Ok this isn't some Halloween story or urban legend or anything. But it is real and I suspect everyone has "seen" it lurking near their hunting grounds. No need to arm yourself with a weapon for this monster, but it does have the potential to rob you of the fun and enjoyment of the hunt itself. It can kill the spirit of the hunt, but never fear......you are in no bodily danger! Read on and I think you will understand the riddle.
I have been on leases in the past where the members acted like archenemies competing for the biggest buck. Sure we all want the same thing, a big buck and a great story to go along with it, but not at the expense of someone else. I am sure you have heard the horror stories of leases or hunting neighbors that were completely at odds with each other. Perhaps there are tales of stand sabotage where someone has hung a bar of Irish Spring from your stand or thrown a gut pile next to your shooting house. Sound familiar? As far as I am concerned that pretty much ruins the whole sense of what hunting is about for me. Sure I am in it for the harvest of an animal, but I enjoy the fellowship of other hunters as well. The stories, the advice, tips and pointers and yes even the tall tales are an important part of hunting for me too. If I ask you whether you saw anything, I want to know because I am interested, not because I want to hijack your stand site. It is hard to have fun when you ask the other members what they saw and they all say "nothing" for fear they will give away some secret and you will get the buck and not them. The jealousy factor is overwhelming sometimes and that tends to spoil the whole spirit of the hunt. I truly enjoy hearing my friends relive the tales of bucks taken and I share the sorrow in their stories of the one that got away. I am pumped when my friends tell me they saw a big buck or they got a nice deer; I don't feel the ugly green monster of jealousy. On a day when I have been skunked it is good to hear encouraging words from a fellow hunter that ...yes there are indeed still deer in the woods.
Hunting cooperatively is rewarding. Our hunting property is completely surrounded by another farmer's land and we share information freely. If we see a buck crossing the fence-line or the road into their field I share that info with him, and am glad to do so. If he gets that buck and I don't that is ok. I am glad for him when he makes a kill, especially if it is a good buck, because that means those same genetics are wandering my property. We help each other with scouting, putting in plots, patrolling the perimeter against trespassers, putting up stands etc. He has been hunting the area for years and I listen when he offers advice. When it comes close to the rut we tell each other if we see bucks chasing does or if we have seen lots of scrapes or bucks sparring. We also have permission to track wounded deer into his property and vice versa. We have a system of communication set up so we don't ruin a hunt for someone by walking near a stand site being actively hunted. It is also fun to have somebody to show your harvest to. We look forward to hearing a shot across the property and I keep my fingers crossed that they have made a good shot. And later if their pick-up pulls up in the drive I hurry out to check out the buck in the back and listen intently while they describe the day's events. If they are successful, so am I. I hunt only 80 acres so I can't manage the herd alone. His deer are mine and vice versa. We both plant plots and put out minerals in the spring to keep OUR deer healthy and strong. Our objectives are the same, healthy, plentiful and balanced deer population and a good harvest.
It is important for us to cooperate in all aspects of hunting and we will all benefit. You can never have too much information when it comes to hunting the elusive and crafty whitetail. Any edge you get may mean the difference between hunting success and going home empty handed. So try to be a cooperative hunter. If the green eyed monster rears its ugly head take aim and shoot.