My Buddy

JOHN L. SLOAN


My Buddy

My Buddy

My Buddy

Buddy was born in early May 2012. By bow season of that year, he had spike antlers about six inches long and did not look like a six-month old deer.
    
I could have shot him several times but let him walk. He has a distinctive walk, almost but not quite a limp. I don’t know if it is due to a birth defect or an injury.
    
It does not bother him at all. It makes him easy to identify. That is how I know his age. I saw him so often I named him Buddy.
    
I started seeing him in mid-July this year. Now, not only his walk but his antlers make him easily identifiable even at a distance.
    
He has another unique characteristic this year. He is most often in the company of a fawn.
    
Bucks should be in bachelor groups-small groups of two to five other bucks-not with fawns. But Buddy is different. He also likes being around turkeys. In the woods, bucks seldom associate with turkeys. Not Buddy, he likes them.
    
As the other, older bucks began shedding their velvet, they became more wary.
    
Not Buddy. To give you an example, think of a herd of plains game in Africa. They will browse along, totally ignoring a pride of lions lounging in the shade of a tree. But when that matriarch lion, the boss lady, gets up and stretches, they are gone in a heart beat.
    
Deer know the difference between man and man the hunter or predator just as a herd of wildebeest know when the lions are getting hungry. Buddy does not seem to care. He just licks his nose and goes back to feeding.
    
On two occasions early this year, Buddy has walked right by my stand. I sat there, bow in hand, trying to get to my camera. Buddy didn’t care. He just calmly walked on by, always gone before I could get the camera out. I hope he is not doing that with other, more predatory hunters.
    
I badly want Buddy to make it at least one more year. I can tell he has great genetics as far as antlers go.
    
They were high spikes and now that he has more points, they are even higher. He is always in fantastic shape in terms of body conditioning. He is a superior buck.
    
If he makes it, next year he will be a dandy in term of antlers. At least, I think he will. The food sources this year are providing great nutrition to go into winter.
    
If we have the same in the early spring, he should be something to see. I hope he can avoid the cars and other hunters.
    
I seem to have somewhat lost my need to shoot something. It could be that judging how far I am going to have to drag an animal has something to do with it. I have passed up a few shots for just that reason. I need about two deer for my freezer and I have two or three people who I usually take care of in terms of meat. I do not need to kill a dozen deer as I did last year.
    
I am enjoying my “woods time,” just sitting and watching. I have vowed to take more pictures this year and once the leaves thin out somewhat, I will get to that.
    
My road trip to Louisiana was a nice break from deer hunting. Now, I just need the right weather conditions.
    
I’ll wait for the cool mornings or an urge to hit me in late afternoon. I hope your season is going as well as mine.

Steam Plant fishing closes
TVA plans to temporarily close Gallatin Fossil Plant’s discharge channel to public access to ensure the safety of the public and scrubber project workers.
    
The channel will remain closed through the duration of the project, slated to be complete in spring of 2016.
    
The temporary closure of this area will occur November 4, weather permitting. If weather delays the closure, it will occur as soon as the weather clears.
    
TVA is constructing a permanent bridge which will support duct work that will go over the water near the existing plant and connect with the scrubber on the other side of the channel.
    
The closed area will be marked with signage and floating buoys, similar to what you would see marking a public swimming area.
    
The Gallatin environmental controls are a $1 billion investment that will significantly improve air quality for the region and the Valley and ensure Gallatin remains an important part of the TVA generation mix.
    
The TWRA has reviewed and approved TVA’s request to temporarily close the channel.