Ask the weekly golfer why he or she plays golf, and they usually say they do it for relaxation. Follow them around on the golf course and watch them shouting and swinging and trying to get the little ball in the hole, and the whole process looks anything but relaxing. It looks stressful.
But I’m not making fun of golfers, here, because hunting is the same thing for me. I go hunting to escape stress, and relax in the outdoors, and enjoy the quiet solitude of nature. Right. And then when the deer show up I’m just like those golfers you see, shouting at the little balls to ‘bite,’ or ‘sit down,’ or ‘roll over.’ Or whatever.
Not that I shout at the deer, I try to be, like Elmer Fudd, vewy vewy quiet. And still. But the stress is the same, especially when Harvey shows up near my stand.
Harvey is a buck I’ve been watching for a few months now. I have a bunch of pictures and videos of Harvey taken by my Cuddeback game cameras, which is absolutely the best way yet invented to scout for deer. If it weren’t for my game cameras I probably would’ve died of stress the first time Harvey showed up when I was actually in my stand, hunting for relaxation.
The two Cuddeback game cameras I have are the Seen and the Ambush, and of the two I like the Seen better. They both take great pictures and videos, but the Seen is a little more versatile. Video length can be set from about ten to thirty seconds, whereas the Ambush only takes ten second videos. At least, that’s all I’ve been able to get it to take. There might be something in the directions about changing that, but if I wanted to read the directions I wouldn’t’ve thrown them away.
Until AlGore invented digital cameras, about the time he invented the internet, scouting with game cameras was a royal pain. You had to use a camera with actual film, and take the actual film out and actually get it developed, and in a town like Mason that takes a while, maybe a week. By the time you learned there was a buck coming to your stand, he would have died of old age. Or lead poisoning.
With digital cameras everything changed. We live in an immediate world, and now we can look at pictures from game cameras immediately, and delete all the pics of coons, and skunks, and porcupines, and does licking their lips, and just save the ones we want, the ones of the bucks. Except I have a hard time deleting any of the pictures, especially the fawns. And the does licking their lips. And the coons, especially when they’re standing on their hind legs looking at the camera. So I’ve got about a million game pictures on my computer now, so there’s hardly room in the memory to finish this col……
OK, it’s not quite that bad, but I really have become addicted to checking the cameras every day and finding out what’s been coming in. And this year there are more bucks, all over Central Texas, than ever before. Which is probably why Harvey is coming to my feeder.
Harvey is, no doubt, the biggest buck I’ve ever shot a bow at. He looks huge in the pictures, and even bigger in person, although I’ve only actually seen him in person once. Last Saturday morning he came in while I was hunting, and he was less than ten yards from me for about ten minutes, before I finally managed to run him off by shooting an arrow toward him. And the whole time I was thinking that if I was taking a stress test I would fail. I was really surprised Harvey couldn’t hear my heart banging away like a bass drum.
I managed to draw my bow, but Harvey must be using The Force or something, because he started to turn a fraction before I released the arrow. By the time my STOS broadhead traveled the eight yards to where he was, he wasn’t. Harvey may be big, but he’s also quick.
And it doesn’t help that I’m hunting Harvey with an Osage selfbow given to me by a friend a couple of weeks ago. A selfbow is a bow carved from a single stave of wood. Most of them are crooked, and look like something you’d use for a fence stay. Mine looks like that. It has a knothole all the way through the upper limb, and the guy who made it glued a turkey beard in the hole. It’s a beauty.
The trouble is that I can’t shoot it accurately farther than about ten feet. Which means that, in order to skewer Harvey, I’ll have to get within ten feet of the biggest buck I’ve ever tried to shoot, and draw without him knowing I’m there.
No problem. I think I can manage it. I just have to be asleep while I’m hunting, because if I’m awake, I’ll probably bump against him when I start shaking . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who used duct tape on his knees while hunting. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org