Windy days during deer season can be excruciating, but I’d rather hunt deer on a morning with a least a stiff breeze as opposed to a morning so calm that every errant movement gets the attention of every critter in the township, and every careless noise reverberates through the woods as if shouted from a bull horn. That sort of eerie calmness described this morning to a tee. We had to traverse a field of frozen, crunchy milo stalks to get to our blind, every step I’m sure sounding as though we were stomping across a field of broken glass. Then came all the usual sounds heard from a deer blind; the crinkling of the foil wrapper as a pop tart is unwrapped, the clang of a rifle stock accidentally banging against the propane cylinder on the heater, the snap of the pop-top as a can of soda is opened, the cough you tried to muffle, the sniff of a runny nose, and of course the chirp, warble, tweet or whatever other obnoxious sound a smart phone can make as it receives an email or a text (heaven forbid we should turn them off or just leave them in the pickup.)
Two years ago we built a dandy tower blind overlooking a well-used deer travel-way, but as we entered the blind today, we had yet to harvest a deer from it. We also had not gotten a deer at all for the past two seasons, so we were in a drought times two. Joyce and I both hunt deer and I sit with her for the first couple days, then we often split up and hunt from different blinds. There is an unwritten rule that says when we are together she gets the first shot, so this morning she sat overlooking the travel-way where the deer were most likely to appear, while I watched the fields around us.
Around 8:15 having seen no deer as yet, we were getting a bit restless and probably a bit careless as we fidgeted and stirred about. I was convinced that the ghostly calmness of the morning had sent all the above mentioned sounds wafting through the woods and fields like the plague and that our morning hunt was certainly hexed. Suddenly Joyce tapped on my leg a couple times and excitedly pointed behind me; to the right in the field in front of us, camouflaged pretty well by trees along the drainage ditch that ran just in front of our blind, stood a nice buck. He appeared to be a nice big-bodied deer, but with meager, diminutive antlers that didn’t match his size. We are not horn-hunters as we’ve tried every recipe imaginable and have yet to get antlers to taste good, so the size of his rack was of little consequence to us. He gingerly moved forward, choosing each step carefully but not giving any indication that he knew we were watching. As he stepped down into the drainage in front of us, Joyce made a good shot, and minutes later the buck lay dead merely fifty yards away.
When we picked that spot to build our blind, I was convinced we had chosen well, but last season’s results had left me second-guessing myself. Now, however, both droughts appear broken as we have one deer in the freezer and I’m seeing deer from the blind with some regularity. So God willing and my wife doesn’t fall asleep like last year, the Gilliland deer-less curse may be broken! Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]