Pennsylvania Game News - April 2013 - 49
ing and droppings were everywhere.
We agreed this would be a great
spot to call a gobbler to, with grassy,
open ground for the toms to strut in.
Although we didn’t see any birds, it
was obvious they spent a lot of time
there. The only drawback was it was
such a long walk in. Then we thought
of the canoe.
The trout stream emptied into a
lake, and we knew a place we could
drive to and launch our canoe less than
a mile from where we stood. We could
paddle in quietly, draw the boat up and
stash it and our paddles and life jackets
on shore. We’d quickly be right where
we’d want to be to call, without having
to hoof it several miles before starting
to hunt. There’d be no long trek back
uphill, carrying a heavy bird, if we
were successful. We could just put the
shining gobbler in the boat between us
and float out.
We never got back to that spot last
year, there were too many birds closer
to home, but we do plan to during gobbler season this spring. However, we did
use the canoe while archery hunting
and squirrel hunting, scoring a miss in
the former and a kill in the latter.
We had just bought a new canoe and
wanted to paddle it before freeze-up.
Archery season was on, so my husband
took his recurve bow. He thought that
maybe, just maybe, he could get a shot
while we paddled. We eased silently
along the lakeshore, enjoying the autumn colors and the smooth glide of
the boat, but also looking for deer.
And there she was. Bedded virtually
on the edge, on a hummock of yellow
grass, was an adult doe. I put my paddle
on the offside so she wouldn’t see my
motion and maneuvered the canoe as
close as I dared, so my husband could
shoot from the nearside. I held the
canoe in place with my paddle and, at
less than 10 yards, he shot.
We both thought the hit was good,
as the arrow seemed to disappear into
her lower side at just the right spot. The
deer got up and ran, but then we saw
her slow and walk a few steps before
disappearing. We paddled away and
waited before taking up the track, feeling sure that we had done something,
if not unique, at least unusual.
But tracks were all there was. No
blood trail. We found the arrow with
its tip buried in the mud where the
deer had lain, with no trace of a hit.
Since then, we have paddled with our
bows other days and seen deer near the
waterside. We haven’t gotten another
shot, yet, but we know it’s possible.
That encounter got us interested in
hunting from a canoe, and we tried it
later in the fall, in small game season.
We had often seen squirrels in the
shoreline trees during our summer paddles at the lake and had talked about
drifting the edge with our shotguns. We
spotted several grays that didn’t offer a
shot, but I finally bagged a fox squirrel,
with my 12-gauge from the bow position, as it came to the water’s edge.
I’ve only gotten a toe wet on the
possibilities of hunting from a canoe
and using a canoe to hunt. I know that
with my paddle, I can have faster and
closer access to many hunting areas. I
can approach from a different direction
and take advantage of hunting pressure
that comes in off the road and moves
game toward me. Canoeing, I can cover
distances quietly and with less effort
than walking, and I’m sure the boat will
get me into places that are less hunted.
That is, unless all of you take me up
on the idea.