dover, Tenn., where we had a cabin rented.

At LBL we use portable climbing treestands. This way we are very mobile. But the drawback is having to carry the extra, bulky weight. We were in our stands by 3:30 p.m. I hunted a tree that was about 30 yards from the shore of Lake Barkley. Bill saw a doe running in the distance. Joe and I did not see any deer, but we all heard a lot of coyotes howling just before 6 p.m.

On Saturday morning, with the temperature at 27 degrees, we were back in the same stands. However, overnight the lake had risen and my tree was only about 10 yards from the water. As I was settling into my stand just after daylight, with everything so quiet and peaceful and feeling like I was the only person in the area, waterfowlers across the lake from me opened fire with a barrage of about 20 or more gunshots. Talk about startling you back to reality.

While I was in the stand, the water crept about a foot closer to my tree. Luckily, we were going to hunt another area or I might have had to wade to the stand that evening. None of us saw a deer this morning.

We drove to another area where Eric and I had hunted earlier this year where I knew there were some standing soybeans, but we could not get to these fields because the water was over the road. We ate lunch and then headed back south to scout some high ground for the evening hunt. We liked this new area and decided to hunt there that evening.

On Saturday evening we were in our stands again. I was in a gully, watching a trail with a lot of fresh signs leading to a green field. After three hours and a gorgeous sunset, I had not seen any deer. At the truck, Bill said he had not seen anything either, but Joe had seen two bucks and one doe. On the way back to the cabin, we decided to hunt the same area on Sunday morning.

We were up at 5 a.m., got everything out of the cabin and left the truck about 6:30 a.m. Joe and Bill went to the same areas as last evening. I hiked about a quarter-mile farther out a ridge on an old logging road, found a spot that looked good and climbed a tree. About 9 a.m. I saw a small six-point buck. Bill had seen a small buck and Joe had seen a small buck and two other deer.

At the truck we quickly changed clothes and were on the road home by 11 a.m. I had to get home, then on to Louisville by 4 p.m. for some opening meetings of the archery trade show. It was a hectic, cold and enjoyable weekend even without a deer to show for our efforts, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.