Today is Monday, May 1, 2017

The sun has set

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The sun has set on my hunting season No. 62.

Well, the sun has set on another deer season.

For me, it was season number, 62.

Sixty-two years is a long time to chase those ole things but I enjoyed every minute of it. For me, it was a great season. I killed several does and two bucks.

This is the first time in many years I have killed two bucks. And as has been my habit for several years, I finished the year at White Oak Plantation in Tuskegee, AL.

It could have been worse. There were some drawbacks.

(1) The truck I was driving had a problem. After 20 minutes of interstate travel in intermittent rain, the wipers quit, as did the cruise control and turn signals. Other than that...

(2) six miles north of Montgomery on I-85, there was a wreck blocking the road. Took 90 minutes to go five miles. But I got there.

(3) Coming home, same problem with truck except the right blinker froze in the on position. Everybody let me know about that. But Enterprise made it right.

The weather was perfect...for reading, visiting and eating.

And that is mostly what I did. I hunted a couple afternoons and fished enough to bring back some vacuum bags of fillets. I saw one deer, right at dark and that was it.

My companions, killed a couple does, several hogs and one coyote. It was either 78 degrees or the wind was howling at 25-40 m.p.h. with tornado warnings.

I spent a lot of time playing with kids -- Sophia and Katrina -- daughters of Joe and Teresa which makes them grandkids of Robert and Hilda Pitman, owners of White Oak.

Along with Florella Crouch, they made up the hunting contingent.

A new dog, simply called "Bulldog", a stray that just wandered up, almost came home with me. What a sweetie.

And of course, Attis, the giant guard dog, who will scare you to death with his bark and growl, and then lick you senseless. I get along well with dogs and moderately well with other folks, grandkids.

So, as the sun set on my hunting season, I looked back with satisfaction. I have two new places hunt with great landlords, plenty of deer and turkeys and big expectations for next year, God willing.

What do we do now? Here are a couple things I suggest. First, right now is the prime time to do some scouting. Take what you saw and hopefully learned this season and combine that with what you can see right now.

Make notes on scrapes and rubs, where and when they appeared. With the leaves off the trees, you can see all the terrain variations that deer use to travel.

Now is the time to move or reposition stands and mark sites to hang stands in the future.

If you haven't quite gotten your fill of hunting, how about an aoudad hunt in Texas? There is no season on them, you can go whenever you want. They are a good, free-ranging hunt and make a superb trophy.

My friend, Steve Jones, at Backcountry Hunts, (backcountryhunts.com), offers some great aoudad hunts in West Texas.

I wish I was still young enough to go.

But it is also time to start looking for the pre-spawn crappie. I suspect that is what Judge Durham, (now that he is back from HiWiYah), will be doing.

If we get one of those warmer days without a gale force wind, prospecting for bass and crappie as they start to move into warmer water is not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Now is also a great time to book a bream/bass fishing trip for you and the kids at White Oak, (hunt@whiteoakplantation.com or (334) 727-9258).
I promise you will be glad you did.

So, there is plenty of outdoor activities in which to participate.

On the good days, get out and prowl around your deer woods or hook up the boat and get your casting arm back in shape. The sun may have set on this hunting season but it is rising on next fall's.

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com

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