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This thread is very interesting to me. A week ago I was deer hunting on private property in Indiana that belongs to a close friend. I've hunted there yearly and it is a wonderful place to hunt. There are no food plots etc. it's just natural except for log blinds that we have built. Mine was redone this year and christened "Fort Mann".

I've been very successful here, my last deer was a young 10 pointer with a "kicker" technically an 11 but who's counting. I'm now after a trophy buck, one that deserves to be mounted I want nothing less.

Now that I've set the stage it was now late in the day and up to this point I had seen 12 deer, all does and I see another pair coming towards me one was a buck that looked nice but not "mister big". He stopped and looked at my blind at about 80 yards, I had him dead to rights and asked myself "do I want to do this?". I passed and let him go he'll be bigger next year. A while later my buddy Glenn showed up and said he done the same thing. To be perfectly fair I also didn't want to field dress a deer in the dark!

Doug

Last edited by Doug Mann; 12/01/20 09:39 AM.

Doug Mann
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Originally Posted By: Doug Mann
To be perfectly fair I also didn't want to field dress a deer in the dark!
Doug

I quit deer hunting 40 years ago for this very reason.
JR


Be strong, be of good courage.
God bless America, long live the Republic.
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I camped out for three days at the beginning of waterfowl season in Saskatchewan.
I setup the decoys twice, but never fired a shot.
My heart really wasn't in it.
My hunting partner of 40 years passed away suddenly in September 2019.
Maybe next year.

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I love to hunt and fish. I have since I was a youngster. Birds, big and small game are my prey. I guided big game hunters for 27 years. I don't have be the one pulling the trigger to enjoy the hunt. I love being outdoors hunting in any sorts of weather. I enjoy each day in the field.

When mallard hunting I don't kill hens. I love watching them as they drop into my spread. Any duck that lands in my decoys gets a free pass out from me. Part of my enjoyment is making good shots. Being selective is a fun part of my hunting.

When I hunt big game I don't have to kill something to have a great hunt. If I don't find something I really want to kill I let them pass. I hope I, or someone else, will be thrilled when that animal is in front of them at another time.

I'm not a "harvester". When I hunt, I kill things...I'm a good hunter.

"The best thing about hunting and fishing,' the Old Man said, 'is that you don't actually have to do it to enjoy it. You can go to bed every night thinking about how much fun you had twenty years ago, and it all comes back clear as moonlight."
Robert Ruark


With a fine gun on his arm, a man becomes a sporting gentleman, both on the field and off.
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I call it the "Off Button"...here's something I penned on this topic back in 2017...

The Off Button


The pair had come back. When mallards return to a recently rejected decoy spread they usually coast right in without circling but these aren’t mallards.

They basically circle and pull off in almost exactly the same pattern they did when they initially vetoed my presentation. I have a rule that once a duck responds to a call I need to continue calling or risk its losing interest so I let the Déjà Vu continue to play out. Two or three false approaches and they finally break the mold and cut back towards the decoys rather than away.

I grew up hearing about black mallards but this was the first time I’d ever seen them with my own eyes. The USFWS booklet I have says the hen and drake are nearly identical in plumage. True but the size difference is so noticeable that I never have any doubts about which bird to shoot. This wasn’t going to be a feet dangling over the decoys shot. It was just another pass but this time directly over me and the decoys so I take my chance. My nerves and lungs couldn’t have survived another circle anyway.

I miss clean with first shot but I don’t give the cold cloud of doubt time to form before tapping the over barrel. The angled trajectory of a single pellet cuts through the breast and out the bird’s back. There’s a lot of important stuff between the entrance and exit wounds so the bird flutters nearly straight downward finally finishing his last 10 feet of air while completely limp.

The big bird, my first black duck, was everything I’d expected it would be. I picked him up and waded to the boat for closer study. The speculums were purple just like the book. My “bird” books describe the American black duck as “burnt-toast brown”…yep. The white stripe on the trailing edge looks exactly like the early 1800’s Audubon painting. As I sat on the bow of my boat the pleasantness of a mild November morning quietly seeped in. I am done with black ducks but the overall daily bag is three so I still had two birds to go. Then, I did something that even I didn’t expect. I continued sitting on the bow of the boat not moving.

I watched a small flight of greenwings throw out the air brakes and fall loosely into my decoys. A couple tasted the water lifting their bills to drain the water back in their throats and several others stretched their wings while lifting their tiny chests into the air. Their motions are too purposeful and exaggerated to be anything other than some sort of display. The flock swims around anxiously in the decoy maze meeting up somewhere in the middle before swimming out and disappearing into grass where I had just been hiding. It would be an easy sneak along the grass line to finish up my limit but I still didn’t move.

It was a perfect moment - the outdoor equivalent of having one of my kids put their pudgy arms around my neck and lay their head on your shoulder. I’m afraid if I move it’ll break the spell so I sit perfectly still.

All the hard work and lost sleep were worth these few minutes of complete and timeless serenity. I soak in the rest of the morning without interacting with the world around me before picking-up my decoy spread and heading for home. That was the first time I ever experienced the involuntary state-of-mind that I now call “The Off Button”.

As I get older it’s easier for the events of a normal duck hunt to hit the off button. Shooting a black always does it so does shooting the second-to-the-last bird of a limit, especially on opening or closing day. A well-hunted pair of divers can do it and sometimes just killing a trusting, gullible bird does it.

Hunting with a kid can hit the off button even before things really start. The only difference is that I usually have to pretend to still be hunting to keep the youngster engaged.

As the triggers for the off button get more and more frequent I sometimes have to purposefully keep it from happening. I wait for two or three years for a draw hunt so I don’t want the off button getting hit too early in the morning. I’ve learned to psych myself up with a pre-dawn pep talk to make sure that I stay in the game until the end or risk regretting it the whole time I’m building up my next batch of preference points.

I worry, too, that The Off Button may lull me into an empty gun apathy that will cost me that goldeneye or old squaw that I’ve hunted for years.

I don’t know for sure but I suspect The Off Button is nothing but the temporary tenancy of the “Sportsman Stage” of hunting. I really like the comfortable feeling of this final stage but worry that one day I might get stuck there. Will I, then, lose the identity of being a duck hunter? Is it indicative of not just the final stage of being a hunter but the final stage of life? Every fiber of my “secular” life is driven by my being a duck hunter. I’m afraid that I will lose my personality if I relax in this bloodless state too long.

At some point, I may let myself drift permanently into the Sportsman’s stage of life but come this November, I’m all about shooting.

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At 72 I still have the passion to enjoy the hunt be it birds or deer. On birds not how many but how. Enjoy hunting with a 28bore muzzle loader more for the how. A few hunting friends not so happy about this use re reloading and such. Please note that the dragging of deer in both PA and NH certainly have my sights on a deer cart in the very near future. Sure, the legs are not what they were nor is the dawn to dusk hunting what it was but I surely enjoy being out in the woods. I seem to spend more time just looking at the hills and such and enjoying those sites.

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Rubberhead, I know the feeling. It's almost perfection. What I do know when it hits me is that all is right in my world.


The world cries out for such: he is needed & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia
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I hope I never tire of bird hunting, nearing 60 years and still just as engaging as day one!

Never did a lot of big game hunting excepting deer. Deer are food. No real excitement to it for me. Rabbit hunting is more fun. I like to eat deer so I kill one when I can.

Being raised on a farm helps, you get your feelings detached from your food sources early on!

Chief

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I can't count the times I've pointed the gun at game, or game birds, saw the sight on the vital spot or saw the right lead, then said quietly "Bang!, I gotcha", knowing that I could have just as surely pulled the trigger and taken it.

But then, the hunter in me returns and I kill again. There's no conflict within me about that. I think of hunting, and the kill, as much more than a way to gain food. It is an outward expression of the inner man that God placed within me. I was born a hunter, and I will make no apologies for it.

As I have said before here, my goal is to kill a limit of doves on my hundredth birthday, not sit there and watch them. I know full well the odds that are against that happening, but hopes and dreams are what keep me going. I can enjoy being beaten by a dove dropping into a peanut field with a 25 mph tailwind, screwing me into the ground as I try in vain to get my muzzle ahead far enough ahead. When I do fire, and miss, I will often stand there and tip my hat to the dove, with a big smile. But, if it turns and comes back by I will try with fervor to take it's life again.

It's a balancing act, and right now I'm in balance............ I think.


Drinking from my saucer, 'cause my cup has overflowed .......
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I'll keep on shooting game until I can't. Some old injuries are catching up to me and limiting some of the hunting venues.
My Grandfather was a fanatical wildfowler, he cut canals and dynamited pot holes on a large part of his farm on the Rock River near Ixonia, WI and built a slue to water it all out of the Rock River(I have home movies of the dynamiting). In 1956 he was in his skiff with two dogs duck hunting on the Farm and had a heart attack. One of the dogs stayed in the skiff and the other went to the farm house where his son inlaw, my Uncle Ted, was and went to find him. My Grandfather was 63 when he died in that skiff and I'm sure it came to him as a complete surprise, but he died doing what he loved.

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