Other stories filed under Opinion
Huntin’ Like a Boss
January 16, 2018
As a hunter, I have many experiences. Some good, some bad, some involve squirrels, some involve guns. This is my experience.
I Hunt for The Thrill
I hunt for the thrill or the opportunity of landing a big deer.
Earlier this season I went hunting with my dad and little brother. Three days prior to Saturday, we prepared. We took showers with no soap, and I took all the clothes I was going to wear and set them outside. When Saturday arrived, I woke up at 5 in the morning; my dad, my brother, and I packed on our layers of clothes. I wore five layers. Arriving at our destination, my dad led me to the tree stand I was going to be sitting in. After that, he and my brother went to another spot.
It was still dark and cold. The sun was slowly creeping into the sky when I heard leaves crunching. I looked around and saw a sliver of motion in the corner of my eye. It was a deer, and it silently slipped past my stand. Being a doe and not big enough to shoot, I let it pass.
No more than a few minutes later, still dark, I saw another small shadowy figure. It looked like a log, but I kept a close eye on it when IT MOVED! The little deer wasn’t much bigger than a small dog, so I didn’t bother with it. Then, around the same area, a lanky silhouette slithered into sight. I was thrown off at how much larger it was than the other deer, but still being dark, I couldn’t tell if it was a buck. Regretting my hesitation, I watched it walk off into the trees, missing a perfect shot opportunity.
After about two hours of seeing nothing but squirrels and birds, I stood up. I was taken by surprise when a stick broke to my right. I swiveled my head around to see a coyote! I grabbed my gun and aimed right behind her shoulder. With my finger on the trigger and the butt of the gun braced tightly against my shoulder, I hesitated. The coyote was moving at a trotting pace. My hesitation put her out of range.
Apart from the coyote and deer, a squirrel climbed on a branch not far from my head. That was it for the day. After about five hours, we went home cold and empty handed.
Sunday was a lot warmer than Saturday. I sat in a different stand facing a hill. Grunt call and rattle bag at my side, I used the grunt about every 10-20 minute. A couple times I rattled. The entire time (about five hours) these stupid squirrels were running around – about seven of them. I kept thinking they were deer walking. I didn’t see a deer the entire time until sunset.
I was watching the sunset when on top of the hill, a silhouette appeared against the sky. Desperate for a kill, I grunted and rattled. It was no use. I helplessly watched a whole herd of deer, about seven or eight of them, walk in front of me down that hill. Being around 300 yards away from me, I could just barely make out a pair of antlers on two of the deer.
I waited about an extra 30 minutes to see if any of them would be serenaded by my calling. It was getting dark so I packed up and left, leaving empty handed and cold once again. I did, however, find a dead opossum on the side of the road.
Yes, we left empty handed, but it’s always nice to reconnect with nature. The hours of sitting high up in a tree alone, with no phone and nobody telling you what to do is one of the most relaxing things in the world. I was faced with a couple decent opportunities to take a deer, but being picky, I never took them. I don’t consider myself a trophy hunter because I’m really there to be there. I love the woods and everything in it. Just sitting and watching is fun enough for me.
Hunting in Tennessee Vs. Iowa
Annually, I hunt small, furry animals and whitetail deer. My dad and I go about 10 times a year. I moved to Iowa from Tennessee four years ago. Tennessee and Iowa hunting is different in more ways than just terrain. The rolling hills and timbers of Iowa bring forth challenges I never had to think about in Tennessee.
Quite obviously, Iowa and Tennessee are geographically different. Being up North, the weather is a lot colder. On average, Iowa gets 32 inches of snow every year. In Tennessee it’s seven inches. So much snow makes it harder to get around and easier for deer to see you. Here, it’s almost flat, yet not flat because of the rolling hills. In Tennessee, we have mountains. Hunting in the mountains is different. The wind does not blow nearly as much, so your scent doesn’t go as far. In the mountains you can’t see a deer if it bedded down on the other side of the mountain.
The rolling hills and open plains of Iowa are nice sometimes. However, they bring about gun restrictions. Other than straight wall cartridge, rifles are banned, probably because people shot houses and such accidentally. Straight walled cartridge rifles can shoot around 200 yards. After that, the bullet drops, unlike a 30.06 where the bullet will go straight to 300 yards and beyond.
With all the cornfields, you’d think deer would prosper in Iowa. But that’s not the case. According to the Iowa DNR, there are around 400,000 deer in Iowa, with male deer averaging 240-265 lbs. and females 140-160 lbs. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency states Tennessee is home to around 900,000 deer. However, male deer average 140 lbs. and females average 100. The number of deer you can hunt is different due to population. Buying your license in Iowa you receive ONE either sex tag. Additional tags must be purchased separately. In Tennessee you are allowed two buck and four doe for gun season upon buying your license.
Having fewer tags in Iowa and less land to hunt, it’s a lot more expensive. Iowa allows party hunting, where a large group of hunters go out and some of them push deer out to the others. This method increases the chance of getting a deer, meaning if you want to get more than one deer you have to buy another tag. Being from Tennessee, I never heard of it because it’s not allowed there.
Although Iowa’s landscape and laws make it harder and more expensive, you get more buck for your buck.