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Author Topic: Snow White & the Bowhunter - Rob Burnham  (Read 676 times)

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Snow White & the Bowhunter - Rob Burnham
« on: May 03, 2004, 08:43:00 AM »
Snow White & the Bowhunter

by Rob Burnham

The anticipation had been building for weeks as the 2003-04 Virginia Archery season approached.  My tree stands had been set for over a month now and deer sign was readily available on all the trails that crisscrossed through this small patch of deer heaven.  I'd spent the last five years hunting this particular piece of property and was well aware of the potential for a nice buck to show at any one of my dozen stands.

It had only been two years ago that I was blessed with the opportunity to harvest a nice 4x4 that would score 115" P&Y.  The sign of his dad or grand dad was visible on several of the cedars that dotted my hunting grounds.  I was feeling very confident about the outcome of this season and waiting for the opening day to arrive was about to drive me crazy.  I had located this deer the previous season and seeing the new rubs show up was proof that this big fellow was still roaming around.

As most bowhunters know the sight of any deer will get the heart pumping, but it was not uncommon to see lots of does while hunting this property.  Seeing does is always fun, but it's just not the same as seeing a big set of headgear sneaking through a patch of woods.  As the opening day neared all of my thoughts were concentrated on this one deer.  I knew he was there and that it was just a matter of me putting in my time before we crossed paths.

October 4th had finally arrived.  The night prior was for the most part sleepless as it is every year.  My mind must go over everything that is remotely related to bowhunting several hundred times that last night before the opener.  Going over the checklist of gear making sure that everything is in the pack.  The bow has been ready for months and the final edge had been placed on the broadheads weeks ago and touched up one last time the day before.  I was over ready and by the time the alarm went off, I was half dressed.  It was going to be a fairly warm day, but just maybe that buck would be moving in the early dawn light.

It was a quick 200-yard walk to my chosen stand for the opening morning.  I could make out the outline of the houses that were just a stones throw away as darkness gave way to the gray pre dawn light.  It was quiet, very quiet and I could hear every little noise and of course it all sounded like a deer.  I don't know about other bowhunters, but it takes me a few days back in the tree to get my deer woods ears back.  For the first dozen or so hours on stand the squirrels absolutely drive me crazy.  If I didn't know better I'd bet that they intentionally make sounds that mimic a deer just to drive us bowhunters crazy.  

The morning hunt would end uneventful and with the temperatures on the rise I decided I would slip back to the house and grab some lunch and my seven year old son Wesley so he could join me for the first afternoon in the deer woods.  We arrived back at the property around 2:00pm and entered the woods.  I had hung two stands on a tree that stood beside a small creek just for the times when my son could join me.  Since it's all but impossible for a seven year old to sit still more than a few minutes, I felt the elevated perch would at least give us some cover.  
We both put on our safety belts and climbed in the tree stands.  Wes had plenty questions to ask of me the first half hour and I'm sure he thought I was short with my answers. Of course I was trying to concentrate on my surroundings, but he made it very difficult to say the least.  Kids are a riot some times with the things they think of and my son is no different.  Several times it was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud.  An hour had passed and he was still talking, so I just leaned back against the tree and drifted off while thinking about the buck that had been roaming around in this neck of the woods.

I had just about gone to sleep when Wes ask what that white thing was walking in the woods.  Straining to see what he was talking about I finally caught movement about 75 yards off to my right.  At first glance I was sure it was one of the local dogs that lived in the neighborhood, but after closer inspection I realized it was a deer.  Not just any ordinary deer at that.  It was a solid white deer and it stood out like a full moon in the night sky.

 

We both watched her as she made her way through this section of woods headed towards the stand that I had been sitting that morning.  What a sight this deer was.  In over 30 years of hunting I had only seen one other white deer.  Wesley looked at me after she had disappeared with a big smile on his face and he quietly asked if deer were supposed to be white.  I explained that this encounter was a rare treat and the fact that we had shared it together was all the more special.  I would see this deer on two more occasions in the next two months.

I would take a nice little buck and have several close calls with other deer in the next two months, but the big buck that I had been hoping to get a chance at was keeping his daily routine private.  I would get him on film thanks to one of my strategically placed trail cameras and this would only make me more anxious to be in the woods.  Before I knew it the final day of hunting season was upon me and I had yet to see the buck and my white deer friend had become scarce as well.  

I had decided to spend the entire day hunting with only a short brake to change stands and grab a quick bite to eat.  With only a few hours left of daylight and hunting season, I climbed into one of my favorite stands.  This was the same stand that I had seen the white deer from months earlier and it was also the location of the trail camera that had taken the photos of the buck I had been after.  My spirits were high as I watched the sun make its way towards the horizon.  With less than an hour of light left on the hunting season I began to reflect back on another wonderful year spent in the deer woods.  

My thoughts brought me back to my last encounter with the white deer and I looked in the direction where I had last seen her and my mouth fell open.  There she was again in the exact same place traveling in the same direction as before.  I didn't get a shot at this deer and I'm not sure after seeing her that I would have taken one if presented.  We had spent an entire season together in the same small piece of woods and now she was giving me a fair well sighting.  I watched her for the last 20 minutes of daylight then she faded into darkness as the last seconds of hunting season ticked off the clock.  Snow white had given me a season to remember.

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