A couple of weeks ago, I went on a whitetail hunt in Wyoming, near the Devil’s Tower. It was put on by Trophy Ridge Outfitters (trophyridgeoutfitters.com) and they do it right. On the ranches to which they had access, and the surrounding countryside for miles and miles, were more whitetails than I have ever seen in one place in my life. Colonel Craig Boddington (USMCR/Ret.), whose breadth and depth of hunting experience surpasses all human understanding, was along, and was as amazed as I was. He thinks that the profusion of hayfields may account for it.
I shot an attractive 12-point, 200-pound buck with about as much effort as one would put into selecting a good pot roast from the meat section. At the moment I pulled the trigger, there were six other bucks in the field.
Then I went to Maine, and spent 5 ½ days in an elevated stand waiting for a whitetail. I was in the stand from 5:45 until 4:30, and the only thing I saw the whole time was a coyote, whose furtive existence I terminated. Our party was 15 people more or less, ten of whom are geezers like myself and have 50 years or so of whitetail battles in their past, so when they don’t see deer, it means there are no deer. This is disappointing, but not uncommon for northern Maine. There just aren’t that many animals, and there’s lots of room for the ones that are there.
Hunting seems to be a matter of feast or famine. There is no kind of average that we achieve over a lifetime. Sometimes you get skunked and sometimes whatever you’re after will blunder up to you and say, “Here, shoot me.”
I can find no sense in any of it. All I can do is go–and hope that luck is with me.