(The following datum comes from Field Notebook No. 1, October 29, 2011 –. These are the original notes I took this morning on the first day of the regular deer season in north Erath County, Texas, November 5, 2011.)
7:50 a.m. In the far field at Pecan Tree Pasture. One rifle shot to the south, a loud report. 41 deg. F. One photo taken at southeast far gate. No deer yet sighted. Traffic light on State Highway 108. Owl call, hooting, in the grove. [I am parked between the grove and pecan tree, having entered from the far southeast gate to contain deer? within the field.]
No deer stands sighted on Old Bryant place, the Dooley place, that I can see. This is different from past three years. Two years ago, I sighted nine deer stands from my place.
Crows cawing — very few.
7:59 a.m., flock of crows flying east to west.
8:00 a.m. Solitary deer sighted between me and water trough on my pasture road. I am at the grove-pasture gate.
8:01 a.m. Rifle report to the far south.
Deer may have come out of the grove gate by the water trough. Deer leisurely walking up the pasture road.
(Bring binoculars next time.)
(Clear brush around fence in places so the F-250 is not scratched.)
A gray, short-bed pickup cruises by my open southeast gate, turns off road by gate, pauses, then goes north on SH 108. No identification of the gray pickup. Not a neighbor.
8:10 a.m. Chickadees or wrens fussing in the mesquite brush, grove. Will the solitary deer I saw cross SH 108?
8:14 a.m. Rifle report to the east at some distance, estimated three miles distant.
8:21 a.m. Rifle report to my southwest, very loud, very loud either on Dooley or Woods place. I can almost smell the gunpowder. [I carefully listen for bullet coming through air, but hear no sound.]
Far away to the south, another rifle shot.
A white-flatbed pickup passes on SH 108, slows down by field, turns around and comes back by deer at water trough, slows down, goes up road, turns around and then heads south on SH 108. He probably saw the deer on my place. Not a neighbor.
Big bluestem grass abounds in this field.
8:50 a.m. Leave field.
Notes, corrections, additions:
This year the rifle sounds are greatly reduced in number for the opening day of the general season. The pickups that turn around and gaze into the far field where I have deer may be curious or may be looking for an opportunity to poach. I can’t monitor and don’t want to monitor my field constantly. I am glad that the deer stands have been significantly reduced in number from several years ago. I have Tony Navarro to thank for that. Game Warden Tony Navarro’s great-grandfather signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. I rode with him in his outfitted pickup a couple of years ago when we scanned Flying Hat Ranchito for game.
- Drivers, beware: It’s deer season (kellyjomcdonnell.com)