Dec 4, 2013

Deer Hunting - Frederick Watershed

Well, rifle season (deer) is now open in Maryland. I spent all day Monday, at the Frederick Watershed stalking the elusive whitetail deer. I got in to the woods around 7:00am and worked my way around the northwest corner of the park. I stalked very slowly down a well-worn trail. I was able to move very quietly; stopping often with my eyes and ears wide open, scanning my surroundings, hoping to see some deer. But, as fate would have it; it just didn’t work out that way. I did come across a neat old blind that someone had made out of deadfall. I’ve seen a few of these while hunting the Watershed in the past. This one had a bucket in it, so I sat down for a good hour here. On my way out of the woods, around 11:30am, I jumped one deer but he was buried in thick saplings and the only sight of him, I caught, was a white flag bounding down over a hill. I have no idea if it was a buck or a doe. Still I froze; hoping the deer had stopped to look back. After several minutes of scanning for the deer I determined he was long gone and finished my hike out to the truck. I was starving.

Lunch was a coke, a burger, and a slice of coconut cream pie at a great little diner in Frederick. Very tasty!

I was back in the woods by 1:00pm and chose to hunt the west-central area of the park. I stalked down the same trail where I had missed a deer last year. I didn't see any deer this time, but I did hear one moving around me; though I was stuck behind some thick mountain laurel and couldn’t see anything. I squatted down and waited, listening intently to the steps. I sat there for about ten minutes determining that the sounds I was hearing was, in fact, a deer and not a squirrel. I was sure it was a deer. Eventually I stood and moved out of my cover as quietly and slowly as possible, but must have been seen, for there was no sight of a deer anywhere. Before I knew it, it was 4:30pm, the sun was sinking fast and I had to high-tail it out of there. My flashlight, I remembered to grab before I left the house, sat quietly in the center console of my truck.

Although, I wasn’t able to put my crosshairs on a deer, I enjoyed the hunt. Carrying the Winchester Model 70, my father gave me was a real joy. I passed only two other hunters, and saw only one hunter sitting up on a hill. The woods were cold (40F) but the ground was moist and quiet. I also realized that I am getting better at looking deeper through the woods when I walk. I think that last year, I was looking a little too close, and not far enough out, away from me. Although you’re never going to be able to, completely, sneak up on a deer, per say. I think that if you move slowly and quietly enough, you can catch sight of them before they see you. Or at least; before they get too jumpy. When this happens, I hope to line up on a nice buck!

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