I like magic. Oh I know in my head there is no such thing as pure magic; that all magic tricks involve some sort of deception and trickery, but I like it just the same. Years ago there was a TV program that actually showed how great magicians like David Copperfield make things appear to disappear, like an elephant for example. It went behind the scenes to show the hidden gates, props and whatever else it took to make it look to the audience as though the elephant had actually disappeared. I watched a couple segments of the show, thinking it would be pretty cool to know how that all worked, but after that, those magic tricks weren’t nearly as much fun to watch anymore.
Now fast forward to this year’s firearms deer season. I’ve hunted deer during firearms season both here and in my home state of Ohio off-and-on now for fifty years, and after the first few days of season, the deer magically seem to disappear, and I don’t just mean into someone’s freezer. The surviving deer, bucks and does alike just seem to vanish into thin air. The stress of being hunted either sends them to hole-up in little out-of-the-way haunts that aren’t hunted, or they suddenly turn completely nocturnal. Either way, unless you stumble onto one of those never-hunted honey holes, they are gone.
I recently retired so I thought this phenomenon would finally not be a problem this year, because I’d have all the time in the world to find them and/or wait them out. Wrong again! My wife harvested hers the second day of season, I saw deer the next two days and then the tap once again dried up. We have permission on several properties, none with a shortage of deer, and today I saw deer for the first time in six days.
Today before the thunderstorms the deer seemed to be moving in anticipation of foul weather, but that didn’t seem to help me a bit. I talked to a friend at noon that had seen upwards of fifteen deer in several different groups just a mile-and-a-half from where I was. He was done for the season and told me to go check out his spot. After three-and-a-half cold, wet hours I was still venison-less. Now that makes me sound like a pretty pathetic deer hunter, but it is what it is.
Some things never change, and for me the case of the missing deer during firearms season is one of them. You would think that by this time in my life I would’ve learned to take this defeat a little better, but I haven’t yet. My deer hunting buddies and I in Ohio used to ask each other periodically during deer season “Well, are you eating venison or bologna,” and I guess if not for my wife’s (humbling) success I would be lookin’ at a lot of bologna sandwiches. I wish a group of really successful deer hunters would get together to produce some TV segments showing how the deer magically disappear like they do; now there’s a show I would watch! Continue to Explore Kansas outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]gmail.com.