Just wanted to share a quick story from my archive.
My memory doesn't serve me well at all and so all I can say with certainty, regarding the time-frame, is that this close encounter occurred just before breeding season, after the "bachelor" groups had split up and the bucks on the property were roaming alone.
I was in the stand at 5 am. This is the norm for me when hunting at this particular stand site. The leaves were extra crunchy and I needed to be in the stand early enough to give it time to settle down after my entrance. I pay close attention to the wind direction and take full advantage of it when entering the woods, but the leaves are impossible to avoid and it was relatively dry. Every step echoed, needless to say.
It's an ongoing joke that I should carry an extra arrow fitted with a field tip just for the squirrels that would no doubt have me twisting and turning to see what's running up behind me all morning long. In this part of NC, we have really fat squirrels. They go for $10 a pop is you know the right people. Anyhow...when the sun broke over the canopy and lit up the floor, I was pleased to see a doe with a couple of young ones lagging behind. On this particular hunt, I was after some antlers, not necessarily meat, so the doe was safe by me.
As usual, 10 or 15 squirrels made their way pass my stand site, every other one of them stopping for a brief moment to eat out the core of the corn that was thrown wildly 15 yards out from my tree. I've come to enjoy the company, even though when I first starting hunting I quickly developed a hatred for the little critters, that hatred had since passed as I matured as a hunter.
About 30 yards in front of my stand I had set a couple of mineral blocks in the middles of a small bunch oak trees that had blossomed together. This was specifically to get a deer to weave and change direction in hopes that he would walk towards my humble set-up.
About 2 hours after day-break, a dandy 8-pointer came into view. He paced himself, strolling in from my left and into view near the mineral blocks. Just as I had hoped, he turned right and began a very slow walk in my direction. He stopped every few steps to check the wind and sniff a couple of mock scrapes that I'd developed directly underneath two different hickory saplings that had a bend in them that allowed the deer in the area to lick and nibble on the small leaves sprouting out of the few limbs protruding out the tree's side.
I was already standing, and as soon as the buck put his nose to the scrape closest to me, about 15 yards out, I went to full draw.
It was like something out of a movie - a comedy movie. It seemed like the black Lab was playing a very cruel and dangerous prank on me. He came charging forward and stopped about 20 yards to the right of my stand. He barked and wagged his tail at the now startled Whitetail. The buck looked at the dog and darted in the opposite direction.
I'd never intentionally put an arrow through a K-9, but I'm not afraid to say that I came very close to having an accidental "slip-up" that morning.
I climbed down out of the stand, having been in the woods for close to 5 hours, cursing the dog that had just ruined an otherwise spectacular hunt, and wishing I knew the owner. To the little guy's luck, he was long gone by the time my feet touched the ground.
I don't think I'll soon forget this experience, if ever.
I'd like to hear ya'll's close encounters with man's best friend, or cats for that matter, if you have any.
Thanks for reading,
Hunting. America's real pastime.