Living Off the Land
By Jenn Dana
Is that my alarm clock going off? I groaned as I rolled over to shut it off. It was hunting season.
Our friend had left just the week before,
and my husband was already tagged out.
This meant I would be heading to the
woods alone. I really should get up and go
out hunting, I thought to myself. But then
a new thought hit me: Never mind, I’m
going back to bed. I rolled over and tried
my hardest to fall back to sleep. As I was
lying there, after making the decision
to not go hunting, our bedroom heater
started making this ticking noise. Needless to say, I could not fall back to sleep.
I decided that maybe I should just get up
and head out to see what I could see that
morning. After all, it was the peak of the
rut. I thought maybe the clicking heater
and the fact that I couldn’t get back to
snooze-land were signs that this was
going to be my morning.
I made myself a cup of coffee and got
ready as silently as I could to not wake
my boys. I dressed in the Under Armour
clothing my husband had bought for me
the previous Christmas. Once again, I
was thankful for the warmth they provided. When the temperature drops, I have
a tendency to get quite cold sitting out
in the woods for hours. I am not one to
spend money on clothing, but these were
well worth the price he paid for them.
I finished getting dressed, grabbed my
bow, and headed out to my stand.
I decided I would go hunt in a stand
we call The Oak Stand. It’s in a grove of
oaks. We decided to set a stand there be-
cause you find the ground covered with
acorns in the fall. Acorns are a deer’s
favorite food. In fact, when the trail cam-
era pictures on your food sources start
to slow down, it’s probably because the
deer are in the woods on the acorns.
I headed out our front door and toward
the woods with great anticipation. When
I had almost reached my stand in the early morning darkness, the coyotes started
yipping, and not too far off from where
I was. That put a little pep in my step,
and I got to my stand right quick. They
don’t necessarily scare me, but the noise
they make when they start yipping and
howling at the same time is pretty eerie.
I climbed up, attached the safety harness
to my tie-off rope, and settled in to wait.
I had been sitting in the stand for about
an hour and a half when I started hearing
some movement in the brush behind me.
I kept straining my neck around to see
if I could determine what it was. I finally
decided it must be a squirrel and turned
back around. Pretty soon, though, I started hearing it again, and this time when
I looked over my shoulder, I saw a buck
standing there. It was a mature buck, and
his antlers seemed quite large to me at