The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

November 29, 2013

Whitetail bucks are as smart as they come

I was on my hill deer hunting the other day.

I sat on a pine hillside where deer usually wander. Quite a few tracks were in the snow when I got there. After about an hour, I decided to get up and wander. With little patience for sitting, I was lucky to have lasted that long.

It amazes me that guys can go out in the woods and sit there all day. A friend of mine just went to Kentucky to hunt big whitetails. He would sit in his tree stand or ground blind from dawn to dark. I would need three books and two days of rations along with a case of Pepsi to do that. To me, hunting is wandering through the woods pitting the tactics I’ve learned over the years against a very smart animal.

Anyway, I still hunted down through our hardwoods and across the swamp. I knew that the thick pines ahead of me were a good bedding area and the wind was right. I came across a few old beds in the snow, but nothing was fresh.

After a while, I ranged out a little farther and dropped over the hill toward the lower creek. I found a fairly fresh track in the snow. It was quite large and all alone. I figured it was a buck.

Slowly, step-by-step, I moved ever-looking for an ear or a bit of antler. I meandered for several hundred yards before a deer stood up. I stopped and got ready.

He took one step and looked back to see what I was. Ordinarily, that would have been his fatal mistake. But in the split-second that followed, I realized where I was. He jumped over a downed tree and disappeared into the forest.

I could have taken him. Maybe it was that I’m a little older and realized how far it was back to my house. I could have won the game, but he lived to play it again another day. So let’s call it a draw. I know he’ll be smarter next time.

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Rick Brockway

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