Assorted observations during the November modern gun deer hunt:
The young woman had eagerly looked forward to deer hunting this season. Her husband was experienced and enthusiastic with this activity, and she wanted to share it, along with getting some meat for the table "for my growing boys."
She went to a stand that had been successful for other hunters, some this season. She waited with her scoped .30-30 rifle. And waited. And finally two deer, legal targets for her, appeared.
She raised the rifle, and then she thought. "I’ve only shot this rifle one time. I don’t know if I can shoot well enough to get that deer." So she lowered the rifle and watched the two deer walk away.
OK, here are a couple of lessons for any of us who claim or aspire to be deer hunters.
One, the hunter was unsure of her ability to make a clean shot, so she passed on it. Some other folks, no names mentioned of course, would have opted to throw out a hail of hot lead in hopes something would hit the deer.
Two, the hunter went out without sufficient preparation in not shooting that rifle enough. Sure, she’s not by herself in this regard. Many, many Arkansas deer hunters go to a stand with little or even no shooting experience. Others go deer hunting without having fired a weapon since last deer season – if they shot at all then.
Practice shooting, deer hunters. It not only helps, it builds confidence in your hunting ability.
The grandfather of that young woman hunter had used the same stand several days previously.
Just before sunset, he heard something to his left, watched, and a buck stepped out 60 yards away. It was small. A careful look showed two points on each side of the rack, a forkhorn and not a legal buck. He didn’t move his rifle.
A minute later another buck stepped out, following the same path of the first one. This buck was larger. The hunter raised the rifle, looked though the sights and counted – three points on each side, a 6-pointer and legal. But the rack was small, not much more than the proverbial teacup rack.
The hunter, wanting a deer, hesitated a moment then lowered the rifle. This buck should grow a little.
Not all deer hunt incidents involve deer.
This writer headed toward a stand one afternoon. The day was sunshiny and fairly warm. In a bushy and grassy corner just off a crop field, movement caught his eye. Turkeys.
He stopped the vehicle, looked at the camera bag on the passenger floorboard then decided not to get out the camera, which would have meant changing a lens as well. The turkeys were in tall grass, not good for photography.
He drove ahead slowly and watchful. This was a bunch of turkeys.
Thirty yards away, the turkeys suddenly burst into flight instead of the expected running away. There were 10 of them, and they soared together high and over a line of trees. The afternoon sun was brilliant on the black, bronze, brown and white colors. Tails were spread with the flight.
The turkeys were at least 200 yards away before the driver moved forward again.
Most of us don’t think of the flying ability of wild turkeys, concentrating instead on their wariness and keen sense of sight. Turkeys can fly and fly well.