Last night was last day of shotgun season for December 2010, and for the first time in over a year I was going to take my sister Sarah hunting. Between school and her job, she’d only been out one or two times this whole year. So, she took a day off of school to hunt with me.
I’d been seeing does every night this week, and though they weren’t coming in until it was too dark to film, I was hoping that maybe tonight one of them would give her a shot.
We got to the stand a little late. I had waited fifteen minutes while Sarah put on what seemed like every article of clothing she owned. (“What?? I get cold easy!!”)
Luckily, it wasn’t that cold out…or it wasn’t for me anyways, since I was used to sitting out in the cold. I scattered some corn a ways from our setup, then we climbed into our stands. Sarah was sitting in a ladder that I had set up early season and used all through the rut. I was in a lock-on that I had set up on the double tree slightly above the ladder stand so that I could film.
It was a good setup and I was feeling pretty confident that we were going to at least see some deer.
I got the camera set up and reaching in my pocket for my phone. As I did, I caught the scent of something maple. Reaching into my pocket again, I pulled out a bottle of Imitation Maple Flavor that I had used as a scent attractant during bear season. During a bear hunt with my friend Matt, I had handed him the bottle and asked him to taste it. He did, and confirmed my suspicion that it tasted absolutely disgusting. I of course thought itwas hilarious.
Now sitting in the tree with Sarah who was already getting cold, I reached down and tapped her shoulder.
“I got something for you,” I whispered, and handed her the bottle of maple flavor.
She grabbed it and opened the cap. “What is it?”
“Taste it,” I said reassuringly.
Usually when I tell her to taste something, she catches on that its something disgusting and won’t do it. I’m not sure if it was the fact that it smelled good or what, but she tilted the bottle back and took a gulp.
I wanted to fall out of the tree laughing at the look on her face. She spit out as much as she could, but somehow had managed swallowed some of it.
Well, yea. I knew that.
We finally stopped laughing and calmed down. We returned to texting and the sun began to set behind the trees.
At 4:00, like clockwork, the deer showed up in the opposite field. I watched them through binoculars for a few minutes, then whispered to Sarah to look in the field. I handed her the binoculars as three more does came through the hedgerow.
“Awesome!” she whispered. “We’re seeing deer!” Did I mention that she hadn’t seen a deer any of the times she had managed to get out this year? Already I felt like our hunt was a success.
I continued to watch the deer in the field, then Sarah whispered something.
I leaned down, “What?”
“That maple stuff really warmed me up. I’m not cold anymore!”
We later read the ingredients and found out it had 12% alcohol in it. Not sure if it was the alcohol or not, but whatever it was, it did the trick of keeping her warm for a while. Something to remember…even if it did taste disgusting.
About ten minutes until the end of shooting light, the deer were still in the field. Sarah was shivering. I knew that if the deer did decide to head in our direction, they would never make it in time for her to get a shot.
We headed back to the truck, and even though we didn’t get a deer, we sure had fun. Next month when Shotgun opens back up we plan on heading back out again to try to get her a doe. I’ll make sure to bring some maple flavor in case she gets cold.