Cold weather is upon us! It was freezing in the mountain today! It stayed at zero most of the day but the storm clouds whipped by overhead and the wind had everyone feeling quite cold!
I made a late start but still made it in time for the day's first makigari (group hunt). We had 9 members of the 52 club today, not a bad turnout. We did a drive for shika and only flushed two, both bucks. Takenobu missed 2 shots.
We had the first mountain lunch with a huge camp fire, that helped warm us from the cold, and brought back lost of great memories of hunting in the mountain!
We had a long afternoon hunt to no avail and broke company at 3 pm. I headed straight to the river to my second ground blind.
I sat down about 3:25, after rushing to my spot. I finally settled in and slowed down just in time for the wind to stop and the sun to come out! I was checking my watch, counting down the minutes to last legal shooting time and about 15 minutes before sunset, I heard the familiar sounds of a deer casually making it's way down the creek bed. Since the wind had stopped there was just a slight downward breeze so the wind was in my favor. As the deer approached I was a bit confused: He had the dark brown and black markings of a mature buck but he had only ipon-zuno (spikes). I studied him and realized he is probably a 3 year spike, which should probably be taken as a management deer. He had no idea I was watching him and he mulled about for about 7 or 8 minutes, working his way downstream. I Had a dozen opportunities to take this deer but I enjoyed watching him too much. I was worn out from yesterday's deer, hauling it out of the woods and butchering it. The spike started to smell something that concerned him and raised his nose several times sniffing deeply. Suddenly he froze and looked up river. I thought (hoped) that is was another deer coming to join him. It turned out that he had caught my scent (or the campfire I stood next to at lunch). He thought about it and sniffed a few times then bolted up the opposite bank to the pine forest above. Maybe he will grow out of those spikes in a few years and we will meet again...