Suddenly, she stopped and stomped her foot. She then lowered her head and sniffed the ground. She had just come across the tracks I left while walking into my stand. I watched her as she sniffed the air and then the ground once more.
One of her fawns ran right below me to the apple tree and immediately picked up an apple. I could hear it crunch in its jaws.
The other fawn was right next to its mother and sniffed the ground as well. That little one really wanted to join the other fawn but stood its ground with its mother.
Probably two minutes passed before the doe reluctantly stepped across my tracks and worked its way slowly to the apple tree. Once across my trail, the young fawn ran right in.
The wind was in my favor, so none of the deer could smell me. But the old mother still didn’t seem too sure that I wasn’t somewhere nearby. She’d slowly pick up an apple and hold it while looking around, even staring at me in the stand.
I was in full camo and never moved nor made direct eye contact with her. I’ve learned that eye contact usually ends the game. By looking eyeball-to-eyeball, they seem to realize that you are a living being and maybe shouldn’t be there.
That old doe never settled down. She had smelled my tracks and sensed danger. I wouldn’t have taken her because she had a couple of youngsters to raise and there’d be another pair next year. But it was sure fun to watch her.
To me, that’s part of hunting. And that’s why I spend a lot of time in the woods.
The Klipnockie Beagle Club in Morris is looking for a few good members. If you like the bawling of a hound on a trail, this might be for you. If so, call Dan Lang at 607-286-9461.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.