Perspectives – Late Season Hunting

33This past week I managed to slip away for an afternoon hunt. I decided, due to the wind, that I would sit in a box stand overlooking a small soybean field adjacent to planted pines, where deer commonly bed this time of year.

I had shot a few deer from this stand. The most recent was a respectable 7-pointer last year. We typically wait to hunt this stand after the rut, due to the bedding cover and lack of surrounding hunting pressure.

As I looked around and surveyed my surroundings I took note of everything around me. The stand of pines where my turkey bind was situated and the deer trail where I waylaid the aforementioned buck last year. My mind then drifted off to a spot about 8 miles down the road where I also hunt. I have hunted that tract more often than the one I was currently at. I had shot my fair share of mature bucks from that farm, as well as captured a ton of photos on my trail camera. I guess I was still questioning my decision to not hunt there. So there I was sitting in a box stand 10 feet off the ground and as the sunset, I hadn’t seen anything. It was one of those days where the birds don’t chirp quite as loud, the squirrels barely barked, if any at all, and there was definitely a lack of deer movement.

When legal shooting light ended and darkness engulfed my blind, I gathered my things and got ready to leave. I bumped into a children’s chair, situated in the corner of the blind, and knocked it over. I then stepped onto a juice box, making even more noise. Luckily, I’m certain there wasn’t anything around to hear it. Before exiting the stand completely, I stepped on yet another juice box. The chair and juice box belonged to Colton, my 3 year old nephew, who has started hunting with my brother. They use this stand occasionally so Colton can move around and not be seen. After all, he’s three.

I hadn’t seen an animal worth mentioning all evening, but Colton had been hunting with his father in that stand a few days before and had a blast. I will be the first to tell you that there is more to hunting that shooting a deer. However, after a couple hours in a cold deer stand, that logic dissipates. The chair and juice boxes were a reminder to not take things too seriously.

Hunting is not about killing anything. It’s about time spent outdoors with family and friends and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Everyone wants to tag a buck, black bear, etc., but that shouldn’t dictate if a hunt was successful or not.

As the temperature and deer sightings drop during the last few weeks of the season, keep this in mind. Lastly, there is still plenty of time to take a kid hunting this year. With the holidays approaching, an afternoon spent in the field with a kid can leave a lasting impression that they’ll remember forever, regardless of the wildlife activity. One hunt can make a huge difference. Make the time to take someone else hunting before the season ends!

 

Andrew Walters