My deer season was a mixed bag.
I think this view through the tangled branches in the closing minutes yesterday sums up my hunting during the two parts of the firearm deer season in Illinois.
The second season ended yesterday.
I had such high hopes, from seeing a nice buck as I walked in opening morning on Nov. 19--then not to see another deer during first season--to the wonderful snow cover during the second season.
This was the scene Saturday morning. It's not out of focus, just snowing so hard. There was about 2 inches when I walked in, about 5 when I walked out around 8:30 or so.
First season I hunted the first two days, the highlight was taking my daughter out to sit in the stand the second afternoon. Unfortunately we didn't see anything.
Second season, i could hunt every day, and did.
First day had a good light cover of snow and my hopes were high. But nothing. less snow second day, but so calm you could hear every branch when a bird landed. Nothing.
Third day, I could only hunt the morning. What a beautiful morning as the snow fell heavily. I had very high expectations. But nothing.
Then the kid who hunts the next farm stopped by as I was undressing at the car. He asked if I saw the three doe that ran up the filter strip on opening morning. No. Apparently, I missed my chance in the opening minutes of second season.
That was disappointing.
Yesterday morning, a single set of deer tracks followed my foot prints. Sometime Saturday night, I am guessing the buck crossed over to the next farm.
Beautiful morning and evening to hunt (went out after the Bears game), but didn's see anything. But there was more shooting than even opening day. So deer were moving.
Coming in, four pheasants busted out as I came off the road in the afternoon. Three flocks of sandhill cranes passed, one of them quite low. They were flying east-southeast.
With all the snow cover, it stayed light well past the end of shooting time.
I walked out in the lingering grayness, with both the regret of no deer but the joy of having been able to hunt six of the seven days during firearm season.
Deer season is my time to learn to sit still and let the world come to me, rather than me to it.