By Patty Wilber
We flew out to Missouri to hunt white tail deer last weekend.
Truthfully, we went to visit Jackie and Craig and we got to hunt on their farm as a huge added benefit. What a fine time we had!
They have a really nice lodge, designed by our nephew!
In my copious (uh two times with my own elk permit; two times as a elk spotter for Jim) experience hunting elk and javelina (never even saw a live one), we walked or rode, and I have really enjoyed the looking. Good thing, because my harvest percentage is a big fat zero and I have only taken one shot, which, obviously, missed.
Deer hunting was from a blind and I wasn’t sure I’d a) be warm enough and b) be able to sit still that long. I really don’t sit still very much.
Well, the blind had a little propane heater, which we only used once, and it turns out I CAN be still (if I am not freezing) because it also turns out that when you are still, you see stuff.
See the red bushy tail? When I was a little kid, we lived in Missouri and my parents and grandfather used to squirrel hunt. (We ate them, in case you were wondering.) I had a collection of squirrel tails and the red ones were my favorite.
I clearly needed something better than a camera phone that would only zoom 4x! The turkeys came in various groups, but this one and it’s buddy, came within 40 yards of the blind. One flock of 25 came boiling out their roosts in the trees sounding like a jet bursting out of the forest!
And we saw quite a few smaller birds: eastern blue birds, cardinals, bluejays, tufted titmouses (titmice?), nuthatches, red bellied woodpeckers and downy wood peckers. Most were very close (but not close enough for my phone camera!!)
There were no deer Friday morning.
Mid-day, we toured the 400+ acres in blaze orange. We carried a gun just in case, but the three does we saw only showed us their long white tails.
Craig and Jim.
Me, Craig and Jackie
We went to a small cave. Jim went in and found the bats!
Friday evening, from the blind, we saw deer. I had an any-sex permit, so we passed up our first group of does to see if we could get a buck. No luck on bucks.
No deer on Saturday morning, but Saturday night, I had a shot at about 175 yards. That is pretty far for me, and I got nervous. I lined up pretty well according to the cross hairs in the scope, but not well enough, and I missed. Craig was watching from his blind and thought he saw a stumble, so we looked for sign in the evening and again Sunday morning.
Nada, but we did see frost flowers.
Frost flowers only occur when there is a hard freeze when the ground had not yet frozen. The cold causes plant stems to split. Water oozes out and freezes. Capillary action brings up water from the ground which tries to ooze out, but it freezes. The result is ribbons of ice that curl around the plant stems!
There was still time to hit the blind, and a small deer came out. I had it at about 80 yards. Apparently, the gun and I were in disagreement about where it was to shoot. It was Jackie’s gun and she had sighted it in, but clearly, I needed to target shoot myself. I missed so badly (or the deer was deaf with an overall sensory deficit) that the intended freezer-filler barely even flinched.
At that point I was a bit paranoid about another bad shot and besides the deer was so little and cute. It may well have been a button buck since it was all alone and the does tend to travel in herds.
So, we named it Lucky, and I took a picture instead!
Happy Day after Thanksgiving, everyone!