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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 opted the latter. Moisture laden grass and leaves would allow me to move with less noise. Before leaving I made certain my variable Trijicon AccuPoint scope atop my Ruger No. 1 was cranked all the way down to 2.5 power, then grabbed my rattling horns. The rut was still about three weeks away. But, I learned a long time ago, sometimes whitetails bucks do not read the script of how they are supposed to do things.

Soon as I got to the field edge where bluestem grass turned to oak and cedar trees I slowed to a pace that would make a snail think it could beat me in a foot race. It took me fifteen minutes to cover twenty steps. Listening more than walking, hoped to hear a deer grunt, the rubbing of antlers on trees, or the sound of deer browsing. The last five steps I grunted softly with natural voice. Even though the fog was so thick I could see no more than ten yards I knew in a few more steps I could walk to the edge of a small opening, one that extended into a brushy creek bottom. Days before on the edge I had seen numerous rubs and scrapes. Those scrapes’ overhanging licking branch starting a week before I had sprayed regularly with Texas Raised Hunting Products’ “Breeding Buck Preorbital” to keep the local bucks on edge, questioning what buck might have wandered into their woods.

Using my rattling antlers, I moved leaves and twigs where I planned to sit down, my back again a big cedar. I sat quietly for the next near half hour, listening. There was no breeze, not even a puff of wind.

Before leaving I made certain my variable Trijicon AccuPoint scope atop my Ruger No. 1 was cranked all the way down to 2.5 power, then grabbed my rattling horns.

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.


 

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