My deer season – just ended in the area I hunt – had much in common with the Houston Texans football team’s disastrous season. A combination of weather and non-hunting obligations contributed to my lack of success, but there were some positive notes. I got game camera pictures of a couple of good bucks on my property. One of these looked to be so old he may not survive until next season, but the other was a nice 8-point in excellent shape that will hopefully be around another year, and even grow bigger. I also saw enough does to attract a buck or two, if I can keep them interested in hanging around. If we have a normal acorn crop next year and continue to get decent rainfall, things could be a whole lot better.
Many years ago I stopped deer hunting altogether. My feeling was that there seemed to be so few deer in East Texas where I hunted, that I shouldn’t be trying to kill them. Things have certainly changed for the better since then, but I am still not consumed by the need to kill a deer every time out. I was given a whole deer by my brother this year, so we do have venison in the freezer, and I continued to learn things about deer and their habits that I hope will help me enjoy my time in the woods in future hunts.
Confirming that scents DO work was a big plus. The only bucks I saw on my property were at “mock scrapes” I made in various spots. These were places where I had never placed a feeder, nor was there a natural scrape nearby. With both buck and doe urine applied, I continued to have “visitors” on a regular basis – although mostly at night.
Last season I passed on the opportunity to shoot a doe a couple of times. This year I did not have the chance, except for a doe on the wrong side of the fence, and off my property. Many years ago I wrote a parody of a Hemingway story in which I told of a fisherman who pursued marlin in an area much too close to shore for these deep water fish to be found, but who told his friends, “there are no marlin here of course, but that only makes the catching of them that much sweeter!” Some might think continuing to hunt deer on a small property to be much the same type quest – and perhaps it is, yet I once hooked a white marlin at a rig less than 30 miles off Freeport, Texas, where no marlin should have been, and I have killed several good bucks off my small property – which certainly made them more special to me.
Also, I must confess I did not “hunt” as hard as I usually do, for several reasons. I think maybe this was an “off” year for deer in many areas, and my brother told me his hunt around Ozona was not as productive as the previous year. Still, I killed a couple of hogs and could have killed several more. With an abundance of hogs around, I can keep “big game” hunting all year, to provide a challenge and put meat in the freezer. Next year might be the year I get another good buck, and I can live with that.