Opening day of the 2018 Ohio archery season was a success on multiple fronts for Whitetail OCD. I harvested on the opener for the first time in my hunting career. More importantly, my youngest son went hunting for the first time.by Eric Hall
The morning of September 29th, we were blessed with a cold front that dropped the morning temperatures into the low 50’s. Normally, I will not hunt the mornings until later in October, but with a cold front coupled with high barometric pressure (30.1) and the moon not setting until after 11 AM, I knew that I should be in a tree stand.
I climbed into my stand around 5:30 AM and settled in for the morning. My goal was to harvest one of the many doe on the property. The others who hunt the area and I all made a pact to harvest a doe before the rut hits this year. The herd is slightly out of balance and we are hoping the early doe harvest will help keep the bucks on their feet “seeking” in November.
Dawn broke and the movement was slow for the first hour of daylight. In fact, the only animal I saw in the woods was an orange cat. It wasn’t a black cat, so I didn’t feel too unlucky watching it pass in front of me. Still, doubt crept in as nothing else was moving in the woods, not even a single squirrel appeared. This was odd due to the sound of the acorns dropping from the oaks in the timber. I chose this stand due to the falling mast crop and the attraction of acorns to deer. The first hour of daylight and woods seemed lifeless, that is until 7:40 AM.
Dazed and confused by the lack of movement, I sat in my stand through the first hour of the 2018 season. The snap of a stick right behind my stand broke me from my trance. I slowly peered over my left shoulder and spotted my first deer of the young campaign. It was a small doe and I quickly decided I was going to pass this deer. Movement again caught my attention as a larger doe was slipping through the brush immediately behind my tree. The wet weather had the woods damp so their approach was very quiet. Normally, deer will cut the woods diagonally in front of my stand, but today they chose to move through directly behind me. The first lesson of 2018 and hunting season was only an hour old.
I sized up the second deer and decided she was one I would harvest if given the opportunity. The doe slowly moved out from the brush and was quartering away too hard for the shot. I watched her check her back trail, nibble on some native browse and check her back trail again. The deer drifted to her right and opened up a shot at seven yards. I settled in, touched off the shot and saw my lighted nock impact the deer, pass through and impact the ground on the other side of the animal. The shot placement was a bit forward but still a good hit with my deer expiring in only 20 yards, The 2018 hunting season is off to a fast start.
My doe was the first deer taken to the processor in 2018 earning a prize of a t-shirt and hat. The processor also agreed to join us on the Stay Afflicted Podcast to offer tips on how to best prepare a deer for processing. We are excited to record that episode and feel blessed he agreed to share his expertise.
The evening hunt was the best part of the day for me. My nine-year-old son went on his first deer hunt. Although we did not see any deer, the time spent was memorable. Our local high school was holding their annual band night at the stadium. Even though we were four miles away, we could hear the music. We were supposed to be hunting, but he couldn’t contain his toe-tapping and two finger “conducting.” I encouraged him to be still and be quiet in the blind, but it was to no avail. Finally, I gave up and let him be him and enjoy the music. I wonder if Mozart was a deer hunter?
The 2018 season is only two days old but is already off to an amazing start. The hope of the new season and the opportunity to get into the woods, let alone harvest a deer, is a blessing. As for my band conducting son, although we didn’t see anything his first words to me on the way back to the house were “Dad. when are we going out hunting again?” 2018 is already a deer season to remember.