Rifle season for deer in NYS is now closed, or will be as of sundown today. Any deer that were anywhere near me today during my hunt needn't have had a fear, not that I think they were any too worried mind you.
I set up a stand at the base of a huge old oak, out out some scent trails, sat at my stand for awhile. Since I had figured I would give a hunt one last chance today, I was also determined to use my tried and true method of getting a deer - SLEEPING, then I quickly sort of passed out a la Rip Van Winkle. I managed to nod on and off, in great comfort sitting on my hunters pad on the snow covered ground, for the next three hours or so. The thing is today, the woods must be a little noisier than in Rip's time because I kept waking up every few minutes or so. It seemed there was an awful lot of fluttering of Chickadees' wings, and the rustling of a crow landing in a tree almost directly over me, and the pecking of woodpeckers on old trees, and the squeaking squeals of chipmunks all around me. As a matter of fact, once today, as I was groggily be again awakened from my uneasy slumbers, I thought I heard some deer, and was sure I heard the sound of footsteps and crunching in the snow and leaves. Just as I began to open my eyes, I heard a strange shrill laughter/grunting noise from not too far off within the shadows of the forest. If you have heard it before, then as am I, you are assuredly aware is the laughter of deer snickering over the foibles of a less than proficient hunter. I strained my eyes searching for the poor soul at whose expense they the deer were making fun, but could see no other hunter in the woods. I wonder if he was wearing camouflage, or had left the woods just before I awoke. Chances are his fumbling through the brush is what I thought was the footsteps of deer, and they were snickering at how much noise he made as he went along his way. When I think of it, I am more than ever convinced that the other unseen hunter, with all his noise making, kept the deer away from my stand, and why I saw none today! But then I did hear them laughing, so I do know it was a good spot in which to hunt them. Oh, and if you don't think it can happen, that is deer laughing at a hunter, then you have not deer hunted often enough.
As it turned out, I got 40 winks on and off over those 3 hours in the woods, and felt somewhat the better for it - you know getting away from the wife, and the chores around the house, sort of just like good old Rip. Lucky for me though that tales like those about Rip Van Winkle are just fantasy, I mean whoever heard of falling asleep in a forest glen to be awakened by a bunch of dwarves playing nine pins. Absolutely absurd sort of stuff - isn't it? Next thing you know someone will tell you about talking forest animals or something like that, all just balderdash as far as I can tell. Oh well, as for me, maybe a squirrel and or rabbit hunt or two before the Spring Turkey Hunt. By the way, none of those little critters are quite as rude and inconsiderate as are the laughing deer who mock hunters; these little guys just chitter-chatter, hop, gobble, and mind their own business.
All the best,