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Outdoor adventures: Close encounters of the deer kind

Jill Jones took down this deer with a shotgun in 2006. Firearm season in Illinois is just 2 weeks away.
Jill Jones took down this deer with a shotgun in 2006. Firearm season in Illinois is just 2 weeks away.

What a week of encounters I’ve had in the woods. The deer have been moving, and I’ve been there watching them all week long. Until tonight, that is. 

By tonight I mean Thursday, as I write this column. And tonight will go down as a day one doe pushed me a little too far.

As most of you know, right now really is a bad time to shoot a doe. I mean, what better way to get a shot at a big buck than to have a sexy little doe prancing around.

This particular doe was in a group of four other mature does that had paraded around my stand for 3 straight days and nights.

She stood out from the others because of her deep, almost chocolate-colored fur.

More importantly, she stood out because she had busted me twice already, and I was getting a little ticked off about it.

So when she got directly down-wind of me and began to stomp and give me away for a third time, let’s just say her services were no longer needed.

My 100-grain Muzzy broadhead cut through her like butter, and she expired very quickly. If she’d just kept her big snout outta my business, it could’ve all been different. 

Let’s backtrack just a bit for a moment. I said the week was chock full of cool encounters. Well, the coolest one came Tuesday night, which, if you remember, was perty darn windy. I like windy nights when I’m hunting the river, because when the winds are light, they tend to swirl constantly, making deer hunting even tougher.

So up the tree I go, and quickly I am set up on the south edge of the property, looking straight into a brisk north wind. At about 4 o’clock, I let out a real loud aggressive run of tending grunts. Then, I wait. But not long, as movement to my left caught my eye.

I can immediately see it’s a buck. It isn’t until he turns sideways that I realize this is a serious deer.

Doing what I’ve always done when coming face-to-face with a big deer, I quickly take my eyes off the headgear and start thinking about the shot. This bruiser, which I have already nicknamed “King,” did what big deer would – circled downwind, trying to sniff out the source of all the grunting he heard.

King finally detected something he didn’t like and disappeared back into the thick grass. I watched King tip-toe out of sight and was in awe the whole time. This beautiful deer had the absolute tallest tines I have ever seen. He was just incredible, to say the least.

Just remember that the first shotgun deer season is rapidly approaching. Are you ready? Gun clean and sighted in? Got your slugs bought? Got your blaze orange outta the closet and ready to go? Tags, hunting license and F.O.I.D. card all good to go?

I know someone just said “Yey, where did I put that dang vest?” Don’t wait until the last minute to get yourself ready.

Have a great week in the out of doors.

Go Catfish! 

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