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All But Over

Posted on 25 January 2016

With each snow flake that tumbles whimsically to the ground, the likelihood that my 2015 deer season has ended is all but certain. Tomorrow, January 23, signifies the official last day of deer season here in South Eastern Pennsylvania. Unfortunately a massive winter storm is set to dump up to two feet of snow overnight and all day Saturday. You combine that with constant sustained winds over 35 mph, and deer movement should be nonexistent. That being said, our local meteorologists have been wrong once or twice, so I may still have one last hunt in me. So as I watched the sunset from my stand this evening, I began to reflect on the season that was.

This is what 4 degrees
looks like
This was a long season. As of this moment I can say I have been chasing whitetails for 8 months straight. From the first week of June setting up the first trail camera till this last week of January it has been a non stop adventure / obsession. I have ran the gamut of emotions, expectations, and weather extremes. For example, the stand I hunted on Monday I hung in August. The humidity was so oppressive that day it was hard to breath. The temperature with the heat index was 105 degrees F. On Monday, with the wind chill factored in it was a balmy 4 degrees F. That's over 100 degrees difference in the same tree, same season.

I feel like I fell short of my preseason goals, but I am proud of how I persevered in the face of adversity. If somebody would have told me in September that I would still be holding my buck tags for two states at season's end, and still be proud of my season, I would have told them they lost their
mind. It just shows how much I have progressed mentally in my fifth year as a hunter. Successful hunts have little to do with harvesting trophy animals, but everything to do with harvesting lasting memories. I spent more time in the woods this year than any other time in my life. I learned so many lessons from nature by just being in nature, that I can not help but be a better hunter for it. I worked on my calling and rattling, when to call, and how to execute a successful rattling sequence. I paid very close attention to the wind and the importance of wind direction. I feel like I read deer sign such as scrapes and rubs, to put me in better positions to harvest animals.

The 9 checking out a doe in mid December

The low point of the season was making a non fatal shot on The 9. It's amazing how many times I encountered him this season and he only presented one shot opportunity. I still replay that shot over in my mind and still can not believe I did not connect. When The 9 reappeared I was relived that he survived the shot and looked well. I saw him briefly last week and he looked very healthy. I am looking forward to searching for his shed antlers in a couple weeks, and than watching him grow a velvet wrapped rack this summer.

That is why there is much more to the hunt than the harvest. If I let the 20 second encounter with The 9, in which I failed to harvest my trophy, define the last 8 months of my life, I would be cheating myself. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have gotten my hands on a mature whitetail's rack, but it was not in the cards. I did harvested a hand full of does, enough to fully stock my freezer. I also learned valuable information to aid my pursuit of whitetails for years to come. Lastly, I made memories, that should last a lifetime.

This article was written by Bill DeGideo of B Team Outdoors and was originally posted on the B Team Blog

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