A bunch of guys and I were talking over some coffee the other morning, and the subject of deer hunting came up. The more we talked, the more we delved into the past and how things have changed over the years.
Do you remember “in the old days,” when you finally got your deer dragged down to your vehicle, it would be somehow lashed across the hood of the car so that everybody would be able to see it when you drove home. It was a common sight to see dozens of deer on car hoods in those days, and they always made it a point to drive through town on the way home.
Do you remember in those “old days,” fairly large groups of hunters would organize “drives” where a number of hunters would spread out and yell periodically as they attempted to push deer into other hunters who were posted and watching? Sure, there are still a limited number of hunters who utilize the drive and post, but it’s mostly limited to camps where sufficient land is available for that kind of hunting. Today, many of the farms where drives took place have been passed on to a younger generation, and much of the ground is now posted.
In the “old days,” if you weren’t part of a drive on the neighbor’s farm, you would simply head out and sit on a log or lean against a tree in a spot where you saw some deer the year before. After all, we didn’t have trail cameras back then, so the only way to know where you might find deer was to set foot into the woods and scout before the season opened.
Oh yeah, we didn’t have all those “treestands” back then, either. If you wanted to hunt from a treestand, you made a ladder from 2x4s and set it up against a suitable tree where you could lay some scrap wood across some branches and stand on it.
Today, we have so-called treestands that have stairs going up into a closed-in, roofed mini-cabin. These stands have windows on all sides and comfortable chairs; some even have heaters. At the very least, there are stands that can easily be backpacked and can be used to actually climb the tree, and they have a built-in seat. No wonder hardly anybody moves much during deer season anymore.
Speaking of comfortable treestands; how about today’s hunting clothing? Do you remember in the “old days” those red and black squares typical of the Woolrich coats and pants? Today’s hunting apparel is much lighter but much warmer than in years past, and the same goes for today’s footwear-lighter and warmer. The warmer, more comfortable clothing means we can sit on a stand much longer without moving and still be comfortable.
Remember in the “old days” when you got a deer, you couldn’t take photos of it because you didn’t have cell phones with built-in cameras-cameras that are capable of some outstanding photography.
Oh yeah, if you were by yourself when you shot your deer, you may well have a long and difficult drag back to your vehicle because you didn’t have a cell phone, so you couldn’t call for help.
Sure, many hunters still have to drag a deer the hard way, but nowadays, we often have access to a four-wheeler that makes getting a deer out of the woods much less work.
Yes, things have certainly changed, but I find myself being a very willing participant, and that includes replacing my single barrel, H&R 16-gauge shotgun, and slugs with a lever action .308 and a high-powered scope.