By Jason Cornelison
-- I have been on active duty in the U.S. Navy for more than 19 years, and was an avid hunter long before entering the Navy. Recently I had the opportunity to visit my hometown of Scottsboro, Ala., for a week and to get some time in the woods in search of a white-tailed deer.
After arriving, I was able to hunt the last hour of the day with my mom in a ground blind. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any deer. The next morning, I hunted another piece of property, settling in well before daylight.
Soon after the sun began to light the woods, I began to hear the crunching of leaves under the feet of what I hoped was a big deer. As the leaves continued to crunch, I heard the distinctive sound of a stick snapping under a heavy foot. The sound disappeared for a few minutes, and then I saw something large moving directly in front of me.
The movement stopped almost as soon as it started, and then I caught sight of the movement once again. My mind raced at the thoughts of a large deer.
Then the shape began going up a tree. It was no deer at all, but another hunter, on posted land and not wearing any orange.
I whistled to get his attention and, after seeing me, he quickly descended from the tree and left the area.
Since it was about 30 minutes after first light, I was a bit discouraged that the first few magical moments of the morning were ruined. Resolved to get a deer, I stayed put.
Only 25 minutes after the other hunter departed the area, I saw movement to my right. This was definitely a deer!
After watching the deer browse for a couple of minutes, I was finally able to see the target clearly. I raised my Browning .270 and squeezed the trigger. The bullet found its mark, and the buck dropped where he stood. He wasn’t the wall-hanger that we all dream of, but the hunt was still very exciting.
I was taught to be safe while hunting and to be sure of my target before shooting. Otherwise, that morning could have easily had the devastating consequences of an accidental shooting of another hunter.
Alabama requires 144 square inches of orange to be worn while deer hunting. This is a classic example of why hunters should always abide by such requirements.
Instead of having a potentially negative experience, I had one of the best weeks of deer hunting that anyone could have expected. I harvested three bucks and two does that week!