By JOHN L. SLOAN
It was a beautiful morning. A typical late September morning if it isnt one of those mornings with rain or blinding heat. The buck stood as if he was a statue or posing for a photo. In a way, I guess he was. The problem was he was standing with his butt facing me. Even with a crossbow, I will not take that shot. But I didwith my camera. And he just walked away. Oh well.
Our Tennessee bow season opens this Saturday. The limit is three does a day and one buck a day, not to exceed three for the entire year. Our deer population is in good shape and the rains have produced a good mast cropat least they have where I have looked. I have found persimmons, paw-paws, acorns and plenty of green browse. The deer appear to be in good physical condition.
I am looking forward to hunting this year. As it has been for a few years, I will be shooting the TenPoint crossbow. It is an awesome piece of equipment and barring sticking an arrow in a tree instead of behind a deers shoulder, I feel confident. If I can get a good shot out to 40 yards, I should have freezer meat. I once shot a tree with my TenPoint and split it wide open.
Also as in past years, I shall not be too selective in what I shoot. Anything but a spotted fawn or a doe with a spotted fawn at her side is in trouble.
Note to readers: If you are having a deer problem, email me at email@example.com and Ill try to come help. The crossbow is legal and perfectly suited to shooting in populated areas. I need a couple for my freezer and have promised some meat to other folks. I believe my health will permit me to hunt several days this year.
I hung a stand just a few yards from where I shot the picture of the deer walking away and I put one of my hunters in that stand 10 days later, hoping for a better shot angle. He made the shot at 11:15 in the morning. I took that picture of the buck I saw at 11:25. That is about as close to patterning a mature buck as I have ever come. What is funny is it was a different buck. It was a kind of cool that morning. I also believe they came to the edge of that green field for the shade. Deer prefer it cool.
I recall a cool morning a few years ago when a friend of mine decided he would try to rattle one in. Knowing it would be in the mid-80s by 10 a.m., I had my doubts about how effective rattling would be. It worked on a good buck.
Can we grow deer like that in Tennessee? You bet your bippy we can. Hunters killed some big deer last year. A lot of them. The three-buck limit combined with good conditions in the last year or so, have done much to allow some deer to reach that size.
However, the major factor is the selectivity of hunters. They are starting to learn, if they want to kill a wall-hanger, they need to let a little one walk. I have been saying that for a long time. I found an article I wrote in 1982, preaching just that. Let a young buck walk and shoot a doe.
Before you throw a hissy fit, you are right. I dont practice what I preach. I no longer have the slobbering desire to kill a monster buck. As I said earlier, with two exceptions, I shoot whatever is legal and walks by.
So let us all hope for a cool, crisp morning this Saturday. Not a lot of chance of that happening but we can hope.
If the low temperature is below 70, Ill go. I can hang in there until the sweat starts dripping off my nose. Eventually, the deer will move. I once killed a big buck in Kentucky at one something in the afternoon on a day when it was in the 90s. I also killed one in Wilson County that I am sure was going to jump in a pond to cool off.
Wear a fall restraint device (safety belt) if you are hunting off the ground and check for ticks, chiggers and snakes. Hunt safe and good luck. If you kill one, send me a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact John L. Sloan at email@example.com