The wait was over. I stepped out of my van and took in the heavy aroma of afternoon autumn mingled with lake-shore.
The hiking trail I planned to hunt from skirted the empty water access on Pine Lake. I had walked up on a doe here two weeks ago. Anticipation was thick like the meadow grass which interrupted the woodlands, remnants of long gone farm land hewn from the wilderness, and gave contrast to the aspens, pines, and oaks that held promise of bow hunting adventure.
I crept into a steady north east wind, still-hunting as I went, and sat down on a log scouted out in pre-season. My view overlooked a gentle hillside. A large slough hid in thick cover at the bottom of the slope. After an hour, with the forest alive in the breeze, I decided to move as I thought deer would be reluctant to venture through the dancing foliage.
I retreated to the leeward side of the rise and hunkered down in a pine clearing littered with acorns from a massive oak tree.
After a dreamy hour, a healthy yearly materialized into the clearing. My heart began to pump. I was amazed at how an animal can move so effortlessly and just appear. The youngster walked under the aged oak and crunched acorns for the next ten minutes, just beyond a thin veil of brush, twenty yards from my ground position against a bordering pine. It’s head bobbed up every several seconds, checked for danger, and occasionally peered back to the direction it emerged from. I knew Mama was close.
I sat in wonder and hoped the mature animal would follow. The adolescent looked back one last time as the older doe winded me and sent the relaxed yearling bounding away with a series of quick blows. The game was over.
With a grin on my face I quickly relocated to another pine stand further down the path with the slim chance of ambushing a buck coming out to the acorns.
Mesmerized by the haunting wind, the last minutes of light slipped through the treetops.
It was a memorable first outing of the two thousand and eighteen season.