Cold morning mist touched the sweat on my warm forehead as I made my way through the old apple orchard. My destination was for a tall straight cherry tree I picked out on a previous scouting trip. The cherry overlooked a fresh scrape, the old orchard to the west made easy walking plus the freshly dropped apples are an excellent cover scent as they crunched under my feet. This like many years comes with many memories from the year before hunting over this old orchard. Could not think of not one year were I didn’t fill my hunting tag at or around that orchard.
Five years ago there were still remnants of an old collapsed steel shed in the midst of that orchard. I often wonder now that it is covered up with leaves and finishing the process of to dust to which it was built to dust it will go, I wondered how many hunters hunted from it in hopes to harvest a heavy horned stag. Memory serves me right the land owner that previously owned our small fifty acre parcel begged my father to hunt a stag he was chasing for years. He said he spotted him under an old evergreen each fall sunning him-self before the rut went into full swing, just a scant two hundred yards from the orchard. The stag surely passed down his genes because of the massive rubs I find year in and year out.
One of those rubs was a part of a rub line that bordered the perimeter of where my tree stand was placed. Never fails year after year the buck trails change slightly but those rub lines and scrapes were used each season as far back as I can recollect. The one thing that never changes was the doe trails. I look at it as a great opportunity to harvest a heavy horned stag. Once rut goes in full swing those doe deer will keep the company of those monarchs of the forest. It is a sure bet to roll the dice by following heavily used doe trails during peak rut. My father I have seen up to twenty deer at once using the same doe trail during the rut. My father recounts to me that memory; he thought a train was coming through the woods with all the hooves pounding in unison. Eying twenty deer at a mild trot, crunching leaves under hoof is a sight to be seen. That is for sure.
I arrive at my destination and inspect my climbing tree stand I left at the base of the cherry. Making sure the bolts are tight before I begin to ascend into the canopy. Not the best spot for an ambush but the only tree tall and straight enough to accommodate my climbing stand, it will do. I for one believe the higher the better when hunting out of climbing tree stands. A weary buck will high tail it to the next county if it comes across a fresh smell of a hunter’s odor. Yes the higher the better I mumble to myself as I max sixteen feet. I soon feel the bottom of the climber slipping out of my feet thinking “first time for everything”. “Yea right” I silently think, I have been meaning to tie the top and bottom of the climbing tree stand together with a safety rope in case the bottom slips from out under my feet. Wouldn’t you know that base had to slip out from under my feet and crash to the forest floor? That it did and scared every forest creature within our fifty acre woodlot half out of their beds, severely cutting short their morning slumber. Getting down is whole other story in itself.
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