by Leon Archer
Deer season still has some time to go, especially when one remembers the late special seasons, so the hunter who has been unlucky or the one who is still watching for that perfect buck, can sit in the woods with hope in his heart and a chilly wind in his face — if he wants to.
I have hunted late seasons and there can be pleasant days well into December, but what I remember is plenty of snow and cold, and very few deer.
I never shot a deer with any kind of weapon once the regular Southern Tier season was over, but I have to admit that I didn’t hunt very hard either.
I spoke with a friend of mine from Chittenango who has a pretty good size piece of property that was once two adjoining farms. When he bought them years ago, he was a big time deer hunter, and over time he has shot some really impressive bucks on his own land, but he no longer hunts deer or anything else that calls his land home.
He has nothing against hunting; in fact there are several good friends who hunt on his farm every year, and they generally take a few good bucks each season. I hunted there last year and shot a nice buck, but I know I am traveling down the same path that Bill has taken.
I shot a permit deer this year on opening day while hunting with my son, Tim, but my heart wasn’t in it.
For the past four or five years, it has been my fondest hope each season that my son or grandsons would get a deer and I would have an excuse not to shoot. I cannot entirely explain it, but I really no longer have any desire to shoot a deer.
I like venison and I am elated when Tim or Willie or Tyler take a deer or two, but inside I feel different when that happens than I would if I had done the shooting.
Over 55 years of hunting deer, I have shot more than 50 of them, and up until about 5 years ago, I was always excited by a successful hunt, but that all changed.
I don’t need to describe my hunt that day five seasons ago; it is sufficient to say only that it fundamentally changed my attitude and my feelings about deer, and I have never looked at them the same way since.