Deer On The Range – Literally

Every year I head to deer camp believing that muleys, whitetails and blacktails are the cagiest animals on this planet.

Maybe it’s all this copy I’m always reading right before season starts, but my mind builds them up into these almost mythical creatures, as rare and shy as Bigfoot, and as fleeting as the fog through timber. They’re known as timber ghosts, after all.

So to beat them at their own game, I get crazy with camouflaging myself, my smells and my noises.

I wash my socks, boxers, camo pants, T-shirts, fleeces and hunting vest as well as my sleeping bag in special scent-free detergent so the animals don’t smell me. I then add pine and fir needles to the bin I carry them all in to give my getup an eau du woods.

I grow a hunting beard.

I spray my hunting boots to try and mask some of their atrocious odor.

I avoid campfire (as much as possible).

I creep through the forest, three steps at a time.

I hold my mouth open to better hear sounds in the woods.

I overfill my backpack so my knives, radio, extra bullets, etc., don’t clank around.

I sit still, back against trees or rocks for hours.

In other woods, I try my best to blend in so that when deer come along, they aren’t aware of my presence.

And then you read online threads like the one I found today and think, why am I doing all this work again?!?!

Seems that one of the boys on Hunting Washington was sighting his rifle in at the range this past Saturday when something unexpected wandered by.

Take it away, Timberghost72:

This morning I went to the range to fire a few rounds off and to dial in some hand loads.  The range is 100 yards and is across a grass field. There was about 20 people also there using the 100 yard range.  10 minutes into live fire I look up after I took a shot and a deer (doe) jumps out of some tall grass on the right side of the last lane about 15 feet in front of the targets down range. It proceeds to casually walk and eat grass all while moving from right to left across 8 lanes. People are still firing their rifles so I yell out DEER. Still no one sees it and still are firing their rifles down range. Keep in mind it is WIDE OPEN. After about 45 seconds and a second yell by me finally people start to see it. Range master called a cease fire and he went out and chased it off.

Not so unusual, it turns out.

Adds Frogger:

I’ve seen a few nice 4 points out on the range in Renton

And Grainfed Muley:

In 1994 I was in Selitz Oregon for the Oregon Rifle and Pistol Assoc., Full auto state championships. In the middle of the assualt rifle match, with 6 people shooting, a blacktail doe steps out left to right and did the same thing just casually walked accross the shooting range. Luckily everybody saw her and stopped. They started the match over.

And Polar Bear:

An old guy that I use to work with dropped a 4 pt. that showed up at the end of the 200 yard range at Evergreen Sportsman’s Club out of Littlerock. He was packing up his stuff after several hours of shooting when he noticed it standing on the hill behind the target.  He dropped it, backe his truck up to the hill, rolled it into the back and drove off to nearby Capitol Forrest to roll the gut out of it.  Pretty sweet for an old dude with diabetes who could hardly walk anymore.  Oh, and yes it was rifle deer season and he had a tag.

And Woodswalker:

BEFORE the DNr closed the pit up above my place it was common to see deer wandering out nibbling the blackberry tips while folks were shooting…we would call a cease fire and shoo them off…and go back to shooting.

Hmmm. Maybe I don’t have to launder my giant pile of hunting clothes or track down the bottle of scent mojo in the 72 hours between now and taking off for camp after all.

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