Slowly walking towards my favorite deer stand in the early morning darkness, I hear some very familiar sounds.
When I enter the thick stand of pines a turkey yelps loudly and is answered by the brood it roosted with last night. Off to my left, I hear the leaves crunching as an animal walks through the crisp, frozen underbrush on its morning excursion.
These sounds excite me as they did when I was 40 years younger. When hunting fails to make my heart beat quicker and my breath does not increase in anticipation of an animals sighting, I will hang it up.
My plan on this days hunt is to slip silently through the woods watching the area around me for deer. I plan to make a big circle up the mountain on trails travelled by both my quarry and myself for many, many years. I do not move as fast as when I was younger so it will take longer to complete the circuitous route. My aging has improved my hunting by slowing me down.
I will still hunt till I reach a ground stand high up the mountain where I have been successful in the past. This particular stand has given me a lot of venison and I hope it will provide another pot of stew and a sweet tasting pan full of back strap.
Of course I am again putting the cart before the horse. The deer must first be harvested, gutted, and dragged back to the truck.
The sun is peeping over the ridge top and casting shadows along side the hill. The emergence of the day makes the deer begin to travel.
The birds and squirrels create a combination of noise and movement that attracts my attention in several directions at once. I think this is what makes hunting so enjoyable. You might see a majestic buck moving through the woods sounding like a squirrel feeding on the ground.
The telephone check-in system sure has simplified my life. The wireless phone allows a deer to be checked in where it falls. After retrieving and skinning the deer, it hangs overnight to cool before the meat is boned, trimmed, and packaged for the freezer.
I complete the hunt about mid-day and take my meal at the truck. While eating my sandwich I glance out the window and see a four-point buck walking down the road nibbling at whatever greenery it can find. My gun is cased and I just enjoy watching him amble along.
I hope you still feel the anticipation of the hunt and the excitement known as buck fever when a trophy is sighted as I do.
I recently celebrated my 70th birthday and I am still hunting.
Have a good season.