Today is Sunday, June 25, 2017

A screwy hunting season

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We are about 70-plus days into our 2016/17 hunting season. For half of it, it was more like summer and a drought was building.

Hunting should have been slow. In some areas, I guess it was. Crazy Weather!

Is Al Gore to blame? What is it with the summer weather during bow season? But for that matter, what do I have to complain about?

Hunting mostly the cool mornings, I managed to put five does in mine and other's freezers. I also passed up about a dozen shots at young bucks.

And Wade Bourne, my fellow outdoor writer from Clarksville, killed his biggest Tennessee buck ever, using a crossbow.

So what is wrong with that? I love autumn. I love the cold, crisp mornings, with the leaves changing colors and drifting around.

This year, most of them, just dried up and fell off. The weather was better suited to fishing and I did some of that, too.

Look at the weekend of the first juvenile hunt. Near record highs -- 86 on that Saturday. Despite the heat, the hunting was not bad for the kids.

Colt Allen, age nine, hunting with his father, Charles, got a buck and a doe. Congratulations to him on a fine job.

Then, comes one of my favorite days of hunting season-opening day of muzzleloader.

The forecast was for a low of about 45. That is not terrible but I wanted maybe 35. That would have been even better. It was 39. You take what you can get. Heck, Nov. 4, I was sitting on my patio in shorts, taking in the sun and reading.

So, come opening morning, I slipped into a stand I had been saving for just that morning, one not hunted so far this year.

One from which I could count 11 fresh rubs. I had high expectation and needed to connect. The woman I live with, the wife, told me we were going to hear an Eagles cover band that night and probably out to eat. No afternoon hunt.

So, I am sitting there, 14 feet off the ground in this beautiful spot.

Eight-twenty, she comes all flitter. I let her pass, thinking surely, there is something following. I was right...two hours of boredom, not even a squirrel. I only heard three shots, all in the distance. I saw two does that morning and one was dead on the side of the road. But a beautiful morning.

Comes the second morning, still cool and clear. Grey-light, that time when stumps move. I can see patches of white and the white of more than respectable antlers. I can't see well enough to shoot. He leaves. It gets lighter, light enough for me to see the tail of one leaving from behind me. Deer are on the move; be watchful.

I grunt twice, softly. Hit the rattler bag for a minute, just light sparring. He comes sneaking in. I warned him four times during bow season.

He didn't listen. He pauses to polish his long, three-point antlers on a cedar tree. I put a 230 grain Precision muzzleloader. Bullet right behind his shoulder.

He will be just what my friend, Randall, wanted. I can still make Chicken Church.

And the next morning, in a different stand, one less than 150 yards away, I see four bucks and one unidentified deer.

The fourth buck, a standard, 2.5 yr. old, eight-point. Could not resist the rattling. He weighed 137 pounds field dressed and made the guy I gave him to very happy. So, for me, it is does only, the rest of the year. I'm fine with that.

And while all that was going on word comesThe Judge, David Earl Durham, has killed two nice eight-pointers.

Course, I guess y'all heard, Stephen Tucker, hunting over in Sumner County, near Gallatin, killed a monster non-typical with 47 points that is reported to go close to 308 inches.

Looks like our muzzleloader season was as it is supposed to be.

The cool weather had the bucks moving and searching. (And...me and Big Bird caught a few bass while all that was going on.)

November 18 - 11:30 AM. I'm sitting on the patio in shorts and no shirt, sunning and reading. Rifle season opens tomorrow with a drastic weather change. We could see a huge opening weekend kill.

More tea, please Jeanne, lots of ice.

I know Charles Allen killed a nice one opening day. I saw the picture. I decided to forego the opening day of rifle season cause the wind was blowing the stars around. I did kill two does and passed a nice 9-point the second day. Hearing rumors of deer not being checked in due to the new law on spike bucks. Don't like that.

Hunt safe and good luck.

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com.

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