Sports > Schools
Rained out: Weather throws wrench in opening-day plans
BY Luke Clayton, Special to Star Local News
I'd been worrying about the weather reports for several days.
Saturday, the opener of archery season across much of Texas, was predicted to coincide with widespread rain across the state.
I've got a little spot near my home where red oaks have been dropping acorns for the past 10 days and every deer in the area it seemed was in that little grove of oaks at daylight. My trail camera attested to the fact.
My little patch of woods has become a smorgasbord for deer and hogs, and my plan for opening day was etched in stone.
I calculated my route to the stand so as to leave as little scent as possible. I'd even been adding a little candy for the critters by baiting a trail near my bow stand with a natural attractant that is brand new on the market called Buck Natural. The deer and hogs are walking through acorns to get to it. It's a natural blend of grains including a strain of corn that was produced for educational use by Carolina Biological Supply Company.
Remember those specimens you preformed surgery on in biology class?
Well, this is the company that furnishes the frogs, crayfish, study aids, etc. for schools across the country. While there are many so-called attractants on the market, I know of no others that are formulated by a company with such a strong scientific background. This corn was developed by hand pollinating strains of corn for more than 60 years. The natural sugar content is much higher than feed corn and wildlife love it. I've heard the principals of the company have been using their special blend for years and decided this year to make it available to the public. Until it hits the retail stores, it has to be ordered directly from the company (bucknaturalfood.com).
My friend Larry Weishuhn, who co-hosts a couple of the radio shows that I do, first introduced me to this product and through the years I've learned to listen when Weishuhn gives information of any sort about white tailed deer.
The stage was set for a big opening morning.
I'd sneaked into the hunting area the day before and baited the trail near my stand, right in front of the trail camera with another bag of Buck Natural. I'd parked my Intimidator electric ATV in the garage and clamped my bow on the rack the evening before the opener. My pack contained a heavy plastic bag in case I decided to quarter that buck, doe or hog in the woods and pack out the meat.
I was ready!
Then I went online and did a last minute check of the weather. Rain, rain and more rain.
It was scheduled to begin in the pre-dawn hours and rain all the opening day. With conditions as dry as they have been, it's hard to complain about a long, slow rain, but does it have to come on the opener of archery deer season?
As always on the evening before the opener of just about any season, I slept little.
My alarm was set for 5 a.m., but I was wide awake a full hour before. I looked outside at a wet sidewalk under the security light. This wasn't good. Yes, the concrete was wet, but I couldn't tell if the rain was still coming down. Maybe it wasn't. I had to get dressed and go outside and see for myself.
As I opened the back door and stepped into the darkness, I felt a light drizzle on my face.
I've hunted in drizzle before and found that game actually seems to enjoy moving in a very light precipitation, especially after extended periods of above normal temperatures and dry conditions. I laced my boots, pulled on a light waterproof jacket, walked to the garage, jumped aboard my ATV and backed out. As I rounded the bend in our gravel driveway, a stiff north breeze hit me in the face and raindrops began to pelt me in the face. I kept driving, hoping against hope that the weatherman was wrong.
My pants were soaked through and through by the time I made it to the turn off to the lane that leads into my hunting area.
This was enough for me.
Wildlife has better sense than to get out in a deluge like this and look for acorns. That big buck I was hoping to see had by now bedded up at the base of a thickly branched cedar somewhere back in a thicket, there to remain until the rain stopped.
As I pulled my electric buggy back into the garage admitting defeat, I took comfort in knowing there was one last package of deer sausage defrosting in the ice box out in my little building that I use for cooking. There was also a package of flour tortillas, some fresh brown hen eggs, a potato or two and some salsa. I also keep my big enamel coffee pot out there hanging on a nail and a can of Arbuckle on the shelf. A couple quick calls summoned a brace of hunting buddies that were in the same boat as I. Coffee and fresh breakfast tacos sounded pretty good to them and by the time they arrived at the little building I jokingly refer to as "The Feeder," I had tacos ready and the coffee was strong, black and hot.
Life was again good, even though we would have all rather been hunting.
On the bright side, by the time you are reading this, chances are pretty good that I'll have a deer, hog or both on the meat pole. The weather is clearing from the northwest.
Hmmmmm ... that bow and pack is still loaded on my Intimidator in the garage and there are still a couple hours of shooting light left ...
Listen to Outdoors with Luke Clayton at: catfishradio.com. Email Luke with hunting and fishing news from your area via the website.
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