By; BowTied Smilodon

You’ve finally settled into your stand after climbing 20 feet up a tree in the dark. You turn off your headlamp, open up your thermos, and begin sipping on some coffee. As you check the time and see that it’s 6:13am, you’re comforted that you have about an hour until the sun comes up to enjoy the silence and coffee as dawn approaches. You’re grateful and excited for another day to hunt.

Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep… 

The tranquility of the woods is disrupted by garbage truck backing down the street. The sound of garbage cans being tossed from one side of the street to the other adds to the chaos. Soon after, you hear a door slam and a dog barking in your direction faster than a hound on a cougar. In the background, there are a few car alarms, people chattering, and screeching brakes that could only be coming from a school bus.

You forgot. You’re not hunting a few hundred acres in the mountains. You’re in the burbs and it’s a whole different beast.

Your good buddy doesn’t hunt, and his wife has been bitching to him that her plants are being eaten and the deer crap in the lawn seems to be multiplying daily. So naturally, he gives you a call to see if there is anything you can do about it. Of course you oblige because, well hunting is hunting right? Plus, he’s mentioned that he’s seen a few hammers walking through in the mornings. So, you pick a day and head out to his three-quarters of an acre property early one morning.

You’ve finally gotten some silence after the garbage truck made its rounds and you’re feeling good about the day. The weather is perfect, a cool 50 degree early fall morning with a sunny sky in the forecast. Your back is to the house, and you’re set up towards the edge of the property line, exactly where you think, no know, deer will be walking. As you scan around, you can’t help but notice how different your set up is than normally. A nice swing set that you could only wish you had as a kid sitting 60 yards to your right. A patio with beautiful landscaping surrounding a pool that has been closed up for the summer just behind you. A shed so close that you can spit on it. All overlooking a beautifully manicured lawn that makes you wonder who could possibly have enough time to maintain so well.

Just then, an engine fires up. This time it’s real close and getting closer. You peek back to see the silhouette of a body speeding closer on a ride-on mower, and another trailing not far behind. Two more men emerge into the backyard, this time with leaf blowers going at full blast. “Shit, he didn’t tell me his landscapers were coming today”

That’s it, the hunt is over. There’s no way anything is coming near you now. So, you slowly start to clean up your stuff, pretty frustrated, peeking up occasionally just in case. Just as you’re about to tie on your bow hoist, you give it one more look. And good thing you did. Two doe walking along, as if those landscapers aren’t even there, about 70 yards away from you, coming head on just as you’d anticipated. You contemplate to yourself if you’ll take the shot when they get close, or if you’ll wait it out and see if that buck comes along. Before you can even make a decision, you see a big body trailing the doe with an impressive rack. This has to be the one your buddy told you about. A big 10-pointer with some impressive brow-tines and a big thick neck. He seems a bit more hesitant of the noise, but not enough to keep him away. As the doe walk by at 30 yards, he isn’t far behind. He’s following them for sure, and will be perfectly broadside in a few steps. You get an opportunity to draw back and the deer stops for a perfect layup shot as you let the arrow fly. Money shot.

The deer takes off running, and you’re praying for it to fall as it’s heading right towards the sound of the mower. But it doesn’t, and you lose sight of it as it heads into the front yard. Your heart is still racing after taking the shot, but the thought of a deer running by these landscapers and unsuspecting neighbors, with blood pouring out of its sides, throws a blanket of anxiety over the adrenaline rush. Fortunately, most of your stuff is already packed, so you finish up and climb down from the tree. A bloody arrow lay not far from the point of impact that shows a good red blood. It was a clean shot and he shouldn’t have gone far. 

You know he ran into the front yard and the blood trail confirms that, so you track it a bit more. As you turn the corner of the house to the front yard, you notice a group of guys standing around in the driveway. Knowing what is probably going on, but hoping it’s just a lunch break for the landscapers, you approach them to see what’s going on. Sure enough, they’re standing over a beautiful 10-pointer lying in a pool of its own blood right in the middle of the driveway. As you announce yourself, all six men turn around and stare at the guy standing in full camouflage holding a bow with a look of confusion. After a few failed attempts at trying to explain what had just happened, you realize there is a bit of a language barrier and give up. Trying to figure out the best next step, you signal for them to step back from it as you take a look at the big body and beautiful rack. 

As you grab the antlers, you are happy about the harvest, but the emotion is overthrown by even more anxiety, as neighbors walking by begin peeking over to see what everyone is looking at. All you want to do is clean up and get this thing out of there. “Oh shit,” you think to yourself, “how am i going to gut this thing?” Screw it. You’ll figure that out later. 

You put your gear down and start dragging the 200lb animal across the front lawn to your truck. Looking at the bed you begin to wonder how you’re going to get it in there quickly. As more neighbors start running by, some with dogs barking at the deer laying next to you, you decide to signal for help from one of the landscapers to lift the deer into your bed. He obliges without hesitation and a smile on his face. As you give him a head nod signaling your appreciation, he rattles off some spanish to his buddies and they all start laughing. You don’t care. You’re just happy you have a 10 point buck in your truck and you’re almost out of there.

The results were great, but the path was less than orthodox. But hey, you’ve got some venison for the freezer and a nice mount to hang on the wall. As you’re driving home you call your friend to tell him all about your experience, hoping you haven’t ruined any relationships with his neighbors, or landscapers. He laughs it off and is happy for you, requesting only a few pieces of meat. Before you the conversation ends, he asks for you to come back another day before the season is over. As you think back to how you felt from the moment you got into the tree to the time you got the deer in your truck, there’s only one response that comes into your head…



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