Decisions! by Larry Weishuhn
Fog! Fog, so thick I considered unsheathing my hunting knife to see if I could carve a hole to where I hoped a buck would make his early morning appearance. Obviously that was an impossibility!
I waited patiently, well…not really! It had been legal shooting time for about twenty minutes when I checked my phone to see what the local weather forecast called for. You guessed, it fog, dense fog until at least ten o’clock.
Options were to stay where I was and hoped the fog cleared to a point where I could see farther than five yards, go back to camp for coffee and breakfast then return to my natural ground blind around ten, or, still hunt my way into the woods to rattle where the fog might not be quite as soupy thick.
I positioned my .257 Ruger No. 1 RSI, where I could readily and quickly grab it if a buck responded to my rattling. I brought the “horns” together gently to duplicate sparring, as I had often done during the very early stages of the breeding season, in years past. I wanted to sound as much as possible like what whitetail bucks should be doing at time. During pre-rut I had often watched bucks, even big mature ones, gingerly bring their heads and antlers together, mesh their two racks together timidly for about ten or so seconds, pull their heads apart and look around to see what other bucks might be watching. Then again, put their antlers together for a few seconds before pulling them apart once again. After which, they generally w walked to a nearby shrub or tree and actively rub their antlers. Usually while this was going on other bucks came to investigate, albeit responding rather slowly without any aggressive posturing. I hoped that is what might happen this morning.
I barely meshed my rattling antlers for about ten seconds, pulled them apart, waited about three seconds and started rubbing vigorously on a small sapling I had sat down next to, for that intent purpose. I had been working the rub only a few seconds when thru the mystical fog I could see a ghost-like apparition. I continued rubbing with my left hand, lowered my right and reached to position my rifle in that direction. I felt certain it was a buck, but could not yet peer through the fog to discern age or antler size.
“aaacckkkk” I grunted softly. The fog-shrouded shape took a step forward. It was indeed a deer, a buck, he was obviously mature based on his face and body confirmation. His main beams spread beyond his erect forward positioned ears. He was reasonably massive, with decent tine length. Most of all he fit the one category I insist upon…mature!
Ever so cautiously I got readied for a shot. I had set up with a fore and background that would allow me movement without being easily detected. Crosshairs settled on the buck’s chest ten yards away. I very carefully moved the No. 1’s tang safety to fire, doing my best not to make a loud metallic click.