The archery deer season has reached its end for me in my last season in paradise. While I did not harvest a deer this year, I harvested many lasting memories.
Tree stand hunting is my preferred approach to pursuing the white-tailed deer. A good number of my friends spot and stalk deer from the ground, but I never considered myself to be much of a ground-level hunter.
I am a big guy, and trying to slither along at ground level just doesn't work for me. I often recall the Chris Farley song, "Fat Guy in a Little Coat." That phrase rolls through my head often when I am in the woods. It really puts things into perspective. I have to laugh at myself as I try to be a serious deer hunter. It just seems so humorous to me. I try to picture what the deer might think if they ever picked me out trying to sneak up on them. Like many of my attempts trying to hunt from the ground, deer just seem to run for the hills, laughing.
It is just not for me.
I often wonder if I might have better success hunting from "A Van Down By the River."
Thank goodness for Kansas' big ole cottonwood trees -- oddly enough, these towering giants help mask my girth above ground level a little bit better.
Of course, I find myself humming my own version of the tune from Farley's "Tommy Boy," "Fat Guy in a Big Ole Tree."
Most of my hunting experiences for the elusive deer have been from tree stands. The elevation advantage is really a better approach, and you can see so much more.
I guess my preference stems from my background in photography -- I like seeing what is going on around me.
One of my final hunts in a tree stand really was the highlight of my last season in paradise and it had nothing to do with deer at all.
I was able to witness another predator on the prowl. On this perfect evening, three young bobcats made their way along a trail that went right underneath my tree stand. I watched their movements for nearly 10 minutes as I remained undetected by one of Kansas' top predators.
These three young cats never knew that a Chris Farley look-alike was wedged in a tree right above them.
It was awesome!
Over the last several years, I have had the honor to witness a number of bobcats from my tree stands. For me, the opportunity to see a bobcat in the wild even trumps seeing a big old buck walk into range.
In my mind, it is the ultimate experience in the Kansas woods.
That night as I stripped out of my hunting clothes to get back into my truck, I really should have danced with joy, like Farley did in that Chippendale skit years ago on SNL. But I am much too modest for that, even with nobody around -- paradise has eyes. God gave me these special gifts for my last season, so it probably would have been inappropriate for me to dance.
Look for the next installment of "My last season in paradise" coming soon.