I've been AWOL lately and don't even feel particularly guilty about it. Spent a few days on either side of Thanksgiving on a friend's ranch a stateline away. We hunted birds, much to Emma's delight, and some coyotes. We ate, talked, and generally enjoyed the good fellowship that holidays can bring. While Em and I were out with the guys hunting, Mags was warmly ensconced on a comfy couch in the ranch house watching TV.
Once we got home we faced our one-month-long muzzleloader deer season. This has been an unusual deer season for me so far because my heart just doesn't seem to be in it.
At about 4AM yesterday morning I noticed a dark shape out front through the bedroom window and knew it was a deer. From its bulk and the way it moved I knew it was a buck. I got up and in the dark house I went into the living room and got the glasses. Yes a buck. Looked like a whitetail but in the near-darkness I could not be sure. AFter while another shape materialized. It looked like another buck but neither seemed to have much in the way of antlers.
About noon I dressed for the cold (6° at dawn) and went out with the Seneca. (A long-discontinued T/C .45 caplock of surpassing lightness and slenderness. A collector would call it a modern redaction of a "New England deer rifle.") Sure enough, they were apparently bedded in the cedars at the top NW corner of the property. One went out right away as I sneaked around the NE corner of the shop. Four, maybe five, points and a definite whitetail. The other deer, also a buck, with a very small complement of antlers but looking bigger through the body was less skittish and move slowly to the top of the grade, behind some large trees.
I used the trees to shield my movement and sneaked up to the chicken coop where I could use the sloping roof for a rifle rest. As he moved out from behind the tree trunks I put the Seneca’s sights on him. He paused for a long time looking toward me but not seeing me, I think. Easy shot. About forty yards and a good rest and sight picture. But I didn’t take it. It was only the third day in a 31 day season and, once again, I was not anxious to kill anything. It really wasn’t the puny antlers as I am most interested in a “meat deer.” It was as I say— I just didn’t feel like pulling the trigger on him.
Then, about 3PM, I look out the living room window and there is another one. This one is a big-bodied mulie fork-horn. He’s fifteen yards from the porch and instead of grabbing the rifle I opt for a camera and snap his piccie through the stealthily opened front door. He poses for a couple and then pronks off up to the cedars again and I go back inside.
I'll probably take a deer at some point in this season. I'm running a bit low on venison and could certainly use it. (I'm allowed two on my m/l permit.)But as I said before, for whatever the reason I am just not an enthusiastic deer hunter this season.