Cow calling, baby deer and gun rights

By DAN GEDDINGS
Posted 5/13/18

The forest here is like a cathedral, with towering hardwoods that rise into the mist of an early morning. I was sitting in the edge of the woods, at the base of a giant pine, just a few yards from the pasture fence. I could see cows scattered across …

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Cow calling, baby deer and gun rights

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The forest here is like a cathedral, with towering hardwoods that rise into the mist of an early morning. I was sitting in the edge of the woods, at the base of a giant pine, just a few yards from the pasture fence. I could see cows scattered across the pasture. Their forms were shrouded in a fine wispy fog. The turkeys were out there somewhere, too. I could hear them, but they were not visible.

I made a few soft calls on my slate. The turkeys answered but just drifted farther away. The cows that were close to me looked up when I called. They seemed to be curious about the strange sound coming from the edge of the woods.

I leaned my shotgun against the tree and shifted around a little to get more comfortable. I would wait these turkeys out. They wouldn't likely cross the highway at the far side of the pasture and would probably make their way back to these shady woods once the fog burned off and the sun got hot.

After an hour, I realized that I could see all the way across the pasture to the highway. The fog was gone, and so were the turkeys. I stood up and looked the pasture over carefully with my binoculars. No turkeys were in sight. I pulled my slate call back out and ran off a series of loud yelps and cuts. The gobbler answered from the piney woods across the highway.

Almost desperately, I launched into a barrage of loud and excited calls. The turkey didn't answer, but I noticed that all the cows in the pasture were looking in my direction. They started walking, then trotting and finally running in my direction. Thirty black cows and two donkeys came right to the fence and stood there staring into the woods at me. I figured there wasn't any need to stay there any more.

I headed back to my truck that was parked on Shoot Yo Leg Alley. These woods are just a remnant of the beautiful bottomland that was here five or six years ago. The timber company had clear cut most of this section. This small area had been left because it was too wet, but it has been marked again for harvest.

It was now mid-morning and warm. I was following the fence line and walking slowly and deliberately while scanning the woods and ground ahead carefully. I was startled to see a whitetail deer fawn curled up beside a log directly in my path. I didn't see the baby deer until I was just steps away. It did not move, and I guessed it to be just a few days old. I knew that the mother deer was somewhere nearby.

It was a sight that not many people get to see. I pulled out my phone and took a few pictures, but I was careful to not get too close. I didn't want to disturb the scene. The sheer beauty of the moment made me want to linger, but I needed to move on.

Back at the truck, I sent the fawn picture to a buddy of mine, Michael Scofield. Mike was hunting nearby, and he called to let me know that he had just seen the big gobbler and two hens. They were back in the cow pasture. I told him to come on, and we would go back after them. He was more than ready. Oh yeah, he liked the fawn picture, too.

I waited at the truck until Mike got there, and we headed back through the woods to the pasture. Just as we approached the fence we saw two hens out in the pasture. I stopped, and Mike went on down the fence line. In a few minutes, he called. He had also found a baby deer, and he sent me a picture. The two hens wandered down a ditch bank toward the highway and disappeared.

It was getting close to noon when Michael came tipping back through the woods to my location. We sat and talked for a while, reliving our hunts of the day. The talk eventually turned to our guns. Mike's shotgun was a 12-gauge camouflaged Remington Versa Max semi-automatic. It was a beautiful gun. The gun I was carrying that day was a 12-gauge black synthetic Remington 870 pump shotgun. There is no better shotgun than the 870.

I'm glad that we live in a country where we can choose to have a gun and can choose whatever type that we like. I don't want anyone else to make that decision for me. Our Second Amendment rights are what make our way of life possible.

The NRA has been a strong defender of the Second Amendment. The Friends of NRA are having a fundraising event starting at 6 p.m Thursday at 31 Artillery Drive in Sumter. Tickets are available at Strong Arms, (843) 319-4438. The event helps fund pro-gun, pro-safety and shooting sports programs. Be sure to check out this event.