It's November, and deer season is in full swing. Sure, it opens for us rural residents in July, but this time of year it is fun because you can call in the bucks. I didn't believe it at first when people said you could call them in. But it's true! The first deer I ever shot in 2006 was one I called in all by myself, and I was so shocked that it worked I could hardly believe it!
A lot of people seem to be having a hard time finding deer this year, and some of them are blaming it on the wolves, and that may be a factor, but it certainly can't be the only one.
I don't claim to know the reason, but it is likely a combination of factors. Here in Unit 2, we are allowed 5 deer each, between July 24 and January 31. (Non-rural residents have between August 1 and December 31.) The Sitka black-tail is a fairly small deer, and it is the only "red" meat we eat, so we like to get a minimum of four, and have taken our limit of 5 each several times.
While we are out diving, we often see deer on the beaches, or we go hiking in the woods looking for them. We saw two wolves a few weeks ago but no deer. Go figure.
On our most recent sea cucumber trip, we were headed south, when my husband spotted a swimming buck. Besides it being illegal to shoot from a boat, it is unethical to shoot a swimming land animal, in my opinion. So, we scrambled to pull in the Luna Sea, which was on a 200 foot tow-line being towed behind the Miss Teal. I grabbed my .30-.30 and dropped the bow door while Brad fired up the motor. We left the Miss Teal adrift with a confused and excited Luna watching from the deck. We jammed towards the shore just ahead of the buck, and I jumped off the boat onto the rocky bank just seconds before the deer made it ashore. He stood for a moment and gave me a broadside shot. There was a log obscuring his head and neck, so instead of my usual neck shot I had to take a shoulder/lung shot. It was highly effective and he dropped immediately. I hopped back on the boat and we ran to where he had fallen backwards into the edge of the water. I pulled him on board and we ran back to the Miss Teal where Luna was ecstatic, knowing she'd be having fresh deer liver for dinner! There was no one around and we could just as easily have broken the rules, but we felt great about having done the right thing! It was a rush to see if we could pull it together fast enough to get to the beach ahead of the deer. We didn't have any time to spare, as he surely would have slipped into the woods if allowed just a few more seconds on that steep rocky beach.
We spent the last few days in a location where we have seen many bucks before (including the other photos of live bucks in this post-I never shot any of those deer). We saw almost no deer. I hiked into a new location on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and blew the call here and there.
I was about as far back as I wanted to have to drag a deer out, where I blew the call one more time. And lo and behold, I heardd the crunching of brush as a deer came through the woods. I could only hear it at first, and does will come to the call just as often as bucks, so I patiently waited for a glimpse of the animal (and hoped it wasn't a bear-but thats a story for another day). It was close, and I finally saw a forked antler. Perfect-I won't shoot spikes because they are so small and young-I like for them to be bigger if I'm going to do all that work. He came into an opening just about 40 yards away and although there were a few branches in front of his face, he was close enough and I went ahead and pulled the trigger. One shot to the upper neck and he was done.