Alabama hunting trip

On a chilly overcast afternoon I climbed a metal latter extending about 25 feet up an oak tree to a padded camouflaged seat.  I slung my bolt action Remington rifle off my back and lower a padded metal bar across my chest.  The tree stand on private land  in the transition zone between the Alabamian upland Piedmont and the east gulf coastal plain provided me a commanding view of an elongated food plot with a field of planted loblolly pines to my left, and a relatively young hardwood forest to my right.  I was covered, virtually, head to toe with with high tech, real tree, HD, hardwoods camouflage, and I suspect that once I made it my goal to sit as still as possible, whitetail deer would not be able see me.  However, I came across an article published by the Quality Deer Management Association that indicates that all this high tech cammo may be all for naught if treated with UV enhancing dyes used to make garments slightly brighter to the human eye in the hopes of more sales.   Deer lack UV filters that we humans have which allow them to see the tail end of the UV spectrum.  Therefore, my new cammo pants could literally appear to be glowing to a vigilant whitetail.  Interesting, but I didn't know this at the time, so there I sat as still as possible. 

Before I left for this trip, it was mentioned to me by a friend of mine who just returned from his first hunting trip that deer hunting was "boring until you hear leaves rustling, but then you realize that it's a squirrel, then it's boring again."  Having been hunting a few times before this current trip, I could not disagree more.  After I nestled into my perch, the woods were quite.  This was most likely the result of me scaring everything off by my boisterous tromping up to the stand which sounded like the Macy's day parade compared to the noise that evolved prey animals make while conducting their daily business of trying to find food without being food.  But soon the soft fluttering of wings altered me to the presence of unknown avian critters.  Soft knocking against wood told me that woodpeckers were out looking for breakfast.  And a piercing squeal told me that Northern Flickers were the ones looking to grub out.  Later, a Red-shouldered Hawk lit in a hickory next to my stand.  A  2-year old Wild Turkey quietly crept onto the plot fed for a moment and moved back into cover.  I even saw a older looking doe, but a fawn was still with her, so I watched the mother take her time browsing on the plot while the hyperactive kid bounced around.

This is what I enjoy most about my few hunting experiences.  I love getting out in the woods at a time when it seems most folks are either sleeping or indoors by a heater.  I love seeing the woods with its vulnerable trees with branches that exhibit the juxtaposition of chaos and order in a display of fractal geometry that inspired Pollock.  I love sitting so quietly that rapid, sporadic, wing beats of a Carolina Wren are the loudest sound in the woods, and when he flips fallen leaves in search of meal, the sound becomes defining.  I love being invisible to the gray squirrels that bound from tree trunk to tree trunk frantically searching for hidden nuts and seeds in a ritual that goes unnoticed by most.  Boring indeed!  This is what I love, and if an old buck or doe happens walk by my cross hairs, I will thank God for the opportunity to put meat in the freezer and take the shot; I haven't done so yet.

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