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By ROGER WILLIAMS, SWT Outdoors206283_531982796828103_661345506_n

The hunter is planning where he will ambush his prey on opening day. He has a choice of turkey, bear, or deer on the same day this year. He can hardly wait for time to go into the mountains and enjoy another season.

He has been shooting arrows at targets, year round, and is confident of his ability to hit the three inch circle regularly. Now that opening day is just around the corner, he will practice more frequently.

The release point, touching his chin at the same spot, is rigidly enforced as is the distance pin chosen for the shot. He must keep his arm locked at the elbow to prevent “string burn” when the arrow is released. A string release is used to free the bowstring smoothly and consistently.

All bow and cable noise is considered and steps are taken to reduce the “twang” of the release. This is to prevent the animal from hearing the shot before the arrow arrives causing a reaction to the sound, otherwise known as “jumping the string.”

Prior scouting trips into the woods have allowed him to place his tree stand in the perfect location. This was done several weeks before he planned to use it. Shooting lanes were also cut out to provide a sight path to his target as it approaches.

Some archers measure distances from their stand to the ground and mark these distances either mentally or with ground markers to insure the proper sight pin is used when a shot presents itself. He has performed this chore and uses bits of ribbon as markers,

He arrived well before daylight and is now listening to the woods awakening while sitting quietly in his chosen tree. Just before daybreak, when the shadows are beginning to elongate and it is still too dark to see clearly, crunching footsteps are heard approaching.

A large long, dark shape materializes in the predawn darkness and he visualizes a sizable rack atop the deer’s shadowy head. It is just too dark yet to shoot, so he has to watch it slip by the stand. He thinks to himself, “I knew it. I knew he was using these trails. That is the same big buck I spotted on my last scouting trip near this site.”

The excitement over, the wait begins.

Sitting in the stand watching the forest come alive with the variety of animals that live here is entertaining. The songbirds flit about, squirrels scamper in the trees and Turkeys call to one another just up the ridge. A deer is seen sneaking up the trail in the thick brush to his right. He is not able to determine its size or sex nor is it within range.

Two hours later, he opens his knapsack and picks up his calls. He remembered to place attractant scents around the stand before he climbed into the tree. He feels sure the aroma is still fresh and effective. A ”grunt call” is selected and used several times, waiting and watching closely, between calls.

He next used a “bleat call’ to try to entice a fat doe into his sights.

At lunchtime he eats his sandwich and opens his soft drink, thinking this might be a good time to climb down and stretch his legs.

Wait a minute! What is that?   Sounds like those turkeys are coming this way. Their scratching, clucking and purrs can be heard clearly as they feed down the next ridge. Maybe they will turn and come closer. He can see their silhouettes as they walk through the brush. Abruptly they bolt, running and flying off, spooked by some unseen enemy. “Probably a coyote,” he thinks.

About an hour later as he glanced down the hollow, movement is detected at the foot of the ridge.

A BEAR!

It lumbers along moving slowly and scenting the air. It smells the deer attractant scents placed earlier around the stand. As it turns toward the tree stand and walks closer, the hunter can tell it is a legal animal. He guesses the bear‘s weight to be around 200 pounds.  Suddenly it turns and walks directly away from him. That is when he notices the shift in the wind. It is now blowing directly down the ridge.

Climbing from the stand, he decides to still hunt along the left hand ridge. Carefully placing his feet in the crunchy ground cover he silently slips uphill. A few steps, then stop, look, and listen to his nearby surroundings as he makes his way to the top of the mountain.

Most of his gear was left at the base of the tree where his stand is located. He carries only the bow, arrows and knife along. The plan is to see the deer before they see him.   Carefully using the wind to his advantage, he slowly advances towards an area known to be used by bedding deer.

Look there! A doe is resting under a pine tree watching back down the mountain towards where he crouches. Raising the compound bow and coming to full draw. An opening large enough to take the shot cannot be found. After a few moments at full draw he must relax and this is the moment the doe scrambles from her hiding place and runs off.

Heading back to the tree stand to finish the days hunt, he reflects on the beauty of the fall scenery and the variety of game animals spotted already today.

As dusk falls and he departs from the woods, his passion has been somewhat sated by the days events.

He cannot help but anticipate his next hunt.  At camp he will tell of his adventures to his hunting cronies and listen enthralled by their experiences of the hunt.

New strategies have been mulled over all day while on stand and he feels confident the new plan for tomorrow will be successful.

Are you ready to go?

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