ED GILBERT: Peppermint deer hunting

By Ed Gilbert • Last Updated 9:49 am on Monday, December 10, 2012

You’ve likely heard it said that almost anything can happen on a deer hunt. Well, now I believe it.

Allow me to explain.

It was colder than a well-digger’s auger up north the other day when I decided to get out the old muzzleloader, better known in some parts as a smoke pole, and try again for a buck.

A little snow had fallen up in the cabin area, so it seemed like a good idea to find some deer tracks and do some sneaky hunting. I knew some deer were in the area, and that one of them was about a six-point buck. I’d seen that deer twice during the regular firearms season, but hadn’t had a clean shot at it.

Maybe this time, eh?

Well now, I was about half way around one of the circular trails I normally hunt on, a trail about a mile overall in length. when I paused to take a rest. I sat down on a log and reached into a pocket for a pack of gum, but instead came up with one of those round pieces of peppermint candy I sometimes carry.

I unwrapped the morsel and popped it into my mouth, tasting and smelling the strong peppermint instantly.

But low and behold, something else most certainly got a whiff of that peppermint as well, as within a few minutes a doe came trotting up from downwind, her snoz in der luft and sniffing as she moved to within about 20 feet of me.

It would have been an easy kill, but I don’t shoot at a doe when there could be buck nearby. Truth be told, I really don’t care to shoot a doe anyway, so all you doe-killers can laugh over that one! But really, have you shot a doe and then looked up to see a dandy buck high-tailing it away? Bet you have.

So this doe just snorted and sniffed at me and my peppermint for about a minute, then she figured out I wasn’t a block of candy or salt and wheeled to disappear.

Meanwhile, I was looking off in the direction in which she came, hoping to see that buck I wanted. And wouldn’t you know it, along that path came three more does!

This was indeed a quandary. But I simply sat there with my rump on that log and watch those deer sniff the air, hesitate a moment, and then disappear down the trail. And no buck.

Well, I’d had about enough at that point, so got up and started walking around my circular path that would lead back to the cabin.

And suddenly, there it was! Directly to my right and about 25 feet away stood that six-pointer, nuzzling through the snow to munch on grass.

I raised the muzzleloader, cocked the hammer (mine’s old fashioned, not an inline), and had a sure thing in my sight.

Then I squeezed the trigger and “POP!” The cap didn’t set off the main charge, but it sure set off that buck! It wheeled about and disappeared in a romp.

So there you have it. I didn’t get any of those peppermint does, and I certainly didn’t get that buck.

Ah, but tomorrow is another day, so who knows? Well, I’ll tell you what, I’m going to load up my pockets from now on with peppermint candy, or even some of those Peppermint Patties one can buy in the stores… I’ll get that buck yet!

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