Friday, September 21, 2007

Hunting in Virginia

Saturday early archery hunting season began. My brother and I woke up at 5am and headed out into the Virginia woods about an hour south of Washington D.C.. Sometime after 7:30am I saw a small deer approaching. I was sitting on the ground with my feet in a dugout pit. It was as if I were sitting in a chair where my butt was level with the ground.

The deer was approaching from the side that had almost no cover. The hunting blind was set up for the deer to come the other direction. When I saw it, I slowly leaned over and laid my chest on the ground with my bow extended in shooting position. The deer continued in my general direction, but was starting to angle away.

Mentally, I called to her and told her there were acorns by me which there were. She turned and came closer towards me. At one point she was about 12 yards away. There was absolutely nothing between her and me and yet she hadn't seen me. I had a perfect broadside shot.

I let her walk on. Why didn't I shoot? It didn't feel right. I wasn't confident that I wouldn't just injure the deer. I was laying in a awkward position, with a shirt draped over one eye, using an arrow that shoots crooked about 3 yards outside the range I practice shooting from at a smaller than expected deer. This was also the first day of hunting. I thought I would surely have better opportunities.

As it turns out I went hunting four more times over the next 3 days and saw that same deer again, but no others. We think that the rest of the deer are hanging out closer to the river at this time of year.

It was exciting and having a deer so close with nothing between between her and me was a thrill. I learned a lot from each time in the woods. I saw a fox and heard him barking. I heard lots of different birds including two barred owls squawking at each other which is pretty funny to hear.

This is my first all natural arrow. The point is dacite stone. It was hafted in using pitch and sinew. The shaft is viburnum and the fletchings are sinew and turkey feathers.

Her you can see the shirt I wore on my head. I did this because the mosquitoes were pretty bad. Here I have the side tucked tightly to my head. The first day I didn't so they draped in front of my eye. To get this look I first dabbed on white ash to dull my skin. The black is charcoal and the lighter color is clay.

One day my brother showed me how to make a carrying case for my bow. This is made from braintanned deer skins. I cut long thin strips to sew it all together.

8 days till I start my journey out west.


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

great post! it really captures what the hunt is about. wish i was in VA too. good luck.

Anonymous said...

VA hunting ;) too bad we didn't see anything. Good post. How come no pictures of end snapped bifaces?

Dan was pretty happy about the Jameson. You done good by him.


manik said...

recurve bow