Posted on October 13 2023
Drove down to the Lordville Estate today primarily to mow the grass. I've only been away five days but, even with the sun shining and the temp in the high 60's the camp felt cold and empty. A squirrel had smelled the apples on the back porch and had ripped a hole in the screen door (didn't get in) and the skunks had torn up the back yard feasting on grubs. I had put milky spore on the lawn for two years and thought the grub problem was solved.
On the way down I got to thinking about whether bigger is better. Getting ahead of the Joneses seems to be a deeply ingrained promotional idea (think cars and homes) but I was applying it to deer hunting.
The DEC has required three points on a side to shoot a buck in several areas (including the Delaware region) and has promoted the idea of letting the 18 month old bucks go so that there are more "trophy bucks" in the woods. I've gone along with the idea and for the last eight or ten years my deer have been a bit chewy, but at least two and a half years old. Until last year. With two days left in the archery season I hadn't seen a buck. When an 18 month old six point walked out in front of me I turned him into venison. At 80 I can't even move a three year old buck let alone get him back to the house. My sons are old before their time. They've had more operations on their legs than most geriatrics. One may have purposely broken bones in his foot just to avoid having to help drag out a deer. At any rate, last year's venison was delicious, by far the most tender I've had in say, eight or ten years. So, this year I told Jean "At my age, any deer is a trophy and I'm going to (try) to kill the first buck that I get a good shot at". Jean, not wanting to prolong the conversation about Bambi, said "I think you should".
Let me say this, last year there were two big bucks (a 10 and a 9) that weren't a bit camera shy before the season. Never saw either one after Sept.19th. This year there was a cue lining up to be photographed. A 10, a 9, four 8s, and a Batchelor group of at least four 18 month old bucks. (At this point Mrs. Haskins is tearing her hair out over my indiscriminate switching from writing out numbers to just typing in the numerals, and the level of my PM is far enough down in the brandy snifter that I just don't care.) (Which is undoubtably a run on sentence, sorry Mrs. H. wherever you may be.)
So, two days ago a five point 1.500 year old buck (missing just one brow tine from being just as worthy as last year's six pointer of being converted into tender, delicious venison, walked around in front of me for a good ten minutes, and I passed. Why? Because no matter what your wife may tell you, bigger is better! A