When a real hunter goes ta bed, he counts antlers, not sheep
Here’s what I do just before the actual hunt. Still two weeks from season, I launch a ‘hearts and minds’ exercise – the lure.
In the middle of the clearing where I had erected my tree stand, I leave a large lump of salt on top of a tree stump for the whitetail ta lick on and they love licking salt. Before the season is done, I’ll have burned through 300lbs of salt.
Next, I pay forty bucks for eight 25-lb sacks of apples and I leave a pile here and a pile there, on every one of those pre-season days. My trips to Cedric’s farm are essential, ta replace the SpyPoint batteries and leave fresh piles of apples and carrots behind. Soon the SpyPoint begins going off feverishly every ten minutes and that spot where I fixed my tree stand starts looking like New Delhi’s Connaught Place in rush hour. Whitetail of all sizes converge on the clearing ta gorge on all them yummy apples. Variety is the spice of life, so I get a few bags of carrots too, just for a change of taste.
Important – those fifteen days, I come and go in broad daylight and even if I cannot actually see them when I enter the clearing, I know they are there, just outside my line of sight. I let ‘em see me and grow accustomed to the sight of me entering the clearing every day and leaving all that yummy stuff out for them. They are so dumb they think I’m Santa.
Here, I’d like ta qualify my statement – the females are the dumb ones. They get trusting and friendly real fast. Last fall, after I had been laying the piles of apples for a few days, one just walked up to me while I was arranging a pile of carrots and began merrily chomping on them just a few feet away. I held out a carrot in my hand and she unhesitatingly came over, sniffed at the carrot for a micro-second, before pulling it out of my hand with her teeth. As she came real close, I had the chance to gaze into those mesmerizingly serene, guileless and trusting doe eyes. It wasn’t season yet and I couldn’t touch her, but I’m not sure if I would be able ta, even if it was season.
Hunting females is a cinch, but a word of caution here – we are all emotional beings, we humans. If you want ta be a hunter, don’t let your prey get too friendly and pull at your heart strings. You’ll find it impossible to put a bullet in her. Remember what you’re there for – to kill her and shrink-wrap and freeze her in little chunks in your basement freezer and BBQ her through the year over beer. You’re not here ta cuddle her.
The males are another thing. Whitetail bucks are mean and suspicious and won’t venture into the clearing unless they are absolutely sure you aren’t around. Or unless they are horny and think they’ll find a doe there.
Whitetail hunting season coincides with whitetail mating season, which makes it a lot easier ta lure them. I only use lures as a fall-back, if the season is about ta get over and I still haven’t got my whitetail.
There are two kinds of lures I have zeroed in on. Foremost is the call – if you can imitate the sound of a doe in heat, trust me, any bucks within a mile will come charging, their richards long and distended. Here’s what I did – I checked out hunting call apps and found some interesting ones in the ITunes app store. I chose the IHunt app since it sounded the most natural to me. It has the calls of every kind of wildlife on the planet. Next, I got myself a WiFi-ready speaker with a tiny 20W amp. I fixed the speaker in a wedge formed by two tree trunks at the edge of the clearing and I was ready ta roll.
If the IHunt app doesn’t fool a whitetail, I go to Phase:2 – doe’s pee. Yeah, the urine of a doe in heat. You get it in any hunting store and the best I found is a brand named just that – Doe in heat. It comes in a tiny $15 bottle and it is real doe’s pee. I sprinkle a few drops on a rag and tie the rag to a low slung branch as close to my tree stand as possible. Doe’s pee has a very pungent stench and if I’m lucky with the wind direction, it won’t be long before a horny buck pays a reccy visit.
The first time I set eyes on Zorba was just after I had fixed the SpyPoint cameras this August, with still two weeks to go, for the season ta begin. Zorba was magnificent, his ten-point antlers rising above his head majestically, like a crown. During those fifteen days, as I watched him come and go, he usually appeared well after midnight. He came and went with heavy deliberate steps and when he entered the clearing, the first thing he did was ta raise his head and sniff at the air imperiously. Then he made his way toward the apple piles and the does and lesser bucks kinda scattered and let him have his fill first.
I named him Zorba because he seemed ta have that gruff, rugged Anthony Quinn persona. One time, he ambled right up to the camera and sitting in my basement 50kms away, I watched as he raised his nostrils ta sniff at it. I had fixed the SpyPoint just above his reach, on a sturdy branch and after a moment of sniffing he lost interest and began sniffing the butts of the does who had gathered there, sending them scurrying this way and that, in blushing embarrassment.
In two weeks, Zorba wasn’t going ta stop at just sniffing butts – he would be looking to put his richard in some serious pussy. That is when I’d get him.
(to be continued….)
Ps: Do I get Zorba in the end? Watch this space ta find out if I do.