Field Crawl

One good thing about being a female bowhunter, I guess, is “women’s intuition”. I frequently pick hunting spots intuitively, out of the blue, that immediately bring me onto deer. Trouble is, I don’t always listen to the blaringly obvious signs. I often doubt myself about it all, especially when just starting to learn a new piece of land.   Last night I decided to go about 100 yards beyond where I had been sitting for the last couple evenings. Stood on a giant fallen tree in a clump of scrub brush and small trees along the edge of a corn field, just south of the main tree line. It was a beautiful couple hours, “It just felt good there”. Lots of tweety birds, and a dead still evening. But then came that doubt, about 20 minutes before sunset…

I’ve not seen anything here for 3 nights. Maybe I’m too close to the edge of the field. Maybe I’m too close to the creek. Maybe…maybe….there are no deer here.”

I’d been eyeing a spot another 50 or so yards southeast of my natural treestand for two hours. I finally decided to sneak over there, just to see if it would be better for the morning.

As I was sneaking along the edge of the field, suddenly a silhouette popped up over the tip of the weeds on the horizon of the field, north, about 80 yards out. And then another silhouette, with horns.   A forky and a nice lookin’ doe, out for an evening stroll along the tree line.   After scoping out all directions and realizing how limited my options were, I froze in place. Here came the deer, meandering toward me, and I had nowhere I could quickly disappear to. The closest area that was taller than knee high field grass was over 60 yards away.

The doe stepped forward, the buck lagged behind. She would turn and signal him, he would then trot ahead to catch up. They would graze, gaze, then survey the direction they came from, then come closer yet. Although I was standing there in the open, they had no idea I was there. But good old Murphy’s Law whispered if I tried anything, anything at all, I would be immediately busted. I finally did the only thing I dared to do—I slowly sank to the ground.

The next 30 minutes were the most fun I’ve had this season.

We played hide and seek through the tall grass for what seemed like hours as they closed the gap of distance between us. Over and over I desperately tried to situate and raise my bow for a shot as I sat there, but didn’t want to risk the movement. They continued toward me, the doe, to what would have been a 10 yard shot. That’s where they stopped. And stood. And stood.

How could they not realize I was sitting right there? Are they blind? Surely they can smell me? Hear my breathing?

Can’t they hear my heart pounding in my chest for crying out loud!?

The sun began to drop out of sight, but they still stood right there. Although my feet were totally numb from sitting on them, I was diligent in being “frozen in place”. I knew that now there was no way I could pull my bow back if I did have a shot. And we were so, so, close. I could see their nose hairs twitching, their eyelashes, the liquid film across their big black eyes. The dirt grains on their chins and bubbly saliva on their tongues from foraging on that field. I could smell their warm, earthy bodies. The buck shamelessly dropped poops as he yanked more tendrils of grass from the ground.

Clearly they had no other plans for the evening. But I did, and I was losing light, and was still unfamiliar with this new area. Knowing I’d not find my way back flawlessly in the pitch dark, I decided I had to make a move.

My body was tight and aching. My left hand had clenched my bow so tight for so long, I had to flex one finger at a time until they came somewhat back to life. I knew there was no chance of standing up—I couldn’t feel my legs. Each moment no eyes were on me, I carefully leaned backwards a little more, aiming to gracefully land on my right elbow, one inch at a time.

At best, I’d have 10 minutes before dark. They looked my direction. The doe raised and lowered her head, sniffing.

OH! Does she finally see me?FieldCrawl

She glanced away.

What??

I began my attempt to crawl away through the grass. If I’m careful, I won’t alarm them and cause a stampede. Unfortunately I’d been frozen on the ground in a human lump too long to feel my legs under me. Still, I tried to crawl away, pulling myself along on one elbow, dragging my bow, attached to my tingling numb hand.

To my surprise, not only did I not spook those deer, but somehow I had managed to intrigue them enough to follow me.

What? What were they thinking?

As I crawled along, they shuffled along behind, chewing on the field grass, keeping a solid 20 yard gap between us. As I inched away, they followed—an agonizing 20 or so yards they trailed behind me. It wasn’t until the sun completely disappeared and I reached the edge of the field grass where the ground dropped a good 4 feet that I was able to actually drop away from their view, and wind.

Finally. I ditched them! After laying on my back for a minute, watching stars slowly appear across the sky, trying to take mental count of my still slightly numb body parts, I was able to crouch over and scoot into the trees with some sort of clumsy speed. I didn’t look back to see where they were.

As delicately as possible, I proceeded to crash through the unfamiliar woods in the pitch dark, getting hung up in branches, tripping on stumps and whipped by prickly weeds and vines until I stumbled and “felt” my way to a trail that finally lead me to my vehicle.

Out of breath, out of strength, and out of energy, I sat on my tailgate, pulling twigs and leaves out of my hair, and smiled. What a great evening hunt! Needless to say, it took an act of congress to get my butt out of bed the next morning. I hurt in places I didn’t even know I had! But now I have a prime hunting spot. Perhaps this evening, I’ll once again be visited by those two deer.

This time, I’ll be ready and won’t get caught in the open field……

What are you most passionate about? What makes your soul sing? For me, it’s any time I can be immersed in nature! I love to ‘get wild, rugged, and dirty’, so to speak. You can get up close and personal to the great outdoors through many of my observations and experiences in my blog category, “Words From The Wild”.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in the outdoors from this outdoorswoman’s perspective, and PR Brady AdVentures.

 

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Comments

  1. What a wonderful experience! The joys of nature for sure 🙂

  2. Loved reading about your adventure. Nature is so amazing.

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