Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan. 4 - Last hunt of the season

50 degrees that day. Rifle season had opened back up. L*, our new bowhunting freind who hunts the other side of the river went in with us on that Sunday for one last chance. We all had 2 tags to fill. 3 of us, 6 tags, bow and rifles and one last miserable chance.

Jason and L figured since they hadn't gotten one yet they would take their rifles. They told me I should just take one with me. I refused. I absolutely must get my deer with my bow before I hunt with a gun. I'm not proud, just primitive.

L* let me use his stand across the river as they would use their rifles on the opposite side. This stand was pretty far but once I got up there and set up, it was beautiful. I was instantly reminded of the reason I praise God the entire time I'm hunting. The sun was shining, it was warm, no wind. I hadn't even brought my coat. I only wore my underarmour and fleece camo over that. I had on two pairs of pants, and two pairs of socks. I did bring my gloves because if it's simply below room temperature my hands are icicles. Is that how you spell icicles? Anyways...the sun fluttered through the trees and river flowing subtly behind made for a nice setting. I saw no squirrels, no cardinals, no finches, no hawks, rabbits, racoons or turkeys. I had a clear view of the horizon all around me as I sat atop the trees. I focused on the clearing directly in front of me. The deer trails clearly led to this area surrounded by brush and many deer bedrooms lay about the high grass.

After awhile through the bare trees into the woods, I caught a glimpse of white tail. Bouncing, bobbling along. She stopped. Looked about, then continued on her way. She was in a hurry and she was about 60 yards away. Too far away for an arrow shot...but not for a rifle. CRAP, why didn't I bring the rifle? Don't say "I told you so." I've heard it enough.

After some time, it started to get a little breezy, I heard no gun shots. I would love to take a deer with my bow on the last day while they sat with rifles. As I wondered about the weather, a GINORMOUS FLOCK of birds flew over me and perched on the branches above me. It was raining bird-sh*t, and I was in the middle of the storm. The sound of all the birds peirced my eardrums, almost scary. I pushed my back up against the tree, looked down as far as I could, pulled my shirt up over the back of my neck and pulled my hat down as far as I could. Bird poop down my shirt was something I just wasn't going to let ruin this hunt. Never in my life have I had the opportunity to hear something so profound: bird poop droplets firing 10,000 per second on every square inch of surface all around me. Then, the birds all stopped chirping at the same time. It was sooooooo erie. But the poop was still falling. Now it sounded like a heavy rainshower. I prayed I would not get pegged. All at once the birds flew away, continuing to relieve themselves all the way out of the woods. Then it was quiet once again.

All of a sudden a wind came out of the north so strong and so cold it took my breath away. I was facing north. I was not prepared for this. I didn't think the temperature would drop this soon. At about 5:15 I was so frozen I didn't even know if I could climb down my stand, I wanted to call the boys and have someone come and get me but my fingers were so cold and my body was shaking so bad I couldn't even work my phone. (I later found out that they gave up early and actually tried to call me to see if I wanted them to come out and get me.....can you believe that?)
My middle finger on my hand was completely numb. But a weird numb. My legs were shaking, my arms were shaking and I was clenching my jaw to keep my teeth from chattering. I kept telling myself "just 10 more minutes."

Big mistake.

Right before I was about to dial the number with my tongue (not really, but it was that cold), I spotted movement in the brush leading to the clearing. It was taking it's time. The nice, beautiful, large rub on one of the trees there told me this was where I would see him. And I did. His antlers came out first, then his body. He was about 30 yards away, maybe 25. I could take that shot. But probably not if I was shaking as bad as I was. I had plenty of time to position myself. Snot and tears running down my face, I clipped my release and got ready to pull and every muscle started tremmoring. I couldn't do it. The darn cold had set in and I was so mad. I had done this how many times? I had prepared and prepared some more, yet failed myself this time. I had hunted in much colder weather than this....but I had worn the appropriate clothing. I had done this in the freezing rain, snow, 50 mph wind, 15 degree weather, 85 degree weather, mosquito haven, underneath a freakin' wasps nest and everything else and now...I failed myself.

The buck took off in the opposite direction casually, to look for food I presume, because he never caught on to me being there. Then it was pitch black. And I just prayed I would live long enough to tell about this last hunt of the season. Then I saw headlights! They came for me! If they hadn't come for me, I would have had to walk back the entire way and probably not have been able to make it even half way. The excitedness of headlights was the only thing that got me down from the stand.

When I got to the truck it was about 5:45.

Jason: We came back at like 5:15, said forget it, it's too cold. Guess you must have seen somethin'?


Jason: Huh?

Kendra: (i just stuck my hand out insinuating for him to pull my glove off. )

There it was, my middle finger, stark white, half dead, numb, unable to feel and move. All my other fingers were bright red, hurting and cold. The warmth in the truck felt good but only for a minute. Then when my body thawed out enough for me to talk I told Jason that I thought I was going to die, and that now, I thought I was going to throw up. My fingers were starting to hurt really bad. Was this hyperthermia? Frost bite? I don't know. All I know is that for the next 15 minutes my hands were in pain so bad that I leaned out the window dry heaving from pain. The last time "pain" made me throw up was when I was giving birth....and this was that bad. I was moaning and whining and holding my hands above my head because the circulation coming back was just too painful. I'm sure I was probably thrashing my body around the cab of the truck like a maniac in between each heave. It was awful. And my poor middle finger, well, about 20 minutes later it finally got some color back. But since then, none of my fingers have felt the same and my middle finger feels a little crippled. I think it's kind of permanantly damaged...good thing it's on my left hand.

Jason and L didn't get their deer. They didn't even see anything. So I did one up them on that. And that was the last hunt for deer season.

And after all that, I figure out that since I didn't check my hunting regs first, it would have been illegal for me to shoot that 8-pointer even if I did have a gun...because the extended season was for antlerless only.

You've got to be kidding me.

So the last hunt ended with 3 cold people and 6 unfilled tags. Good luck next year.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dec 26

The last hunt of the season? I don't know, but once again, I saw nothing. Maybe I'll hit it hard next week. I think rifle season might open back up for a few days. I might just have to put aside my pride, put a rifle slug in the shotgun and get my deer that way. Or, I could just stick with my bow and try, try again and possibly go deerless this year. It's okay. I can handle. But I darn sure haven't shown anyone up this year!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dec 28: If you miss these trail pics, you miss out.

Goodness gracious. How much more can I possibly take. This totally fricken bites. I've hunting for the last 2 12 months and have seen, nor heard any action. The trail camera's tell a different story, which makes me feel like even more of a failure. We purposely have 4 stands and a ground blind so we're not in the same area all the time. However, I've really been addicted to the sight unseen at one specific area. I can't seem to make myself go anywhere else but the timber stand. The timber stand sets in the timber rather than on the edge. It's only about 40 or 50 yards from the bean field. The deer have their bedrooms between the field and the stand. There are fresh rubs all around. OOOOOHHHH how I love rubs. I have a strong desire to take it home with me, frame it on my wall and look at it everyday. Why would anyone love rubs like I do? I have no idea, but my infatuation with a rub and a scrape is out of this world. There's no description of how I feel inside when I find a scrape and rub...if only I could chunk it out of the earth and take it home with me......
Anyways, where was I? The timber stand. There's a dry creek bed immediately behind the tree I'm in and a bluff behind the creek bed. The deer trails come up over the bluff, down to the creek bed, they cross the creek, walk directly underneath the stand to the bean field. We put a trail camera and a food plot in the area just to see what was passing through. Out of 108 pictures in 6 days of these bad boys, you can see why I'm getting discouraged. These are what's luring us to the hunt. I hunted this area for 13 hours, frozen, hungry (that's my fault) and did I mention frozen and now sick because, once again, I didn't see a thing? Stupid bulls, I'm gonna get you. How can these guys be there all the time, and when I head out, they hide? As much deer pee and scent eliminator I have on me, and as quiet as I am, I don't know what's going on. I'm just glad I'm not the only one. Out of ALL of our bowhunting friends, I know of only one guy who has snagged his buck, and he's been doing this since he was old enough to pull a bow string. That makes me feel a little better. Maybe theire getting smarter, I don't know. Anyhow, here's what's making me miserable:

Let's fight.

Check out the width on this thing.

This one is amazing to me...a little...well...let's just say a necessary kill.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nov. 24

Well I got a deer. I didn't get him with my bow. And I didn't get him with a gun. I got him with my bare hands as he attacked me. I was walking back from my tree stand and I had on me Doe-in-estrus-urine; and this is the rut. He smelled it, as I had feared one might do. I was scared the whole time though, looking over my shoulder, keeping an eye on my surroundings as I walked out of the timber with no flashlight and no knife. I forgot my knife, that's bad! Before I knew it, out of nowhere he came and the buck charged me, so I whipped out an arrow and like a raging injun started hollering and charging back. I pierced him through the heart, his blood stained my hands. The look in his eye was saying "you won, girl-of-tree."
Okay Okay, this didn't really happen. But I thought it up as I was walking back from my tree stand last night with no knife, no flashlight (I forgot them..) in the middle of the rut with doe piss on me. Tales like this are what consume our mind when we've had an uneventful season. Nice thought, though!

I went out last night and it was a perfect night. It was a north wind, about 55 degrees and clear. I headed out at about 3. I stayed until around 6. I came down just in time: right before I couldn't see my hand in front of my face...good thing, because I forgot my flashlight. I figured if I could make it to the deer blind up the hill, then I could see the silo, and make it to the silo free and clear. And I made it, without being attacked by a buck who smelled the doe urine on me. (Right before I left the house, I looked at Jason, and with all seriousness, pulled out the doe-in-estrus urine and said, "'ll just put it on ME." He looked at me with horror on his face and a very strong and serious "NO!" (tee hee hee, I'll just put it on myself later...) And I did. Then I learned my lesson. You don't do that when you forget your flashlight and your knife. I have to admit, in the dark, with strange noises, knowing there's bucks looking for that smell of a doe in heat, I was scared. I booked it hard back to the four-wheeler!

While in my stand that night, I did see a doe. A really big one. There was a bluff behind me and she came down over the top of it. At first I think she sensed me but didn't sense danger, yet. So she cautiously kept moving her own way...down the bluff, across the dry creek bed that would eventually take her right under my stand into my shooting lanes. Stupid me. As soon as she started down to the creek bed, I just had to get a look. As soon as I turned my head, she leaped straight up and took off back up the bluff and through a bunch of timber, her white-tail bouncing along in alertness. That was the most action I've seen in days. So, until next time....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November Hunts

So I've been out to all different stands 5 times since the rut started about Nov. 10. It's such a gamble because your chances are really good at getting your deer because during the rut the deer are on the move...big time; but to your disadvantage they are completely unpredictable. This means they aren't taking their regular trails, they aren't following their normal patterns and they can wander miles from their normal feeding and bedding areas. I've had no luck at all and neither has my husband. I thought for sure I'd snag one this month but it hasn't happened. In fact, oddly enough, we haven't even seen so much as a squirrel. Such a bummer. However, thanksgiving week will be the peak of the rut so maybe I'll get one next week. Until then...happy hunting!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 1st Hunt

About 10 more days until the rut. I can't wait; I'm tired of seeing doe. I still have not gotten a shot at anything. I could have had about 4 doe by now...but that's not what I want. I went out last night at 4:30 and it was 80 degrees, no wind. Jason moved the stand on me so I walked about a 1/4 mile in the wrong direction. Woops, guess he forgot to tell me that. Once I got to the stand I fought off another wasp. I also ate a couple spider webs. Once I got up and got settled, the only activity I had for awhile were squirrels and 2 racoons. And then...something very large and solid fell into the river. I'll never know what it was, an enormous toad I suppose? All I know, is that it scared the pee out of me when whatever it was went "kerplunk." On this particular night there were alot of gun shots being fired not too far away. Other hunters on another property or the land owner just fooling around I do not know...but I think it messed up my evening. I did see one doe, a very young one and she didn't stick around very long. My evening ended with a massive bite I got on my wrist. It swelled up to the size of a golfball. My whole arm is bruised and very tender to the touch. I'm super ready for colder weather; ready for things to go dormant. I don't remember it being like this in November, ever.
Anyhow, I came down about 7:15 and on the way back on the four-wheeler I scared up a pheasant and about shared a face plant with each other. Even though I haven't shot anything yet, it's definitely never a boring time!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

October 27th hunt

This past weekend I went to Oklahoma to my Nee-Naw's (that's my grandma...but we don't ever call her that. She's never been called....except for one time when I did it and she cried.) She has some beautiful land and I got to hunt with my 2 cousins and my uncle. My cousin is in the Navy and I don't really get to see him that much so this weekend was extra special. We bowhunted about 40 yards away from each other. He was in a stand, I was still hunting between two cedar trees. My younger cuz was in a pop-up blind on the other side of the ravine. My uncle was across the bank with his bow. We all had bow's except for my younger cousin who had a rifle. 3 Firsts for me: Hunting with someone else, hunting in western Oklahoma and hunting on the ground.
We all got in place by about 4pm. It was incredibly windy, and aobut 65 degrees. Alot of time while hunting you fully depend on your ears, especially when it starts getting dark, and for what's behind you. My luck was down the drain this day. The wind was howling so loud, the oil rigs were pumping making extra racket, and the cows seemed to have a good time circling around me moo-ing to their hearts desire. Very early into the hunt I thought it would be worth it to just get up and get out since there was no chance I was going to get a shot at any deer. However, I figured my movement would ruin the hunt for everyone I stayed put until dark unless someone else shot something and needed help tracking. About 7:30 I came out of my stand because I saw the pick-up lights come on. I started packing up and heading up the bank of the ravine. And that's when I saw all three of them. Uncle G, JL & JD. Apparently, my cousin who was 40 yards away from me shot a doe, then, turned around and shot a buck. Darned my luck! How could I have never known all that took place? They had been searching for the buck for an hour and half. He shot the first doe at about 4:35! He's always shown me up...but it's okay this time. Because that day is a day I will cherish forever...and the day after when we spent 4 hours crawling through rough thicket, searching for the buck by the blood trail he left for us...Just my cousin and I. Hopefully, this will be a new tradition in our family. Because I love it way too much.
Thanks for Sunday Uncle G, JL & JD.
Thanks for Monday in the pasture cousin J. Love ya.

By the way, we never found that darned buck. But to J's credit...he shot the arrow completely behind himself and it was the first thing he'd ever shot with his bow. Way to go.