Tag Soup

Well, my buck firearm season is about over. There are still a few weeks of bow/crossbow season left, so I’ve not completely given up hope, but we’ll see. So far, I’ve got Tag soup again.

I took a week off work after Thanksgiving, as I have for the past several years, with the intention of deer hunting. But I hadn’t done much about those intentions this year. It can become burdensome and a bit overwhelming when one is still learning, and has to “do it all” oneself (at least for me anyway). I admit that I’ve allowed myself to get frustrated and intimidated over the past few years. Last year I didn’t go at all.

But this year I had the great blessing of enthusiastic friends who encouraged me to try again, and even provided a place to hunt on their own property in a different state. I still came home empty-handed, but I feel better and more encouraged about it than before. I enjoyed my time in the deer blind, and got some fun pictures and video of a flock of turkeys, a woodpecker, and bickering squirrels. There is something rather “Zen” about being forced to sit quietly for hours on end, using only your eyes and your ears. It was a great way to spend a week off work. 

I was in the blind for six sessions of four hours each between Monday afternoon and Saturday morning. The first evening the deer didn’t even move until it was too dark to see. I saw precisely zip until full dark, whereupon they had a party in the leaves out in front of me. I could hear them, but that was all. At least I knew they “were” there, and I wasn’t waiting all afternoon on an empty hillside. That was comforting somehow.

That’s kind of how my week went though. One session I saw zip, another session I saw squirrels and heard Canada Geese, another session I saw a flock of hen turkeys coming AND going (which was fun), another time there was a Downy wood pecker investigating a tree not 10 yards in front of me. 


And then the last evening I did actually see a deer to the extreme right of my field of view. She came in within about 30 yards of me, but I think she could smell me, because she was snorting and blowing quite a bit. I had my binoculars on her four or five times in the fading light, but try as I might, I couldn’t make her grow antlers – LOL. Still, she was fun to watch, and at least I knew there “were” deer there. I kept watching to see if a buck might show up. But no go, and she eventually wandered off, back the way she came, and then it was dark. I’m learning all kinds of things the hard way apparently. 

But at least I AM learning things. I’d never used a pop-up blind before this year, so that was new. It was a little warmer that way, and allowed me a little more “wiggle-time” without advertising my presence. It also allowed me to use the emergency mayonnaise jar when I needed it – again without advertising my presence. I learned that some states allow baiting with corn or apples, and some states do not. I learned that it’s not always something I “did” – some days the deer just aren’t moving that way. Sometimes it’s too windy, or sometimes the corn got harvested on the other hill. 

So, at least I’ve got my “desire” back this year. I want to keep trying, and I want to keep learning. So now I’m looking into what I can do to get ready for next year, and also to see what I can do with the remainder of this license year. 

I want to look into  a 4G Wireless game camera to put on some family property to help me see what’s out there. My friend Ann Marie also wants to help me learn how to call and hunt turkeys. What she demonstrated for me seems like a ton of fun!

I know I’ve seen turkey tracks on that family property before, so two of my SHOT goals are to investigate slate and glass turkey calls and also a game camera that I can access from 130 miles away.

So, I now have hunting licenses in 3 states, and I’m hopeful that eventually I can learn enough to bag “something” off of those licenses. I know that the money supports wildlife conservation, so I don’t begrudge it at all. But just in case, maybe I should ask if any of you have a good recipe for Tag Soup? 🙂