It’s the New Year. We have by my count 37 inches of snow total so far. It was mid twenty’s today. That’s about -10 degrees for you Canadians, right?
I took my muzzleloader for a walk in the woods today. It was snappy cold, deep soft snow up to your knees and no snowshoes. Easier to get through the briars and thickets that way. It was quiet. The kind of quiet where you can hear someone take their handkerchief out of their back pocket a half mile away. Nothing was stirring, even the chickadees were hiding.
I walked about an hour and a half then took up a stand on a likely trail beneath a hemlock. I waited. In thirty minutes or so, I noticed a lone deer stepping into a clearing about forty yards away. I had a relatively easy shot, if the gun goes off. The deer turned and looked at me. Antlers.
In Pennsylvania, we have antlered deer and we have antlerless deer and…we have protected deer. During late season muzzleloader, you can shoot an antlered deer or an antlerless deer but you can’t shoot an antlered deer that has less than three points on at least one side. It’s pretty hard to tell in dim light, or on a dead run or even sometimes standing still. I had to let him walk away. Yep, New Year…nothings changed.
I got to thinking, as a pitcher, my son on occasion would get an 0-2 count on a hitter. I always taught him not to waste the next pitch. Go right for the jugular…try to get the strikeout or a roll over ground ball. Once in awhile, he’d give up a single, or double on that 0-2 pitch. When the inning was over, he’d come into the dugout and inevitably look at me with those rolling eyes. He’d say, “That guy got lucky.”
Well, I’m here to tell you, today, that deer was the lucky one.