By Fred T. Space, Sussex, NJ
Golly! I wonder how I ever shot a deer without all the fancy things there are today to assist the hunter: Scent-blocking and camo clothes, all kinds of spray to kill the human smell, a GPS to find your way in the woods, fancy scopes and binoculars, shooting sticks and all types of tree stands and blinds. It’s all available for purchase these days. But even when it wasn’t, I was still able to kill some nice bucks!
I grew up on a dairy farm. We didn’t have a bathtub or a shower, just an outside toilet and a wash basin in the kitchen. So I smelled pretty much like a cow. No scent-block needed. The regular deer hunting garb was the conventional Woolrich red and black plaid wool hunting coat. There were no fancy camo duds.
I started hunting as a kid on the farm. I shot woodchucks with a Remington bolt-action .22 with open sights my dad bought for me for $12.50 at the local hardware store. We could buy .22 longs for 25¢ for a box of 50. So I did a lot of plinking.
I’d wander the pasture fields, looking for the wise old woodchuck. When I saw him run into his hole I’d stand still and wait for his head to pop up at 50 yards. I could shoot his eyes out, no fancy scope or shooting sticks required. I still have that old .22, and it will still drive a tack at 50 yards.
My early deer hunting was done with a Winchester Model 94 .30-30, open sights.
Our hunting was called “still-hunting.” My dad taught me to take one step, then stand still the time for three more steps. Every step gives a new perspective in the woods.
“Don’t look for a deer,” he said. “Look for an eye, a leg, a tail or a horizontal line. Then you can put together a deer.” When you move slowly the deer often let you approach close enough for a shot.
I am now 87 years old. I can still shoot pretty well offhand. I am a little unsteady, and shooting sticks help. My vision isn’t too great these days so I appreciate the scope. I sold my cows and have a bathroom with a shower for my Saturday nights. Now I smell like a man. I use scent block and camo clothes, too. Oh well, times change!
Do you have an exciting, unusual or humorous hunting experience to share?
Send your story (800 words or less) to [email protected] or to American Hunter, Dept. MH, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA. 22030-9400. Please include your NRA ID number. Good quality photos are welcome. Make sure you have permission to use the material. Authors will not be paid, and manuscripts and photos will not be returned. All material becomes the property of NRA.