My daughter and her husband let me put them in tree stands for the last weekend before Black Hills Rifle Season Opens. I told her that that particular stand had low visibility, but great shooting lanes.
She’s back on the ranch where she shot her first deer. Her bow stand is within a rifle’s shot of that valley.
“You won’t see as many deer, but when they come through you have your first shot at 14 yards. If they pass through that one too quickly, there’s another lane at 18. If they gallop through the first two windows, stop them with a call and you have one last, thirty-yard opportunity.”
I gave son-in-law Nate the same rundown for his stand, but with a few additional variables.
“Trails in front and behind you. Very few shots under thirty yards unless you take a very steep, downhill angle. It’s risky, but I’ve had several deer taken from here that way. Keep your eye out for lions. I had a hunter lose a deer here to a cat after he first shot it. It ate one quarter and buried the rest within the half hour we gave it to lay down. “
I ensured that they were both safely strapped into their safety harnesses, wished them good luck, and headed off for church. I fully expected that there would be at least one buck taken by them before they climbed down.
By the time this goes to print, the Hills rifle deer season will have opened. Archery remains open for hunters willing to wear orange while on stand, but the two shall not hunt together.
A husband can’t climb into a stand with his wife, while one packs a rifle and the other a bow. An archery hunter with a concealed carry permit may carry a pistol in the field while bow hunting, but those without the permit may not.
The rule is designed to help hunters avoid the temptation of a hunter using a more advanced weapon to fill a primitive weapons tag. Conversely, a rifle hunter can take their animal with any other legal weapon of lesser capability: muzzle loader, crossbow, or recurve.
An archery buck tag is available to all without a quota but a few “archery deer” have been brought into the butcher dropping bullets to the floor when processed.
A good regulation helps honest hunters stay that way.
Maggie has never filled an archery tag. It is a failing on my part for never putting her first in my hunting camp. She has never complained about taking the last stand after previous hunters have burned all the better ones with their scent.
She has passed on younger bucks and does that she could have easily taken for the meat, but she has had a freezer full of elk for the last few years and never was tempted. I and her husband would much rather see her take the biggest buck of the season, but she carries much less weight and suffers more in the elements. A short hunt from a warm blind without success is now preferable to suffering in the snowy blasts trying to get a trophy.
Coffee with mom back at the house carries just as much allure as another set of antlers for her home. But she would really like that first archery deer.
Maggie is one of the fortunate hunters who also drew a Hill’s rifle tag so I’m sure that she and Nate will find a buck to her liking. The evening hunt came up empty. Not s single deer filed under her stand. According to here she never even saw a squirrel.
But Nate saw a great buck much larger than any of its peers so they both have deer and hunting to dream about.
As of Wednesday morning, the archers will take a back seat. The Black Hills rifle deer season has returned.