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A day of does, fox and lousy snacks

Note to self — Do not start the Keto diet plan just before Thanksgiving and the opening of the firearm season on deer. Thanksgiving without candied sweet potatoes would not be the same, and the snack options for deer season would be radically different.

I showed up for Thanksgiving dinner (at the home of friends who are also doing Keto) bearing my traditional pie plate, only this time it did not contain key lime pie. Instead, I had made sliced cucumber sandwiches, filled with crème cheese. If this sounds bland and distasteful to you, it is because it is. However, it is a suggested snack on the Keto plan, right up there with hard-boiled eggs and thing like salmon salad celery boats.

And yet, meat is a mainstay of Keto and I was determined to obtain meat in its purest form, on the hoof. Bolstered by new-to-me boots, guaranteed to keep my feet warm (thank you Dave at Andrews Archery), I tip-toed to a spot that I thought deer would use as a travel route. As I waited for the legal shooting time, I thought about how I would miss last year’s snacks, which included vanilla wafers and Cheese-Itz.

It wasn’t long before the morning became a lot of fun. A button buck strolled up to me at about five yards, with a short lunge I could tweaked his tail. I was seated against a large tree, and he was on the other side of it, standing, in his young buck brain thinking something like this, “I want to fill my belly with acorns before bed but something doesn’t seem right here.” I cracked and laughed, and he hopped away.

Next, I heard soft steps and saw a large fox carrying a dead gray tabby cat, trotting on an angle down the ridge. The fox was quite large, but definitely a fox and not a coyote. The instant it got downwind from me it slammed on the brakes and our eyes met for a nanosecond before its gait changed to turbocharged.

I love encounters like that. But you know what I like more than that? Having big bucks in shooting range. I could hear shots from various locations around me, but nothing more than a typical opening day.

Next to enter, from stage right, were a large doe and her yearling. They too were ambling along and would have presented an easy shot with bow and arrow at about 10 yards. I was thinking that maybe I should try this sit on the ground stuff more often. Not long behind them were a party of three, again all smooth heads, hurrying but well in front of a deer drive. Many minutes later I could hear the coonhound-like shouts of the deer drivers.

Around midday I slipped back to the house to refuel the woodstove and let out the dogs. Soon, I was back to the same spot. During the afternoon hours I saw a group of four does, running, and a different group of four does, walking along feeding, with a small buck hanging with them.

My heart jumped at first when I spotted the buck rack, but I soon saw it was a four-pointer with a big body that I’d seen often during archery season. I hope that when he grows up, he does the same thing he did Saturday, which was present an easy, wide-open shot opportunity at about 50 yards.

The day came to an end early, with not-able-to-see-through-scope occurring before legal shooting hours ended. I had enjoyed every minute but was still hoping for some very special seconds to occur.

Darn it, little four-pointer buddy, where’s your daddy?

What I see in my dreams, versus what I actually saw Saturday — a squirrel, many does and one small buck. The buck’s image was captured on a trail cam in Ohio.
What I see in my dreams, versus what I actually saw Saturday - a squirrel, many does and one small buck. The buck's image was captured on a trail cam in Ohio.