January Anterless Deer Season

Understandably, New Year’s day traditions for most folks revolve around watching college football games, but for me New Year’s day is an opportunity to hit the woods to fill left over deer tags with the start of the antlerless deer season.  Personally, I’d rather be parked in a deer stand watching the programming that Mother Nature has to offer instead of camped in front of the TV.  After all, that’s what DVR is for, right?  So early before dawn, I met up with Steve for another deer hunt to see if we could tag a couple of does with his long range gun again.  We set up once more in his two person blind and started glassing as soon as it got light.  Although the weather conditions suggested we should see some deer moving, it just didn’t happen today.  Our one and only opportunity came late in the morning when a group of three does wandered out to the beans for a quick bite.  I insisted that Steve take the first shot this time.  I ranged the deer at 430 yards and Steve dialed in the scope.  True to his deadly fashion, he once again made a great shot and dropped the doe dead in her tracks.

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Since we didn’t want to disturb the area, and we knew right where she lay we decided to sit tight, wait for another opportunity and then go collect the deer (along with another hopefully) later.   Shortly after lunch I looked out towards where she lay and had to do a double take – a huge mature bald eagle had settled down on top of the doe and was having the feast of his life.  The eagle stuck around feeding for over two hours.

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I’ve seen plenty of deer picked clean by coyotes when not recovered right away and left overnight, but I have never had to deal with eagles before!  He ate about half of one of the hind quarters.  Still plenty of meat left for us though, and I guess it’s worth sharing a bit of meat with our national symbol for such a rare sighting of the majestic bald eagle.  I wish I had some pictures of the eagle to share, but at 400+ yards my camera wasn’t up for the task.

~ Eric

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