LP and I managed to hike the bush out to the blind this morning before dawn, buttressed by bowls of oatmeal and several mugs of hot cocoa. It was crisp and cold and a perfect morning for the hunt. We re-supplied the bait pile with a bucket of corn and settled down in the blind under a big, warm blanket and quietly waited for both sunrise and deer to crest the ridge we sat huddled below.
Being a seasoned hunter, first sitting a blind at age three, she quickly fell asleep taking advantage of the pre-dawn wait. At first light she woke on her own, asked for a cup of cocoa and eyed the bait pile like it was going to grow legs and walk off if we didn't keep an eye on it.
Her patience was soon rewarded with the appearance of a spikehorn-a newcomer to the blind. He put on a good show, browsing the pile and the nearby stands of trees, returning to the pile over and over.
Finally, after about 30 minutes, he wandered off back up the ridge, so we spent another 15 minutes over another cup of cocoa then rolled out of the blind to greet the day and inspect the pile and tracks left by our spikehorn. We noted he browsed the corn, ignored the carrots and while he used a well-worn trail coming off the ridge, he forged his own way back up through the trees.
We inspected the surrounding area, spying numerous fresh tracks around the blind, including one set that showed we were followed to the blind by a small doe who must have been awful curious. Packing up our gear, we dropped it back at the truck and then headed into the bush to take advantage of the fresh snow that fell while we sat the blind. We tracked deer out into a clear-cut area and scouted it from a small rise at one end. Nothing moved, but we stood holding hands, watching the sun glistening across a sea of small, snow-covered spruces and after a while we decided to call it a perfect morning and head back to the cove to see if Mom was awake, yet.