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Deer Hunting Is Hard!

1913 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Franco S. Cruz
Deer Hunting Is Hard!

Deer hunting is the hardest thing on earth to do successfully. Don’t argue with me—I have lots of experience being unsuccessful at it. If I would have devoted all the time and energy that I’ve spent deer hunting to splitting the atom, I’d have half-atoms lying all around my garage by now. I could have been elected president—and being president would be a lot less stressful than sitting in the woods all day freezing to death and then missing a nice buck by three feet. They say that the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a round ball with a round bat. Well, that’s simply not true—it’s a documented fact that Babe Ruth never shot a deer in his entire life! When deer hunting, you are trying to outwit something far more intelligent than humans or aliens with massive craniums. And it’s always a home game for them. We always have to go to where they live.
If you do some research to learn about your intended prey, you’ll realize what you’re up against. First, you’ll discover that the average whitetail deer can run forty miles per hour, leap a nine-foot fence and swim thirteen miles per hour. (I have no idea when a deer would actually swim thirteen miles per hour, but the next time you’re fishing, keep an eye out for it.) The average hunter can walk from the couch to the refrigerator at about one mile per hour, and from the couch to the bathroom at about two miles per hour. A deer can survive blizzards, droughts and years when there are no acorns. The average deer hunter can’t survive two hours on stand without a cup of coffee or a ham sandwich. And while a deer can take an arrow through half its body and survive, the average hunter goes to the medicine cabinet for a paper cut. Yes, the human is definitely the weaker species in this sport.
You’ll discover that the range of the whitetail deer is from Canada all the way down to South America, they are somehow related to giraffes, and their scientific name is impossible to pronounce. You’ll also learn that the whitetail deer is an herbivore, which I think means “hard to hunt” in Indian language. In the wild, deer can be recognized by the way they run away really fast whenever you’re around. (It took a couple of years of deer hunting before I knew what they looked like from the front.) Their sense of smell is good enough to know what brand of cover scent you’re using, and they even know what a grunting buck really sounds like. During the summer deer are reddish-brown, toward the fall they turn browner, and by hunting season most become completely invisible. Deer prefer areas such as heavy woods, thickets located near meadows and orchards, and pretty much wherever you aren’t. There are supposed to be 20 to 30 million whitetail deer in the United States, though from the talk around our camp you’d think they were dangerously close to extinction. But no matter how many of them are really around, and no matter how much of a nuisance the farmers say they are, bagging one is still the hardest thing in the world to do. Bucks with big racks are more likely to be killed by lightning than by you. I’m sure there are folks who gave up on deer hunting and went into nuclear physics instead.
An encyclopedia said that the male deer weighs from 130 to over 300 pounds and females weigh from 90 to 130 pounds. I’m sure they did their best with that, but judging by the few deer I’ve been lucky enough to get those numbers are way too high. They say that the mating period, or rut, is when bucks are most vulnerable. After spending many bone-chilling hunts seeing no deer at all, I finally concluded that the rut occurs from midnight to four o’clock in the morning one day in November. That encyclopedia also said that deer have their baby teeth for about eighteen months, which means any with adult teeth should be considered a trophy.
Deer hunting can be a very humbling experience. In over twenty years of hunting deer I’ve dragged myself home feeling dumber than a shotgun slug more times than I’d want to admit. There are about a million things that can go wrong when you’re deer hunting, and most of them involve you doing something dumb. And the more you try to coach yourself not to screw up again, the more likely you will. You’ll sit there silently chanting don’t shoot high, don’t shoot high, don’t shoot high, as you shiver from the cold and notice that your butt is going numb from your treestand seat. Then a buck steps out of the thicket and starts walking slowly toward you. You gawk like a dying man in the desert staring at the image of a spring, and before you know it, you’ve shot into the top of a nearby hickory tree and the buck is long gone.
Just think of how much is against you when you’re deer hunting. There’s the weather, your own human tendency to mess things up and the wily, big-game animals themselves. And though nowadays we hunt with guns and bows manufactured to standards better than surgical equipment, in the hands of most deer hunters under pressure it would be better to just use them to try and club the deer. And that’s if we remember to shoot as we tremble, shake and pretty much go into an epileptic fit. And sometimes it’s not a fit—I’ve heard many stories of full-grown adult men becoming completely frozen as a deer walks by them. As most know, this is called buck fever, and comes from the Indian phrase “The stupid white guy didn’t shoot.” Anybody who actually bags a buck ought to put that accomplishment at the top of their résumé.
I’m tired of all these “professional hunters” who supposedly go into the woods like a cool cucumber, do everything right and get a trophy buck. Who do they think they’re fooling? Why don’t they just admit that they had to go back to the camper and change their underwear just like everybody else? Take my word for it, they went into shock, drooled down their chin, and then numbly shot in the general direction of the deer and got lucky―just like everybody else. You might ask, “But, Jack, what about all of those videos showing sophisticated deer hunters going out with all the planning and new equipment, and nailing a trophy buck right there on camera?” I can answer that easily: They staged it using specially trained domestic deer. (It was the same company that faked all of those moon landings.)
I’ve had hunting buddies who insisted that deer have a sixth sense, and just know when people are around. (And one buddy once told me that they’re simply evil.) I don’t know. I do think that deer understand when they are close to a hunter, the hunter is very likely to self-destruct. So even if the deer doesn’t see you, they know that if they walk very slowly, you will probably screw up somehow before they get there. It’s during this time that the most incredible thoughts enter your mind and you are helpless to stop them. While your heart pounds in your chest, your hands tremble and your vision blurs, you suddenly find yourself thinking things like, “Am I really peeing on myself right now?” and “I’m going to have a heart attack and die right here!” And finally, the most bizarre—“I wish it would just run away! I can’t take this!”
And what about when they’re sneaking up behind you? That’s even worse! You can hear the crunching in the dry leaves, but you know that if you turn around it’ll see you and run away. Man, it kills me when I’m sitting in my treestand and I know there’s one right behind me. (I mentioned earlier that deer are supposed to be related to giraffes. At times like that, I’m really glad the deer stayed short!) I tell you, that experience will reduce your life expectancy.
But it’s the challenge that keeps us going back for more punishment and humiliation. The challenge of bagging a deer calls to some instinct deep within the soul of man, ranking even higher than leaving the toilet seat up. And it’s knowing that when you finally get that deer, it will be worth it all. It’s like winning the Super Bowl or something like that. Hey, maybe you can celebrate by going to Disney World! Because like I always say—deer hunting is hard!

Visit my deer hunting web page to get a PDF of this:
Jack Stinson
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Jack - Sure hope this is all tongue in cheek! A funny read, to be sure.

Something about this time of year that I just gotta be out there. Can't tell you how many times I've gone out, didn't see a deer, and still had a terrific time.

There's nothing like being in the woods, trusty bow in hand, with the POTENTIAL to kill a great big buck. It's like hoping that the really big package under the Christmas tree has that present you've been yearning for....


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I'm hunting for almost 24 years and have a good few spots that I can just walk to and almost always see deer. My dad taught me to hunt but mostly from stands or just sitting on the ground. I incorporate still hunting into my methods ALOT. And I always see deer
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