Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Opening Day Buck and The Lessons Learned (Part 2)
Puzzled, I continued to walk in the general direction I expected the deer to walk (down hill and toward water). After several hundred yards, I returned to the bright orange flagging that marked last blood. As Dad retraced my steps, I decided to climb the ridge on the slim chance that the wounded animal had run uphill. On the top, I was surprised to find a small blood drop. Now notably worried, that the deer wasn't as injured as I originally thought, I collected the old man and we decided to sit for another hour before tracking any further. My exact statement to Dad was "the next time we find blood I want there to be a dead deer beside it".
The extra hour was nerve wracking but with plenty of day light and rain not predicted until late evening it was the smart choice. As we restarted our search my watch read 12:30 PM a full 3 hours after the initial shot. Indentations in the leaf litter now indicated the deer was moving down hill toward an extensive alder bog. Several sets of deer tracks and lack of blood had us on our hands and knees examining every track to see if it contained even a minuscule amount of blood. Every pinkie nail sized drop of blood provided us with new found hope.
Five additional hours of searching using an extensive grid system, yielded no trace of the wounded deer, like the forest had come alive and swallowed it whole. Our exploration of the bog yielded it could not be navigated without chest waders, an option that would require a 2 hour round trip.
At dark (6:00 PM), the old man and I finally returned home exhausted after covering miles of mixed terrain and not having eaten or drank anything since 5:00 AM.
The story continues Monday November 22nd . . .