Glasilo Magazine Excerpt:
October 1, 2004: The First Day of Bow Season
by Frank Brence
This article was published in the November / December 2004 issue
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Finally, the first day of bow-hunting deer
season arrived. I was on the tree stand just before sunrise.
Light frost was on the ground. As the sunís rays reached the
tops of the trees the frost quickly changed to shining droplets
of water, giving the appearance of bright diamonds at the end
of every leaf. Here and there you could see the intricate design
of spidersí work against the backlight of the sun. As the sun
grew stronger, wisps of steam rose from among the pine trees
to the left of me. The promise of a beautiful day was unfolding.
I made myself comfortable on a newly repaired tree stand. It
stood a very sturdy and safe 15 feet off of the ground. To the
south of it lay a 10 acre field bordered by scotch pine trees
on two sides, a hardwood grove on the west side and mixed bush
on the north side. I soon became aware of the noise of the awakening
world around me. To the north the sound of traffic increased
with people rushing to their daily work. To the left, heavy
machinery began working in the gravel pit. These are the sounds
of everyday life, but they were somehow amplified as I strained
to hear any deer sounds in the forest.
A movement in the shadow attracted my attention. What was
it, I thought? It was too small to be a deer. It was a wolf
hunting for his breakfast. I had seen coyotes before, but this
was definitely not one of them. He was the size of a German
Sheppard dog with a reddish tinge at the back of his ears, a
very bushy tail and dark coloured coat. Walking slowly, listening
and smelling the air in all directions, he was moving westward
across the field. At one point I saw him pounce on something,
then jump up and down keeping his front feet rigid and throwing
the object into the air, again chasing it along the ground.
I think he caught a field mouse or a mole, a small reward for
As I watched this drama unfold I saw a deer, on the west side
of the field, looking toward the wolf. Two more deer appeared
behind the first one. They were grazing and moving slowly northward.
If I had been in the other stand, which I built last year, they
would have passed right beneath me. Another moving object trotted
north to south just below where the deer were. Its distinct
gait told me it was a coyote. All this happened within one and
a half hours. The walkytalky crackled and my son Frank reported
seeing 5 turkeys. At this point we agreed to leave our stands
The afternoon hunt was another adventure. Frank returned home
to take care of some things and so I was alone on this hunt.
By 4:30 p.m. I was on the same stand that my son was on in the
morning. The temperature had risen and become quite pleasant.
The wind was gusting from the northwest and the noise from the
leaves was very loud. It was difficult to pick up any sounds
that would indicate the movement of deer in the neighbourhood.
As I strained my ears to hear any such sounds, wild turkeys
suddenly emerged from the forest. Slow and cautious, they followed
what appeared to be the lead hen. Twenty of them walked under
my stand. This was the first year we had see a lot of turkeys
in the area. I have found many feathers during the summer months
and tracked them across the sand, though I know very little
about turkey hunting, their habits or their life cycle. I knew
that they were not in season at this time, even though Thanksgiving
was only ten days away.
One hour later, a distinct sound of breaking branches brought
me to readiness. I know this sound, be ready, I thought to myself.
Soon, a doe stepped into my view. It was a very easy shot as
she stood broadside to me, looking at my pick-up truck parked
further east and away from me. I released the arrow, but misjudged
the distance and shot well over the deer. Startled, she jumped
across the road and disappeared. I saw one more, at a greater
distance, well out of bowshot. Satisfied that I missed cleanly
and the deer was not injured, I enjoyed the instant replays
in my mind, over and over again. I was at the right place at
the right time and that is important to me. I did everything
right to see that deer, but did not finish, which is OK too
Ė there will be other opportunities.
At sunset, my first day of bow season ended. On my way out
from the farm, I saw two more deer and another on the road at
the railway track. A total of one wolf, one coyote, 20 turkeys
and 8 deer on the first day of the season are better than the
average numbers of the last ten years. I will return to that
place, only 45 minutes from my home, and enjoy the nature around
me again and again.