At 5:00am I stepped out of my house and onto my front porch. The wind howled through the trees and rain pattered down onto my walkway. For a brief moment, I considered going back inside and playing sick in order to get out of going to work. As much as I wanted to climb back into bed, I just couldn’t do it. I pulled my jacket tight around myself and stepped into the rain.
For the next several hours I peered out my office window at the miserable weather. My afternoon plans of deer hunting weren’t looking very pleasant. All I could think about was sitting in a tree, cold and wet. While I ordinarily enjoy my time in the woods, this time I couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm.
As the afternoon approached, the sheets of rain turned to a drizzle and wind gusts died down. By the time I was walking out of work, the sky was clear and the sun was shining. My afternoon hunt was looking much more pleasant and I was eager to get out into the woods.
After what felt like a mile long hike, with a tree stand and pack strapped to my back, I stood looking up at my tree. The spot my guide selected for my offered a beautiful view of the woods where a couple of game trails came together. Based solely on how much of the woods I could see, I was sure that I would spend the afternoon animal watching.
I climbed up about fifteen feet into the tree and began to settle in. The wind was in my face and all was quiet, all I had to do now was wait. Before long birds were chirping and squirrels were scurrying about. In the distance I could hear turkey and pheasant making their way through the woods.
In the fields beyond the woods, hunters flushed out pheasant and filled the air with the boom of their shotguns. I leaned back in my seat, closed my eyes, and relaxed. The occasional gust of wind sent my tree into a gentle sway. It was very peaceful.
As the sun began to set, I stood up and watched the woods closely. In this spot, I was sure I’d at least see a deer off in the distance. I strained to hear my would-be-prey in the distance but the deer never came. I climbed out of the tree in darkness and packed my things for the hike out.
It would be easy to get discouraged at this point but I knew going into this that hunting on Public Land in Pennsylvania was not going to be easy. There is a bit of time left in the season and I’m told the rut is fast approaching. With any luck, I might just get a deer yet.
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