OUTDOORS: Larry Six Pointer and the human being | Sports

This week, Times Outdoors columnist Chris Kenyon tells a true story from many years ago:

I take deer hunting seriously. Of course, I may not go to the woods wanting revenge, but during the bow season I manage about 15 times on my stand. My retired friends make fun of that number, but as I say, they are retired. The lucky stiffs have no obligations other than planning a haircut, deciding where to have breakfast before heading to the woods, and then heading home to plan the next tough day.

They call that resistance. I call it “easy street”.

Because I take the sport seriously, I do not curse the hunters, the deer or the whole routine. However, my time in the woods always leads to humor. Never with the behavior of the animal, only mine. We humans are certainly a comical bunch of earth dwellers. With that in mind, I think I should relax my expressions of a serious hunter. Take me for example.

My first day out, Larry Six Pointer quickly made his annual appearance. Wow, this is a very unusual occurrence. After all, I dragged my stand into the woods and then got the set ready for the season. I have a climbing bracket, which does not install silently. So after 10 minutes of prep time and then climbing to my ideal height, I never expected to see a deer that afternoon. This was just the time to “check things out”, make sure everything is safe for the next morning.

Do not misunderstand. I had my bow, camouflage, calls and everything else for a hunt, I just never expected anything.

Fifteen minutes after settling in and giving a few grunts, something caught my eye. Movement in the hemlocks; could it be, was it a deer? It was a dark and humid afternoon. Actually, it had just started to rain (not a big surprise for our region). A slight movement and I saw the horns… whiter than anything in the hemlocks.

A white spot confirmed my suspicions: Larry was back! The same six points, as last year.

I could say he came to the call of the growl, and that’s a definite possibility, but he probably came to see what all the noise in the woods, his woods, his turf, was about. He looked in my direction for what seemed like 15 minutes. Actually, it was probably five minutes. I was frozen. It froze. My thoughts: Wow, a dollar on the first day. Her thoughts: Thanks for the laugh!

Maybe he didn’t see me. Otherwise, Larry would be gone. Again, assumption on my part. It could very well have been an entertainment for deer. Anyway, it disappeared as fast as it appeared. One moment there, the next, gone. I love how they maneuver in the woods.

The next afternoon I walked over to my booth and noticed the musky scent of deer. Larry Six Pointer had paid a late night visit and the good news was that he had worked on the scratch for him. My cunning hunting skills were paying off. I had the correct location. Larry’s thoughts on this: This pinhead comes here every year. Maybe he likes hemlocks. These humans are so predictable and quite boring.

That afternoon nothing happened. I stayed until dark, saw two squirrels, a nuthatch and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Don’t worry, lots of opportunities. The season is young and so am I. Geez, I’ve been reading too much poetry.

“Is there blood on your boots?” my friend asked as we compared hunting notes at night. “I’m not too sure,” I replied. Let me see. Well, I have a little bit of dog poop, but no blood. Why you ask? “You’re a fool,” he yells. The blood is from gutting your money. Boy, oh boy, do some people take this deer hunting thing too seriously.

Back in the woods, I notice more scrapes and scrapes. Things are heating up and Larry is trashing the entire area I’m looking for. The hemlocks are full of deer! Well, I say this just for the signs. The hemlocks are only full of bugs when I’m there. But remember, I saw the deer the first time I went in, so I’d better pay close attention to my hunt. I don’t mind wandering around when I’m in the woods.

The other day after 2 1/2 hours in the stall I packed it up and climbed down from the tree, done for the day. The fanny pack continued and the arrow returned to the quiver. Coming out of my woods, I noticed a fallen tree, one that looks like a recent felling. A hemlock had bitten into the dust and fallen, probably from the last mini-hurricane to hit upstate New York.

I leaned over to look at the needle like leaves and said, “Damn, another lost hemlock.” I looked up and there was Larry Six Pointer, 20 feet away, staring at me.

I slowly crouched behind the tree, grabbed an arrow and looked up. Gone, just like that. White tail straight in the air. Well, so much for paying attention all the time, no matter what. As I walked out of the woods, arrow still at the ready, I wondered why Larry never visited me at my post. Why was he only 100 feet away? Did I do something wrong? I wondered.

Larry also wondered: if that was Robin Hood, where are the Merry Men?