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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Damn it's cold (and pretty windy also)


I have to admit as I get a little older I find that I have less tolerance for the cold, and the wind compounds that intolerance. Sure like most who duck hunt I have gore-tex clothing, which is great when it is raining, wool gloves and shirts, dress in layers and all that. But face it once you get cold then you are done. Yesterday was such a day. With the wind howling across assawoman bay and whitecaps making I decided that maybe I should just skip the marsh and hit the tree stand. Now I have my deer patterned pretty well and figured if I got to where I needed to be before they got there I would be in good shape. So at 3:15 I was up dressed and out the door by 3:30 in the trusty Explorer, hit the WaWa for a hot Columbia coffee and two home-cut doughnuts, and down the road. The thermometer in the car read like 17 degrees, and the wind blowing a stiff one, but I was determined to get a chance to put the big boy on the wall so off I went. I arrived at the property and parked my car at the entrance gate, electing to walk in to my stand not wanting to give up any advantage I might have by arriving early. I have a good 1/4 mile walk in to my hunting cabin, and my fav. stand for this morning was another 600 yds on the edge of the marsh, just inside the wood line by 50 feet.  I was pretty toasty from the walk, and feeling great about my chances this morning, so the cold did not figure in to the equation .....yet.  I got situated and tied  my bow to the pull string, along with my lunch and water bottles, it was going to be a long morning so I was prepared. I gave my stand a safety check and climbed into it and jacked up the tree about 17 feet which is all I want to fall. By now I am real warm and wonder if maybe I had on just to much for one mornings hunt. After 20 min of the wind blowing off the bay like a banshee, my buttocks were frozen like a token of Tom Browns affection in the yard. But like the rest of us who are addicted to the hunt I stayed put and balled up just a little tighter. Pulling the wool toboggan down around my ears, fluffing the coat just a little more, and putting on my wool mittens I sat... and...waited for my chance to score. You know when you are on the verge of freezing to death in a deer stand you wonder if they will ever find the body. The wind screamed, the trees swayed and I questioned my sanity again for the 100th time wondering if the wind had blown out the sun, because it was not getting any lighter to the east! Finally the moon got behind some pines and the east turned pink, and I was able to just make out images in the forest. I could not hear anything but I could see movement through the woods coming my way. The first little doe came by, followed by another of identical size, and I just knew Mr. Big would be following as they kept looking back. Finally the old gray doe that I like to call the Matriarch of the property came picking through, and I knew that her Buck (Mr. Big) was following. By now I am questioning my sanity for sitting in this stand for so long, but holding out for the one shot that could make my day. By 10 am I was done, no big deer, no sighting of big deer, and frozen. I jacked down my stand, climbed out gathered my gear and made my way to the edge of the marsh, there in the frozen marsh mud was the track of Mr. Big, Still wet not yet frozen solid, once again he gave me the slip. I was cold, hungry, and ready to get to my car and get warm. I had planned on spending the rest of the day behind some great bird dogs my friend Gus has, but had to pass. I got home and took a 20 min. hot shower not concerned about wasting hot water just trying to shake the cold. Funny thing I never did get warm all day, I was always chilled. Finally when I climbed into bed and pulled the covers over my head, snuggled up to the wife, I got warm. You know some may question our sanity, up at the crack ass of dawn, freezing in a deer stand or duck blind, but at the end of the day I had walked in the light of the moon, watched the sun come up, saw some beautiful critters who had no Ideal I was there, (okay Mr. Big knew it) and even though I was cold I was alive and on my death bed will not regret a morning in the stand.

1 comment:

  1. "You know some may question our sanity"

    Yes I would question it. Any bird or animal would have to have a gold plated ass for me to go thru that for them.

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