Spent a few hours this past weekend in the tree stand each morning, hoping Bambi or Bambi's larger kin would wander close enough to let me shoot the thing with the crossbow.
Saturday morning I saw a decent sized 4 or 6 point buck (from his position and distance, I couldn't tell) about 40 yards away. He walked the SAME PATH that I take from the parking area to my tree stand. Seriously, came in between the same two saplings that I walked 3 hours prior. Hey, at least my scent control is working, right?
Anyway, he stopped, facing my stand direct on, about 40 yards away (38, if I remember range findings correctly), and stared directly towards me. I'd seen him coming in, so I already had the safety off, the optic lit, and was turned towards him, sitting as motionless as I could. We started at each other for a few minutes, me silently begging him "C'mon, c'mon... just a bit closer, then turn", but he finally did an abrupt 180 and bounced off.
Had I been carrying a firearm, he'd be in the freezer by now, but as it is still bow season, I didn't think that I had an ethical shot. Forty yards is right at the edge of my comfort zone with the crossbow, and a direct facing shot leaves not much target area. Had he turned, I'd have sent it. Had he been 20 yards or less, facing me, I'd have sent. But at 40 yards and facing, I didn't feel right taking the shot.
Sunday, saw three does. They came in from behind me, about my 5 o'clock position, so I didn't see them until too late. I tried to turn very slowly and quietly, and my boot *CLANGED* on the tree stand, which naturally sent them running.
No matter the turn out, I was in the woods on a crisp fall morning two days in a row. It was my wits and skill against nature's, and she won. But I'll be back out again next weekend.
Those two mornings didn't fill my freezer with meat, but it sure helped sooth my troubled mind and soul, and that's worth the price of admission.