STRAIGHT ARROW: Three weekends into the archery deer season

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Straight Arrow

By Gene Culver

Deer season opened Sept. 2, and Eric hunted a stand that usually proves to be very productive in the early season when acorns start falling. After three hours in the stand, he had not seen any deer and heard very few acorns fall. To make matters worse, most soybeans in the area are still green, so the deer are still concentrating on them.

On his way out of the woods, Eric saw turkeys in a field. He had a cedar tree between him and the birds, and when they were close enough, he was able to draw his bow, make a good shot and harvest his first turkey of the fall season. Turkey season opens the same time as deer season and runs until mid-January as well.

I was still recovering from my muskox hunt to the Arctic and trying to catch up on things at the archery shop, so I decided to wait for the evening to hunt.

At about 4 p.m., Eric headed for Hart County, while Hannah, my 11-year-old granddaughter, and her mom, Beth, would be in a stand near home and I would hunt about 10 miles from home.

Eric did not see any deer, and Hannah got bored after 40 minutes and headed for home. I hunted a stand overlooking a soybean field and watched several deer in the field, but I only saw one buck, and it was a small spike.

Eric has hunted with Hannah on two trips afield. On the first of these hunts, almost as soon as they got settled in their stands, Hannah had two ticks crawling on her neck and she was done, so they packed up and went home. On their next trip they saw a doe with two little fawns, and later a big old doe with two bigger fawns came in and ran the other three off. With each encounter with deer, Hannah is learning more about the animals and how they interact with each other.

Since then, Eric and I have been hunting stands deep in the woods where acorns normally start falling early, drawing the attention of an occasional good buck, but in three hunts for me and four hunts for Eric, neither of us has seen a deer from any of the stands.

Even though I am not seeing any deer, I get to enjoy seeing the moon, Venus, the Orion constellation and a sky full of stars as I hike in to my stand in the dark. At one stand I’ve hunted twice, there are two young gray squirrels that climbed up a tree about five feet away. They sat on a limb and stared at me for a while, then moved on and went about their daily activities, which is mainly eating and gathering acorns and other mast crops.

To pass the time in a deer stand, a lot of times I daydream about monster bucks that could appear at any time, and it’s always amazing to watch how the sunlight constantly changes the woods.

While I may not be seeing many deer, I always love the peace and quiet of my time in the deer woods.


Local archer and outdoorsman Gene Culver operates the Bent Arrow Archery Shop (www.bentarrowarchery.com) with his wife, Bonnie. Contact them at 549-8119 with questions.