By Gary Miller
I sat for hours and hours in the woods –- on a 2 x 3 foot platform over 20 feet in the air. I did it day after day and sometimes all day long. I know it sounds crazy to non-deer hunters but to be honest, when you go home empty handed, it sounds crazier to the one that did it. It’s amazing what you depend on to cure boredom and to pass the time. You talk to yourself, the animals, God, and whoever might be listening.
You also look at things more deeply and more intricately. The nuances of every tree or bush become a focal point and the subtle differences become pronounced. But sound is the real difference. You begin to recognize the normal sounds of the woods and thus any other sound that is trying to make its way into the choir, because sound always gives things away.
One morning before daylight, I heard a buck thrashing a bush a few yards from my tree stand. His sound gave him away. And I can always depend on the squirrels. They mostly remain quiet until something begins to move through their neighborhood. Then they bark to let me know something is coming my way. The crows help me tremendously during the turkey season. Their caw will let me know there may be some gobblers in the field.
There is also another side to the story however. There comes a time when I have to make the sound. I might grunt like a deer or rattle to imitate a fight, but as soon as I make a sound I have given up my position and part of my ability to remain anonymous.
That’s why I need to think before I speak and make sure that whatever noise I make is timed well and has the best chance to make an impact. The fear for most hunters (especially turkey hunters) is that we are calling too much.
The comparison is glaring isn’t it? We all know people who “call” too much. Not only are they ready to sound off at any opportunity, they are also willing to do it at the most inopportune time. Most of the time the only benefit that comes from this, is he has simply given himself away. He has let others not only know where he is but that they should go in the other direction.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
Sometimes speaking out is called for but if the sound of our voice is too familiar, our message can go unnoticed.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org