It's my first column for the New Year. 2013 I can't believe it! Oh, how time flies. Where did 2012 go? As I get older, every year goes faster.
Pick one of those, or add any phrase that you wish concerning the New Year, but ushering in 2013 was some chilly weather. I don't mind winter. I really like winter. Don't get me wrong, I can do without blizzards and icy roads and shoveling twelve inches of snow and sub-zero temperatures, but all of that is a part of most Iowa winters correct?
The second part of the Iowa Archery season began on December 17. Second season is generally tougher than the first. For one thing there are fewer deer after the two shotgun seasons have passed. The deer are much more alert (if that can possibly be!) and it is winter. The first season begins on October 1. It is sometimes summer feeling at that time. The November rut is fall, but when the season opens back up it is winter.
I hadn't gotten out since December 17. I suppose helping drag my good friend Dennis's buck to his truck a couple days earlier provided the inspiration I needed to get back out there. So, with an unfilled deer tag in hand, I headed out New Year's day afternoon. The cold weather we had been experiencing was probably the main reason I hadn't thought hard about getting out and here I found myself heading out on a very cold afternoon, but it was bright and sunshiny. That always helps. I slowly made my way toward the stand through the snow. Many of the trees were laden with snow on the trunks and branches from more than a week earlier making for a beautiful scene. When I got to the stand there was a deer feeding out in the field already. My first hour in the stand wasn't bad at all. I watched more deer file in to feed, a half a dozen. Then a dozen were out there feeding. Nobody was coming near to my stand but that was OK. I was enjoying being out and watching them from afar. The eagles that I had enjoyed in November were still around and cruising overhead. Cardinals flew past. Cardinals are so much brighter red against a backdrop of snow.
Then there was a noise behind me. I ever so slowly turned my head around to see the deer I expected. Instead, it was a coyote making its way up the frozen creek in search of food. No shot, but I sure had a great time watching it stop numerous times checking every sound and movement.
The last hour and a half was a bit more difficult as the sun disappeared behind the trees. Who am I trying to fool, it was a lot more difficult. The toes were getting cold. The fingers were getting cold. Even more deer showing up to feed wasn't enough to warm me by taking my mind off the cold. Experiencing single digits in the tree stand is tough. I climbed down as quietly as I could and slipped away back to the warmth of the vehicle.
It was cold, but don't get me wrong, it was so enjoyable and a great start to the New Year.