Saturday, October 26, 2019

Well, I woke up to 30 degrees and a crystal clear sky for the first morning of Northern Zone rifle season in New York, a day that I always anticipate. I made a plan earlier in the week and stuck to it. I got going well before daylight to get to where I wanted to go before there was a hint of light.

I arrived to the place I wanted to sit and found a place to keep myself concealed. With my back against a huge hemlock and a big hardwood ridge in front of me, I hoped that something would come down off the ridge and make its way past me.

As the sun came up and I welcomed daylight, the water falling from the trees was deafening. This went on until about 10:00 a.m. I expected to see something, maybe a good one, but the morning passed without any luck. I sat until noon and had a plan for the rest of the day.

I headed over the ridge in front of me and hunted it for about a mile before I decided to take a finger off from it that would drop me into some rolling knobs that held a lot of beeches that were dropping nuts. During my hunt, I found a lot of sign in certain places, but it wasn’t very consistent. It didn’t bring my hopes very high. 

When I got back to some places that looked familiar, I took a compass shot and headed for a place that has traditionally been good in the evening for deer movement. I would sit there until dark.

When I got to the place, I had a good feeling. It’s one of those places that feels like a well-worn glove. When you slip it on your hand, it just feels right compared to the many other gloves you own. There’s nothing special about it, it just fits like a glove.

Chipmunks scurried all over the logs in front of me, and I enjoyed watching them. Then, everything became quiet, and I heard the unmistakeable sound of a deer walking. I knew it was behind me, so I slowly turned around and scanned the forest for it. When I saw it, I could see that it had antlers. It was a nice buck, and it was coming right toward me. I enjoyed watching it and was able to take some video of it. It turned out to me a nice 7-pointer. I thought it was an 8 until I looked closer at the video. Twenty five years ago, my season would have been done in the few seconds after I spotted the deer. I’ve grown over the years and now hunt for different reasons. I thoroughly enjoy watching bucks to see if I can learn something from them. I’ve learned a great deal over the years, and I’ve passed a great many deer. Most people can’t imagine passing bucks in the Adirondacks, where some hunters have a hard time seeing any bucks at all. I’ve come to enjoy it and really don’t care if I shoot a deer. This was a great experience.

I still remember the first Adiriondack buck I ever passed. It was on a rainy evening, and it walked to within 10 yards of me. I eased my finger off the trigger and let it walk. It was just a spikehorn. Many years have passed since then, and I feel that I’v matured a lot as a hunter and a person. I’ve shot many big bucks within minutes or hours of passing up small bucks. It’s amazing what a little discipline and self-restraint can bring to you. Here’s the video of the buck.

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