Report from Deer Camp — The Opener, 2015

SuperCore left today before lunch. Angus had to go home for school Sunday afternoon. That left me here at camp to watch the wall of rain roll over the ridge followed by a 35 MPH gust front. When it hit, it was like a bucket of water had been thrown at me. That send me inside. I have not been out since. That is sort of how it has felt in general since the Opener.

It was looking really great on Saturday, the Rifle Opener. The first shot rang out in the first minute of season. Around 0830 Angus saw his monster ambling along in the pasture below Blackberry, one of our new stands. He shot, the deer made a short run into the woods. Angus called me a short while later on the walkie-talkie, and then set about retrieving it himself. SuperCore had similar luck a few minutes later. Within 15 minutes, both had really nice 9-pointers down. A few minutes after that, two buck took the long way around my stand– a 6 pointer and a 4 pointer that travel as a matched pair. I kept them in my scope for a considerable amount of time, before deciding neither one was worth taking this year. Both were big, burly deer, and both promised to be monsters. They saw me in my orange clown suit, up the tree at Campground and could have cared less.

Then the walkie-talkie started to come to life again. Angus was having trouble with the block and tackle, getting the deer into the back of the truck. SuperCore’s buck had run into the woods and his recent heart surgery precluded him from schlepping it out himself. He also had taken a smaller doe in the meanwhile. This is how Rifle Openers go when you are the Patriarch of Camp.

Angus picked up a while later in the Hirschwagen, our dedicated deer recovery vehicle. I quickly figured out the problem: the rope was too small for the sheaves and was coming off. I sent Angus back to retrieve the other set. From there, it did not take long to get the buck back to camp, dump it, and head out in the direction of Gobbler’s Knob to pick up Supercore’s deer. The buck was big, bigger than Angus’ brute. I deployed the winch and had it out of the cedar thicket to the left of Jagendehutte in no time. The doe turned out to be a button buck. SuperCore is known for taking twofers when he can. It was small enough to be carried by hand.

This was the first triple-header. I’d built the meat pole to take three, but this was the first time it had been tested. It made for some interesting arrangements of the gear, but it all worked. It was well into the afternoon before we had the deer to the processor. Myer’s in Lennoxburg is under new management, and we took them there. It was getting on to 5 O’Clock before I could get back out to hunt.

I had meant to go sit at Midway, but things did not work out that way. As I came to the last bend in the road before the Honey Hole, I peered out into the pastures and saw a dozen deer munching forbs to all sides of my blind. I spent a while glassing them from 200 yards and did not see and big racks. It was mostly doe that had been scared over from the other properties. They were skittish, and when I tried to do an end around through the woods, I was busted. I did manage to get to Midway at dark. There were still a few doe out in the far field.

Since then, it has been very low-key. We all see deer when we go out. A couple of nice bucks have shown up when we have been out driving, but I have not seen them. Instead, I have mostly hunted Midway, Blackberry and Jagendehutte. SuperCore has hunted S10 and The Hand. The deer are feeding in the fields exclusively. It would appear the acorns failed miserably, and they all seem ravenous. All the deer we took had mostly grass and a little of my neighbor’s corn in them.

The rain and wind will depart overnight, and things will reset themselves so Weekend #2 will be seasonable like the Opener. I will try and mix things up a bit until SuperCore and Angus return on Friday. I have not panicked yet, but thoughts of a monster are becoming replaced with the resignation that I might have to settle for something less.

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