afternoon, archery season, atlatl, bachelor groups, beaver, bow and arrows, breaking twig, brush, bucks, call, chronic wasting disease, combat disease, coyote, creek bank, CWD, dart, deer, does, dry creek bed, fall, fawns, free testing, Kosh Trading Post, Koshkonong MO, MDC, Missouri, Missouri Department of Conservation, morning, pool of water, riffles, scouting, spring pond, stalk, testing locations, throw, trail, trail camera
Taxidermist for Kosh Trading Post
Fall is only officially a few days old and it has already started as a beautiful fall. As of the time that I am writing this (Oct. 1), we are expecting the mornings over the next few days to start in the low 40s and cool days.
Archery season has begun here in the Ozark Mountains, and for the hunters life is anew. I normally don’t begin archery hunting in earnest until up around mid-October, but will do a little scouting early. I normally take my atlatl with me when I go. This year I decided to use some modern tech and include a trail camera for only the second time ever. So on the third day of the Missouri season I took to the woods to a location that I had never been to before. So, while scouting I noticed a dry creek bed and a trail entering it from a field and decided to check it out.
As I was walking up to it I noticed a small deer sneaking away through the weeds and decided to put on a stalk. As I entered the brush of the dry creek bed I noticed that at some time there had been beaver there (which looked odd as I was several miles from a creek of any size), and as I took another step I could start to see over the bank and I could see water from a spring pond. The brush was very thick, and I had to lower my atlatl to get through the brush. I still had a dart on the atlatl as I was still hoping to sneak up on the small deer that I had seen a few minutes earlier.
All of a sudden I noticed large riffles in the water, and the first thought on my mind was that the beaver was still in this spring pond even though where he had been chewing didn’t look that fresh. I wanted to see him, so I slipped up as quiet as I could. The riffles stop just before I could get a good look in this pool of water. When I stepped all the way up and look down the bank I saw a large doe deer standing on the bank between me and the pond look across the pond (away from me) less than 10 feet from me. My right hand with atlatl and dart ready to throw was down by my side with no chance to prepare for the throw for the brush. I decided since she hadn’t spotted me, a couple easy steps to my left would allow me to throw.
As soon as I took the first step and began to put weight on by left foot I heard a twig break. In the silence it sounded like thunder to me, and I can only imagine what it sounded like to her. The doe bounded across the pond, and when she did I finished my side steps and started to position for a throw if and when she stopped and turned. Before I could get fully into position she stopped less than 15 yards away and turned broad side and started looking for the noise with me not quite positioned to throw. I stood as still as I could half through my step with almost all my weight on my left foot and only balancing with my right for what seemed like hours (in reality 2 or 3 minutes at most) while this deer tried to figure out what I was; then she just slowly walked in to the brush.
I went back and picked up my camera Sept. 30 and I went out at daylight. On my way to retrieve my camera (this time I took my bow and river cane arrows) I saw what I thought to be a small deer in the field just before I reached the pond. I came to full draw and decided it must be just a clump of grass. I lowered my bow and took another couple steps, and that clump of grass waved the white flag goodbye. I guess I should have waited for a little more light. I had 250 pictures. What I have learned is the bucks are still in the bachelor groups (saw as many as 4 at a time), and there seems to be a lot of deer this year. I could identify 6 different does and fawns and 4 different bucks (app. 60% to 40% ratio). The does and fawns were working the water more of night and morning and the bucks more in later afternoon. Morning was around 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. and the bucks 3:30 p.m. until about half hour after sunset. They were going to the pond more of a day than night. One coyote came through about 1:30 one afternoon.
In my last article I wrote about the dangers of starvation and disease in our wildlife, and in particular in our deer herd here in Missouri. The biggest threat to our deer is a disease called chronic wasting disease or CWD. It was discovered in North Missouri a few years ago and this past year for the first time south of the Missouri river in Cole County. This year the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is setting up locations where you can take your harvested deer and have samples taken for free; the samples will be tested, and if they turn up positive the MDC will contact the hunter to let them know and to get more information as to exactly where the animal was harvested, etc. so that they can combat this terrible disease.
As hunters we need to help in this as much as we can for the sake and respect for the wildlife we hunt as well as for the future of the hunting tradition as a whole. We at Kosh Trading Post are now taking those samples for the MDC and will be turning them in at the end of deer season for testing. So for you Missouri deer hunters, if you will bring your deer by it only takes a few minutes and it costs you nothing.
If we happen to not be at the shop, call (417-280-6304) as I may be only minutes away and we can take the samples in only minutes.