Back in the Day Deer Hunting

Smoke Armstrong

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The year was 1975 when I started hunting whitetail deer in Pennsylvania. A lot of time has passed since then, if I only new then what I know now. My first hunting apparel consisted of a red snowmobile suite, a plastic fluorescent orange vest “It was the noisiest piece of clothing I’ve ever worn”, and an orange knit stocking cap made by one of my friend's grandmother with our camp's name stitched in the front “FUBAR”. I think it took me until I turned 16 to figure out what “FUBAR” stood for.

Next were the rubber boots with 1/2'’ felt liners. They must have weighed 5 pounds a piece. By the end of the hunt they weighed at least 10 pounds a piece. Then I had my trusty old 30-30 Savage with open sites that my father got me as part of a trade in at the car dealership he worked at. I was in heaven at the age of 12. I remember trouncing up the side of the mountain “soaked with sweat” in the dark to my stand sitting with my father and his scent free Winstons. Well I called it my stand.

Back in those days most people hunted whitetail deer from the ground in an old blow down or up against a tree. I hunted for two years without bagging a deer. Back then you were only allowed 1 deer and there was a lottery to receive a doe dag, which I could never put in for based on my fathers disbelief in doe hunting. When I turned 15 things started to change with my luck hunting whitetail deer. I still hadn't bagged a buck but my father's stance on doe hunting had changed, so I entered in the annual doe tag lottery and drew a license. I was pumped based on my odds of bagging a deer had just increased enormously.

My hunting gear evolved as well. I was now wearing a full suite of Woolrich which was passed down from my grandfather. Never forget how heavy that suite was when I got caught in the rain. I graduated to wearing a pair of leather Wolverine boots with empty plastic bread bags to keep my feet dry. That didn't work it just made my feet sweat even more. I now had a 4 power weaver scope added to my ensemble. Oh yeah I still was wearing my orange FUBAR camp knit hat.

I headed out on soon what would be the most memorable hunting day of my life. My father allowed me to leave the camp alone to hunt that afternoon. I walked about ¾ of a mile from camp to a clear cut that was covered with snow. I set up in a blow down facing a well used trail. I was probably hunting about 2 hours when I spotted a huge doe making its way towards me down this trail. My heart started pumping harder and harder. I was trying to figure out how and when I needed to take the shot. She kept getting closer and closer. I raised my trusty 30-30 when she was about 40 yards away and looked through my scope, all I cold see was a silhouette. I was breathing on my scope inadvertently and it was completely fogged up.

She kept coming towards me. My scope finally cleared when she was about 10 yards away. I made the shot and she went flying by me what seemed to be 100 mph. I heard a large crash. She was piled up about 30 yards away. I start shaking with excitement. Now what do I do. She's too big for me to drag her back to camp, I didn't know how to field dress her, I was by myself, and there weren't cell phones back then. Since there was plenty of daylight left I started to drag her to the old logging road I walked in on. When I got there I saw a fresh set of footprints leading up the mountain. I decided to wait for the hunter to come back down and asked him to stop by Camp FUBAR and let them know where I was. I wasn't leaving the side of this deer for anything. A bunch of guys from the camp including my father came to pick me up and give me my first lesson in field dressing a deer and to celebrate the occasion. Thirty One years have passed since that day, thousands of experiences and memories have come my way but none any better than those from “Back in the Day”.

Posted by Smoke Armstrong under Deer Hunting on August 27, 09 09:32 AM | Permalink

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