Deer season opens Saturday, but the sound of rifle fire won’t echo across hill and hollow.
Saturday is opening day for Arkansas’ lengthy archery deer season. Bowhunters have a full five months to hunt, from Saturday through Feb. 28. That’s one of the longest archery seasons in the nation.
We’ll be hopeful hunters Saturday at Camp See No Deer, our little piece of paradise where a few of us have permission to hunt. The landowner is kind and generous in letting us hunt, so long as we use bow and arrow. No guns allowed, even during muzzle-loader and modern gun seasons.
The preseason report from Camp See No Deer is bright. Deer are plentiful, as they are all over Arkansas. Thick is a better word for the white-tail population at Camp See No Deer. The landowner is eager for us to thin the herd.
It’s customary for hunters to share some venison with the family who owns the land. Our gracious host is vegetarian, so we show our gratitude in other ways.
Each August, one of our group shows up with his tractor and Bush Hog to mow two fallow fields on the mostly wooded tract. One is close to the landowner’s home so the gesture is appreciated.
There’s a particular show the proprietor of Camp See No Deer enjoys attending each year. Another in our hunting group buys the ticket and reserves a bottle of wine at the refreshment stand for our landowner to enjoy during the performance.
This is paltry thanks for the privilege of letting us hunt. We are forever grateful.
Just because the deer are thicker than squirrels doesn’t mean we’ll be loading up on venison. No siree. We might see deer everywhere if we’re taking a stroll. Show up later with a bow and arrow and the deer vanish. It’s a phenomenon every squirrel hunter, dove hunter or deer hunter knows well.
Most seasons you could count one one hand the number of deer we take at Camp See No Deer. Daniel is the exception. He makes his own bows, his own arrows and doesn’t wear camo. He hunts from the ground, not a tree stand.
After a heavy dew or rain, Daniel goes after deer by still hunting. That is, closing in step by careful step until he’s near enough for a shot with his home-made bow. Some seasons he bags more deer than the rest of us combined.
That’s mainly because he puts in the time. He’s at Camp See No Deer a couple days a week or more, especially during the prime hunting months of October and November.
He’s also an excellent shot. A great thing about archery is you can practice in your back yard for hours and not bother anyone. Daniel practices from the ground. Those of us with our hineys parked in a tree stand practice shooting from an elevation. A couple of us have practice stands in our yards. Another practices from his deck that’s about tree-stand high.
That way, we’ll be ready on Saturday when that moment of truth arrives at Camp See No Deer.
Flip Putthoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NWAFlip
Sports on 09/19/2017