Deer Watching You
By Dave O'Connor

I have seen the buck shown in the accompanying photo in wildlife camera photos several thousand times over the last two years. I have seen him during hunting season only three times and every time it was a situation where he was watching me while I thought I was slowly hunting my way through a fairly open cover. I get the grunt, the blowing, the branches breaking and I see a giant maine buck and before I can get my heart under control and swing a rifle…he’s gone.

In 2014 and 2015 I came home from a winter in Florida at our bass lake retreat to find both antler sheds within 100 feet of my garden. I think he’s is rubbing it in. This past winter I left a few wildlife cams in the woods all winter and in addition to seeing turkeys, fox, giant coyotes, moose and scads of female deer I saw the giant buck on every cam and often walking across my fallow garden and several times by the entrance steps to my house…in broad daylight, while he meandered around the plowed yard. My neighbors like to tell me the various appearances when I get back from the south. My grandson, Cory, has spent hundreds of hours trying to outwit him by hunting early, being in place and ready beside the deer’s favorite small openings and yet the deer never shows himself except for a half second per event.

The photo shows the favorite field for the deer’s courting and the cams record lots of appearances of both does and lambs and small bucks during the night. The big buck comes perhaps six nights a week during the breeding season… but fades before legal hunting time and does the same for the sunset regulations. However, he sometimes comes out during daylight and will prance for the cameras for a half hour of great photos in the off-season. A friend of mine said, “You have a deer smarter than you and your cohorts. He laughs all winter and eats in your garden all summer.” He ruined my peas last summer by pulling the nylon deer fencing down and feeding freely on the prime pea crop.

Hunting for a legendary deer is something we have all tried. Two years ago I shot a nice six pointer and was happy. Last year I had one quick chance and missed either a six or seven pointer. I jumped him three times on snow cover but, I had only one brief shot…and I ran out of time. What keeps me interested in deer hunting, being well into my seventies, is this sport of observing the natural forces, seeing the great American whitetail deer and enjoying the times where I succeed and when I fail. Luck plays a role but deer are individuals and some are smarter and more wary than others. Whenever we roll the dice we try to be competitive and also rely on hunting frequency to eventually give us an opportunity. The whitetail buck has the advantage. He lives in the woods. I’m only a frequent visitor. I know I’m being watched.

Good luck out there.

Dave O’Connor is an award winning outdoor writer with articles in print every month since October, 1962. He has several published books and a new novel, SCHOOL OF FOOLS. The ISLANDPORT PRESS book HUNTIN’ & FISHIN’ WITH THE OLE MAN is in the book stores and on EBAY or AMAZON. The author has enjoyed meeting many of you this summer at book signings all over the state. Dave can be reached yeararound on the internet at: davewriter1944@yahoo.com


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