Regular readers of this column know that I enjoy the sport of bowhunting for deer. In fact, they know that I really enjoy the sport to the exclusion of many other activities, certainly my wife knows this to be a fact. Some of those other activities being readying the deck and yard for winter, cleaning the garage, and washing the car to just touch the tip of the iceberg. Not to mention activities that I enjoy doing, let's say for instance bottle digging! Once bowhunting begins in earnest, just about everything else takes a backseat.
But you haven't read anything in this column about my bowhunting this year. It's not because I haven't been partaking in my favorite sport. Mainly it is because well, I don't really know why that is. I haven't harvested a buck yet, but I have had some close encounters. I have enjoyed a few encounters with some non-deer wildlife that have been memorable.
So, beginning with this column, I will share a few of those things. If I haven't scored on a buck by next week's deadline, I'll share the extremely near miss I had with a monster buck a couple of weeks ago.
But for this week, let me start with my close encounter of the MINK kind. It was last Saturday and I was walking on the hiking trail at Wolf Creek park about 8:30 in the morning. I started across the suspension bridge back to my car and about half way across the suspension bridge, a fair-sized mink popped up from underneath the abutments and began snooping (hunting) around the poles and the guardrails. He appeared to have no idea whatsoever that I was standing there. I watched for quite some time as he went from one side of the deck to the other. Finally, I had my fill and started walking toward the little feller fully expecting that he would startle and disappear even more quickly than he had appeared.
But no, I had closed the gap to about fifteen feet and he continued to go about his business as if I was not there. I stopped again. Then he turned and started ambling down the middle of the walkway straight toward me. Thoughts of, "He doesn't see me," quickly changed to, "Could there be something wrong with this mink?" When he was 5 feet away, I decided I should act. I didn't want to find out that something was wrong when I suddenly had a live mink shinnying up the outside of my camo coveralls leg. (Or even scarier yet, the INSIDE of my camo coveralls leg!)
So I acted. I stomped my boot. I didn't startle the mink. I think I scared him half to death. In an instant in a single jump he was through the chainlink guardrail fence and plummeting toward the waters of the Wolf Creek (all four inches of it in its present drought level conditions).
And from there he disappeared into a clump of grass at the water's edge. A few seconds transpired as I stared down at the clump of grass. Was he hurt? Probably not. Then a round, brown head popped out and looked around followed by a long, slender brown body. He wasted no time covering the fifteen yards or so of stream bank and disappearing around the bend.
And it appears that I'll have to save things like squirrel and eagle stories for another time. Man, I love bowhunting.