After Steve Bowman’s column, Out From Behind the Glass, in which he wrote about experiencing the deer woods from a stand, we did a little impromptu poll among our Outdoor Channel Facebook friends:
What's the craziest thing you've seen from a deer stand?
Most of the comments included unusual animal sightings for a particular area, like elk, bobcats, mountain lions, bears, wolves and an emu. An emu? Is there a daily bag limit on emu?
Blake Welch weighed in with his odd deer stand experience – an alligator walking across his plot in southern Georgia. That’s kinda crazy.
Here’s several for the birds: James Tashik watched an owl swoop down and snatch a water moccasin, while John Goodhew had a much closer owl encounter. Wearing a leafy outfit in his stand one morning, “a screech owl crashed into me trying to grab one of the leaves on my head.”
I’d screech if that happened. And for the next, I’d wonder if I was going crazy …
Scott Gibson kept hearing jingles for two hours, remaining totally clueless (and most likely freaked out a bit) as the noise moved around him. Finally a small hawk landed on a branch in front of him. Mystery solved -- the bird had a bell around its neck.
This isn’t so crazy for beaver country, one of the buck-toothers gnawing down a tree, but it certainly must have been interesting to see live, like Ron Salois did.
There were comments from folks who saw some special specie-on-specie encounters, like Justin Crosswell watching two squirrels gang up on another tree rat, then just calmly strolling away after the attack.
Must have been a serious nut infraction.
Brandon Werner saw turkeys chase a coyote pup. In north Mississippi, Scott Ashe had a fox and bobcat fighting under his stand. (I have personally seen an owl and a hawk duke it out on the ground. That was nuts.)
Here’s something you don’t see every day, but Milwaukee’s George Dixon got to see it once: From a branch over a river, a fisher (a northerner from the weasel family, who, interestingly, isn’t big on fish) jumped to earn a mallard meal. That’s pretty cuckoo.
While opossums aren’t rare, seeing them hook up isn’t a common occurrence, Joey Lacheny reports with an LOL …
Speaking of mating rituals, Mike McLaughlin’s western Massachusetts hunt was sidetracked a pair of motorcyclists who obviously needed a back seat. As he was hoping for whitetails in rut, that must have ground his gears.
As for the rut - and disasters - here’s a couple tales that show how typically graceful deer can have outtake-worthy moments. Dylan Morris witnessed a buck’s pursuit of a doe thwarted by a tree branch that clothes-lined him. He must not have heard her tell him to duck.
And Jon Peters reports a deer running to jump a fence, then eating it instead.
Scott Sprague of Texas had two crazy encounters to share. He once turned to see two wolves crossing a field, one carrying a hind quarter of an 800-pound steer that was later found dead.
“I was so mesmerized I did not even think to shoot. I’ve regretted it ever since,” he wrote.
His second story was equally mesmerizing -- a 10-point albino buck passed within 10 yards. “I didn’t have the heart to shoot him because they are so rare … I had the privilege to just get to see something that probably 99-plus percent of all hunters never see. It was an awesome day.”
Jay Stuhldreher of Ohio reported seeing one of the white ghosts, a deer “that had me shakin’ so bad that I missed three times at 10 yards. The gods were with him.”
Finally, Thomas Phipps left this remarkable survival story of a button buck. He was in a stand in central Virginia when a hunting club on adjacent property turned their dogs lose and he heard them heading his way. The deer popped out of a holly thicket and went to the creek running near his stand.
“When the dog came out of the thicket where the button buck was, the buck looked back … In the bend of the creek where the water was deep, (the deer) sank under water until only his nose was sticking up above the water. The dog passed him. He waited for about 2 minutes, got out of the water, sat down under my stand and licked himself dry. (The deer) took a nap until I woke him up getting down out of my stand.”
That’s just certifiable. Can you top that? Give it a shot in the comment section below.