Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hunting on this cold Saturday in Virginia

This afternoon I took a quick trip down to a farm I hunt here in Virginia. The weather was clear and cold and I got into the woods around 3:30pm. I took a good walk down to the corner of a field that is by far my favorite corner of the property that I hunt. On a normal day, I can almost always see deer in this corner and occassionally a good buck. Usually I see one to four doe crossing the field.

Today was really no different except the deer that I saw were in front of the dogs. 3 young doe were ahead of the dogs about 200 yards or so and they stopped in front of me about 80 yards. I was in some tall grass and all I had was a head shot on the doe in the lead. I decided that was not a shot I was going to take. They stepped up and jumped and I had two shots at the deer while they took off again. I missed nice and cleanly on two quick shots and then watched the dogs run right by me and continue the chase after these deer. Within a couple of minutes I could tell that the deer were beginning to lose the dogs or the dogs were tiring out. I did not hear any more shots the rest of the night.

I am always frustrated missing a deer, but I am always happy to have not wounded an animal. I think there are times when I am hunting when I am fully committed to the kill of an animal and I am deadly accurate, and there are other times when I am hunting in which I am just not committed to the killing part of hunting. I know better then to shoot at animals when I am not committed and yet occassionally I will still shoot. It is a an internal struggle and over the past 5 years, I have begun to recognize this pattern in myself and in 3 seperate instances, I was not committed and I knew it and I clearly missed the mark.

I walked back to my set up and watched the rest of the night close down around me with an amazing sunset. Tonight was a great night. I am still looking for that first deer of the season to put into the freezer for the winter months but it does not matter if it happens or not this year, because I know that 2007 is going to be a fantastic year and I have some really great memories from this year that are trophies each and every one. Tonight was one of those trophies that I will remember for as long as I live.