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Columnists : Lisa Metheny
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Bachelors And Beans
By Lisa Metheny
Dec 16, 2005, 06:31

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A verse from the Jim Stafford song “I don’t like spider and snakes” was rolling thru my head as I prepared for my hunt at the Halpino Lodge.  Edging the yard of the lodge was a large lake filled with gators, too many to count, some of which were over ten feet long.   The hot, dry drought conditions had the water moccasins and rattlers moving as well.  The Halpino lodge is located on the river side of the levee near Vicksburg, Mississippi and is a sister lodge of the Tara Wildlife lodge where I had hunted back in January. I would be hunting again with my fellow “Sisters of the Woods,” dubbed the Nomadic Hunting Babes by our founder and ring leader Tes Jolly.
Come and get yer Gator Chomp, Chomp

Our little group gathered for our hunt and was enjoying a good laugh over the coverage that we received in the fashion magazine Marie Claire.   It just so happen to be in the November issue and here it was November.  The Montel Williams show called while we were in camp and wanted to feature us girls on his show.  We took a vote and decided that perhaps his show would not promote hunting in a positive light so we declined the offer.  But it was fun to know that we at least did have an offer to appear on his show regardless of how strange it may have seemed.  The Montel Williams show wanted to fly some of us to New York City in mid November to do a live show.   He obviously doesn’t understand the critical month of November to those of us that hunt, even the thought of some serious shopping in NYC simply was not enough to entice us girls to put our camo's aside for a day and pack up the high heels and head to the Big Apple. This hunt was getting off to a strange but comical start.   We were anxious to get into the woods and hunt and agreed that we would “hold out” for when Oprah calls.

The first night stand I was set up in was a very large pecan tree, I had doubts I would see much as I was surrounded by lots of trees that were blown over by Katrina. My tree was loaded with spiders, they were everywhere, hundreds of them crawling over my seat, in my backpack and over me apparently they like pecans as much as I do, still I could have done without them.  Tara Wildlife lost hundreds of trees to Hurricane Katrina, but thankfully everything else at the lodges stayed intact.

As evening started to fall the mosquitoes became as thick as thieves, you could hear their swarms hovering from area to area, thank goodness for the ThermaCell ®, a must when hunting the south.   I soon heard the rustling of leaves.  Armadillos, four of them, I quickly learned why the locals do not like the armadillos. At first I was amused with these ugly little creatures, I watched and videotaped them for awhile.  Then I got tired of the racket and wanted to become a Life Member of the nearest chapter of Armadillo Eliminators Anonymous.    I did what any good hunter could do in a situation like that, shoot em.’ I popped one right in the spine and he scurried off about 15 feet and died trying to get under a log.   I was tickled that I had just arrowed my first armadillo and helped in the extermination of these little pests that were messing up my deer hunt and wreck havoc on the turkey population.  The evening ended with no activity other than my little hard shelled harvest.

The dawn of the second day of hunting was on the rise and the girls and I loaded up with our guides in the trucks and headed out. I love going into a new stand in the dark, not having a clue of my surroundings and watching with anticipation as the sun starts coming up.  To hear the woods wake up with the first hint of daylight truly excites me.   The morning ended with nothing in sight, not even an armadillo.   My friends and I joined back up at the lodge for a late breakfast and enjoyed sharing in the stories of our morning hunt.  The afternoon passed quickly and it was time for our guides to figure out who would be hunting which stand.   When asked where I would be sitting for the evening, my guide Jason had a sheepish grin on his face and simply said you will be in a good spot. He and young gun guide Joey just sat up a fresh stand that they felt was a hot one. I was second to the last to be dropped off and the weather was in the 80’s and so dry that the dust was heavy on our bows, binoculars and everything else.

We arrived at the point of my drop off and Jason quickly told me how to get to my stand.   I teased him about the directions and he assured me that the stand would be a breeze to find.   I was anxious to get to my stand and therefore wasn’t paying 100% attention to my guide’s instructions.   I wished my hunting buddy Diane luck as I watched her and Jason ride off in the truck to her stand.   I was wearing my ASAT Leafy Wear over my scent jacket as I was told the tree I would be sitting in did not have a lot of cover.   I sprayed myself and gear down with Fall Blend and started walking slowly and quietly to my stand.   I walked down the four wheeler path that Jason instructed me to, I came to the T in the four wheeler path, I turned and headed down the leg of the T road and walked too far.  I started to think that I missed the stand somehow, “mmm, I guess I should have been more focused on what my guide told me” I thought to myself. I only reveal this little embarrassing fact about my hunt to reassure myself that I was not technically lost, I knew exactly where I had been and how to get back to the lodge if necessary, I just couldn’t find  something as simple as my stand maybe the heat was starting to get to me.

Realizing that I had to go back the same direction that I had just came I was concerned about leaving more human scent in the area.  In my pocket I had a fresh bottle of Harmon’s Doe Urine as I gradually and quietly made my way back down the path, I sprayed an occasional leaf or twig with my Harmon’s spray.   Finally I was back at where I was suppose to be, in front of my stand about 25 yards away as the Locust bean pod tree.

Less than an hour had passed when I had a doe and two young fawns visit the bean pod tree and nibble around for a little while.   The fawns were still nursing so I wasn’t really interested in shooting this doe.  She stepped right out on the path and looked straight up at me in the bare tree; she never saw me and eventually walked off.  I was convinced that my ASAT Leafy Wear did the trick in hiding me and my scent gear along with Harmon’s was working like magic.  I was afraid that would be my deer sightings for the evening.   Little did I know what the evening would hold for me.   

As the hot dry evening in the river bottom land was starting to wind down I watched the sun start to melt behind the cottonwood trees.   I decided to stand and get situated should a doe come in.   Being a left handed shooter was going to be difficult in this stand, I would have to face the tree in order to make a shot in the direction of the bean pod tree that was to my left.  I paused as I heard a small little crunch of a leaf.   I love that sound, the sound the rushes thru your senses and brings with it a ray of hope.   There was the sound again; it was without a doubt the sound that only a deer could make.  No rustling thru the dead leaves like an armadillo makes or as I now refer to them as aramdozers.   A careful quiet deliberate step, then pause, step, step then pause.  I knew I had a deer coming in.  I peered around the tree and saw two small button bucks picking thru the leaves and heading to the bean pod tree. As I reached for my bow, I heard more steps, I looked behind me and saw two more bucks and these were small little immature spikes. I heard more crunching, but something was different about these steps.  I could not see what was making their way toward my stand.   The tree was directly in front of my face due to my left handed situation and I was not going to move even in the slightest to look around the tree and see what was coming my way.  I shifted only my eyes around the area; I could see numerous bucks, barely button bucks, button bucks, spike bucks, fork bucks, and some small basket rack bucks.  I still could hear something coming but I dare not move as I would be busted with the sheer number of eyes that were around me.   My senses were on high alert from  the sights and sounds of this evening, the sound of crunching pods, the smell of the woods covered in thick dust, the distant drone of a barge on the Mississippi River, the crunching of leaves and the sound of hooves stepping on the harden earth.

I tried to keep from laughing at the immature bucks, they were funny to watch as they would pick up the long pods in there mouths and shake them, as if they enjoyed the rattling sound that the beans make inside the pods. Still I was hoping that a doe or a shooter would come within range as none of these bucks were shooters.   As I tried to stand perfectly still and play the waiting game and prayed that the sun would just stop from sinking for a little while as I was enjoying a rare moment in hunting.  Still, I could hear  the same  deer working it’s way closer and closer, soon I heard the deer stop and I looked down to see a buck standing near the bottom of my stand.  Below me in the pencil size twisted limbs of the brush around the tree I could see this was a shooter, having him directly under me made it difficult to judge his size. I glanced over my right shoulder and saw several more bucks working around under my stand but quickly glanced back at the tall racked buck that was still sampling the vegetation under my tree.The buck was slowly and quietly making his way to the bean pod tree, another nice basket rack was walking down the four wheeler path and it was obvious that the two bucks path would cross.  The primal drive of fighting for breeding rights had not begun yet; this was a large calm, social bachelor group of bucks.

It was as if the bean pod tree was offering free cocktails to these bucks and I was the lucky hunter that got the stand at the bean pod tree at Happy Hour.At that moment regardless of the outcome I knew I would be thanking my guides for setting me up to see such a fantastic moment in the woods.  As I watched in amazement as the tall rack buck waited for the basket rack to step out of the way, he stepped up on the four wheeler path and with one stride stepped closer to the scattered pods on the ground. I came to full draw and like magic the tall rack buck stepped into the shooting land and offered me a quartering away shot.   I settled my 20 yard pin on his vitals and said a prayer in my head.  I watched as my arrow buried itself deep in the body of this buck.   I felt that I made a good shot but perhaps a little high on him.  The tall rack buck made a slight yet subtle jump and loped off without much commotion.   Amazingly the bachelor group of young bucks that were snacking on the bean pod hors d’oeuvres was only slightly startled by the buck’s movement, they returned to eating as he loped off.  I guess that is all the proof that I need that my Hoyt Viper Tec is ultra quiet.

Jason arrived and I tried to calm down and tell him about the evening events, at that moment I realized how good my guide was, not just for his stand placement skills or for his patience with me, but for his ability to translate the excited babble of this Yankee.  We looked for blood and my arrow for what seemed like an eternity, Jason informed me that he had good news and bad news for me.  Good news, he found a little bit of blood that was promising but no real blood trail at that stage, bad news is he suggested we back out and wait till morning. What a long night it would be for me, thankfully I was surrounded by my hunting sisters and their relentless teasing  about my excitement  in telling the story of my hunt made the night a little more bearable.

The morning broke and the guides took out all the other hunters except for me and my friend Billie.   Billie, a Louisiana native and natural born bloodhound and a veteran NHB is a walking encyclopedia of information on anything related to the outdoors.  I knew that if we couldn’t find my buck Billie would have some Cajun trick up her sleeve to help me out.  I felt confident to have my friend along for the ride and the trailing. We located the softball size of blood spot that we found the night before, about ten yards away Joey the young guide that helped placed my stand, found another small spot of blood; he was working ahead of us. Hoping to be the first to find the deer, as this was his first time to guide women hunters and he wanted to do a good job. Joey would find another blood spot before the rest of us could even get to the last; perhaps he was the scent hound in disguise.  Through thick briars, dense wiry saplings, across a dried out bayou, and up on a high spot the blood trail traveled, then Joey yelled “buck down” with fists pumping in the air, he then yells “big buck down.” 
 
The spread, the smile, says it all.

The next few minutes for me was a blur, but they tell me that all they saw was a short camouflaged figure barreling at them at break neck speed not sure which foot to put  down next.   I couldn’t wait to put my hands around the antlers to get a feel of what may end up being my first Pope and Young buck, of course we have to wait the 60 day drying period.  This buck was estimated to be 3.5 years old and weighed 215 pounds, his G2’s were 10 inches long  on each side, with a 22 inch main beams, a beautiful symmetrical 8 pointer, the rack green scored at 134.  Gilbert Rose the director of the Tara Wildlife lodge snapped some photos and informed me that this was the biggest buck taken by a woman with a bow in the history of this lodge and added “not bad for a girl.”

I didn’t care too much about that; this was the biggest buck I have ever taken with any weapon.   It was such a sweet feeling to know that I harvested such a beautiful animal with my bow. Who knew that a simple invitation from Travis Turner aka “T-Bone” (Realtree) to “pick up” a bow and try it would change the way I thought about hunting forever. To know that all my hard work and practicing paid off.   To be able to share such a harvest with my “sisters” was special; knowing that each of them shared in my success was the icing on the cake.
The NHB Gang with Lisa and buck

 

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